I was recently interviewed by the school newspaper about Campus Secret, and this is how I responded:
Frank Warren, the creator of Post Secret started this concept with an idea for a community art project and now travels around the U.S. to talk about the secrets he's collected. I wanted to do our own “Campus Secret” based on Frank Warren’s idea. I think there are so many Biblical concepts behind what Frank started – the art of confession and repentance, healing, forgiveness, freedom, etc.
Frank’s project has become a worldwide phenomenon – both for parties who reveal their secrets and for parties who read the secrets. There is something freeing about telling secrets and there is something freeing about identifying with someone else’s secret. None of us want to be alone in our pain, which is why God created us for community.
I’ve heard several students’ stories about tough stuff they are carrying, and I wanted to have an avenue where they could express their stories in a safe space. The sharing of secrets doesn’t end with getting it off your chest. Rather, it ends by bringing it to Jesus since he paid the price of our sin on the cross. When we know Jesus and accept His grace, we can be freed from the burden of our sins and pains.
Unfortunately, many students have expressed their fear of being judged on our campus, as though they are crying out “if you really knew me, would you still love me?”
I kicked off the Campus Secret campaign when I spoke in chapel on February 6th. The following week we had a dropbox in the bookstore where students could anonymously drop off their secrets. We received 121 postcards – some written on playing cards, hotel keys and coasters. Others were real postcards, magazine pictures, or mini canvases of their own.
I have been impressed with the response from our campus and my expectations have far been exceeded. Small groups have gone through the display, residence halls, passersby, staff and faculty, too. I think the project is bringing important awareness to our campus about the burdens and ‘stuff’ that many of us are carrying with us. It’s encouraging people to be honest and vulnerable and to experience freedom and wholeness as they bring their secrets into the Light.
I, myself, have been through the display 5 or 6 times. Sometimes I reread the cards. Sometimes I read the responses from our campus community. Other times, I observe others as they pass through the exhibit. There is something sacred about the display – it’s probably the most real I’ve seen our campus be. It’s impossible to finish the exhibit and not be touched and/or burdened.
I’m hoping this will teach our campus how to love each other and lift each other up in prayer, rather than passing judgment based on preconceived stereotypes.
I think this exhibit shows that our campus is ready to be healed.
To be freed.
To be known.
To be loved.
To be accepted.