By: Jack McNeil
“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5). This verse has arguably brought together the Covenant class of 2017 like none other. Many hoped that they could make the class verse of 2017 James 2:5. So, when the list of possible class verses came out (Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:10, Psalm 91:1-2, Psalm 46:10, and Isaiah 40:31) and James 2:5 was left off of it, this caused a small uproar among those who had high hopes for James 2:5. Many tried to have a small protest by writing in James 2:5. The protest did not work, and so lots of people want to know why there is a ban on James 2:5.
The President and Vice President of student council are the ones that choose the list of potential class verse. Vice President Erin Stanley was asked why it was left off, she replied, “It is [the] administration’s choice.”
So why does the administration not want James 2:5 to be the class verse? It seems odd that there would be a part of the Bible that is not allowed by a Christian school. To understand why there is a ban on James 2:5, I talked to guidance counselor Mrs. Shriner. When asked what the problem with James 2:5 is, she answered, “There is the perception that the Class of 2017 has mocked ditose from the beginning.” “Ditose,” which means “die to self,” is a phrase that was taken from James 2:5 and used as the boy’s basketball team motto.
The class of 2017 has latched on to ditose, and they use it more than any other. It might be seen that the class of 2017 has mocked the verse, but it has also brought the class together, which seems to be the main idea for a class verse. The class started saying ditose and James 2:5 after sophomore year when they all had Mr. Flatt as a teacher. It looked like class of 2017 was picking fun at him. There is no way for the administration to know if this is actually true or not because they do not talk to the class about their intentions. When asked what the criteria for a class verse is, Mrs. Shriner said, “It’s hopeful that the class verse would be a reference point of how Covenant shaped your spiritual life and not a joke among friends.”
Senior Malachi Amico, a James 2:5 advocate, responded to this by saying, “Ditose derives from this verse and dying to self is something I’ve come to do. Helping others is more important than helping myself and I thank Covenant for teaching me that.” So it seems that James 2:5 has actually influenced the spiritual lives of students. Malachi is not the only example of this. Fellow Senior Nik Fredrikson added, “It’s helped me become a better person.” It is apparent that James 2:5 has influenced these two. Neither of them could come up with a reason on why the other verses have helped them as well.
I also asked Mrs. Shriner about what would happen if the majority of the class agreed on James 2:5 to be our class verse. She responded by saying, “We will not change our minds and allow James 2:5 to be the class verse. The class voted, and while the majority of the class chose not to vote, the option was available to them.” It sounds like a lot of people were silent on the issue, which sounds like it is saying that the verse that the majority of the people wanted was not an option.
The administration does have a point by saying that the class verse should be a way that the verse influenced your spiritual life. However, it is apparent that James 2:5 has influenced many students’ lives. The administration should get some of a say because it is going to be a part of the school forever. James 2:5 is in the Bible so there shouldn’t be fear of it bringing shame to the school. I do not see how a verse out of the Bible can be looked down upon by a Christian school. The fact that a lot of people left the ballot blank is interesting. It seems like those who want other verses are being left out and not heard. In political elections, there is at least a write in blank which was not available on this vote. The class verse should be the verse that the class wants. It should not be what the administration wants. It is not called the administration’s verse. It is the class of 2017’s class verse. It is the legacy that they get to leave and it is being diluted because it does not go with the administration’s agenda.