boston commoner.
welcome home


I Didn’t Miss a Thing

Filed under: — jen d @ 11:25 am

What I’m about to tell you is scarcely intended to boast of anything. I say and do enough stupid things in a week to know that I am not an unusually bright or intelligent person (note: I’m not begging compliments, either). But, for reasons yet unknown, I graduated second in my class at my public high school, received a book award from Brown University, and all in all had at least a decent shot of getting into one of these high-brow north-eastern institutions of supposedly higher learning. I didn’t go. I’m not saying it would have made me a heathen if I had opted to go; nor am I denegrating by any means people who opt to attend secular universities. In fact, a Christian who is strong in both faith and intellect might do a world of good at a secular, liberal university. Think, “Salt” and “Light.” Someone firmly grounded in Scripture and properly motivated by the love of the gospel message will certainly face some difficulty and opposition in a very leftist academic environment, but will probably come out the other end with even more faith and understanding, not to mention a prestigious degree which he in turn can use to further glorify the Lord.

However, my own last-minute doubts about attending a Christian university had nothing to do with any sudden desire to shed a little light instead on the secular campus. I had made the decision to attend BJU years before graduating high school, for my own reasons, and despite my parents’ suggestions to the contrary (what parent doesn’t want to see his kid go Ivy League?). I hadn’t had the advantage of a very solid, structured education in the Scriptures, nor were there many opportunities for Christian friendships and fellowship in my current surroundings. BJU, as far as I understood, offered a solid liberal arts education, a fantastic fine arts program (that I stupidly never took advantage of), a wealth of Bible classes and other opportunities to learn the Scriptures, and a student body large enough (no, not collossal, I understand) to offer some diversity amongst a crowd (hopefully) united in Christ. I wanted to do that for 4 years. I could put up with the inconveniences of pantyhose and light bells (you new freshman have it SO good) and social restrictions for the good I was sure would come out of it.

My doubts, on the other hand, came at the end of my high school career. I was NOT a strong believer at that point (and I’ve done my share of waffling since). I believed, but lived in fear and estrangement from the Lord because my life was suddenly a spiritual wreck. I suddenly didn’t want to go to Greenville because I knew I’d be cut off rom my worldly “friends” (they didn’t miss me for a minute) and the accompanying lifestyle (of utter misery and self-abhorrence); I also had a sudden fear, propulgated by various well-meaning adults in my life, that I would indeed be wasting all of my supposed talents and opportunities by attending a “no-name” institution that actually taught the Bible without irony. In about a week, I fell in love with the idea of cancelling my reservation and attending Brown. I finally told my mother, in tears, that I thought I’d made a huge mistake, and that I shouldn’t go down to Greenville that next week.

Luckily, parents know us better than we think they do; Mom knew something was going on that had very little to do with academic pursuits, and so told me that I would indeed go to Greenville that next week. I would attend for at least one semester. In the meantime, I could apply to other schools up north, and see what would happen. But I would go south first, one way or another (and she wasn’t even that crazy about BJU).

So I went. There’s a million stories to tell about the interim, but sufficed to say, I stayed. I nearly withdrew on several occasions, but in the end, I stayed. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t been reigned in so (yes) tightly at that particular point in my life. Not everyone needs such an environment to grow spiritually; GOD is certainly not limited to working through any one institution or circumstance, and I praise Him for it. But He did use the school, my friends, the faculty, staff, and, YES, the administration, to show me God’s love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. It’s always an uphill battle, but those qualities in turn continue to motivate me towards a more holy (hopefully not holier-than-thou) life based upon the knowledge of God’s character. And so, I’m thankful.

I’m also thankful that I got a decent undergrad liberal arts education at BJU. I do feel like I came out knowing a few things I hadn’t before, about a variety of topics and philosophies. And while I maybe always sort of wondered if I would have been more “challenged” at a secular Ivy League school, I read articles like this one and realize that, no, academically, I didn’t miss a thing. And that it’s laughable when the liberal left criticizes a conservative Bible school for “indoctrinating” its students. Read the article and see what I mean. That’s a long intro to my source of inspiration for this post, which was originally linked to from Jon Sligh’s blog, Shifting Sand. Enjoy. I think.

Powered by WordPress