Do you agree?

By Tyler Vincent

In this, the week of the “Do You Agree With Jenet?” Christian informational campaign, the campus has an excellent opportunity to take stock of the spiritual aspect of our little corner of the world.

And if you do take this sentimental journey through your spiritual psyche and are honest, you will see that the spiritual condition of NIU should be cause of some concern.

For those who are still left in the dark with the oblivious ambiguity of the campaign slogan, here ‘tis; “Jenet” is Jenet Pequeno, a senior political science major who is a member of the NIU chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ. He describes himself on the Web site as a 21st Century renaissance man who has an “affinity for languages.”

Fair enough. But here is what singles him out as the figurehead of the crusade: According to the site, Jenet “has come to find true peace and contentment through the reality of the Bible. He gives all the credit and all the props (praise) to God for everything he has.”

So you have a student devoted to his religion. When you combine that with three campus organizations (Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Students for Christ), you have D.Y.A.W.J.

Anyone else smell a future arm-bracelet campaign in the W.W.J.D aspry?

In this examination, we will use Christianity as the centerpiece, simply because the majority of Americans consider themselves to be Christian. This is not to endorse the Christian faith, only to comply with the demographics of our society. OK? Good.

So do you agree with Jenet? Chances are you do, but you don’t care. In our day and age, religious concerns are not as emphasized as they used to be. There are the “faithful,” whose very core revolves around their religion, like Jenet. There are some who make the trip to church when they are visiting home. Others still are referred to as “et cetera” Christians, those who only attend on Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving. Finally, there are some who opt not to attend at all.

We live in what some describe as the “post-church era,” where most feel some connection to a higher being but don’t know who he/she is or what he/she wants.

But let us expand the scope of our study beyond who is/isn’t worshipping what. Essentially, because our emphasis has moved beyond moral concerns, we live in a “post-spiritual era,” with spiritual being defined as “the pursuit of peace of mind.”

The two are interrelated. When we abandon spiritual concerns, love, compassion and what-not, our values shift to narcissism and materialism.

How many songs and messages being transmitted in our culture refer to greed? How many times have you heard the word “Escalade” or “Ice” or the “house on the hill” on the radio today?

Better still, how many of our contemporaries here at NIU are pursuing careers in a profession that might bring them more income, instead of pursuing what they love?

And how does any of this make anyone any happier? How can a person’s worth in life have a salary figure attached to it? Some may say that high salaries and material items bring power, but what good is power when peace of mind is not achieved?

Spiritual concerns are not as important in our society as they once were. We spend less and less time concentrating on love and compassion and more time trying to get ahead. Make more money. Buy nicer things. Associate with better people. Make the grade in classes.

While making the grade is the key reason we are at this university at this time in this place, and while money is essential for survival, the spirituality of the person should never be forgotten. This is ultimately what the “Jenet” campaign should accomplish in the collective psyche of the campus.

It is time for us to resurrect the spiritual aspects of ourselves. It’s time to start viewing your friends and enemies with new love and interest in their lives. It’s time to stop worrying about how much you will get and start worrying about how much you mean to someone. And, if you are so inclined, it’s time to go back to God.

Ultimately, some will disagree with the campaign on religious, moral or docturnal grounds. But whether you agree with Jenet or not, whether you find your spirituality in God, whether you agree to disagree with them or walk away in anger from them, at least take what they are doing as a reminder to yourself to pay attention to the spiritual side.

And that they are being nice about it. In a few weeks the nicer weather will bring the fire-and-brimstone maniac preachers back to the commons, upsetting everyone and making a general mockery of everything they claim to believe in.

Or, to put it another way, would you rather have someone ask you if you want to know why they agree with Jenet or someone shouting that you are a whore, and you’re going to hell?