On December 4, a chapel counter reveals that Sutherland neared maximum capacity for a Talbot chapel. | John Buchanan/THE CHIMES
As the semester winds down, more and more students pile into various religious houses around campus to fulfill their spiritual duty and get the required 30 chapels. In the past, students have been able to physically attend 15 chapels during the semester and then make up the rest over their Christmas break. This year all makeups must be done by the last Friday of regularly scheduled classes in order to spread the work load and spiritual development over the course of the semester, as Todd Pickett said in a previous Chimes article about chapel changes. The plan and its stated intention are completely contradictory as students have the most stress around that last week.
As the chapel deadline looms, crowds are turned away at the doors due to limited space. This issue of chapel credit and requirements is a classic issue of supply and demand. The supply of chapels available to students during the semester has decreased, and yet the demand has remained. This is difficult for students who find their work and homework schedules difficult to manipulate around the chapel schedule.
Not only has administration slashed the time we have to complete chapel makeups, but they have taken away many of our opportunities to attend physical chapels. As of this year, clubs and student groups are no longer allowed to apply for the chance to give chapel credit for things like guest speakers. The removal of this alternate chapel credit adds even more stress to the student body. Perhaps worse, it devalues the work of those student clubs by deeming them unworthy of chapel credit. These alternate chapels were often the place students could go to receive credit for attending a meeting about something they really care about — but now they are restricted to whatever Spiritual Development decides is best fit for our spiritual lives.
The new chapel policies deride the values of both Christian work and Christian rest. Through enforcing maximum chapel attendance, students are distracted from their ability to participate in extracurriculars and devote necessary time to their studies. One of the best parts of attending Biola is its ample opportunities for and desire to foster its students’ spiritual growth. Enforcing this kind of requirement only serves to frustrate and stress out students. Instead of being able to grow spiritually while also growing academically and socially, chapel attendance becomes a priority when it should just be on a level playing field with all our other tasks.
Although the new chapel policy may be intended to help students and foster spiritual growth, as the semester has progressed it has become apparent that completing chapel makeup before finals has served only as a hindrance for students. With the removal of additional chapel opportunities, students have less personal motivation to complete the chapel requirement for their own spiritual growth.