Chewing on life’s big questions with Rainn Wilson

This semester I took a class called Advanced Student Development Theory where we focused on the specific human development of college students. We focused mainly on cognitive, identity, moral, ethical, and spiritual development of college-aged students, and I must admit I had several nerd-out moments in this class.

Because these theories are why I love college students. College students are learning the world is not black and white. There are gray, unexplainable areas. Students are figuring out who they are, what parts of them are important, and what parts of them are confusing. They’re learning how to make decisions and what they value. They’re trying to answer life’s big questions and find their purpose. College is an amazing time of growth and discovery, and I love it and want to help students through it.

This semester I also discovered this cool thing called SoulPancake. The best way I can describe it is an online media group dedicated to facilitating conversations about art, creativity, philosophy, religion, and spirituality. It is not a Christian group. It was, however, created by Rainn Wilson. Yes, that Rainn Wilson.

Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute

Rainn Wilson as the founder of SoulPancake

I got into SoulPancake through their YouTube channel (which I found through the Vlogbrothers, because really what do I follow on YouTube that wasn’t a suggestion from the Vlogbrothers?). My favorite “shows” are “Life’s BIG Questions,” “The FlipSide,” and “Metaphysical Milkshake.” You should go watch some of them.

Also there is website with discussion forums and activities (which I haven’t really explored) and a book that I just bought! The book is pretty cool so far. It is filled with thought-provoking questions and activities, and I can’t wait to use it on my friends/students!

I think what I like most about SoulPancake (and how it related to my student development class) is this (from the intro to the book):

“Everyone has the right — even the obligation — to seek the truth for him- or herself. We shouldn’t take the beliefs of our parents, community, or clergymen to be our own credo unless we’ve checked it out for ourselves.

“This is the central topic of what we’re trying to do with SoulPancake: Give people a safe, fun, thought-provoking space to investigate truth. A place to decide if they really are atheists or Lutherans or secular humanists or if that’s just an inherited belief structure from the outside world.” -Rainn Wilson

I am a strong believer in Christ and Christianity, but I can say with certainty that it isn’t because I was raised Christian or that Christianity is socially acceptable. I had the privilege in college to meet a ton of people with varying viewpoints, discuss ideas, talk out concept, and learn what I believe for myself. I am still undergoing this process because I believe we should test our values and beliefs. That’s why I also nerded out many times in law class this semester while we were talking about freedom of speech:

“You don’t have the right to not be offended… if you’ve gone through four years of college without being offended or without having your beliefs put to the test, then you should ask for a refund because you haven’t maybe been engaged in the debate that’s supposed to take place in this marketplace of ideas that’s the university atmosphere.” -Emily Guidry

So yeah! Go chew on some of Life’s Big Questions and check out SoulPancake!


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