Good feedback on the first part.  Here’s an excerpt from the second:

When it comes to the most important questions, Christian college students are in the peculiar situation of being convinced we have the answers even before we ask the question. In fact, many of our parents get a little nervous if we start asking questions too seriously — as though questions themselves will inevitably lead us outside the Christian faith.

This belief in the answers, which is right and good, too often leads to platitudes — answers that lack depth and are generally deployed far too early in the conversation. There’s a process of questioning for which Christian education needs to allow room.

Let me be perfectly clear: The “Sunday school answers” are true. They correspond to reality. “Jesus loves me” is just about as good an answer as you can get to all the major questions of human existence. We can trust that those answers are true and make all kinds of arguments for them.

But part of the nature of education is to ask deeper and deeper questions and view the answers we discover in new and surprising ways. A platitude cuts off that process, and when handed to students who are honestly struggling with the intellectual foundations of their faith, it tends to make them feel isolated and frustrated.

I go on to list out my practical recommendations, which are:

  • Cultivate a holy intentionality.
  • Do not give up meeting together.
  • Spend time off campus.
  • Be for the gospel, not against those who don’t quite get it.
  • Ask the hardest questions you can, but ask them in a community of friends who love Jesus.
  • Sing praise.

Are there others that you would recommend?

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. Pondering those deeper questions are important, I agree.

    I would add that above all who you spend time with in college matters. Christians who lack close and significant friendships with other Christians tend to shrivel. You just can’t do it alone ;)


    1. Matthew Lee Anderson June 2, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      Marc, the old lines about how “mother knows best” turn out to be kind of right, don’t they?

      Friends still matter a lot.


      1. That she does; my mom liked to tell me to write a gratitude list. I hated this in high school, but found it invaluable in college, especially when I was feeling the most cynical – about the Church, about people in general, about myself. But “practicing positivity,” if you will, only expands upon “Sing praise.” I guess I’d say speak it as well.


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