The following two items came through my inbox courtesy of the Ivy Jungle Network. They will give you a sense of today's university campus culture ...
Unchrisitan: A new study by the Barna group confirms what many have felt to be true - many young adults today are more skeptical resistant to Christianity than they were 10 years ago. The results are chronicled in the book, Unchristian, by Dave Kinneman of the Barna Group and Gabe Lyons of the Fermi Project.** The research concludes that Americans ages 16-29 are becoming increasingly disillusioned with Christianity. In fact, only 16% said they have a "favorable impression" of Christianity. Only 3% have a favorable view toward "evangelicals." The most common terms to describe Christians are judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%). When asked about the positive attributes of Chrisitianity, the best impression was "Christianity teaches the same basic ideas as other religions (82%). Good values (76%) and friendly (71%) were two other positive descriptors. Only 55% said Christianity is a faith they respect. The most common perception about Christianity is that it is "anti-homosexual," a belief held by 91% of respondents. (Barna.org September 24, 2007)
Overburdened Counselors: As more students go to college and more arrive on campus with mental health problems, many of the nations on campus counseling centers are stretched thin. Some use off campus therapists and others have three week waiting lists to deal with the demand. Despite the attention of mental disorders brought on by the Virginia Tech shootings, some centers have continued to see their funding diminish. 92% of counseling directors say that the number or students with severe mental health issues has increased in recent years.. 63% say they are concerned over the increased demand for services by students, but without an increase in funding from schools. 37% of college students say they felt "so depressed it was difficult to function" in the past year. Clinical depression has increased dramatically on campus since 1990. Kansas State University says that 60% of students who seek mental health counseling are clinically depressed. (AP September 19, 2007)
Al Oerter, one of America's greatest track and field athletes of all time, passed away on Oct. 1. Oerter was the first athlete to win the same event in four consecutive Olympics, winning the discus in 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968. Some "interesting" notes: he never won the US Olympic Trials, he never entered the Olympic games as the favorite or world's best thrower, and he set a new Olympic record with each gold medal. Oerter attended the University of Kansas and I can remember watching him throw when my family would go to the KU Relays. He was one of America's greatest competitors and greatest champions. In his later years, he founded "Art of the Olympians" which gave him and other Olympians a chance to demonstrate their artistic abilities.
Track trivia question: What other athlete later won the same event (not the discus) in four consecutive Olympic Games?
I posted the Human Tetris video from Youtube. I had a couple of guesses on how I used it in a sermon. Here is the rest of the story ...
This semester I'm preaching on The Greatest Commandment - Mark 12:28034. I used the video in the first sermon of the series. Often times we have the idea that, as a follower of Jesus, we have to fit in to some mold that others have made for us. We contort ourselves to meet expectations, obey rules, etc. But following Jesus basically comes down to this: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Love God, Love Others. That is the grid by which we can direct our lives. Do our actions, our choices, our words, our values reflect these two values? Not just one, but both. In fact, all of Scripture are the details on how to do those two things: Love God, Love Others.