Sunday, October 02, 2005



[dug up a doc I penned a while back. Liked it, posted it.]

The goal of chapel, as paraphrased from our dearly departed chaplain, is to "bring together our sense of community as well as highten our physical and spiritual awareness of the world outside of these walls".

Neither of those two things can be forced.

A sense of community is something that is formed naturally when enough people develop a sense of kinship towards one another. A sense of community is created by the members of the community. That sense is expanded whenever you find someone who shares a common interest, highten your opinion of someone, or overall figure out that the guys/gals your with ain't that bad. This cannot be influenced by requiring us to wear formal attire and sit in an archaic room while the collective body heat of the boarding community reminds you of what it feels like to be a lobster in Maine.

The strengthening of spiritual awareness can only be achieved by a voluntary means as well. The expansion of one's spiritual awareness is achieved when one acquires and thinks about an idea that has never entered his mind before. This can be achieved by either a lecture or a discussion, though discussions are usually more effective as they actively engage the participant and let's their mind open up more. When you're forced into either of these situations, your mind will instantly shut off. You'll zone out, and all the ideas, no matter how well put they are, will for the most part fly over your head. This is what happens in chapel. A huge amount of the kids get in, sit down, and zone out for half an hour, and the speaker, no matter how good he is, cannot get to the audience (The exception is when the speaker can successfully appeal to the emotions of the listener, a case demonstrated by some people in last week's chapel). Again, you must voluntarily debate with someone or actively listen to a speaker in order to take in new ideas and broaden your spiritual awareness.

Physical awareness is the one thing that can be forced. When you tell someone an important piece of news, no matter where the situation is, the person will in most likelihood remember it. Physical awareness is the ability of the mind to acquire and remember physical traits of the world, be it the numbers of the last ball game or the latest newsbreak in the Israel/Palestine debate, depending on how the person values the event. If you are forced into chapel while a red sox game is going on, and someone walks in saying the sox won, the info will be diagnosed and processed and retained if you find the information interesting. So, yes, chapel can be used as a news bulletin so that someone can come up and tick off all the important events of that week to the boarding community. That would work. But, in my humble opinion, I don't think that's the main use of the chapel.

The only way to develop a sense of community and mental/spiritual awareness is by instigating interesting discussions and lectures in which the attendance is voluntary. That way the people that go are willing to allow new ideas into their mind, and develop new opinions of those around him. Other than fostering a uniting dislike of chapel, the service has failed in it's attempt to foster a community mentality. Other than developing preconceived notions of new ideas, chapel has failed to strengthen our mental awareness. And I have yet to see a guy run in shouting the sox won, so I don't think it's done too hot on the physical awareness either.