This is the first of my weekly articles for the UMass Collegian campus newspaper. At first I wanted to build a comfortable reputation as a tasteful and moderate voice for the population… then I realized I was being a huge pansey.
Here it is, as straight as I could put it without losing my job. The article gets published tomorrow on campus.
Could drinking be a waste of time at college? Queue the snickers, chuckles and knee slaps. With the conditioned response out of our systems, let’s get real for a minute. Forget Sam the Minuteman or Chemistry 100—there’s nothing that rallies the student body closer together like a freshly tapped keg of delicious PBR. We are all students in a culture which promotes on a loudspeaker that a handle of liquor is the necessary ingredient for fun during our four years of freedom. It’s sad to say but maybe it’s possible that we’re missing something pretty big.
If you want a true, clear cut image of this culture I’m talking about, you don’t have to throw rocks at cops in a Southwest hosted riot or even go out on a Friday night to see it. All you need to do is swipe into any dining commons on a weekend afternoon and take a look around. What you’ll see is a lot of men and women who look like they just returned from war. Some have black eyes from trying to crush a beer can on their forehead and missing, others are limping from a stair case that turned into a slip and slide. If they don’t have a visible brokenness, they are trying to sooth the rhinoceros stampeding inside their skulls.
In a world where the majority of its inhabitants are struggling in extreme poverty for the mere necessities of life, the top richest 1 percent struggles with the fact of having too much fun last night. Something’s not right.
I’m not bashing alcohol. It’s great. Making friends and having a good time are two very crucial aspects to college, which I cannot argue. College is a unique time and you will never have the same experience again in life. Never will you get to live a stone’s throw away from dozens of your closest friends with a license for complete freedom and time in your hands. It is not whether or not you should be spreading your wings and having a good time that I am putting into question, but the quality of that good time with beer as a “necessary” ingredient.
So what the hell am I getting at? Like some sappy Hollywood chick flick, my heart tells me that there’s something wrong and something missing and I don’t think I am alone.
There has to be more to Friday night than getting drunk. There has to be more to Saturday mornings than recovery time. There has to be more to three day weekends than an extra night to go out. There has to be something more to a friendship than drunkenness can build. There has to be more to this college experience than just merely alcohol.
Why you might ask? Because it’s not enough, and basing our lives around drinking doesn’t allow us to be fully alive. We’re caught in a vicious cycle that severely limits the quality of fun, from fully experiencing life for all of its intended awe.
2,000 years ago there was a man that was in the same position of many people on this campus. He was lame from birth, crippled out of freedom in movement. He couldn’t experience life because of his condition. Although not all of us are crippled physically, we sense a lack of life just as this man did.
Two men named Peter and John met him and through their interaction, this man was able to walk again, able to be fully alive. He jumped up and down for the first time in his life, he yelled at the top of his lungs and moon walked through the dusty streets.
It wasn’t a special medicine or beverage that Peter and John used to cure this man of his lameness. It was an experience they had with a man named Jesus that they shared with him. That very same experience that put life into useless legs 2,000 years ago can certainly put some fun into our brokenness today.
Jesus, as God and the creator of all life, fun and good times is the necessary ingredient for fullness of life. Drinking may be pleasing to my senses but I’d be lying if I said that it satisfies my soul. There’s a level of freedom and happiness that we’ll call joy, which can only be experienced through Jesus Christ.
Let’s be honest, Christians don’t do an awesome job at living this out. But we’re human so we fall short. If you are a Christian, I challenge you to get off your butt and have more fun and take advantage of the sacrifice that was made for you to be fully alive.
If you don’t have a relationship with God, I challenge you to explore the truth that is in Jesus and the newness of life that he offers. There is in fact something more to this college experience and it’s found in the fullness of life found in Jesus.