People often ask the question; “why did you choose North Park?” I had never given it too much thought, my response always referred to the financial benefits of North Park and how I just loved the city, but never anything too substantial. Recently I was asked the question yet again, however this time I was asked in the context of the bible during a baptism class and so I was then forced to think more deeply about it. Perhaps this wasn’t one of my deciding factors last spring, however it is definitely a reason for me to stay now. I truly thought about it and thought to myself; North Park is basically a microcosm for what life is going to be like for me after college, and I really love that.
If you’re wondering what I mean by that, basically what I am saying is that living at North Park is a small scale version of what my life will be like later on. At North Park (no matter how overused this phrase is) I am able to encounter so much diversity. I encounter different cultures, different beliefs, different ages, different socioeconomic backgrounds, and so much more beyond that. It is truly amazing. Most important of all of these differences to me, is the difference in beliefs that I encounter. The reason I love North Park so much is that Christian faith is 100% optional here. There is no statement of faith, no required chapels, and sure there are 2 required bible courses but it really isn’t anything major. Despite all of that, there is a huge Christian community here (as well as an equally large non-Christian community). The Christian community at North Park is so intentional because honestly, they have to be. I am able to come in contact with people who agree with my beliefs, are indifferent to my beliefs, and even oppose my beliefs. It forces me to feel really strongly and know exactly what I believe. It has also taught me some ways to defend what I believe without being offensive to other beliefs.
In life after college, I can seek out an intentional Christian community and I can choose to make my faith the biggest factor in my life, but it will never change the fact that I will constantly be surrounded by people who don’t agree with me. Living at North Park is preparing me for a life long faith that won’t be easily shattered, and that’s worth a lot more than a college tuition, don’t you think?