Monday, April 16, 2012

Best chapel program ever

A couple of weeks ago, our family visited a small Christian college in Indiana. The school is on a short list of colleges my son is considering.

As a part of the campus tour, our freshman guide pointed out the 2200-seat auditorium and said that students attended chapel there on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

And, he added, they get 16 chapel skips per semester. (Not a typo … 16.)

My first thought: “Are you kidding me? These guys are a bunch of wimps!”

At my alma mater—Harding University—we met for chapel every single weekday. And, we only got 10 skips per semester. (Unless, of course—theoretically—someone had a girlfriend who would occasionally sit in his chapel seat. In that case, a person might get a few extra skips.)

But, as I look back now, I can say there was at least one chapel I wouldn’t have wanted to miss …

On that morning, Dr. Jim Henderson from the HU business department was speaking. (Or, wait a minute, it might have been David Tucker. After 25 years, sometimes people blend together in my mind.)

Anyway, after a few introductory comments, Dr. Henderson/Tucker got around to the point of his program—introducing Harding’s Walton scholars. (Walton scholars were a group of international students who came to the university on scholarships funded by Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.)

And, as Dr. H/T introduced the students, they came out on stage smiling and waving with some special music playing in the background.

And the music was …

(Coming to) “America” by Neil Diamond.

And the students looked so happy … and the song was so corny … that the program crystalized into a moment of pure joy.

On that morning, the Walton scholars were glad and grateful to be at Harding. It showed on their faces.

And I was glad to be there too.



  1. One semester at Harding, I had used 5 chapel skips two weeks into the semester. My future wife forged a note from Neil Pryor, "reminding" me of a new policy that only allowed Bible majors 5 skips per semester. I fell for it, until I remembered that Dr. Pryor wasn't the Dean of the College of Bible and Religion.
    I still married her. And still used all my skips every semester.

  2. Too funny, Patrick! I'm with you ... always used the 10 skips. I think at some point, maybe the last week of chapel, we figured out we could actually go over 10 without getting into trouble.

  3. I always planned ahead enough that I didn't even have to go the last week or so.

    Things have changed a bit. My daughter told me yesterday that if you ask, they'll waive your first 5 misses. She did it yesterday and had four more skips left so she's now gladly sleeping in or eating breakfast at 9:00 each morning.

  4. Waive your first 5 misses?! Where were those people in 1985?!! :)