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November 13, 1992 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-11-13

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 13, 1992- Page 5

balancing
the

P
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A

orn bookbags rested beneat
scratched wooden pews at St.SM
°; Student Chapel during the S
night mass.
"Here I Am Lord," the choir sang
as a procession ofstudents filed up to th
to receive communion.
As the mass ended, students head
into the chilly fall evening, returni
academia for the week - abandonii
candles and stained-glass crosse
coursepacks and underlined textbook
During their college careers, stude
tenstruggletobalancebooks-checkb
library books and holy ones, too.
U-M students are no different. Th
versity offers a wide variety of opportu
to students interested in studying their
Although some students take advan
these groups more than others, it seer
eryone has something to say about rel
For almost everyone, college is a ti
transition. Sometimes there is growth,
times there is abandonment.
Always, there is questioning.
Searching for identity
"It's nearly impossible to be a
ranger' Christian, especially on this
pus," said Residential College senior
Kline, president of the Inter-Varsity
tian Fellowship. About 100 to 150 sti
participate in the group's weekly me
inaddition to the students who attend r
bible studies and daily prayer.
Kline saidstudents seekout Inter-Va
for a variety of reasons - occasion
because they mistake the organization
a Christian sports league. "But praye
the most important thing we do," he s
The simple desire to learn about a f
often compels students to become
volved, said John Sowash, a counselor
at the Christian ministry His House.
"We're really just Christians
trying to follow Jesus and trying to
follow the Bible. Everyone who
comes to our group has a real inter-
est in finding out about Christian-
ity," Sowash said.
Students also reach out to reli-
gious groups to maintain a link
between college and home, said
LSA senior Eliott Frank, also a resi-
dent adviser in Oxford Housing.
"Going to college is a major disrup
life- (religion)gives you a tie back h
Frank explained.
When she was living at home, firs
Kinesiology student Tina Bucciarell
her parents never forced her to go to c]
but it was second nature to attend mass
Sunday morning. At college, she has c
ued the tradition.
"In my family, going to church o
day is routine. Whether I'm home<
doesn't mean I shouldn't go," Bucc
said. She added that she has met some
best friends at the university through c
Chabad I-louse Director Rabbi A
Goldstein agreed that students arrivin
large campus often seek ways to co
their religious traditions. Chabad Hou
vides a home for 15 Jewish studen
offers opportunities for religious stud
"It's an opportunity to do someth
their own without being pressured in
Goldstein said. "If they do it becaus
want to do it, it's so much strong
sincere."
Students involved in religion pr
college are often motivated by those i
community to particiate. However,

h the
lary's
unday
softly
e altar
ed out
ng to
ng the
s for
s.
nts of-
books,
e uni-
]nities

BO

s

College students often struggle to
maintain a balance between
religious and secular lives

States is fa
Often rece
plore their
"When
a chance t
heritag.e,"
atmospher
culture an
Religi
lIindu Stu
that as stlue
of the Hin
more relig
"Defin
have g rOW
Megzh
Hind u stu

r faith. have chos
age of religion.
ns ev- - "Ther
igion. urge to go
imne of - said.
some- "If you
think ever
have that
r -' .:.loin.,
--In con
'lone-' O Jewish co
cam- : - him to be
Keith - gious cult
Chris- v In Col
udents ...*five lewis
etings, ':said it wa
egular - - - identity.
::.. .::..."".....Jewish stu
irsity --plays a sr
gally -."It wa
for group (in
er is I didn't n
said. need to
aith .::::. Othe
in- ion, of
--- ..:. ,,..fore ret
Du
- - ..'-SD
Z~inc -4-s -
etion in p o - ,wast
ome, rariy shelved wlquestio
during college while they "The

