Loren Steinhauer 1963 1967

Faith (By Loren Steinhauer)

I moved into UCU with a fair amount of trepidation, afraid that I would have to “upgrade” my Christianity. In modern lingo this would mean going from Faith 2.0 to Faith 3.0. A year earlier I transitioned from up from Faith 1.0. I had grown up in an explicitly Christian home where my parents made sure I got to church Sunday morning and night, tithed from my meager allowance, and read my Bible daily. Now, coming to the UW had meant−for the first time−being away from family for more than four days in a row (summer church camp!). Three hundred miles to the south, Mom worried about me and worked behind the scenes to connect me with a local church affiliated with our denomination. During my first few weeks in the dorms, I got calls from Bill and Lavina (middle-age adults) and two UW students urging me to attend their churches, both in our denomination. I didn’t realized at the time that Mom was quietly pulling strings. Well, her prayers and under-cover efforts paid off; within a few weeks I landed safely and stuck in what she would regard as the “right” church. During that year, despite the full-blown pagan background at the dorms, I managed to attend church morning and night nearly every Sunday. Check, check: Faith 2.0.

One of those who invited me to church was Don, who lived at UCU. Part way through fall quarter he urged me to move into the House for winter quarter. I resisted, offering a lame pretext about dorm R&B rates favoring those who stayed a full year. I didn’t mention the deeper reason that held me back. Don spoke of “witnessing” to his classmates, which scared me; was I supposed to do that? It would mean upgrading my faith. Later a Christian from a frat got in touch and invited me to a week-night meeting of one of the campus ministries. He picked me up at Terry Hall and took me there, riding on the back of his Vespa. At the meeting I heard even more emphasis on evangelism: going down to the HUB, snagging students one has never met, and delivering a packaged bit of the gospel. This shy guy was definitely scared away. Even so, despite my fears, I felt a push, an uncomfortable one, toward an upgrade to “3.0.” In the end, still uneasy, I applied to move into UCU in the fall of my sophomore year.

What did I discover at the House? I found high-level Christians, like Anderson and Smith, Painter and Elliot. On the other end were others who were barely Christian. Most, like me, fell somewhere in between, guys like Crain and Nunnalee, Wornell and Fowler, and it was within this group of fellows I was able to fit in. All in all, UCU gave me the space to live and grow in a Christian environment without getting run over, without being coerced into boot-camp rigor. I had the chance to grow deeper in my faith without having to muddle through a massive emotional crisis, without having an overbearing disciple-maker peering over my shoulder. UCU helped me stay away from unfortunate sidetracks into the world and into ways and habits I would later regret. Importantly, while living there that I was invited into leadership both in the House and in the college ministry of my church. Beginning there, God helped me built the habit of service which, by his grace, has never been lost.

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