The BU Complex

Nathan Dicks  |  April 29, 2016

When I was in college, I was busy, distracted, fragmented, and self-sufficient. I was determined to make a name for myself in the field of architecture and was not about to let anyone hold me back. One could say I had a complex.

When I became a campus minister at Boston University and started getting to know the campus, it was like looking into a mirror and seeing my college-aged self. Student’s academic and extracurricular schedules are jam-packed with resume-building activities, leaving little time to build friendships. Heightened by the sprawling, urban campus, students are fragmented socially, with little unified campus identity. Though I had grown up in the Bible Belt and was a member of my rural, public college’s RUF chapter, I found striking similarities between my college experience and that of a student at Boston University, an urban, private school in the Northeast with, up till recently, no RUF chapter. Without fear of generalization, I can say that the complex I had in college and the one a typical BU student has both come from the same place.

Richard Lovelace, in Dynamics of Spiritual Life, describes sin as something deeper than what can be seen on the surface of one’s life: a “complex: an organic network of compulsive attitudes, beliefs and behavior deeply rooted in our alienation from God.” Whatever my issues in college were, they were all ultimately rooted in this complex called sin. Scripture teaches in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin is not a Northern problem or a Southern problem, but a human problem.

This truth shapes the ministry of RUF at BU. Out of the roughly 33,000 students at BU, only a few hundred participate in Christian campus ministries. This statistic is descriptive of the challenges at BU, but the prescription is no different than any other campus in any other region or part of the world. God’s solution to the problem of sin is found in his son, Jesus Christ. And through Christ, he is reconciling the world to himself. This is the gospel and the gospel means that against all odds, God is at work at Boston University.

Therefore, here at BU we expect God to continue to work through the means he has chosen—Scripture and prayer, among relationship—to perform the spiritual surgery necessary to bring sinners out of their state of alienation from God and into fellowship with him. 

Please pray for the ministry of RUF at Boston University.