How can you be relevant in your Greek House?
One of the hardest things for a student who decides to live in a Greek house and who has a least some spiritual background coming into it is figuring out how to relate to the "culture" around them in a healthy way. Often I see students come in and adopt the values and behaviors of the house or take an antagonistic approach and not engage at all. In order to begin talking about these issues we have used the story of the Israelites being taken into captivity by the Babylonians as a backdrop.
The Israelites have been taken into captivity by the Babylonians and as we see in Daniel 1:2, it was the Lord who gave the Israelites into the hands of the Babylonians. God had a reason for them being in this foreign and at times very heathen land and also had a way he wanted his chosen people to relate to this culture as well. And as we talked about in our last meeting God has also placed these students in their houses and wants them to relate to their houses in a certain way as well.
Here are some options for relating that the Israelites had and our students have as well.
1. The Antagonistic Approach
This approach can be found in Psalm 137:7-9 where the Psalmist calls for revenge against the Babylonians for what they had done to them. The Psalmist is encouraging the people to fight back, pursue revenge, and remain hostile to the culture around them. And like I mentioned earlier, I see students adopt this mentality of relating to their houses all the time. The drawbacks to this way of relating are evident and the ability for influence and redemption of that culture are all but eliminated.
2. The Tourist Approach
This approach can be found in Jeremiah 28:1-4 where the false prophet Hananiah prophesied that in just a few years God would deliver them and that they should just "hold on" and not settle in because they would be out of there in a bit. In the same way I see students view their time in the house as something they should just get through and try to do some good but not settle in. Unfortunately I found myself relating to my house in college in this way and I missed out on some friendships and great opportunities to reach out within the house. This approach doesn't allow for much involvement except to see people either go to church or come to their Bible study because the person is just passing through anyway and doesn't want to get too involved.
3. The Resident Alien Approach
This approach can be found in Jeremiah 29:4-9 and this is the approach that God intended for the Israelites to adopt. In it God calls them to "build houses", "plant gardens", multiply and do not decrease", and to "seek the welfare of the city." In other words, BE ENGAGED. The big difference here is that God doesn't desire them to give up their identity and change, at the core, who they are in order to be engaged. I believe that this is the model that God desires for students living in Greek houses as well. This is by far the hardest way to live in the house, engaged but still living according to your core values, but one that yields the most opportunities to see God work in the house.