According to the HU website, chapels exist for the purpose of “spiritual formation.” Unfortunately, in practice, this doesn’t seem to be their true purpose. The true purpose of chapels is to coerce students to certain events which they wouldn’t otherwise be interested in going to.
Consider some of the events you receive chapel credit for. Now hold that thought for a moment.
On one level: yes, I did choose to come to Huntington. I could have gone nearly anywhere. I have to live with the consequences of my decision to opt for the rules, regulations and expectations of Huntington University. But at the same time – should I be silent? In the same way I am proud to be an American yet can criticize and try to improve this wonderful country, can I improve Huntington?
Better yet – can we improve Huntington?
There are chapel programs in so many Christian universities, and I’m not equipped to say how many have policies similar to Huntington’s. But there are some – at least a few – of these that don’t make attendance a requirement. By doing this the responsibility is truly put on the student. By doing this the school is put on the spot, to find speakers who will entice students into their auditoriums. By doing this (gasp!) students may exercise discernment.
Now back to my initial statements. I would argue that our chapel credits aren’t a measure of our spiritual maturity at all. Most students, I believe, would agree that those numbers don’t reflect our spirituality in any way. But I would go as far as to say that each chapel, good or bad, robs us of spiritual maturity. It reduces our spiritual freedom made alive in Christ to a duty. We begin to attach negative feelings with these experiences. Unfortunately our spiritual formation is, ironically, put in jeopardy.
By the way, I do sit in the back. And no, that doesn’t make me a bad Christian.