Disclaimer: I do not claim this statement to be universal. I don’t think it’s true of every single speaker, but I do feel that it’s something that needs to be said. I do not say these things with ill intent, but more thoughts I ponder about.
I sometimes feel that chapel is one big guilt trip. “Forgive those who have hurt you.” “Go into the ministry.” “Get your life right with God.” “Do this, do that.” And at times it’s frustrating because even though I’m sure that’s not what they mean to send across, it’s certainly how it comes across.
And tying in with the cliche guilt trip, I often feel that chapel dances around real issues. It seems that they rotate similar messages: Be a better Christian, get closer to God. Donate your money, donate your time. Forgive, forget, move on. Trust God. Believe in God. Worship God. Work at summer camp. Go into the ministry. Don’t go into the ministry. Tithe. It just seems that they roll out the same issues we’ve heard over and over again in chapel.
I sometimes wish for a real, raw chapel. Not candy-coated sugar-frosted Christianity, but about real issues that students here struggle with. Eating disorders. Abuse. Self injury. Homosexuality. Greed. Gossip/slander/libel. Bullying. Yet it seems we like to turn a blind eye and don’t realize that these things happen on our own campus. We find out a student struggles with suicidal thoughts, and our mind goes to “Oh, they must not be right with God.” “Oh, this and that and this and that.”
I feel that our chapel speakers just run the typical guilt trip, toying with our emotions. Not all of them, a few are exempt from this statement. But nevertheless, it’s very annoying and frustrating just to see the same cliched guilt trips run over and over.