By Beth Groh
We ship them off to college, armed with a new bed comforter, plastic organizing crates, desk lamps… and a few tears mixed with cheers as they launch into this new season of life.
Even if we haven’t gone through this ritual ourselves, we can kind of picture the scene, right?
But why dwell on it now, you might ask? Our kids may be way too young to even think about college. Our child seems more likely destined for a straight-shot into the workforce or military. Maybe we’ve been-there-done-that with our children or grandchildren already.
Why step into this journey?
Well, the heart and soul of our nation—and the Body of Christ through the Church—depends on us preparing our youth for this spiritually dangerous transition into adulthood.
Just picture a funnel …
As parents, teachers or grandparents, we try as best we can to educate and shape our children’s worldviews when they’re young, with a broad range of experiences and instruction (like the wide top of the funnel).
But inevitably they will be squeezed through that narrow tip at some point as they journey to adulthood, whether it’s college, the first job, military life or even a young marriage. Those broad teachings from childhood will be compressed, squeezed and tested on all sides.
A young lady named Abby Nye thought she was prepared for that trip through the funnel. She was quite grounded in her Christian faith, through her family and her faith-based education. She studied worldviews. She knew Scripture.
“Turns out, I was wrong,” Nye admits in her book, Fish Out of Water. Her first “shocker” was Freshman Orientation, which she immediately learned was more aptly called, “Freshman Indoctrination.”
She describes the required event as an effort to “reprogram [students’] brains on matters of moral relativism, tolerance, gay/lesbian/transgender/whatever rights, postmodernism, New Age spirituality and savvy substance abuse,” she said. “And that’s all before the first day of classes start.”
During orientation, students were surveyed about sensitive moral issues, urged to write journals about their deepest secrets, asked to role-play in sexually sensitive situations and taught “safe” ways to indulge in drinking, sexual promiscuity or drugs.
Nye’s next wake-up call was her first English class, where she expected to be studying the classics.
Instead, she was assigned to read about how America deserved the 9/11 attacks, why “Under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance and obscure poetry by a professor who “scorned the Bible as a book of myths that no true intellectual believes.”
Nye expected to feel like an outsider in a secular university. And she certainly anticipated that her orthodox Christian views would make her a minority.
But she was not prepared for the open hostility and immediate labeling as “judgmental” and “intolerant”—two cardinal sins in the politically correct, pluralist society of today.
When she dared to speak up in a class that she believed there were some moral absolutes, a fellow student raised his voice and said, “[Y]ou’re just being closed-minded, intolerant.”
That’s a label on campus that can cost you friends, influence and, perhaps, a grade.
Tolerance “only goes one way,” she writes. “It goes one way from the liberal to the liberal. Rarely does it go from the liberal to the conservative.”
Sadly, Nye saw many of her Christian friends crumble under the weight of wanting to feel accepted and part of a group, abandoning many of their previously held Christian views.
She actually emerged stronger in her faith, discovered many unexpected ways to be a witness to her faith, and became determined to encourage others who may feel like a “fish out of water.”
So maybe you know someone about to ship off to college. Consider adding this book to the packing list. This frank young Christian’s insights will prove far more beneficial than a microwave or laptop!