Chapel on campus is known to have a wide variety of topics and formats throughout the semester, which allows for students to experience different types of worship and gives students the opportunity to hear messages that they might not seek out for themselves.
In chapel last Thursday, PACT organized an informal interview with a Muslim woman as the message. While many students appreciated the opportunity to hear the perspective of a Muslim woman about her faith, others were less than thrilled.
PACT is an organization that works to bring other opinions to campus in a peaceful way and to facilitate peace between people of different backgrounds. Their goal in bringing a Muslim woman to speak during chapel was to do just that, and it’s unfortunate that people on campus were not willing to listen.
The most common complaints were about either the fact that the message wasn’t a sermon or that the woman speaking was a Muslim and was sharing her opinions about the hateful climate that she has experienced as a Muslim woman. Through these complaints, it seems that the point of having that specific speaker and that specific topic was lost.
Those who were complaining that the chapel message wasn’t “Christian enough” really need to take a second and rethink what being Christian means. Christianity isn’t an exclusive club that only talks about the Bible and ignores the world around them. Christianity preaches peace, love and acceptance of all people. The most well-known verse is Jesus saying that we need to love our neighbors.
The best way to show love to another person is to listen to them, especially when they’re talking about hardships they have faced. While hearing about one person’s experience being a Muslim woman in America may not draw everyone’s attention, it’s incredibly important for Christian people to listen because they aren’t experiencing the world in the same way that she is.
As a Christian campus, we need to step up and listen when people tell their stories, whether it’s what we’re expecting to hear or not. How else will we actively better the world around us and pursue peace for those who are oppressed?