Editors Note: To increase opportunities for spiritual development, over 11 different chapels are offered across the Oklahoma Christian University campus. In an upper level journalism class, students featured these chapels to provide insight and encourage attendance.
Matthew 7:7 states, “Ask and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find.”
On Thursdays at 11 a.m. in Cail Auditorium of the Davisson American Heritage building, Oklahoma Christian University students and faculty gather in Seekers Chapel to discuss challenging questions and seek answers, just as the Bible commands.
“I like being challenged,” senior psychology major Haley Robinson said. “It’s even in the title—Seekers Chapel. It implies just a willingness to know, to observe, to take in the world and be critical about what we see, even juggling different opinions on that as long as we keep our focus on Christ and biblical teachings.”
Al Mikell, a biology professor overseeing Seekers chapel, said he believes this meeting was originally started to provide a safe space for Bible majors to entertain tough topics. Over the years, Seekers Chapel evolved into a space of global and application-based inquiry.
“It was sort of an expression—in particular from the Bible program—of a way to make students at ease in bringing up things that might be difficult,” Mikell said. “We started going beyond looking at particular scriptures to something a lot more global, asking what does it look like to be a Christian in a particular environment? We would bring up challenging questions on race, ethnicity and poverty. How should Christians respond? It has shifted from theory more into application—open-ended stuff.”
Although “big chapel” assembles each day in Hardeman Auditorium and provides students a convenient option of a condensed worship service, senior Bible major Joshua Turpin said Seekers Chapel originally drew him in because of the unique, discussion-formatted presentations, which does not occur in big chapel.
“It’s a small group of people,” Turpin said. “Because it’s not big chapel and it has a specific niche, you can have more open discussions or talk about certain topics that you can’t really talk about in big chapel because people will get upset.”
In the past, Seekers Chapel hosted presentations on violence, gun control, poverty, the psychology behind gender classification, poverty and the black lives matter movement.
Turpin said he found interest in one discussion of the function of morning-after pills, addressed by biology professor Lori Garmon in response to Hobby Lobby’s exclusion of insurance coverage for these pills.
According to Turpin, this particular discussion reiterated his need and desire to always be searching instead of blindly accepting truth, especially concerning his faith.
“Like Dr. Garmon’s discussion, there is no way I would know that, but it’s teaching that you actually have to look into things before you just blindly accept what’s going on in society,” Turpin said. “It has really built up my faith, in that I want to look into things. As a Bible major, that’s my job, to look into things in the Bible.”
This semester, the topic of discussion revolves around education, specifically posing the question: How can we serve God by educating people?
“At Oklahoma Christian, how is the Christian application implied?” Mikell said. “What should a Christian education look like? How do I approach topics in bio ethics or evolution? How should Bible professors handle difficult passages and different interpretations?”
As Seekers Chapel attempts to entertain difficult topics, Robinson said she believes wrestling with viewpoints, and not finding a definite answer for the viewpoints, is the most important action tackled in this chapel.
“The world is confusing,” Robinson said. “I would say, sometimes we need help navigating the world from people who have tried to navigate difficult situations, difficult issues and who have done their research and have something to say about it.”