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Zombie Quilting and the Cult of Plastic

August 2, 2011

     Universities in August rustle with quiet summer breezes. The first tremors ripple quietly along flower lined sidewalks. Those in the know feel it first. Later the rumble picks up as maintenance trucks zip around campus like swarms of bees working a hive. As weeks in August enter the outskirts of September, eighteen wheelers loaded with new furniture back up to dorms. UPS trucks with springs creaking under cases of textbooks slide up to bookstores hoping someone might help unload this stuff. Food service providers stock industrial freezers and fridges to the max. Like 13th century peasants watching the approaching dust cloud signalling the advance of Genghis Khan, administrators and staff on campuses everywhere know one thing. They’re coming. They’re almost here

     That’s why I’ll wait until next post to give you my best dean of students “welcome back to campus” speech. Right now we have to talk. Before most have sagged under the weight of the assignments in their first class syllabus, the clubs fair will break out in some major campus thoroughfare near you. All the campus organizations will be there. A Capella Ping Pong, Republican Druids for Peace and Pretty Good Karma, Zombie Quilting – all these will want us to sign up and will give us free stuff to do it.  For pencils, foam can holders, pens, pads, magnets and the like we will sign up for most of them. If they offer food, sign up twice. If it’s Krispy Kremes, maybe they need a pope or something.

     While we haul the bag of free loot back to the dorm, think about how we will spend our discretionary time; there might not be a lot of it.  If we are a Christian of any kind or any depth, we need a Christian group of some kind both for encouragement and to stretch us out into new challenges in our world. These groups aren’t invisible; in fact, we’d have to wear a bag over our heads and live underground to miss them. Some students still manage this, leaving their faith at home. Don’t be one of them.

     Try something new. Don’t look for the same things we did either in high school or earlier in our college career. Don’t be surprised if growing deeper in God means finding some new unexpected loves. Jesus is Lord of the world; He’s interested in everything. This also will put us out in the middle of people who don’t know much about Jesus. Jesus Himself seems to have enjoyed people like this. Stick our nose into the Jazz Lover’s Club and check out John Coltrane’s “Ballads” album over hummus. If someone uses the name Kenny G and the word “jazz” in the same sentence, grab a handful of hummus and get out of there. Try something else.

     One last note. Along with pencils and bobbleheads of our college president, we might be offered a credit card. These are not free. For freshmen especially, these buggers are dangerous. We may have had a credit card in high school but parents probably had a string on it. This one belongs to us alone and that’s heady stuff, freedom that can bite us when our sense of responsibility slips the leash. The habit of snatching the plastic puts us in more danger than the amount spent. Credit limits are low at first – $500 won’t buy too many Slurpees. Putting Slurpees on plastic in the first place sets us up for an acquired bad habit. To borrow from the Apostle Paul, “If anyone, even resembling an angel, hands you a credit card application, treat it like an armadillo in flames. Drop it and run.” (Galatians 1:8 if you stretch your imagination.) Any of you campus vets have battle stories here? Yell back at me. You could help someone with your story.

     I plan to be here weekly looking at the things that bubble up on campus – the ridiculous, the sublime, the urgent. Your take only sharpens the exchange. Turn in your night vision goggles to the attendant and please exit to the rear.

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