Staff Editorial: DTR Week addresses tough issues, often tritely

Biola’s DTR Week treats matters of serious importance with an often trivial attitude.

Chimes Staff, Writer

Job Ang
Calvary Chapel was packed to the gills with students eager to hear relationship advice from Biola faculty members on Tuesday, February 15, 2011.
Tim Muehlhoff leads a discussion panel during the DTR Week seminar “Dating 101.” Students packed into Calvary Chapel Tuesday night to hear advice from Biola’s well-known faculty couples. | Job Ang/THE CHIMES

 

For those who have somehow managed to miss the balloons and pink T-shirts with lips and moustaches on them, this week has been dubbed DTR Week on Biola University’s campus. The week––which stands for “define the relationship” for the culturally unaware –– was initiated by Student Development and promoted by both Student Development and University Communications and Marketing in efforts to create a forum for candid, informative instruction and dialogue about relationships –– specifically romantic ones.

Student Devlopment’s willingness to address sex applauded

We applaud Student Development for recognizing the very real struggles surrounding relationships and sexuality that students face, and for taking practical steps to answer students’ many looming questions. We especially applaud the university for addressing sex, the taboo topic in Christian circles. It is a reality that students on this campus, both guys and girls, struggle with staying sexually pure. It is a reality that students on this campus, both guys and girls, struggle with the issue of homosexuality.

We must not ignore these very real and very painful issues because of the gross misconception that our Christian campus is populated only by perfect people. The truth is that we are a Christian campus with broken, sinful people. They are in our classes and our residence halls. They are our close friends and roommates. They are us. That is why sessions like Thursday night’s chapel simply entitled “Sex” have the potential to speak powerfully into the lives of those who are hurting.

Serious content masked by trivial advertising

It is unfortunate, however, that some of the gravity of the content Biola is driving at has been overshadowed and trivialized by confusing and overdone advertising. Students responded negatively to the e-mail blast explaining the week’s events, and an announcement about the week at a recent chapel was booed down by many.

A topic that could have been treated with seriousness and class has become, at best, a laughing matter on campus and, at worst, an offensive affront to singles and couples alike. The controversy fueled by the marketing has only served to draw attention away from the value of the issues at hand.

Fluffy facets of DTR week agrees with campus culture

Some aspects of DTR week have only reinforced the lighter, bubbly side of relationships.The free cupcakes and photo booth were cute, but calling the fair a “Love Fest” was in poor taste. And sign-ups for appointments with the “love doctor” surrounded real, relevant counsel with hearts and balloons, reinforcing the idea that Biola doesn’t expect students to have fulfilling dating relationships in college.

Students want frank and relevant direction when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships. But a campus culture that trivializes the matter, looking only as deep as the “ring by spring,” GYRAD, and DTR clichés, is destructive and may be the exact, if unintentional, effect of this week.

Singleness often avoided on campus

Further, the week’s focus highlighted a seriously gaping hole in Biola’s curriculum and chapels –– the matter of singleness. Thankfully, the topic has been treated gracefully this week in chapels. However, many chapels and classes are geared towards marriage and family life, while a scarce few seriously address singleness. Statistically, the majority of Biola students will wed at some point –– many to each other –– but statistics also show that many students are currently single, and some will never marry. That is nothing to pity, nor is it something to fear.

Those students need to hear affirmation of their calling to live in wholehearted, single-minded devotion to God in a way that cannot be achieved with the distractions of a family. The last thing this university should be responsible for is causing such individuals to question their God-given calling as a result of repeated emphasis on relationships and marriage.

Love of God is of first importance

But, even for those who will eventually marry, singleness should be portrayed regularly as the beautiful season that it can be when one’s life is wholly devoted to Christ. The season of singleness should not even be viewed as preparation for marriage, but as preparation for meeting our true husband, Jesus Christ. After all, isn’t that what the whole of life is about –– preparing ourselves for the bridegroom Christ, not for an earthly marriage that will last for a few brief years and fade upon the threshold of eternity? Aren’t our earthly relationships just glimpses of what our relationship with Christ is and will be?

The DTR slogan is absolutely correct –– love does matter. And, it is very practical to understand how and why now. But, amid all the mixing and mingling, amid the talks of budding and blossoming romantic relationships, let us not lose sight of our first love, Christ. Nothing matters more than that.

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