Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America's College Campuses
by Donna Freitas
Interesting as the title implies....
A friend passed this book on to me last week and as you might expect from a Campus Minister, I looked at it with interest. On page 56 the author seemed to imply that some of what she had to say about Catholic colleges and universities might not apply to CUA because we are on the conservative end of the spectrum of Catholic Education. Interesting...
What stuck with me...
The author spoke about the way some students she interviewed viewed themselves as spiritual but not religious. I have to say that in my time as a Campus Minister I have met many young people and adults for that matter who expressed similar thoughts. They consider themselves spiritual because they were open to or believed in a "higher power." They do not consider themsleves religious because while they might believe in a higher power, someone, something greater than us, they weren't really sure what that meant for them. they express thought like "If there is a God what does that mean?" I usually banter back if there is a God and this God created us then what God says should matter in our lives. This is something that all of us need to gently but consistently reinforce, if there is a God shouldn't what God reveals to us matter ? Patience, and a witnessed life are essential when we try to bring someone to faith.
I am well aware that some college campuses have to varying degrees developed the "hook up" culture which the author spends a lot of time with. Why should this surprise anyone. The world has developed the "hook up" culture and universities are in the world. This type of culture is also present in the lives of some of our students. I also agree wholeheartedly that almost everyone involved in these types of choices find this type of culture demeaning and unfulfilling, shallow if you will. In a nut shell the "hook up culture" involves some type of physical beginning to a relationship or even worse physical "hooking up" when one or both participants try to pretend that it just doesn't mean anything, being physical for the sake of being physical. Sad
I have found that here at CUA there is a significant segment of our campus that wants more for themselves and their friends and tries to avoid this type of behavior. There are those who kind of pass through it especially in their Freshman Year and look back on it with sadness. There are a some just seem to get stuck there. I believe that it is important to treat everyone who crosses our doorway with respect and compassion, calling them to live better, holier and more fulfilling lives.
We try to help them work through their past failures doing everything we can to help them experience the merciful love God is so eager to share. The author makes a very good point when she states that for many women "hooking up" is really about seeking a relationship and yearning for a little romance. Sad to say experience has shown that hooking up with someone rarely leads to a lasting relationship and if a person hooks up too much then they get a reputation as a player or damaged goods and it makes it even harder for them to obtain what they so ardently desire.
One young woman said to me...."You know guys want a certain type of woman for a relationship and marriage. They have this ideal woman in their mind but they do their best to make sure there are very few of these women around. In other words many men are anxious to hook up but when a woman joins in she lessens her chances for a long term relationship. iIt goes without saying that hooking up also hurts men. It makes it so difficult for them to relate to women in a healthy way and when they are known as a "player" women who have developed a healthy self confidence want nothing to do with them. These are difficult lessons to learn for many and sadly these missteps almost always involve broken hearts.
Because of our rich Catholic heritage.... because of our Catholic mission... we are able to address this foray into loneliness head on with the values of the gospel.
I have found that almost everyone deep in their heart understands what is right and wrong. It is just so hard to be good sometimes not only for 18 year olds in Spellman Hall but for all of us.