What Really Happens to Christians at Liberal Schools?

I’ve been hearing it since the beginning of time.  “You’re lucky you are where you are now, because in college, people will treat you differently for being a Christian.”  “At college, people will really attack your faith.”  “Be really careful around liberals, because they hate Christians.”

I made a mention in my last post of how ridiculous I think this is, but now I have the answer to THE question: What really happens to Christians at liberal schools?

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Here’s a bad shot of my school, taken on my phone

 

In a word, nothing.  Or nothing bad that is.  Yes, you will meet people who disagree with you.  Yes, your beliefs will be challenged.  And yes, you might question everything you ever believed.  But in my mind, these are all good things.  I did come to college to get educated, didn’t I?

Now I can’t speak for every school, everyone you might meet at these schools, and every setting etc.  I can only speak from my experience.  To be honest, I haven’t actually started classes yet, so I don’t know if professors will try to force me to sign a paper saying “I don’t believe in God.”  Though I seriously doubt it.*

That said, I do believe I have been thoroughly exposed to so-called “liberal college culture”.  I am attending one of the more liberal schools in the country, and my experience here began with a service project for first-years, which was a rather liberal program.  To top it off, I was in the Gender and Sexuality focus area, which may have been the most liberal focus area at the liberal program at the liberal school.

In case you are still doubting my amount of exposure, here is a picture from a game we played:

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The red category is anatomy and the purple category is miscellaneous

 

Okay, if you were half as horrified by that picture as my mother was, you’re probably wondering how I survived.

When I walked in, I was afraid.  I was afraid everything I heard before was true and the people I was about to meet wouldn’t accept me because of my background or faith.  In reality, I found my new friends more accepting than the vast majority of people in Christian circles.  Yes.  More accepting.

By the time I left, I was almost a different person.  I’ve gained a lot of knowledge, some of it interesting, some of it… less necessary.  I’ve gone from some one who knew next to no LGBTQ+ people to someone who wonders if straight people (especially straight guys) are a myth.  But I also finally had the chance to speak out about issues important to me and to be heard.

The people I’ve meet here– religious and non-religious– want to talk about all viewpoints and meet people with all beliefs.  They don’t reject me because of my faith, and I don’t reject them for their beliefs.  My belief system, faith, and sense of self have all grown in ways they never could have without the people here.

If you simply respect the differences in yourself and other people, you’d be amazed what can happen.

*This post has been in the works for a long time, so I actually have been to classes.  And yeah, everything was fine.  We’ve discussed religion but from a neutral standpoint.

 

 

Christmas

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:10-14 (NIV)

CW 7: Dan and the Mountain Lions

This week’s assignment was to retell a Bible story in a modern setting.  You can probably guess which story I did.  😉  Though I’m warning you, it got to be a bit long…

Hidden in a backroom, three seniors at Chaldean Academy conversed in hushed tones.  “I don’t like it.  I don’t like it at all,” Regan said, impatiently drumming her perfectly manicured nails.  “Class president, StuCo president, now valedictorian?  This has to stop.”

“Totally agree,” Al said, popping open a soda can.  “I’ve hated that guy ever since he convinced Principal Nezzar only to allow healthy food in the cafeteria.  Seriously, that stuff is gross.”

“What makes it worse is he’s one of the orphan kids that got shipped here a few years ago,” Regan ranted.  “We were the ones attending Chaldean first, the ones with respectable family backgrounds.  If anything, we should be outdoing him in everything.  It’s mortifying.”

“Yes,” Edmund agreed ruefully, not moving from his perch at the window.  “Yet how can we rid ourselves of a problem like Dan?”  He stared at the mountainside with hawk-like intensity, yellow-green eyes searching the mountainside as if he would find the answer to his question etched in its rocky slopes.

“Simple.”  Al tossed a potato chip in his mouth.  “We knock him down from one of his positions.”

“Knock him from one of his positions?” Regan rolled her sharp blue eyes.  “Easier said than done.  Our new principal is practically in love with the dude.”

“Put him on academic probation?”

Regan slapped the backside of Al’s head.  “Ow!” he complained.

“You idiot.  He has the highest GPA in our class.  If this goes on he’ll be valedictorian, and we can’t have that.”

“Okay, you’re right.”  Al scrunched his features together in thought.  “We can get him in trouble for the time when he… when he…”

Regan sighed dramatically.  “That’s just it, Al.  Dan has a record more spotless than Principal Mede’s new car.”

“So he does,” Edmond agreed, twisting his head around to reveal a crooked smile.  “But there is one thing we can use against him.”

There was a sharp knock on Principal Darius Mede’s door.  “Come in,” he called.  The deep brown door swung open to reveal three familiar faces.  “Regan.  Albany.  Edmund.  What brings you here?”

“Do you have a moment?” Regan asked.  She gave him a smile like an iced over lake.

“Why yes.  I’m always pleased to speak with three of Chaldean’s finest students.  Is there a concern you wish to discuss?” Principal Mede replied, shuffling some papers and straightening his spectacles.

“As a matter of fact sir, there is,” Edmund replied, sauntering forward.  “You see, we were under the impression Chaldean Academy offers only the finest education.  That it stands as an intellectual haven.”

