Tog 3 Reviewed

One of the goals of AFES/FOCUS is "Local Sensitivity". When I think "local sensitivity" I think engagement in University culture. I think "missional" (to use that hideous expression that a number of you hate). So as part of this I'm going to engage with the Universities flagship magazine Tog*.

But what does Tog tell me about University culture and students?
Firstly there is an very interesting article (Do you care anymore) by the Union president. In it she (if I understand it rightly) points out the irony of students caring more about a microwave in the ref that was missing than they do about student activism (University cut backs etc).

The observation can be made that most students at Uni don't particularly care about issues until it can be shown how they effect them personally or effect them in tangible ways. People I've talked to on campus say student organisations on campus have universal widespread difficulties with student apathy. If students are like this then the question is to ask how to reach these people with the Gospel?

Secondly reading Tog tells me that the people who care about University (well enough to write for Tog) are by and large a bunch of lefties. They are generally against the Howard Government, in favor of socialism and environmentalism. Again how do I bring the gospel to these people?

*Tog and the University Union has struggled since the introduction of VSU or voluntary Student Unionism.



BSJ-rom said... 8/22/2007 10:57 pm  

Here's the problem Mike. Most of the university population is right wing capitalist. They are comfortable. However, it is only the left that is left to cry, and cry foul they do.

Now crying foul is one thing, but to do so in a manner that is in essence a contiuous tirade of propanda is not most people's cup of tea.

So that's fine... until the microwave breaks down.

Unfortunately the union has been guilty of playing the propaganda game, hence something as insignificant as a microwave has been directly linked to the union.

Mike, this should tell you something: people are listening, and the words that you (or your predecessors or representatives) use and the actions that you (or your predecessors or reps) take will bite you in the posterior if you're not careful.

Gotta say, my respect for Rikki (TUU president) has increased as I see some of the work that she does. Might have to blog in more detail about it some time...

mike said... 8/22/2007 11:02 pm  

What exactly are you saying Jerome? i read your post several and I'm still not sure what you're saying...

Anonymous said... 8/23/2007 9:33 am  

Not to be persnickety or anything, but the expression is by-and-large:

I just had to say that. I feel better now.

-- anon

Taz said... 8/23/2007 10:14 am  

To the Jews, become a Jew.

To the Greeks, become a Greek.

To the smelly left-wing Uni hippies, become a smelly left-wing Uni hippy?

In all seriousness, though, I agree with BSJ - most of the students at University are probably unlike the people to write for Tog, it's just that there is a left-wing minority who are the only ones who get out there and actually say what's on their mind (mostly because they are a minority - not of the status quo).

This could be a strength - these guys are looking to carve out their own niche but asserting their individuality - I think they become leftist BECAUSE of the fact that it's not mainstream. If they are looking for something to believe in, you've got something to give to them - something that they are seeking.

I think it's far easier to reach these guys then right-wing capitalists who are comfortable with their life and resist any form of change.

BSJ-rom said... 8/23/2007 10:41 am  

I'm saying that everyone's listening, but they're not necessarily taking much notice of who's saying what. And because we believe in freedom of speech, we let people speak. But we do not believe in freedom of action, particularly when personally affected, so we link speech with action.


So the right-capitalists blame the leftist hippies for everything, cos they're the only ones using their voice.

I think it was clearer in my first comment...

mike said... 8/23/2007 11:08 am  

Again Jerome I'm struggling... I'm not sure who you think is listening and to whom or what...

mike said... 8/23/2007 11:09 am  

In fact these comments, welcome as they are don't actually answer the question that I posed...

BSJ-rom said... 8/23/2007 11:32 am  

You're quite right, they don't directly answer your questions... but I reckon they give a bit of background on the student demographic here at UTAS.

When I've got a few more spare moments, I'll try to more directly answer your questions.

mike said... 8/23/2007 11:58 am  

*Edit* Just for --anon

Taz said... 8/23/2007 4:44 pm  

My thoughts...

How do you share the Gospel with an apathetic person? I like the approach of sharing your life with them. Show them that there is something different about you. Show them that there is something worth living for. People will notice the different in you, and ask the question.

Lefties generally want to hear about new ideas, so engaging them in conversation (like the worldview survey) is a great way to get them thinking. Challenge their preconceived notions a bit - most of them probably think that Christianity is about moralizing and taking people's rights away. During any conversation you can instead point them to the Cross.

Note: the above is suggestions, not hard-and-fast rules. Obviously there are exceptions on each side, but normally conversation and/or living as an example is a great way to evangelize.

Your biggest strength is your core group at FOCUS. If these guys are keen to live for Christ and proclaim His Word, then people are going to sit up and take notice. If even half of your FOCUS guys build a one-on-one relationship with someone that ends up with an invite to FOCUS, you're group is going to be half as large again next year and keep growing!

I think you're biggest factor is probably thinking of how to measure success. It could be that during the next year at FOCUS it doesn't seem to grow at all. That doesn't matter - if you're getting the Gospel out there, lives are going to change.

Most importantly, you can bring these people to the Gospel through prayer. Make a special effort to pray for people, and encourage your FOCUS group to pray for people. There's no "magic formula" that you can use to make people Christians, but God can.

Let me know what you think anyways...

mike said... 8/23/2007 6:13 pm  

Taz these are great thoughts. I'm most impressed. We'll have to have a chat sometime about raising the profile of FOCUS @ Kingston.

kath said... 8/24/2007 12:41 am  

oh! i just wrote the most awesome reply to your post that you were gonna be blown away by my brilliance.

but somehow i managed to delete it.

here's a poor second edition:

i think that you can reach the lefties just how jesus reached lots of people...
by reaching out, empathising with their sense that something is wrong in the world, and trying to point out the glimpses of god's kingdom today.

and how to you reach apathetic students?
one at a time. i think people become apathetic when they hear all these messages bombarded at them. but when in the context of a real loving relationship, apathy is so much harder.

oh and netball starts next week!

BSJ-rom said... 8/24/2007 10:00 am  

How sensitive should we be of apathy?

Post a Comment