Last Tuesday's weather forecast called for rain. That morning, graduate student Anne Dubber and her friends prayed for good weather, got on their bikes and rode around writing the words, “Do you agree with SHAD?” on campus sidewalks. It didn't rain that day.
Elsewhere, natural science major Aaron Bacon and friends were on foot, posting approximately 2,000 sheets of neon green paper on almost every wall and pillar that had a blank space. The signs read “Do you agree with SHAD?”
SHAD is 26-year-old Shad Barnett. He has been a garbage man, a soldier in the Marine Corps and a Christian missionary in Calcutta, India and Bangkok, Thailand. As a current member of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship on campus, Barnett was chosen by campaign organizers to write a letter describing his Christian faith, which exemplifies his Christian peers' beliefs. To question whether or not anyone agrees with his statement is an effort to bring spiritual awareness to campus.
“People have been asking questions and engaging in conversations and that's what education is about,” Barnett said. “But there's a spiritual aspect to life, and I think we ignore that in public schools.”
Barnett will read his letter in the Campus Center cafeteria Thursday, Oct. 11 at 2 p.m.
The clever promotional campaign was not an impromptu scheme someone woke up with in the middle of the night or another advertisement for a teach-in to talk about the events on Sept. 11. Leaders of three campus Christian organizations – ICF, Campus Crusade for Christ and Baptist Student Union – joined forces last spring to begin organizing the campaign, and Dubber, a CCC member, says the timing of the attacks and their campaign is coincidental.
“Since the attacks, there's definitely been a heightened level of spiritual awareness, but we simply want to promote conversations about spiritual matters,” Dubber said.
Bacon is CCC's president. He says he's engaged in conversations with curious peers about the organization's intriguing statement, and there has been both positive and negative feedback.
“There's probably been more disagreements with what I have to say [about Christianity], but a lot of people seem really open to spiritual conversation,” Bacon said. “People are wondering, `What would happen if I died?' and `Do I truly believe what it is I say I believe?'”
The SHAD campaign has gained financial support from a few local churches by selling The Northern Light Coupon Books and from individual donations. With that money, 1,000 more green fliers will be posted this week. Some students who agree with Shad's testimony will wear neon green t-shirts this week with “I agree with Shad” printed on the front and “Do you?” on the back.
“[After our campaign] we expect to hear from a lot of angry people, but we're open to anyone coming to our meetings,” Dubber said. “We don't want to annoy or antagonize people. We just want to create a curiosity about Jesus.”
Those who are curious about the organization's statements and mission can join the other 65 to 70 students, faculty and community members who attend CCC's meetings on a regular basis – the largest consistent attendance for a student organizational meeting.