Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How do I deeply dislike and simultaneously love the Bible College I went to?

Right now I am sitting in Joe's coffee shop on ASC II at Moody, my alma mater. I'm watchin the two big trees in the plaza, which are yellowing softly. Culby has about 10 windows open and I'm wondering what crazy guys actually WAN to let the 45 degree weather in. I'm watching a Moody couple next to me play with each others' fingers and remembering the years Isaac and I spent around campus doing the same thing. In a few minutes I'll run over to Sweeting for our next conference session.

Being back in Chicago is so surreal every time I come back, mostly because every time it feels SO familiar. The fact that right now I'm staying in my sisters' dorm room and running from chapel to class sessions (for the conference I'm a representative at right now) makes it all even more like a time warp. It feels so normal. Everything does. It feels like walking into my own home. The bathroom tiles in Houghton... I know them. The smell of the elevator. The smell of the hallways! The crisp Fall weather that keeps your nose and cheeks cold and pink. It all just feels so.... normal.

I love and highly, highly value familiarity, so in some ways I soak this up. It's a little strange though, considering when I left Moody I was pretty bitter with the school for a couple of years, and it hasn't been that long since then. How do I deeply love a place that I have mixed feelings about?

I am glad of a LOT of things. Much of what frustrated me about Moody was 1) the rules and 2) the rather conservative dispensational theology. Number one has changed dramatically in the last 8 years since I started here. 8 years ago we had curfew at... 10? 11? We couldn't wear jeans, we couldn't dance, we couldn't watch movies or go to concerts. One by one, ALL of those rules changed. Yay for that - I'm actually really impressed with how those things have been dealt with over the last couple of years. I don't mind that fact that the guys and girls dorms are seperate, and I don't mind the fact that curfew is still in existance for underclassmen ( now it's like 1am) after all, it's downtown Chicago and safety is a major issue, especially for idiot freshman from podunkville, Midwest. The one rule that I would change is the no drinking rule. I still think that should be a matter of individual discresion and obedience to the laws of the country rather than a school rule. But... all things considered Moody doesn't LOOK as ridiculously conservative as they used to, and I'm very, very glad of that.

Theologically they are still very conservative, though. They still pretty much look for theology proffs that subscribe to dispensationalism, particularly classical dispensationalism. It's not that I specifically object to dispensationalism, it's just that I think it's so narrow, and if you want to teach theology well I wish they'd allow for greater discussion. The caveat for me here is that Moody hires well, because they have some AMAZING proffs. It's sort of to the detriment of whoever it is that keeps holding tight to the whole dispensationalism thing, because the proffs teach theology and history and philosophy so well that you can't help but think outside of the box, really. Hence the fact that there are so many Moody students that are NOT dispensationalists or Baptists. :) I am SO thankful for people like Dr. De Rosset, Dr. Schmutzer, Dr. Zuber, etc.. etc.. and the authors and thinkers that they introduced me to.

So yeah... it's an odd thing to love Moody and still be uncomfortable with much of our history and our current theology. I mean, last night the opening session of the conference was just classic. The full band, old hymns I've never heard before (and wasn't a fan of), and then the inevitable "People Need the Lord" sung wistfully. My sister and her floormates actually had taken bets to see which number of song "People Need the Lord" would be. I mean really? It's an old and somewhat pointless song, why are we still singing it? That's just one instance of an unexamined conservative evangelical culture that I still dislike. However... tonight a guy will be speaking who just wrote a book on exactly that topic, so I'm excited about that!

Some other things that are different now - no id swipe cards now, now the students have fobs. Handy. No missionary barrell! Tragic. New President. In fact, he's the second new president in four years. No trays in the SDR. Purell hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere (thank you, swine flu!). Oh, and when I was up in Sweeting 3 I passed a proff's office and glanced over to see if it was any of my old favorites.... no. It was actually two guys I went to school with. How are they already teachers?? Time flies.


CM said...

What is dispensationalism?

Kacie said...

Ok - first of all, sorry it took me so long to answer! I was gone all of last week and have been struggling to catch up. Secondly, oh geez that's a hard question! We read a huge book on the question in undergrad.

It is, at its most simple, the belief that God is dealing with man in a progressive way. Thus, we have him dealing in the world in different ways in each period of history, which those periods being called "dispensations".

People divide it up different ways, but you look back at God's dealing with Adam and then with mankind in general in certain ways. Then He sets up a particular relationship with Israel. From the point Jesus left until now, God deals with the world a very different way.

One affect of this is that it views God as having a special relationship with Israel and that being a DIFFERENT relationship than He has with the church now. In any case, there's some basics in wikipedia that you could google. Some people have taken this to rather extreme ends, and some are more moderate. It affects your view of Israel, of the purpose of the church, of the end times, etc.

CM said...

Thanks! I've heard the word before, but never knew what it meant. Now between that and wikipedia, at least I have a vague understanding! :)

Togenberg said...

I can't believe that I used to be into pre-tribulation Dispensationalism and the End Times obsession. Product of my time and place and family I guess. It just seems so odd now, so..contrived and not at all commonsensical or literal (a hermeneutic which was simultaneously highly valued thing (ironically)).

God bless them.