“Erm, well yes,” the principal stammered.  Under Edmund’s stare, he suddenly felt reduced to the size of a mouse.  Did the students of his school think him incompetent?  He couldn’t have that; as principal, he wanted—needed—to be respected.  “Has something caused you to feel otherwise?”

“Actually yes.”  Regan stepped forward, placing her hands on the enormous oak desk.  “It has come to our attention some students believe in God—an old-fashioned, childish fantasy virtually disproven by science.  No modern, intellectual school would ever support such an idea.”

“Thus in order to protect the serious students, those desiring a true education, we propose a rule be made to ban any recognition of God,” Edmund added.  “Moreover, you’ll be renowned as the most progressive principal Chaldean has seen yet.”

“And how will it be enforced?” Principal Mede asked, leaning forward in his office chair.

“Any kid caught praying or reading a Bible will be kicked out pronto,” Al answered, jerking his thumb at the door.  “Because really, no serious student would believe that mumbo jumbo anyway.”

Principal Mede reached for his pen to write down the new rule.  “I quite agree, Albany.  But given the fact we’re a boarding school positioned in the middle of nowhere, what do you propose we do with expelled students?”

Edmund let out a laugh that sounded more like a screech.  “Send them out to the mountain lions for all I care.  See what their God can do for them then.”

Dan pushed through the crowd to see what the great fuss was about.  Nearly the entire student body of Chaldean Academy was gathered around a paper posted to the wall.  A few of the kids threw strange glances at him, whispering behind his back.  Being Chaldean’s top student, he was used to getting attention, but somehow it felt different today.  “Hey Dan!  Hear about the new rule?” his friend Tom greeted him.

“New rule?  Is that what all this commotion is about?” Dan asked lifting his head in hopes of getting a look at the paper.

“Yeah.  Anyone who shows any sign of believing in God is kicked out.”

Dan dropped the notebook in his hand.  “What?!”

“You heard me.”

“But… that’s absurd!”

Tom shrugged.  “Well, Principal Mede is real serious about it.  No one’s been kicked out yet, but he swears he’ll do it.”

“No.  I won’t stand for it,” Dan said with enough force to cause a few heads to turn.  He started pushing his way back through the crowd.

“Listen, Dan,” Tom started, following his friend.  “I know you’re serious about your religion and all, but just drop it.  It’s not worth it.”

“Not worth it!  Tom, following God is anything but not worth it!”

“Look.  You graduate in a few months.  After that you can do all the God stuff you want, but for now just put up an act.  Remember, you came from the orphanage.  If you get kicked out of this place, you’ve got nowhere to go.”

Dan took in a deep breath.  “I know.  But God’s more important to me than a place to live.  If I get expelled, I get expelled.  Then I’ll trust Him to provide for me from there.”

Principal Mede’s door swung open, revealing a trio wearing triumphant expressions.  “Please knock before you… oh, it’s you three again.  What brings you back to my office?” the principal asked.

“We caught some one breaking your rule today,” Al said with a smug grin.

“Oh?  And who might that be?” Principal Mede asked, fidgeting with his pen.

“Dan,” Regan replied.

“Dan, surely he didn’t…”

“Oh but he did,” she interrupted.  “He prayed before every meal today, just like always.”

The principal put his face in his hands.  “Chaldean Academy hardly has a better student than Dan.  Perhaps we could make an exception.”

“Are you sure, principal?” Edmund challenged.  “A move like that would put your authority into question.”

Principal Mede shifted uncomfortably.  “But… Dan came from an orphanage.  Where would he go?  These parts aren’t very safe, with the mountain lions…”

“That’s none of our concern.  A rule is a rule and you must enforce it,” Edmund insisted, staring deeply into the principal’s eyes.

“Very well,” the principal consented after a long moment.  “Dan will be expelled.”

After the three students left his room, the principal slumped in despair.  How could he do this to his favorite student?  But Edmund was right; his authority could not be compromised.  He would send Dan out for one night, just to show the school he meant business.  Then, if Dan was unharmed, he could return to Chaldean in the morning.  One night out in the open couldn’t hurt.  The mountain lions wouldn’t really come, would they?  “Please stay safe,” he muttered, suddenly wishing for a God to pray to.

The moment the first ray of dawn struck the morning sky, Principal Mede ran out the door, most of Chaldean Academy following behind.  He hadn’t slept a wink the entire night.  Each mountain lion cry he heard chilled him to the bone, and there were more last night than he’d ever heard.  A garbage can lay on one side, its contents spilled on the ground.  So they were hungry, too.  Of course.  He collapsed in despair.  There was no way Dan was still safe.

After some time—he wasn’t sure how long—there was a hand tapping his shoulder.  “Umm… Principal Mede.  I heard you were looking for me.”

The principal jumped up to find Dan standing before him, dark hair ruffled and school uniform wrinkled from his night outside but otherwise unharmed.  “Dan how are you… how are you..?”

“Alive?” he laughed.  “Well, I saw quite a few mountain lions last night, so I can only think of one explanation.  God protected me.”

