Core Decorum: an odd faith

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Illustration courtesy of Cecilia Lang.

I don’t think that enough people take time to consider what a weird place the university is. 

This dinky Catholic school is filled to the brim with socially-stunted homeschoolers, pseudo-intellectuals from charter or private schools, legacies who think they know what college is like because their parents took them to Groundhog that one time, the occasional public schooler who sets the standard for “edgy” on-campus, students who think they’re sophisticated because they went to Rome and know the difference between a Merlot and a Chardonnay, groups of pipe-and-cigar-puffing tools who fancy themselves to be the modern incarnations of Chesterton and Tolkien and those guys who think it’s cool to wear leather dress shoes with no socks (seriously, for the love of God, stop). 

Such diversity should be lauded by modern standards of collegiate success! We ought to take pride, as members of a university that thinks itself to be a diamond in the rough when it really is more like a Jenga tower on a Venetian taxi; somehow, it stands, but how is a mystery.

Sometimes, I wonder if this place was established as a social experiment instead of a school. How else could we be so irritated with each other on a daily basis, but be such passionate defenders of this place that we call home? 

How does this group of approximately 1,500 students work? 

I would posit that, from the deepest, most hidden pockets of the arts village to the highest peaks of Braniff, there is one thing which makes all the chaos in the algorithm that is this university into order, and this one thing is faith.

The brilliant philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard once said, “Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.”

The blend of conforming non-conformists that make up this university are defined by their faith; faith in the purpose of education, of hard work, of personal and social development and in the value of the pursuit of truth. 

Faith is the ultimate expression of man’s uniqueness, counter to his animalistic functions. What a shame it is that many today see it as nothing more than a pathetic, pain-dulling drug. 

If religion or faith is the opium of the masses, then mankind truly has nothing more to live for.

Faith is the radical idea that a person can have trust in something that is neither sensed nor materially actualized. In other words, faith is trust in an unconfirmed idea. 

Whether that idea is to bring together a group of remarkable people to see if they could become something more, or that a university committed to the Catholic values of loving truth and justice in a community of learning and fellowship could make the world a better place, is that which gives the idea life and actuality is nothing other than people acting in faith. 

We all might be here for different reasons, and some of us might not even claim to care about the community as a whole or the values of the university so long as we get our diplomas, but everyone who is here is at least participating in an act of faith that began with the university’s founders in 1956 and continues to this day. 

Some are here for the strong academic discipline our university offers. Some are here because that’s what their parents did. Others are here because they love the Core. Still, others chose to be Crusaders because they fell in love with the Catholic community of faith and learning here. At least we know that no one is here because they love the architecture!

This is a really weird place. Everyone who comes here is different in innumerable ways, and a lot of us don’t even really get along well with each other. We even fight with each other about the color of the Cap bar straws!

Faith unites us, even when the color of straws seeks to separate us. We have faith in the idea that no matter where you came from, you can grow in virtue and knowledge if you honestly put your best work into this place.

No matter how much our university’s buildings look like they were designed in Minecraft, no matter how many eco-friendly changes are made to our on-campus food options and no matter how disgusting this accursed state’s weather is, our faith in this community remains. 

Take heart and live in awareness of your daily acts of faith in this community. Who knows? 

Maybe if we are more aware of our own faith in this place, our faith in each other might increase as well. 

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