Taboo: The Things We’re Not Talking About

To my brothers and sisters in college:

Nobody knows what’s taboo in this world better than you. Each day in school and at work, you’re bombarded with what’s acceptable to speak about and what’s not, what’s okay to bring up in front of your professors and friends and what you can’t, what words and phrases and ideas are acceptable to hold and which aren’t.

And that means that you know just how taboo the Christian understanding is of sex, marriage and gender. Dare to tell someone you are waiting to have sex until you’re married, and you’ll get the hairy eyeball. Explain that you believe marriage is between one man and one woman, and you’ll be labeled “bigoted” and “intolerant.”

It’s enough to make a Lutheran college student want to clam up and run. But our Lord teaches you to do the exact opposite, and that’s why He’s put parents and pastors in your life to help you articulate what Jesus has to say about difficult matters, how to speak the truth in love and why it’s not so scary to confess Christ in the public square after all.

Defending the faith, especially in university classrooms and college quads, will be one of the most difficult things you’ll do. But in the next few days, you’ll be reminded of the power of God’s Word. You’ll be reminded of the gifts given to you in your Baptism that enable you to confess what you know to be true on account of Christ. You’ll be reminded of Jesus, who sees nothing and no one as taboo, but who loves to forgive and comfort His children.

You are baptized into Christ, and that means that your beliefs and confession will be taboo to the world. But … you are baptized into Christ, and that means that no college professor or campus group can snatch you from Him, from the One who loves you, who died for you and who rose again … all for you!

8 thoughts on “Taboo: The Things We’re Not Talking About”

  1. President Harrison hit the main point correctly: “how to speak the truth in love and why it’s not so scary to confess Christ in the public square after all.” Showing the love of Christ is the most positive way to share the “Good news” and the way we should live. All other ways are received in a negative manner. We can’t just tell people what to do and the way they should live! Thanks

  2. Bernie Schaeffer

    Everyone has very good opinions to share. One caution however; we need to be careful of an “us versus them” mentality which, although it has some truth to it, can also be construed as a serious misunderstanding of Jesus’ teachings. Wasn’t there a saying about “he who is without sin casting the first stone”? Don’t forget those “others” are also us, including Lutheran college students who are not “pure” but acting out sexually, abusing drug and alcohol, and getting into trouble in numerous other ways. Let’s not over simply life and lose touch with reality! The next question is, “How can we help our fellow travelers, Lutheran or not!

    1. Rev. Tom Wenndt

      A good point, to be sure, Bernie. One problem is that many of those who oppose the Christian message have already set up this “us vs. them” mentality in their own worlds. And they use catch phrases to act like they can put those who disagree with them “in their place” without having to ever engage in facts, open discussion or even spirited discourse. Their whole mentality seems to be, “You are Christian and in my world you have to prove to me that you even the right to even breathe.” When you do, they cut you off anyway.

      As for Christians acting out, sometimes it only takes someone showing that they really do care. While no college student would ever really want to admit it, often times they were not at all ready to face this new reality of life. As a result, some will look in bad corners, mostly trying to find ways to escape. Knowing (and being told) that someone truly cares for them and is praying for them is often a powerful remedy.

  3. Most importantly, they need to be Christian in what they say and do. It can be tempting to rely on reason and try to sink into debate but the cross is not preached by using the enemy’s methods. Our message does not conform to worldly expectations of proof.

    It is best for students to be openly and unashamedly Christian and having them ready to simply state their belief and move on, not get embroiled in a contest of wills. Don’t seek or initiate confrontation. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide and also let God work in the hearts and minds of others. We do not convert, He does. Satan puffs us up in knowledge. His work is not in others challenging Christianity so much as in trying to get us to fall back on knowledge rather than faith, to look toward our inner resources and not outward to Christ.

    Remember, the victory for Satan is always going to be undermining our faith from within, appealing to our nature and reason against God. He will use fears of non-conformity, unpopularity, and will label love as intolerance, this is true. Left to ourselves, we fall easily. But all the badgering in the world cannot sway Jesus. Remain in Christ, let Him be your strength.

    Live prayerfully, in the open. Read scripture in sight of others. Be kind, be loving, be polite, be respectful even when others are not. Pray for those who disagree with you that the Lord may work in their lives

  4. I want to thank the LCMS and their wonderful teachers/parochial schools. Our children all went through the 8th grade and it helped prepare them for high school and college.

    Spiritual Warfare: They were given challenges every day to make choices about right and wrong. And even though they knew they were saved by grace through Christ’s blood shed on the cross, they chose to honor the God of love who has an ordained purpose for all of us.

    And many times they were warned against bringing up certain issues. But, God says “Fear no evil…” (Psalms 23)

    And they took a stand against abortion, sex outside of marriage, evolution and for protecting our religious freedoms. And many times they won debates about these issues in the classroom. Or someone who was considering an abortion, now choose life.

    And sometimes this lead to a classmate wanting to hear the truth about a God who loves mankind enough to become human, through the Word/Son of God. Who died in our place redeeming us back from our true enemy… Satan the father of lies.

    So many of our brave young people are willing to die to protect the freedoms we still have in America. And I consider all who join the military- my hero’s.

    Is the time coming… where we need to take a stand for Truth and be willing to die for what we believe? Jesus is LORD, and The Savior of the world.

    And He is Risen Indeed! ❤

  5. Bernie Schaeffer

    Well said and true enough but If only the biggest challenge of college life was as simple as deciding whether or not to have sex before marriage. There are many more challenges and temptations facing college and university students we should also be talking about more openly. These include drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleep deprivation, suicide risk, self-harm, and hidden learning problems. All of these and more are well documented in the literature and deserve even greater attention by administrators, teachers, leaders, and pastors. The percentage of college students confronting these stressful situations at some time during their college careers is far too high to ignore!

  6. Thank you for this. Our kids are assaulted on all sides today. Seems nearly impossible for them to stay pure and be holy. They are afraid their friends will desert them and they’ll have to walk around campus alone and being whispered about. They need the Holy Spirit everyday and they need to be covered in prayer everyday.

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