Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kelsey: The college years

Yesterday I got to hang out all day with Sarah and Francis in Jinja! My favorite people in my favorite town. Being back with Sar has made me think about our time at Judson. You can read Sarah's collegiate reflections here.

I agree with what Sarah wrote. I had a lot of frustrations with Judson, mostly over bureaucracy types of things. I would definitely change the way they do advising. When I transferred in I had a temporary advisor who screwed me the way she transferred my credits and cost me at least one extra semester if not two. Which honestly is a REALLY costly mistake on her part. There were other times when I felt like people were purposefully making it impossible for me to graduate on time. I was a transfer student AND I chose to study abroad so I really shot myself in the foot in terms of getting out of their on time. But that should not be the way it is. I often felt that people weren't totally sure exactly which classes I had to take and when in doubt it was make her take more, stay longer, and pay more money. I once had the registrar tell me that I did not need a certain class so I chose to audit the class because I really wanted to take it but had a full load. A year later it turned out that I DID need that exact class and so I had to retake it for credit. Ridiculous.

But I did really appreciate a lot about my Judson experience. This is probably typical of most college experiences but I loved being taught how to think and not what to think. Before Judson most of the teaching I had heard on the Bible came from the pulpit. In church they do not tell you that there are two sides to what they preach. I once heard a sermon about how there is no such thing as "faith healing", or "healing by prayer". The pastor said that was an apostolic gift and was no longer available to followers of Jesus today. The pastor did not mention that many great minds disagree with him. Huge portions of the christian faith disagree with him. He was presenting his interpretation of scripture, thats what pastors do. But what if you are a person in the congregation who has witnessed healing prayer, or been healed by prayer? What do you do with a message like that? Presbyterians (I can pick on them because I am one) preach Presbyterian doctrine, they don't mention the other side of what they preach. And that makes sense because they do not believe the other side of what they preach. But I don't just want to hear what one portion of christianity thinks on any given subject or how one portion interprets the bible. I especially don't want to be taught that like it is a fact, like it the the "correct" way to interpret the Bible.

At Judson I was taught how to interpret the Bible for myself, not following along any one doctrine or belief system. I was taught Eastern theology, Western theology, even African theology. We studied what great minds have thought and written over thousands of years. We studied the great disagreements and debates between major sects of christianity. It was the most well rounded exposure I have ever had to the christian faith. I loved being taught by professors who disagreed with each other. Dr. Sanders and Dr. Mason challenged me the most. They pushed me to get out of my comfort zone in terms of what I had been taught in church about the Bible and about how to live faith. Any current Judson students reading this you should do whatever you can to take classes with both of these profs. Oh also Dr. Shannon. She didn't teach in my major so I almost forgot. I had her for Human Sexuality (was that the name of the class? we just called it sex class) she is basically a genius. Everyone go and take sex class. That is the best advice I can give a current student.

Also EVERYONE should study abroad. But that is for another post.

Let me leave you with this classic photo of Sandy-bear (Dr. Sanders). To repay him for all of his wisdom and guidance and keeping me sane through college and being the best mentor I have ever had, I give you this photo.

1 comment:

  1. great blog and pic! yup Dr. Dave is awesome and a great mentor! :) too bad ya didn't post the pic of him in high heels too ;)