nudging

I realize this political year isn’t nearly as “big a deal” as 2008 was. But it’s still a time when we can – and in many cases should – take advantage of this teachable moment. (And if you missed it, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have placed politics on the radar in an interesting way this weekend.)

So in case you want to take this opportunity – as it’s on everybody’s minds this week – I wanted to repeat a post from a couple of months ago… just a little nudge toward helping students navigate these waters and – more importantly – connect this whole business with Jesus.

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Every two years (at least), we are presented with a rather stark “lab” for teaching college students about faith in public. Of course, I call it a “lab” because it’s not only a chance to discuss “Jesus & Politics.” It’s a chance to discuss “Jesus and everything,” using a topic – political elections – that just happens to be ripe for student attention.

Why is this such a “teachable moment”?

  • Campuses are more “political” than a lot of places already
  • Students may actually have been confronted (for the first time) with good reasons to reconsider their families’ political stances
  • It’s controversial
  • Few Christian students have ever taken a hard look at how their faith connects with their political beliefs (beyond the caricatures)
  • Few non-Christian students have heard well-reasoned discussions about faith and politics
  • Rightly or wrongly, students feel like they should care about this politics stuff
  • There are plenty of students who probably care far too much about politics, or they’re far too “sure” of themselves in this arena; bringing their politics in line with their faith may actually mean less attention
  • Regardless of your opinion of President Obama, he caught the attention of a lot of our present collegians 2 years ago
  • Regardless of your opinion of President Obama, lots of those collegians are disillusioned or confused about their feelings toward him now
  • Many of your campuses have political student organizations that are stirring the pot… and may also be very willing to discuss faith’s connection to what they do

So it’s a topic that can get college students’ attention.

Obviously, don’t just “go political” because it’s a hot topic. But if discussions of this nature actually seem to accomplish your college ministry’s purposes, it’s worth considering!

[The follow-up post looked at how political discussions can springboard our students into all kinds of important topics.]

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