Today, in the Grove City College Collegian, I had a letter to the editor published. Before you read my response below, the above image(click to enlarge) is the article that I wrote my letter in reply to. You should read that before you read my response.
Jared Walczak’s column, “Bring the ‘old time religion’ to Chapel,” is full of inaccuracies because he has missed the point of the chapel program at the College. In the column, he attempts to justify his narrow-minded view of the “correct” practice of Christianity, and, though I lack the time and space to respond to all of his claims, I will reply to several.
First, Mr. Walczak claims that speakers do not take chapel seriously. On what does he base this? His personal boredom or the disconnection he experiences in chapel? Has he spent any significant time with any of the speakers during his time here at Grove City? For the past year as a member of the chapel staff, I have shared breakfast and a time of prayer with almost every speaker that has stood in the chapel pulpit, and I cannot think of one who took the responsibility to address the students here lightly.
Mr. Walczak also writes that speakers do not try to touch upon matters of lasting value in their 17 minutes. Perhaps Mr. Walczak could give us the proper length for a sermon. Could it be the time it takes to climb Mount Pisgah? I would ask Mr. Walczak to turn to Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount, and to Acts 2, where Peter preaches during Pentecost. Reading either of those sermons aloud will take much less than 17 minutes. I wonder if Mr. Walczak believes their shortness robs them of anything of “lasting value.”
Finally, Mr. Walczak is showing us how he thinks that church should be. It’s fine for him to present his views on the church, but he confuses the College’s chapel with church. Chapel is not meant to replace church. Mr. Walczak shows us throughout his column what he wants his church to be like—full of traditional songs and lacking contemporary ones—and attempts to discredit worship in any other way. But what if he was born before 1758, when “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” was written? Would he still raise his Ebenezer or would he have said that it was a “popular praise song?” What happened to the thousands of hymns that Charles Wesley wrote if he was penning for the ages?
Mr. Walczak, if you wish to be challenged, provoked, or inspired, climb down from your close-minded steeple and take a seat in chapel with the realization that it is there to expose you to different faith backgrounds. You might be surprised what you’ll hear when you begin to listen.
Any thoughts? Perhaps you are just shocked that I posted two days in a row.