By Kellie Cauley
Fall Convocation is something to which I often look forward. It marks the beginning of a new year and it’s always a little comical to see all the regalia, pomp and circumstance. I love hearing the Wesleyannes sing with skill and emotion that I only wish I had and the SGA’s Presidential address is always interesting and heart-felt. Then, we get to the “make-or-break” part of the event: the guest speaker. This is always the time in the midst of all the tradition and grandeur that makes me sit back and say, “Wow, I’m really glad this person took time from their day to come and speak with us,” or, “Wow, when are they going to let us out for lunch?”
This year, however, neither one of those sentiments ran through my head as I listened to Dr. Jan Love. No, this year I had flashbacks to sitting with my grandparents in “their” pew at church when I was younger. I understand Wesleyan is a Methodist college and I understand Dr. Love has an extended background in seminary education, but I wasn’t looking for a sermon when I attended this years convocation. Love asked again and again, “What gift do you bring?” Well, I bring the gift of religious apathy.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely respect those who spend their time in chapel and doing community service with Wesley Foundation. In fact, I wonder if any of the people who do consider themselves evangelical were offended as Dr. Love talked about how Christianity often asks you to check your brain at the door? From what I’ve seen of my friends who find comfort in their religious activities, none of them are mindless followers. Wesleyan Women seem keen on combining their knowledge and their passion in their religions; there’s no blind following here.
As Dr. Love discussed her earth shattering triumph of sitting with the Buddhist monk for an hour, her ability to look past the flaws of other religions, or the numerous gifts she brings to the table, I heard my grandmother’s voice in the back of my mind, expressing her usual sentiment when someone rambles on about their own accomplishments, “Well, give you a cookie.”
Sometimes the Wesleyan bubble is so transparent that I forget it’s there. I often receive emails and see flyers about religious events going on around campus, but going into my third year, I can honestly say I’ve never had any sort of religious doctrine forced on me. Maybe that in itself is shocking, as it’s no secret Wesleyan is a Methodist started and funded institution. As for now, I’ll just rejoice in the fact I’m not forced to take a Bible class and hope that I don’t run into Dr. Love at any more events.