Bible-less chapel?

As students of APU, we have to wake up early, get dressed and go to chapel. That’s the daily Monday, Wednesday and Friday routine. Now imagine if we all had to carry something else beside our pens or pencils to mark our attendance sheets. Imagine if we actually had to bring our Bibles.

Chapel is basically another one of our required classes. We have to pass to graduate. We have assigned days to go to chapel, and we get punished with fees if we fail by not showing up. We also get a lecture from chapel card monitors if we show up too late.

With this amount of strictness, you would expect Chapel Programs to make it a necessity to bring our textbooks to class. I can already picture how many students would have a problem with lugging around another book. But then again, the Bible is not just another book.

Would the requirement to bring our Bible to chapel be an inconvenience or would it give us more inspiration to go read the chapters and verses Pastor Woody tells us to read at Kaleo?

According to Tim Peck, professor of Biblical Studies, all universities used to have required chapels that all students would attend. Chapel was never optional. Universities of higher education were created by monks and friars under the monastic orders. Chapel was five times a week and its purpose was for the community to gather in worship and prayer. This is still the intention of chapel. However, just 60 years ago it would be common for students to bring their Bibles, versus today were barely any Bibles are seen.

On Jan. 23, Pastor Eugene Cho created an awkward moment at the beginning of his sermon, asking students to take out their Bibles. Sitting up high, working one of the cameras on east campus, I saw very few people take out their Bibles or phones.

“I think [Cho] was acknowledging how we encounter the words of Scripture and how it changed throughout the years,” said Peck. “It has changed from a book with pages to seeing it on a screen.”

There have been many times at my church when my pastor says, “Take out your Bible,” paces on stage, suddenly stops and turns to the audience looking at their phones and jokingly asks, “Does anyone own a Bible anymore?”

According to a 2016 article published in Los Angeles Times, 92% of students prefer using print texts to any other form of technology. Student say they are able to avoid distractions and concentrate on the material more. Could the same be said about the Bible? Maybe.

Junior Nursing Major Maddie Franco believes that bringing the Bible to chapel would be beneficial to students.

“As opposed to sitting and listening in chapel you’re able to look at your Bible and highlight what is meaningful,” Franco said. “It would add something to that part of chapel that is missing…it would allow students to apply to what God is saying in our lives [in that moment].”

Franco feels passionate about the subject that she has thought of a making a statement on campus joining with other students in unity to by carry their Bibles for an entire day around campus. This would primarily be to open up a conversation within the community, but also to appreciate the privilege we have to freely carry a Bible.

However, this is not the most important issue.

“The bigger issue is that students are encountering Scripture whether it is seen, whether it’s heard, whether it is read,” Peck said.