|Text-4-Toasties at Dartmouth|
Students Deliver Sandwiches, and Christian Insights, to Peers
By Jessica Tong, Dartmouth '17
In November, Dartmouth students from various campus ministries partnered with the Dartmouth Apologia: A Journal of Christian Thought to host "Text-4-Toasties."
During the day, they e-mailed students across campus inviting them to text in a question about Christianity and its intersection with any aspect of life, whether it was philosophy, science, pop culture, or anything else. In return, the students delivered toasted sandwiches (of either Nutella or grilled cheese) and discussed their questions with them.
Participating ministries included Christian Union, Agape, and Aquinas House.
Some questions that were texted concerned interpretations of the Bible, e.g. how do you reconcile the message "faith without works is dead" with the message that "you should just have faith and not worry about things you have given up to God"? Since Text-4-Toasties was scheduled on Election Day, other questions reflected curiosity about the relationship between Christianity and politics. Keenan Wood, a sophomore, stated that his favorite question and follow-up discussion was centered on hell and how a merciful God could see fit to punish anyone for all of eternity.
Text-4-Toasties at Dartmouth was inspired by a similar outreach by the Harvard Ichthus, a Christian journal. After hearing about the success of the initiative at Harvard, students at Dartmouth followed suit by hosting a trial event in the summer of 2015. With a smaller group of Christian students on campus, they sought to answer only the first 50 questions that were sent in. The event revealed a great curiosity about Christianity amongst Dartmouth students.
This fall, Text-4-Toasties encouraged Dartmouth's Christian students, who ordinarily fellowship in different ministries, to come together. It also provided an avenue for Christians of all years to work together, either by grilling sandwiches or by discussing answers to questions with each other before delivering the sandwiches.
For Robert Moore (pictured, right), a freshman from Georgia, participating in Text-4-Toasties was a chance to help "clarify misconceptions about Christianity and help people in moments of need."
Jessica Heine, a sophomore, enjoyed the opportunity to talk honestly with students from all ends of campus "about the important, often-neglected questions about faith and a meaningful life."
"In college, with so many people building their religious and spiritual identities and discovering their own beliefs and perspectives, it is such an honor to be able to represent the Christian community and explain the basis of my faith to others... especially now, with so much intolerance and ignorance often attributed to Christian ideals."
The event also inspired conversations among Christian students to discuss theological nuances. Wood recalled, "The hardest part [of the event] was being assigned to answer a question with someone when our viewpoints on a minor piece of theology directly clashed. We talked about it and decided to present both of our viewpoints. The interaction with students went great, but working through our conflict to present a clear, concise answer was hard and rewarding."
Through Text-4-Toasties, the students who participated gained much insight into their own understandings of their faith, as well as the spiritual climate among the general population of Dartmouth students.
Heine was struck by the "the diversity of the spirituality on campus and the search for God occurring outside of religious communities."
"Sometimes we think of campus as having almost all atheists, with a religious minority, yet this event always demonstrates how many students who do not actively identify with a religion at this time are still deeply pondering God and spirituality and remain open to finding God in the future."