The Princeton Review has once again put out its list of the top party schools in the United States, and once again, Florida State (#12) has made it on the list along with a few other old regulars like Penn State (#7), and yes, those Florida Gators (#10). The list is made by a combination of survey questions to students about alcohol and drug use, average hours of study, and the popularity of fraternities and sororities at the school.
The designation of being a “party school” is something that it is said that administrators hate and students love. Administrators want to be known for the academic prowess of their faculty, for the rigor of the educational experience – and it’s not that students don’t want to be known for those things, but most students would like to be known for being able to have a little fun while doing it all.
It’s a difficult balance to reach even in our personal lives. How do we present ourselves as distinguished and put together without being stuffy and pompous? How do we present ourselves as being fun loving and enjoyable to be around without looking oafish?
Jesus Himself speaks of wrestling with this in Matthew 11 (and Luke 7). He tells how the crowds responded to the austere John the Baptist, that they felt that he was too serious and condemnatory; but then Jesus says that the crowds respond to him as if He was too willing to be seen with the wrong kind of people, calling Him a drunk and a glutton (He, by the way, was clearly neither of those things.)
It brings up the question of how we respond to our calling to be church, to be the Body of the “drunk and glutton” who is Jesus Christ, in a field full of those who might self-designate themselves as drunks or gluttons far before they would self-designate themselves as Lutherans or Christians.
We know that Christ has died for all: drunks and gluttons; nerds and goody-two-shoes. And He says to all of us, no matter who we are, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat.” Party school or not, come everyone. Come to the waters.