Today I was chatting with a classmate about why I hadn't purchased a textbook (about free church liturgy) - mainly because it was expensive and I wasn't sure I needed it, and I made a joke about running from that church anyway. Well that led my prof, who overheard, to give me a mini-lecture (complete with diagram) on the value of learning things we don't like.
Apart from this being terrifically embarrassing, I found it to be extremely unfair. For one thing, I want a little credit for showing up at a freaking evangelical institution to get my MDiv. How in the hell am I being accused to not wanting to learn about things I don't like or feel I'm "past" - wouldn't I have gone to the infinitely more comfortable environment of Episcopal seminary if this were the case? I sit every day in classes where people are openly hostile to just about everything I believe, but I let them say their piece and I mostly don't say much. Believe me, my friends, I am spending every damn day incorporating knowledge that is not my own, that is not my interest, and that is sometimes helpful but mostly disdainful.
And I also have to point out the gross double standard at work here. What I've found since being at Fuller is that the majority of the people here could seriously care less about my tradition, much less those more "high" than my own (someone in class the other night referred to coming out of the Catholic church to "find Jesus"). People may be mildly curious, but they certainly don't want to take the time to actually learn anything. Can you imagine the stink that would go up if people were asked to learn my theological heritage as in-depth-ly as I'm learning theirs?
And it would be one thing if I were at a Baptist school or something, but this is an ecumenical institution. So it's not like I'm saying something crazy and unfair - they want to represent many denominations (there are over 100 here) and many theologies. And they do a pretty good job.
But I don't ever want to be accused of not being willing to learn from someone else or closing my mind to what I don't care for. I'm the freaking model citizen of ecumenical studies. And I'm full of unrighteous pride about it, yes I am. Seriously, I know I complain about it a lot, but I'm there, I'm learning it - I'm choosing to be there. I could leave. But I want to have a greater knowledge of the entirety of Christendom. For better or worse, I've chosen that path.
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