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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Christian Bubble

The concept of standing out isnt new to Christianity. In the Bible, Jesus commanded his followers, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Looking at Christian Aggies, it may be reasonable to add, and wear Chacos, TOMS and T-shirts from Christian organizations.
Its a trend prevalent with many Christians on campus identifiable by appearance alone. They look the same, talk the same and do the same things. Christians are often separated from the rest of campus by the invisible but existent Christian Bubble.
The Christian Bubble slang for the population of Christian students who share similar lifestyles has grown so large as to be unrivaled in volume by any other faith group on campus. Of the Universitys more than 800 recognized student organizations, 80 percent are affiliated with Christianity. In one particularly visible display of Christianitys prevalence in the student body, more than 10,000 students attended the first Breakaway Bible study of the semester.
As the spotlight on the Christian subculture grows brighter, a conflict arises. Is the bubble about faith or fashion? Are Christians at A&M recognized by their exterior appearance or personal religious beliefs?
One Twitter handle, @aggiechristian documents the stereotypes of the Christian Bubble on campus, tweeting with hashtags like #christianpickuplines, #thingsaggiechristianssay and #aggiechristianprobs. The profile was created following a conversation at the Christian freshman orientation camp Impact about how recognizable the Christian subculture is.
Starting this Twitter handle was a lighthearted approach to the many stereotypes that do follow us and there are so many stereotypes within our University, @Aggiechristian said. It was a way to help students relate to one another and laugh together.
Dressing in the mold of the Christian Bubble means wearing Chacos, TOMS and attire that identifies with a Christian organization. The trend of wearing Chacos a brand of outdoor-oriented sandles originated with students working at Christian summer camps and has since caught on with students who have never braved the wilderness.
Angel Miller, senior wildlife fisheries sciences major, said she has been a part of Christian organizations since she was a freshman. She said she has seen trends that usually identify a Christian on campus.
Many people joke that you can always tell if someone is a Christian by the following: Chacos, CamelBaks, Christian organization brotanks, Nike shorts and James Avery rings, Miller said.
Distinctly Christian mannerisms often complement these fashion trends. There are phrases that have stemmed out of church or Bible studies that are referred to by some as Christianese.
Many people are not even aware of it, said Ben Scott, sophomore communication major. Phrases like incredibly blessed.
For many members of the Christian Bubble, the appearances that bond the group together reflect common interests stemming from their faith. For instance, having a Breakaway backpack tag reflects regular attendance at the Bible study and fleeces monogrammed with Impact camp logos show a desire to provide freshmen with a sense of Christian community.
I dont have a problem with the Christian community bonding together through the small things as well as the big things, both Chacos and theology, perhaps over a cup of coffee at Mugwalls, @Aggiechristian tweeted.
Dressing and speaking alike may come from time spent together. A popular hangout in the Christian Bubble is MugWalls coffee shop.
Kevin Havis, a mechanical engineering graduate student who is behind the twitter account @mugzpianoman, said he sees the stereotypical trends of the Christian Bubble while at Mugwalls.
There are a lot of people there who are having bible studies openly and having spiritual discussions, Havis said. You kind of overhear that a lot.
The Christian Bubble is a symbol of unity that allows students to remain connected to their faith while at college. @Aggiechristian said it is both biblically sound and necessary for Christians to be bonded together. For many, things like footwear and study spots that may seem unrelated to religion are rooted in a desire to have Christian community.
The Christian culture at A&M is wonderful, Miller said. I became a believer my freshman year of college and if it was not for the strong community here, I may not have stayed on the path toward Christ.
However, Miller said she is concerned that this bubble could be a method of excluding outsiders. As trends grow stronger, alternative lifestyle choices are alienated.
The bubble forms when believers become so comfortable in the group that it looks as if they have stopped reaching out to those who are desperate for the love of Christ, Miller said. Believers on this campus need to be more aware of the fact that some nonbelievers view the bubble as exclusive, even though that is not the intention.
Elizabeth Rose is a self-described devout Christian who said nothing is wrong with being inside the Christian Bubble. But even so, because she doesnt partake in the Christian cultural norms, she feels like an outsider.
I feel like when you tell somebody in the Christian Bubble that you dont do these things not intentionally they automatically think you arent on their level of commitment to God and Jesus teachings, Rose said.
Some students expressed growing discontent toward the Christian Bubble for not representing Christian values. Ben Scott, sophomore communication major, said as a freshman he was heavily involved in a variety of Christian organizations. He later chose to make himself an outsider because he believes that the idea of a Christian Bubble isnt a biblical way to live.
I look at my freshman year, Scott said. I was in a Christian fraternity, an Impact counselor, and I worked at a church. I was spending 24/7 with believers. Who was I making an impact on? Who was I sharing the love of Christ with? I wasnt, and Ive felt the desire to change that.
Scott, like Rose, doesnt take issue with Christian organizations, but said people can get so caught up in the subculture that they forget why they are Christians in the first place.
If who we are is defined by anything other than Jesus Christ then weve missed the mark, Scott said.
Havis said he found being in the Christian Bubble to be encouraging and helpful, but that he is reaching a point where he needs to venture outside of it.
It also kind of limits peoples interactions and people in the Christian Bubble are kind of betraying the nature of what theyre supposed to be as Christians, Havis said. The whole idea of being a Christian is that you have this gospel, and it needs to be sent out to the ends of the Earth, and if were keeping it in this bubble then were not doing it.
For many of those conscious of the prevalent subculture, the Christian Bubble is walking a fine line between a group of like-minded people and a clique excluding those who dont share the same mindset.
While most agreed that being exclusive crosses the line, there were differences in opinion as to whether or not that has occurred.
I can think of specific friends who have definitely embraced that stereotype and kind of done that, Havis said. And then I see other people who deliberately go against that and kind of tease other people about it.
Im making a personal commitment to pop my own Christian bubble. If youre a Christian, I encourage you to do the same, Scott said.

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