InterVarsity is a national organization that brings together Christian communities at colleges and universities. Every Thursday from 12-2 p.m., InterVarsity hosts the Hard Questions Luncheon in the Multicultural Center on the third floor of Bartlett Hall. During the luncheon, students can ask and discuss difficult questions pertaining to Christianity and other issues in society.
The atmosphere of the luncheon allows students to consider subjects they might not be able to discuss in a church setting, where one would listen to a pastor give a sermon. Students can raise questions they might have about difficult subjects in a relaxed environment. Some topics participants in the luncheon are expected to discuss involve the role of Christians in society and how their presence should promote the Christian mission.
They also raise questions of how God can be good, yet still allow suffering in the world. Students are also encouraged to discuss everyday questions and concerns, such as dating issues, relationships and politics. At the beginning of each meeting, Bob Roberts, staff member of the InterVarsity organization, begins by asking students what they have been thinking about that week.
“The purpose is just to kind of hang out and talk about real stuff, like the stuff that matters most,” Roberts said. “It’s just kind of a time to wrestle in a more intellectual way with the things people actually wonder about.”
InterVarsity is a Christian organization, but Roberts would like to have more people of different backgrounds and perspectives attend, since questions discussed at the luncheon are not only relevant to those of Christian faith, but to anyone who might attend. In the past, international students and students of all different religions have shared their perspectives at the luncheon.
“People grow from listening to a variety of perspectives,” Roberts said. MC junior Natalie Tucker has attended the luncheon since her freshman year. Tucker explained that at first, she was shy about talking at the luncheon because she thought others could answer the questions better than she could. However, Tucker gradually became more comfortable in expressing herself as she attended more of the luncheons.
“The more I’ve come, it made it easier for me to express my own opinion, but then also learn about all these different opinions that I never thought about before,” Tucker said.
Sophomore transfer student Natalie Clemens is new to the luncheon. She has been a Christian for two years, and says she is still learning about the faith. Clemens said she enjoys the relaxed setting, and feels comfortable to ask her questions without being judged. Clemens said her fellow students at the luncheon are open and friendly, and they would not shoot down anyone’s opinion, even if it differs from their own.
“I would definitely encourage people to come check it out,” Clemens said. Roberts would like to invite all students to come and engage in the challenging discussions at the luncheon. The group is open to all topics and is particularly interested in having people bring their difficult questions concerning the Christian faith.