A Theism at Reed: Oh For Christ’s Sake
Maybe you had heard them singing in praise on Thursday nights under the blue bridge. Or maybe you have no idea that they even exist. Regardless, the Christian group at Reed has grown into a large, closely knit community over the years. There are currently about 30 members in Oh For Christ’s’ Sake, which is led by staff leaders Michael Havens and his wife SarrahLynne Havens. OFCS has actually grown so large that they have to divide into smaller groups during the week for their small and intimate bible studies. The entire group gathers to eat, pray and celebrate God on Sundays.
The present OFCS community is a far cry from what it was several years ago: 4 or 5 freshmen and a sophomore. The tiny group of 2008 was an intimate conglomerate of freshmen that met for bible study and prayer. Before then, the group had nearly fallen apart. Members tended to become uninvolved when their workloads piled on after freshman year. Since then, Michael and SarrahLynne have inspired more and more members to make their spiritual well-being and relationship with Jesus a priority no matter how stressful their intellectual endeavors become. Member Tim Jahl ‘11 sums it up: “You gotta sort out your life before you can worry about your school work”.
Oh For Christ’s Sake is more than an on-campus group. As one student, Matt Lambert ’12, explained, “we don’t really strive to be a campus club but rather a community of believers coming together; we are trying to follow God together and to serve each other.” These values are integral to the lives of OFCS members; spiritual actions and intentions nurture all other pursuits.
This spiritual quest is both personal and communal. Some members of the OFCS community even live in an off-campus house together. The group often meets there for prayer, music, communal meals and discussion. Here, they are able to counteract the isolation that can result from the intellectual masochism often a part of Reed life.
Back in 2008, the motto for Oh For Christ’s Sake was coined: love people, trust Jesus; this is the general ethos of the group. This motto, members laugh, might have been the reason they got “deep-sixed” in the funding poll that year. So, while it might not be economically viable to bring up Jesus around here, Reedies are curious about the subject. Alan Montecillo ’12 said, “most Reedies are skeptical. I wouldn’t say they’re hostile”. Not all Reed students know that many of their classmates are people of faith, but as Matt put it, “people at Reed aren’t actively hostile toward individuals of faith but some have negative ideas about the church as an institution.” Skepticism and surprise at their classmates’ faith can lead to perspective-changing conversations between students of various spiritual beliefs. The open-minded and heartfelt dedication to faith-based community that members share testifies to the strength and staying power of Oh For Christ’s Sake – although you wouldn’t guess it from the Official Seal of Reed College.