airly undeveloped. Iindu students
ive their first opportunity to ex-
religion and culture at the U-M.
nwe grew up we really didn't have
o learn about our community and
Meghani said. "In this kind of
re, you tend to find out what your
Id heritage is."
on is not the only focus of the
udent Council, but Meghani said
dents become more understanding
Idu philosophy, they also become
ious.
itely the great thing is that they
'n proudof theirheritage,"hesaid.
mai estimates there are about 1,2X)
dents on campus, some of whom
sen not to actively pursue their
main thing is they don't have an
.the seed hasn't been planted," he
u don't have pride initially, if you
ything Indian is bad, if they don't
initial interest, then they won't
trast, Eliott Frank said the large
mmunity on campus has caused
come less involved with his rei-
ure.
rumbus, Ohio, where he was one of
h students in a class of 500. Frank
S important to maintain his Jewish
But due to the large number of
tudents at U-M, he said religion
maller role in his campus life.
as a matter of using it as a cultural
high school)," he said. "In college,
need that as much. I haven't felt a
seek it out - it's all around me."
er students shop around for reli-
ften trying new denominations be-
urning to their own.
uring her first year, Paxton attended
ning mass with herCatholic friends.
ince then, she has returned to the
Presbyterian church.
"It didn't work because Iwasn't
Catholic. I just kind of felt a little
out of place," she said.
Asking questions
Jewish philosopher Abraham
shua Heschel believed that religion
the answer to people's ultimate
ins.
moment we become oblivious to
questions, religion becomes irrel-
its crisis sets in," he wrote.
ge is a time for students to question
efs and doctrines.
n students come to college, they're
or themselves," Sowash said."They
honestly ... they want legitimate
o their questions."
counseling experience with His
awash said he has encountered stu-
h questions rawging from issues
ir faith to their jobs and future

Religions
should
breed unity,
not division
Before I was one year old, my
parents had me baptized. I can't
say that I remember this event
particularly well, but apparently, I
cried quite a bit when the priest
culminated the ritual by sprinkling
water on my head.
Twenty
years later, I
would still Matthew
cry andMahw
scream if Rennie
someone
dressed in
vestments
dumped cold
water on my
head while
chanting in
Latin.
other ways,
things have changed quite a bit.
As I grew up, I went through all
the ceremonies -First Commun-
ion, Reconciliation, and Confir-
mation. I am now a full-fledged,
card-carrying Catholic.
When it came time to select a
high school, I chose the University
of Detroit Jesuit High, which is
run by an order of Catholic
priests.
All the signs said I was a good
Catholic boy, perhaps one of the
bigger oxymorons of all time.
However, I harbored a certain
resentment toward Catholicism for
one simple reason - my mom.
My mother has enough
education to be a priest, works
harder than most of the priests
I've encountered, and cares more
about our church community than
anyone I know.
Yet because she is a woman,
she is relegated to second-class
citizenry in the church's eyes. She
works full-time at our church -
working with the elderly who are
alone, the sick who are shunned,
and the children who are abused.
She is called "Pastoral Associate."
Were she a man, they'd
probably call her "Pope."
For this reason, I have a hard
time taking certain aspects of my
religion seriously. However, I
have come to realize that every
faith has its problems and its
benefits.
Our family used to attend
services every Sunday at a
Catholic parish in Detroit where a
family friend was the pastor. I felt
this was what church was sup-
posed to be. The parish was in a
poor neighborhood, and Sunday
morning services were the biggest
social event of the week for a lot
of people.
After mass ended, people
congregated in the back of the
church building to socialize over
coffee and doughnuts. No one was
ever in a hurry to leave. The
church was a community.
That church closed for finan-
cial reasons, our friend was
transferred to another parish, and
our family moved back to our
church in the suburbs.
This church building is
ornately decorated with stained
glass, cathedral ceilings, and

ceramic tile floors. But something
is missing from this wealthy
parish. Many of the people in the
congregation are there on Sunday
because they feel they have to be
- ticket-punchers, my dad calls
them.
I used to joke that someone
could drop a bomb on the church
five minutes after the conclusion
of services and never hurt any-
body. The parking lot would
already be empty.
The service is still the same,
but for me, the experience is
different. This leads me to believe
that the real value of religion is
not present so much in the
doctrine, but rather in the commu-
nity.
This applies to all of the
world's religions, not just Catholi-
cism.
If your grandmother were sick
and you prayed for her health to
be restored, does it matter whether
you prayed to Yahweh, Allah, or
Jesus Christ?
Personally, I don't think so,
provided the decision you made
was right for you. However, I am
clearly in the minority on this
issue, with certain religious
zealots labelling practitioners of
other faiths "heathens."
Rather than trying to convert

t-year
i said
hurch,
every
ontin-
n Sun-
or not
:iarelli
of her
hurch.
haron
g on a
ntinue
se pro-
ts and
ies.
ing on
to it,"
e they
er and
ior to
n their
when

