Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Spirituality: Today's students spiritually repressed?

In Sex and the Soul (Oxford University Press, 2008), Boston University prof Donna Freitas observes (according to Publisher's Weekly),

Boston ... with the exception of evangelical students, who allow their religious views to permeate all life choices, including sexual boundaries, most college students don't see much connection between their sexual behavior—which, in candid interviews, they often regret—and their spirituality, which is important to them. ... Freitas's work chronicles a poignant spiritual loss that students themselves articulate and mourn.

The students get little help from Catholic universities, according to Andrea Mrozek of IMF Canada,
Freitas canvasses seven universities, secular, Evangelical and Roman Catholic and comes up with the following distinction. In essence, all schools are spiritual—students are universally interested in their spirituality. But only the evangelical Christian schools are both religious and spiritual “in affiliation and practice.”

In short, one might say students at the Catholic and secular schools are—wait for it—not sexually, but spiritually repressed. “When it comes to religion and spirituality, most campuses seem to be failing miserably, barely attempting (if at all) to create atmospheres where students feel welcome to pursue their big questions…This oversight has even bigger repercussions when it comes to sex, as student narratives will demonstrate,” writes Freitas. In short, all students are hungry for holistic spiritual formation—a robust spiritual integration even into to their sex lives. But only students at Evangelical colleges actually get it. Not one Catholic student Freitas talked to mentioned Humanae Vitae—or any other element of a robust Catholic theology on sexuality. Others from mainline Protestant faiths too, were unaware of what their denomination might teach about sex.
It seems to me that using and discarding others in a hookup culture would sideline serious spirituality.

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