I believe in the Christian God, and share in most Christian values and beliefs, but I identify as more spiritual than necessarily religious, which has given me an interesting perspective on faith and how you can live it. College can be a strange time in faith for many students. Without anyone (parents) to hold you accountable, many avid churchgoers drop the practice rather quickly during their college experience, and many others who have always gone along with their family's beliefs may begin questioning during this time of freedom, and decide to follow a faith completely separate from what they were raised in.
Everyone has to make their own path and their own decisions concerning faith and religion, but today I would like to share with you a few resources I found on my campus, some practices I've picked up to fill in the gaps, and some practices of one of my secularly spiritual friends for those of you who are not inclined to organized religion.
- Check out your campus organizations. I go to a college with only 1100 students and we have an Interfaith Council, Christian Leadership Council, Catholic Student Group, Christian athletes group, and many more. These groups welcome people from all backgrounds and come together to share their values with others and learn more about other faiths. There are also local bible studies and youth groups if you know how you want to practice your faith and are just looking for some camaraderie and support.
- Check out your campus programming. Again, I go to a tiny private college with a history connected to the Presbyterian sect, so our campus offers a chapel service every Thursday morning for all those that wish to attend. This is also welcome to all faiths and backgrounds, and many services are lead by different community leaders to broaden how we worship. Also, our campus just hosted a Seder dinner over this past Passover to allow our students to learn more about the Jewish faith, so these opportunities are not limited to Christian students.
- Last, but certainly not least, is to hold your own service. This may not be right for everyone, and if you are completely opposed to this idea, I refer you to the above suggestions, but I believe that my relationship with God is between me and God. Do I like going to a service and being able to worship with a group of my peers? Yes, in fact, I do. I find comfort in the ritual of a church service and I inherently feel the presence of God when I walk into a church. But I also feel God with me in other moments of my day, and all I need is that connection to take a moment and pay worship and reflect on how I've lived the values of His teachings throughout my day. Or perhaps, how I've failed to do that, but it's important for me to take a moment to recognize my mistakes and resolve to do better tomorrow. I like to play a few songs that help me reflect on the day, on my feelings, on God's role in my life. Here are a few of my favorites:
- On a hard day, a day when I'm questioning things, like after the bombings at the Boston marathon, something like Emeli Sande's, "Next to Me" helps me get through it:
- Or on a calmer day, when I'm just contemplative, I prefer songs like Alexi Murdoch's "Orange Sky":