pursue other activities.
"I don't want to say they suspend their
belief system, but they might shelve it for a
while,"saidFatherTerry DumasofSt. Mary's
Student Chapel. "They're independent now,
so they're simply exploring what it's like not
to bother."
He estimated, however, that 4,000 stu-
dents attend mass weekly at St. Mary's.
Residential Colle ge junior Marni
Holtzman, a member of the Hillel governing
board, agreed that some students use their
time at U-M to take a break from religion.
During their years at the university, students
often wonder how religion fits into the spec-
trum of their lives.
"'They're doing it in a different way than
their parents," loltzman said. "We're all
thinking about new things. ... I think our
religious views are affected."
Kline said he views college as a "testing
ground" for religion. "It's really easy to go
through high school with your parents going
to church," he said. "In college, it becomes a
choice, and even a sacrifice."
ing up for a Saturday or Sunday morn-
mg service.
LSA junior Debbie Paxton said she
continues to attend church when she
goes home for the weekend. But in Ann
Arbor, the 11:00 a.m. Sunday service at
the Presbyterian church is just too early
in the morning.
"For some reason on the weekend, it
just doesn't happen," she said. "My
school work takes precedence over ev-
erything."
There are other ways to practice
religion besides attending services,
Holtzman noted.
"(Some students) feel like they can
get their Jewishness through a Jewish
sorority or fraternity. That's how they
express their Judaism," she said.
But Holtzman said the more than
1,00)0 people who attend High Holiday
services at Hillel also convince her that
Jews still experience their religion even
if they do not practice on a regular basis.
"I know they feel Jewish because
they come out for the High Holidays,"
she said.
ing However, Residential College se-
ig niorMatthew Stein said religion is often
ayg placed on the back burner in college.
lay. P
"My experience has been that col-
lege and religion usually don't mix," Stein

growing, and since there's no religious
growth, i ills by the wayside," he said.
The "liberal" UL-M campus can also in-
timidate students interested in their faith.
Kline said religious students, especially
Christians, often find a hostile atmosphere
on campus.
"(Christianity) is viewed as part of the
establishment, and college is an anti-estab-
lishment place." Kline said. "Christianity
really asks you to take a firm stand. Things
like that aren't
really es-
poused on this
campus."
I) u m a s
agreed.
"1 thinkx
C a t h ol i c -
bashing is the
last accepted
form of bash-
ing. I t's OKto .
laug h at the ' -'
C a t h o l i c
Church."
Dumas,
said this atti-
tude is often -
scary to stu- ,;
dents dealing
with such big- The coordinator of the Hi
otry for the 40 students participate in
first time.
"It's a real embarrassment (for them)that
they don't know how to respond," he said.
Students need to follow their own be-
liefs, Sowash emphasized, regardless of
public opinion.
"Any commitment to Christianity has to
be an individual, personal decision," he said.
"I think many people are disillusioned ...
because they are following the crowd in-
stead of their own decisions."
While ideological factors often influ-
ence student religious practices, a lack of
time also prohibits students from participat-
ing in religious groups.
"It's not as easy to find the time and
places to do the events I was used to in high
school," said Amy Frank, a junior in the
Residential College. "I think a lot of people
would like to do more than they do, but they
just don'tknow how to fit it into theirsched-
ule.
"(My beliefs) are still there. ljusthaven't
had the time to exoand it much since high

ultimate (
evant and
Colle.
their belie
"When
deciding f<
pursue it
answers tc
In his
I-louse, So
dents wit
about tie

ndu Student Council addresses the group. About
weekly discussions of philosophy and religion.
families.
"Many are looking to spiritual sources for
guidance and direction with those life deci-
sions," he said. "People look to the academic
community and what they offer, and those
are not always the answers to the questions in
their lives."
Dumas said he is inspired by students'
quest for knowledge.
"There is a search in the student popula-
tion for something that transcends the present
moment," he said.
While some students may "drop out" of
religion once they move away from their
parents influence, the freedom to develop
one's own faith can be a powerful experi-
ence.
"When students are away from the direct
influence of their families and home com- .
munities for the first time, they often dis-
cover that it is an opportunity to fashion their
own intellectual and spiritual relationship
with their religious traditions in a more seri-

HEATHER LOWMAN/
Engineering senior Charlie Green (left) and Engineer
- sophomore Joshua Raymond examine a Bible passa
during a study group atTriangle Fraternity Wednesd

they come to colleee.the innort systems

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