[The following poem was composed in 2005 in honor of the demolition of a historic building on the campus of Freed-Hardeman University, and was originally published in the school literary magazine.] Continue reading
College is starting back. Some of you will be going for the first time. You will meet new people. Some of you are going to a Christian college, one in the south, like I did. How well do you know your Christian College stereotypes? Based on the famous “99% of the People You Meet in College” article (from which I shamelessly plaigiarized), I give you a list of possible stereotypes you may encounter at a particularly Christian university in the south:
[This list is meant to make fun of stereotypes, so if you’re offended because you think one of these describes you, this blog may not be suitable for your consumption.]
When I graduated college for the first time I made a list of advice for people attending or graduating from Freedom Hardly Man. This advice could also apply to other Christian schools, and even any other university to a degree. After 5 years away, I dispense with this advice once again.
In Henderson, TN there exists a private Christian college called Freed-Hardeman that once a year engages in an extravagantly amateur school-pride-boosting “performance art” tradition called “Makin’ Music“. If that rings a bell for you, keep reading. If it does not, you probably won’t get the rest of this.
In this competitive musical extravaganza, 4-7 social clubs (the sober, co-ed alternative to frats and sororities) design a 7-minute musical number suited for small children, the elderly, tools, people with a permanently sunny disposition, and alumni who forget that they graduated to start a career and a family twelve years ago.
Oh, you’re going to win Makin’ Music this year? Condescending Wonka shares his thoughts:
From the Conclusion:
“When I wrote these, I wrote them
for children who were told that dancing is tantamount to sex.
For girls who were taught that their bodies were shameful by preachers who blamed Bathsheba for David’s sin.
For families where brothers and sisters were not even allowed to swim in the same pool for fear of arousing unnatural passions.
For those who have lived in constant fear of hell because of a soteriology that can only be described as, “Once saved, always in jeopardy.”
For those who have been deprived the comfort of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their life by preachers who told them that the Spirit dwells only in the Bible.
For entire families of preachers who have literally been kicked to the curb without notice because of a homiletical misstep or a personality conflict with a power-hungry eldership.
For those who have been told, “We will not even baptize you until you divorce your wife, because your marriage is unscriptural. It is better to break up your family than to burn in hell.”
For the women who have been “put in their place.”
For the LGBTQ family members who have spent hellish years trembling in the closet.
For the young alcoholic booted out of the Christian college without so much as an offer of help or treatment.
For the young man with a porn addiction who confided this to an elder and was threatened, “I’ll bet your momma would be real ashamed if she knew what you were doing.”
For the men with porn addictions who were told in the Open Forum of a Christian college lectureship: “I don’t see how it’s a problem. I love to go fishing, but if Jesus told me not to do it, I’d get rid of my rod and reel. It’s that simple, boys.”
I wrote these for everyone who has ever felt the need to pray, “Lord, protect me from my brethren.”
The other night I had the privilege at eating at Texas Steakhouse, which is like Logan’s Roadhouse, which both have something in common with Five Guys and a Burger, which is my favorite of the three. That information isn’t important. Neither is it important that among the few lifespan-decreasing fast food chain restaurants I actually enjoy is Five Guys and a Burger. On two levels, the burgers and peanut-oil fries are to die for. I’m here to talk about the peanuts.