Gift statue worshipped as cult phenomenon

Kult Leider—Staff Writer



Contributed Photos

After a particularly low attendance at Chapel last Wednesday, April 4th, Dordt College’s Chaplain Aaron Baart asked students what could have caused such a light turnout. After inquiring about the phenomenon through Facebook, reliable news source Dordt College Communist Party (DCCP) responded in a comment: “Haven’t you heard? We now pray to the Gift for safe passage during finals.”

Baart followed up on the statement by personally investigating the situation. On the night of April 4th, he waited outside of the classroom building until he saw students approaching the statue bearing gifts and offering, while chanting the doxology. Baart expressed his shock in his interview.

“They were all dressed in Walmart bath robes, putting down Root Beer and beef jerky by the statue’s feet.”

Baart further described what he saw as a desperate attempt from the students to save their GPA.

Upon returning home that night, Baart emailed Dordt Campus with referrals to tutoring, links to Dordt’s academic enhancement programs, and the weekly schedule for all worship services on campus. Yet, news of Dordt students’ late night activity resulted in mixed responses from the community. Whereas some faculty and students viewed the event as a frat-like fad, this opinion was not shared by all. On hearing the news, without skipping a beat, Siouxland Reformation Society rebuked Dordt for such prominent display of the Gift, in a tweet paraphrasing Leviticus 26:1.

michel gift.pngThe Siouxland Reformation Society’s Facebook group further attacked Dordt for having an “androgynous statue encouraging the homosexuals” and not displaying any overtly “Christian symbolism.” Unaware of the reach of his email, Baart soon found his inbox full of messages from concerned parents, sponsors and pastors. The situation gained more public attention, and more groups felt the need to participate into the conversation by taking their own spin on it.

The Dordt Democrats critiqued the statue for being “white with distinctly male features,” the DCCP for how “the nakedness of the statue makes a mockery of the student’s dire financial conditions,” and the Dordt Republicans fumed that they would “…hope that The Gift would display more American virtues and become a self-built family man who takes no handouts!”

The community gathered around groups who agreed, or disagreed, with the Gift, and—following the current trend in the nation—petitions circulated demanding removal of the statue. The students who initiated the Gift worship were not bothered at all by the growing commotion around their rites. They claimed their cult to be a way for students to bond over their common struggle. In their chanting circles, they argued, students feel less alone and comforted by being in the company of others in the same boat.

“Hence,” said cult leader and senior Michel Gomes, “the statue is only secondary. They may kill the statue, but not the idea!”

As groups debated the cult’s existence, President Hoekstra reminded the community that college is a great time for learning and to be exposed to different views. He offered that though Dordt may give exposure, it does not condone the actions. When Howard Wilson was asked for comment, he replied, “We do not have a cult culture at Dordt College.” The Zircon team pressed further by asking specifically about the role of the Gift in all of this, but he refused to comment further.


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