“Seed” Takes Root at NYU
Despite its name, Seed isn’t aimed at green thumbs — it’s the first on-campus Christian publication that is run by, and for, New York University students.
Despite its name, Seed isn’t aimed at green thumbs — it’s the first on-campus Christian publication that is run by, and for, New York University students. Named to reference the Gospel as a seed to be planted, Seed is intended to spread Christian thought across campus, but the staff is looking forward to more discussion than conversion. To the staff’s dismay, however, there was little reaction to the first issue that’s been circulating since Valentine’s Day.
When Rebekah Song placed two piles of Seed in the Kimmel Center, she found that people took more from the one that was cover down.
“It caught a lot of attention,” said Song, the 21-year-old president of the Christian Publication Club and Steinhardt senior, referring to the graph on the back cover that reported that 78 percent of NYU students believed in God. The front cover of the issue featured an article about the tsunami in Southeast Asia and what God’s part in it might have been. Although Seed is firmly rooted in the Gospel, the staff wishes to stress that they are not seeking to convert, only to create conversation.
“We’re just looking for other ways to talk about God,” said Daria Ng, 20, a Steinhardt sophomore. Indeed, most of the articles are critical looks at Christianity through the eyes of believers and non-believers alike and take pains not to alienate readers.
“We don’t want controversy,” explained Elaine Tsui, 24, a graduate student in Steinhardt. “We want people to think.”
The Christian Publication Club joins 31 other religious and spiritual clubs that are recognized by the Office of Student Activities. The club that sprouted Seed is currently classified as a “New Club in Development” and will become a fully established club with “All Square” status for the fall 2005 school term. Once established, the club can expect their current budget of $500 (provided by the All-Square Student Budget Allocation Committee) to increase, as well as circulation. The hope of the Christian Publication Club is to publish Seed twice a semester and in color, starting this fall.
In “More Than an Apology,” Minnow Park, a 21-year-old junior at Stern, apologizes to non-Christians for not giving them “a good enough reason to become one.” She compares Christianity to a song that hasn’t been played as well as it could be and which has been “veiled by hypocrisy” on the part of its followers. Park promises the reader that if Christians demonstrated their beliefs with action, the religion would become “irresistible.”
“It’s always better to have some reaction,” said Ng. Her sentiments were echoed by other staff members who wished for Seed to be used as a springboard for discussion on campus. The consensus was that they wanted the readers to react more, whether with critiques of the issue or with submissions for the next.
Christina Kawon Oh, 21, agreed. “I didn’t write with the motive to preach to someone,” the CAS senior explained, referring to her front-page article “Where was God?” which discussed the tsunami disaster. Dismissing the notion that the event was punishment for the sins of locals, Oh saw the tsunami as a reminder of the fragility of life and stresses the importance of the Gospel in daily living.
This thread of questioning one’s own beliefs is repeated throughout Seed. Even the book review section is filled with works in which authors struggle with, and analyze, the Christian religion. “Even though they’re hard questions doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be asked,” said Yvette Shin, a New York City-based contributing writer in her 30s who is not affiliated with NYU.
Despite such lofty material as God and spiritual wellness, Seed has it’s share of levity. Comics are present throughout, humorous and ironic titles abound, and the innocuous-looking “Bible Dude,” a cartoon character who proudly wears an NYU sweater, answers reader’s questions, from how the Bible views homosexuality to whether pets get past the pearly gates.
And how does the staff come up with all this? According to them, just being in college is enough inspiration. Nothing makes this more apparent than a comic strip of a boy nervously starting a test. The caption reads: “As long as there are exams … there will always be prayer in schools.”
Those who are interested in contributing to Seed next term should contact Rebekah Song at email@example.com.