“Yes… yes, He must have.”  Principal Mede stood up, facing the students who had gathered around the scene.  “Students, I would like to announce that from now on, Chaldean Academy will teach the truth.  Dan’s God is the true God.  Anyone who disagrees with this being taught can see me.  And you, Edmund, Albany and Regan,” he said, turning to face the three flabbergasted students.  “Are expelled.  Pack your bags and be gone by lunch.  I don’t want to see or hear from you again.”

So justice came to the plotters and Dan prospered for the remainder of his high school career, but most importantly, Chaldean Academy became a place where the truth was taught: Dan’s God was real and alive.

J7: My Favorite Bible Story (or Stories)

“Favorite” questions always throw me off.  Whenever I’m confronted with questions such as “What’s your favorite book?”, “What’s your favorite movie?”, or even “What’s your favorite food?” I’m forced into an awkward silence because I have no idea what to say.  I simply have so many favorites I cannot choose.

Another one of these questions is, “What is your favorite Bible Story?”  Since the book is filled with more life changing stories than I can fit on this page, I’ve decided not even to try to choose one favorite.  Instead, I’ve composed a list of five that are among my many favorites, not listed in any particular order.

  1. The story of Esther.  I’ve always loved this story, perhaps because Esther is one of the few female protagonists in the Bible.  She shows remarkable courage, which I really admire.

2. Balaam and the donkey. (Numbers 22)  This is a rather bizarre story, which is exactly what I love about it.  It shows God can use anything in any way to accomplish His will.  Not only does the thought of a donkey rebuking his master make me smile, but it reassures me God has the power to work in amazing ways.

3.The story of Deborah. (Judges 4)  Between Deborah’s awesome leadership and Jael killing Sisera, this story features a lot of girl power.  Similarly to Esther, I enjoy this passage because it shows women displaying great strength and bravery.

4.Ehud. (Numbers 3:12-21)  Yes, I’m serious.  I really do love this story, and not just because I’m a deranged person who finds it amusing.  In Ehud’s time, being left-handed was regarded as strange, though God was able to use this for a greater purpose.  It reminds me God knew what He was doing when He created every person and can use the parts of us that we don’t like.

5. Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11) There are so many reasons to love this story.  It really shows what kind of a person Jesus was.  Instead of giving judgment he shows grace and forgiveness; instead of being prideful and hateful he shows love.  Moreover, He used a few simple words to send all the accusers away, scratching their heads and reevaluating their lives.

J3-Salt of the Earth

“You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty?  It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.” Matthew 5:13

Salt is pretty important.  Imagine what French fries would be like without salt.  Or potato chips.  In fact, a large portion of what we eat would taste awful without salt.  The taste of salt, or lack thereof, is noticed immediately.  If we were ever to put salt on our food to find it didn’t have taste, we would be disgusted and throw it out immediately.  In the same way, our “taste” as Christians needs to be noticeable.  If it isn’t, then we aren’t fulfilling our purpose.

But in Bible times salt was even more important.  Being that the refrigerator was yet to be invented, salt was used as a preservative.  If we are the salt of the world, we are what keeps it from rotting.  Thus our job isn’t only to “add flavor” to the world here and there.  When we see “rotting” parts of the world, such as suffering, we should take a stand against it and work to prevent it from continuing.

 

 

 

CW2-The Value of Wisdom

For our first Creative Writing assignment, we were to create an acrostic poem using the letters of our name and describing an important them in the Bible.  i.e. faith, glory, forgiveness etc.  And we had to put a synonym of the theme we chose in every line.  Thank you, Thesaurus.com for providing this interesting synonyms of wisdom. 

Seekers of wisdom will be rewarded, for God

Sends understanding to those who request it

All the treasures of the earth do not surpass the value of knowledge

Assets are nothing in the face of sapience

Rubies and diamonds are dull in comparison to acumen

Righteous ones speak with discernment at all times

Abundant rewards are given to those who cherish reason

Assurance is given to those who embrace sagacity, and those who

Heed wise judgment shall prosper

Hope is never far from the one who clings to perspicacity

Lovers of pansophy are protected and should never

Lose hold of discernment

Usurpers are nothing in the face of a wise person

Understanding surpasses all strength and

Perspicacity is the strongest weapon

People who discard intelligence are but fools

Underestimating the value of reason leads to despair

Understanding keeps followers of God on the correct path

J2-Staying Strong

Yipee!  Our first journal assignment!  And the topic is… *drum roll* Psalm 119!

“How can young people keep their paths pure?  By guarding them according to what you’ve said.”  Psalm 119:9

It seems to me people are always claiming the newest generation is the worst.  Today’s parents, pastors, and youth leaders are deeply distressed by the shockingly high number of young people leaving their faith.  They wonder how to convince teenagers to resist temptation and peer pressure so to remain on God’s path.

I believe that the fact David mentioned the importance of young people staying true to God shows this isn’t by any means a new concern; the same questions have been raised since Bible times, and in this very applicable verse we are given an unequivocal answer.  If young people are to stay strong in their faith, we must continually study God’s instructions and constantly strive to apply them to our lives.

an interesting pic of a Bible