This past Sunday I preached through Galatians 1.6-10. Paul is confronting the Galatian church because they are turning from the true Gospel, of a Jesus alone life, to a false gospel which was being commended by Judaizing false teachers. I made the point that we all face voices that are like Judaizers, even if not actual Judaizers who are trying to get us to be Jewish first, then Christian. So, I wrote a fictional letter from a dad to his son, who is about to be a college freshman. In this letter are the principles of a legalistic worldview and lifestyle. This letter bears the spirit of the Judaizer. It is not unlike literal or figurative letters we read or hear in our hearts everyday, tugging at us to live a Jesus + life. I was asked to post it. Here it is:
Your mother and I are thrilled that you are beginning your college career. We had a wonderful time during our days of university, and as you know, that is where we first met. What days of fun and exploration, and also learning.
Now, I know that you met Jesus this past year through your friendship with David and his very religious family. I have noticed that you are a better person in some ways. I am very glad that religion seems to be helping you with self esteem and emotional stability, but may I take a moment to remind you that at the end of the day you still have to live in this world and abide by its rules.
First, we are paying a lot of money for you to go to school. You need to be disciplined. When you do your best, you get A’s. We expect your best. Also, part of succeeding is making a good impression on your professors. Make sure you see them in office hours regularly, even if you don’t necessarily need to. It will also be good for your resume to become a part of a good fraternity. Those connections will help in the future. Any campus clubs that have a strong social agenda and also social standing will only help, too.
Now, I know that you feel like you want to put a lot of time into your new found faith, and you are already planning on getting involved in that church in Chapel Hill that David’s parents went to when they went to school there, but try and make it on Sundays only. If this God you are talking to us about is so loving and patient, then surely all he needs is a prayer now and then and doesn’t require you to throw your college days away in hours spent in a church building and in service projects that may hinder your resume. So, mom and I are glad you found religion, but make sure you keep your feet on the ground and get it done still in this world. Also, please be open to other forms of spirituality. Christianity is just one of the many ways people explore their spirits and their hunger for existential meaning. College can be an invigorating time of exploration. I fear that your beliefs may cut you off from healthy exploration.
Well, I just needed to be honest, but I am hopeful. College has a way of pulling you into the middle on it’s own, but I felt like I needed to say something, too. In fact, as you know, I grew up in a religious home, and it was in college that I had to come to my own conclusion that this Jesus stuff was fine for some people, fine for grandpa and gram, and uncle Rob, but wasn’t enough for me. It’s interesting how I drifted and you are coming back to it, isn’t it?