It was Friday night, at the end of freshers week. The weather had turned cold I headed for pub...It was a dark night and the pub seemed warm and inviting....
And there (not by accident for I had gone looking for them) I found them, alone. The Christian Union.
There they were. Some propping up the bar. A good few of them gathered round the pub quiz machine playing monopoly and getting most of the questions wrong.
"Do you want to join our team?" said one young lady to me in obvious desperation. As they stood there. I watched them and was struck by one thing.
They looked like a bunch of students.
OK students wearing t-shirts with a cryptic message about the blood of the lamb, but students just the same. Just there doing what students do. (Minus the heavy drinking, throwing up and going home with someone they just met to have meaningless sex.) They were just basically there having a laugh. It was all very normal and just like going out with any group of students except they were genuinely pleased to see me, which made me feel good. They asked how I was. The VP Wanted to know how my week had been. It was like going out with any group of students only more caring. In fact CU have been good to me this week. One of them (the one who wears shorts all year - shorts Si he calls himself) came up to the office at 12:30 one night and told me to home. Which was very caring, if slightly authoritarian.
It made me think about the fact that an awful lot of people don't seem to like CU. (A fact I worte about once before) and why is that, I hear you ask? Well when I did a little deeper most of them say, oh they're always preaching at you. Yet actually they are not really like that at all.
Down the pub they weren't sitting there saying "Quick there are some non-Christians go and explain that the propitiating atonement of Christ is the only way out of the certain hell-fire to which there are bound" or "Do we have enough leafletts to give out to the whole pub?" no they were standing there saying "Oh crap what is the capital of Turkey?" and "It's your round, Dan!"
I think the basic problem is that most people only notice CU when they are having a mission. That is when they are at their most obvious on campus. Maybe someone should advertise the fact that they hang out in 'The Style' from about 9pm on a Friday evening and maybe if people turned up they might actually discover that they are actually quite a likeable bunch of people who are remarkably similar to everyone else on campus.
Oh the capital of Turkey is Ankara.
Church of England Chaplain University of Southampton CU Christian Unions UCCF Christian Unions Southampton University University Soton Uni