Princeton University’s Religious Life Council (RLC) is an interfaith group of students that meet over dinner each Monday to engage in conversations about their beliefs, questions, experiences, and spiritual life, under the guidance of Dean Matt Weiner. One of the RLC’s annual traditions is called "Speed-Faithing." Speed-Faithing is the RLC’s take on speed-dating – where students from across campus come to share a meal with one another and ask questions that allow them to get to know each other on a deeper level. The most recent Speed-Faithing event, which took place on September 20th, begun with an opening blessing – a story, poem, or passage that is meaningful to the student sharing – followed by students breaking into discussion pairs where they have five minutes to answer a question. The prompts for the evening included: “when was the last time you cried?” and “what’s something you know is real but you cannot prove?” After the five minutes were over, the students switched pairs and repeated the process with another discussion partner. The meeting concluded with a closing blessing.
All kinds of stories are shared between students: stories of love, of grief, of confusion, of moments of clarity, and everything in between. Underlying the questions is an unspoken agreement to be honest, a chance to create authenticity between two people that may have never otherwise met – let alone have shared stories with each other about life. Three students at the event shared their reflections on their Speed-Faithing experience:
“Through the conversations I had with my peers at the Speed Faithing event, I realized two critical things: One: though the titles of our Faiths are different, we all believe in the same ideals: Love, Mercy, Compassion, Empathy. Though we each practice our faith differently, we all strive to create a cohesive world that understands and helps one another. Two: understanding other students’ faith enlightens and strengthens my own. I enjoyed talking to Fawaz, Julia, Saareen, and Derek and hearing them share their faith, a part of their biography, and the things that excited them. The Speed Faithing event allowed me to gain new friends that I can connect to on a deep level. I’ve honestly had more success meeting friends and getting close to them at the Speed Faithing event than at any Speed Friending event I’ve attended at Princeton. The questions asked during the event pushed through artificial and whimsical connections and allowed me to have honest, real, and respectful conversation with those I sat next to.”
-Silvana Nasim ‘23
“My relationship with God is the most important thing in my life: it shapes how I view relationships, time, academics, and work, and it’s what persistently and faithfully gives me hope. Both hearing the honest and vulnerable stories of fellow students and being able to share how God has worked powerfully in my life was a blessing, and I hope Princeton continues to make spaces for deeper and honest conversations like these to occur. Thank you to ORL for hosting this event!”
-Mirae Choi ‘24
“I think I didn't really expect it to go as deep as I actually ended up going with some of the people I had a chance to speak with. I wholly expected, “five minutes? What the heck could you possibly meaningfully talk about in five minutes?” But I had a really, really nice time, and I think basically every single person I met I'm actually planning, and hopefully going, to have a chance to continue our conversation over a meal with them. I had a really great time, and obviously the free Tacoria doesn't hurt!
-Fawaz Ahmad ‘22