I went to a private Christian liberal arts university in a small town in Ohio with a major in Pastoral Ministry. While there, I was exposed to some of the smartest professors in the field and began to challenge the Christian establishment after taking a course that involved a homelessness simulation. By the time I was a junior, the militant evangelical was nearly expunged. Over time, who I was gradually changed.
- I learned how to read a book for information instead of reading a book to be influenced.
- I began to ask the homeless what their names were.
- I became less political and more active in my community.
- I saw that Heaven seemed more as a way to control people than something to hope for.
- I struggled with my beliefs to the point of atheism.
There are many of you who are attending, or who have attended, a private Christian liberal arts universities who are having (or have had) a similar experience. You want to speak out, but you are afraid of the backlash you might receive.
But, you have been given this opportunity to understand what is going on around you, and you have the ability to speak up.
When I was in school, a friend of mine was ratted out for drinking with others, while others in the school of ministry who were also drinking were given a free pass. I know of another story about university chaplain who was quickly removed, which was said to be coincidental, after he challenged the students to consider that the peaceful Martin Luther King Jr. was more of a hero than the American Sniper. Now I hear that there were students at another university who were replacing diversity posters with “its ok to be white.” An official responded to this saying, “Some students think stuff like that is cute. It’s not cute.”
Um, no sir, stuff like that is racist.
Attending the school I did helped me grow out of the faith I was brought up with and into one that does a much better job with keeping God out of a box. However, it is important to note that Christian liberal arts universities are not infallible. I only point out what I have seen and experienced to let others know that they are not alone. This is why I will be releasing an open letter to Christian Liberal Art Universities.