Christiians love to compare the University to Babylon.
Some use the apocalyptic reference and refer to universities and colleges as enemies of God's church. These people avoid universities and colleges, or send their children to Christian schools, where everyone's a Christian and no one sins.
Others (and I often find myself in this camp) connect with the University as a place of exile: it's foreign, challenging, and we're called to be a blessing there. Read Daniel 1 or Jeremiah 29 and you'll see powerful and relevant images of faithful, missional life for university students.
Alec Hill, the President of InterVarsity, gave a wonderful talk on this theme a few nights ago. As campus ministry staff, we're sent by God to bless the university, in the same way the exiled people of Israel were called to bless their captors in Babylon.
But I'm curious about this analogy.
I don't feel like I'm in exile at the University. Not anymore.
I've been in the University setting for 10 years now, as a student and a grad student and a campus ministry staff. It feels like home, and I'm comfortable there.
So I wonder. Is the University Babylon or Jerusalem?
Is the University the place in which we've been carried off into exile or the place of our heart's longing?