Discovering spirituality may uncover the true self

Discovering spirituality may uncover the true self

by Kate Paulman

While Simpson is a Methodist-affiliated college, non-Christian students can find ways to participate in religious activities. Many of the religious groups on campus are not exclusive to Christians.

One such option is the Fellowship of Christian Athletes [FCA], an organization that meets once a week to hear a lesson, such as how people are equipped to spread the word and what it means to wear the body armor of God and play games.

“FCA is not restricted to Christians or to athletes,” junior Kristina Brannen said. “Anyone who wants to come out and have some fun is always welcome.”

Brannen has been a leader in FCA since the second semester of her freshman year, though she has always been involved with church activities.

“I like to be part of this organization,” Brannen said. “It’s part of my walk with Christ. It’s a growth process. It’s continual. I’m always learning something. [FCA] has helped me learn to be a disciple.”

While student participation varies from meeting to meeting, Brannen said that there are a group of students who regularly attend FCA meetings.

“I think we’ve seen that FCA has some sort of influence on [the regulars],” Brannen said. “It’s obvious that it influences them because they keep coming back. I’ve seen each person that comes to our meetings grow in their spiritual walks.”

One of the regulars is freshman Jess Bowen. She is involved with acknowledging Christ Through Service, Revelation Singers, Bible Study, Genesis as well as Campus Worship.

“My faith has grown a lot through my involvement here,” Bowen said.

“Just to be surrounded by such a strong Christian community and the upperclassmen who are further along on their faith journey is really amazing. Through religious activities is where I met all of my friends that I hang out with.”

Religious Life Council President Trisha Fry agrees that religious activities on campus have an impact on the lives of students who attend.

“The people that I’ve seen and interacted with, I’ve noticed a change in all of them spiritually,” Fry said.

Besides exploring the Christian faith, Fry is working on establishing an interfaith group on campus. This group is to be a gathering for people of all faiths to interact with each other.

Fry said she would like this group to have the resources to have prayer and study groups.

“I’m really excited to get some dialogue going between people of different faiths,” Fry said. “This group would try to get a sort of community for students of [non-Christian] faith together to discuss their ideas. It would also give Christian students a chance to learn about other faiths.”

While Fry is not sure how the group will grow and develop, she does have some idea of the end result.

“I think the [interfaith] group will foster faith life and spiritual growth,” Fry said. “It’s going to create a new community where people can interact.”

Fry expects this group to be composed of Christians, as well as people of other faiths.

“I think there are going to be Christians who attend as well. They’ll be hoping to find out what other faiths are about,” Fry said.

Senior Gary Huynh is one such student whom this group would be designed for. Huynh is agnostic, someone who is not sure of their beliefs. However, Huynh said he does not find much of a problem with the current system of faith groups on campus.

“I can go to campus worship if I want to. I don’t really think about it much,” Huynh said. “It’s not that important to me.”

Nevertheless, Fry hopes that the interfaith group will bring different students together.

“In order to understand life you have to understand your spirituality,”

Fry said. “You can never be fully realized without spirituality in your life. I think that if students get involved with this group it has the possibility to be life-changing. [This group] will give students a chance to explore the deeper side of themselves. It will put down these walls that we have built up between different faiths and give everyone better understanding of themselves.”