I must be very careful with this next post because it is a very sensitive topic. I want to be crystal clear from the beginning that I am not being accusatory; I am merely expressing the concerns that I have for this campus community. This concern is not only a personal concern but it is a concern that I have heard expressed by other students of the campus community so this is not a personal attack. I hope and pray that God will speak through me with love and gentleness as I continue on.
I have witnessed this community from freshmen year shift from being all-inclusive to very much exclusive. As a new freshmen, I was warmly welcomed just as I was and I didn't feel like a freshmen; but a part of the greater campus community. I didn't have to do anything to be accepted. There were no conditions to the friendships that I was making and it was the greatest thing and the thing that I needed especially coming from my high school experience.
Since then, I have been shut out from most of the campus community. I used to be invited to do all sorts of things, the first week of freshmen year, we played ultimate frisbee every night and things were great. I now have to invite myself to things if I want to go, and when I do invite myself I get this uncomfortable awkward feeling from everyone there. Not only that, but I don't feel safe being myself because I get shot down by a number of the people who claim to be my friends.
I am not saying that I am this perfect person, high and mighty, I have moments in which I am mean to others, condescending, etc. I admit that I am a sinner and I recognize that. I make a conscious effort to be nice to everyone that I meet, without prejudice. It seems like that concept is lost on the part of the campus community.
I am all for being comfortable around the people you are close friends with, but if someone new comes along and really tries to be a part of your friendship group; don't reject them because they aren't like you.
We are no better than a public high school with the amount of cliques that we have and the sad thing is, we tell others that we don't even like cliques! We have church worker cliques, drama cliques, athletics cliques, cliques who don't believe in cliques, the list can go on forever.
The limited grasp of community that we have is with our own exclusive group of people. I am guilty of this as well, granted, I am not part of the church worker clique; I am still kind of my own clique. I don't spend much time reaching out to other people.
The problem doesn't lie with any particular group of people or person, it is a community, a group effort. God calls us into community to prevent against this separation. I hope that as I continue to work on branching out and making new friends who might not put me down as much; I pray that my readers do as well.
I want to share my congratulations and blessings on our new Campus Ministry Associate Shelly Schwalm. I pray for guidance given unto her as we as a community work towards being all-inclusive rather than exclusive.
I really want to stress that we are not an exclusive club, God doesn't work with exclusive members. God is all-inclusive so I wish that we could demonstrate that to people, especially the new incoming class of 2015.