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Our View: Dorms need to love

Rivalry can lead to unintended consequences

By the Editorial Board | Echo

It is common to identify ourselves not only by who we are but also by who we are against. This is clearly seen in our campus rivalries.

The Editorial Board has agreed that competition is not inherently bad. However, we also think that some of our “friendly rivalries” have moved past fun competition and into actual divisions.

Some of Taylor’s most prominent rivalries are those between dorms — Wengatz and Sammy or Olson and English, for example.

Bill Heth, professor of biblical studies, looked to the Bible for guidelines for Christian competition.

Passages like Mark 9:33-37, 10:35-45 and Luke 22:24-30 show Jesus’ responses to competition within his disciples.

The disciples argued between themselves over who was the greatest. John and James even went so far as to ask for seats of special honor. However, Jesus rebukes them and tells them that the one who humbles himself and serves will be given honor.

This led Heth to conclude that competition that is self-glorifying is not pleasing to God. Christians should not be competing in order to make themselves feel or seem better than those they are competing against. Believers need to be especially careful not to seek humiliation of the other.

Sophomore Noah Huseman and Junior Brett Lawson participate in a heated rivalry.

Sophomore Noah Huseman and Junior Brett Lawson participate in a heated rivalry.

As an Editorial Board, we agree with Heth that self-glorifying competition that humiliates others is not beneficial to Christian community.

Wengatz Hall Director Josh Craton believes that competition is a good thing, but he concurred with Heth’s exhortation not to demean the other side.

“Competition at its best inspires people to be better versions of themselves; it pushes them to work or play harder to improve themselves,” Craton said. “At its worst (what you might call ‘divisive rivalry), it removes the humanity from the person or group you’re competing against, and the goal quickly becomes to attack or lessen the other rather than working on yourself.”

Unfortunately, the line between healthy and unhealthy competition is often very small. It is easy to switch between a focus on self-improvement and attacking others, especially in the heat of emotional moments during intramural sports or dorm events.

The Editorial Board believes that these fun rivalries can often create actual divisions between students, especially the Sammy-Wengatz rivalry.

Craton believes that the intensity of the rivalry fluctuates from year to year, but that it can be harmful to community. He also agrees that Christian community cannot be founded on divisions and rivalries.

“Healthy communities aren’t just built against something; they should be focused towards virtue and unity both within themselves and with surrounding communities,” Craton said.

The Editorial Board hopes that the Taylor community will take the New Testament call to unity within the body of Christ more seriously than inter-dorm rivalries.

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