Bible College Ruined Me!! (Almost)

I confess, it has been a long time since I posted here. With starting back to Grad School this fall I haven’t really posted much of anywhere. I do have some posts coming for this fine site however. Before I do I want to dip my toes in the water so to speak. I love to write. If I don’t write I end cornering my wife too much. 🙂 One of the things I work on is something called Bible College Ruined Me!! (Almost) (heneforth to be knowns as BCRMA). I posted two small excerpts on my blog a few days ago and the response has been good. So now I’m going to post them here for you to review and say whatever. This is just a short portion the whole. Share your feedback, good bad or indifferent.


Chapel Checker. (Part 1)

I was early for chapel. A rarity for me in that time. I had a girlfriend on campus at the time so it probably had something to do with that. In those days we had to cross our name off of a pre-printed list to prove that we had actually been in chapel. They lined up 10 or other students with a sheet of our names. Each of these students became your “chapel checker” for the year.  For the semester you could miss a total of ten (two weeks worth) of chapels. More than that and you had to pay a fine. These fines could pile up quickly and I have to admit over the years I paid my share. This day, I walked up to the coat rack, hung my jacket up and walked over to my chapel checker. I have no idea how one became a chapel checker. Did they have to pass a background check? Did they have to have some sort of special training? Were they the students that secretly wanted to work for I.R. S. when they graduated college? I imagine they were actually friends with whoever picked for that position. Like almost everything else on campus this probably had more to do with who liked you and who you knew than anything else. Either way, I had to sign in by crossing my name off. This was the semester I was going to keep all of my cuts until the end. (I had my own issues tied to chapel attendance– maybe God would love me more if I went all the time. Those issues had nothing to do with the school) I walked up to my checker and crossed my name out. We started chatting for a few minutes and up walked Kate*. She looked me up and down and said words that forever changed my life and world.
Before I tell you the profound words that she shared with me allow me just a moment to set the backdrop for you. Our school rule book stated that underclassmen had to wear a collared shirt with three buttons (yes, I knew a student who receive a point because his shirt only had 2 buttons) , casual dress slacks, dress socks and dress shoes. There was an “or” and I loved that beautiful little word my first three semesters at Bible College (BC). Underclassmen could also wear colored jeans that were not blue, and a sweater or BBC gear. Now, I bought one blue BBC sweatshirt, and three pairs of colored jeans (Red, Green and Black). I wore those three pairs of jeans and that BBC sweatshirt over a T-shirt almost every day. I was well with-in the bounds of the rules and I enjoy jeans more than any pants, no matter how comfortable Dockers wants to tell me their pants are. Given my choice, I’ll alway slap on a comfortable pair of Levi’s, my hiking boots, and a comfortable T, with a Hoody. Never-the-less the rules were the rules and I was following them.
I am and always will be a momma’s boy. The profound impact my mother had on me is one I am not sure I can adequately measure. This year my mom had bought me a sweet tie. I loved it. I thought it looked good on me and I was proud to wear it because my mom had bought it. This morning I was up early so I dressed up. I put on my red jeans, and my boots–which were OK according to the rules because there was snow outside. I put on a denim shirt (believe it or not that was the way to dress back then, I think) and this tie that my mom had bought me.
Now, let’s go back to my chapel checker. I was chatting with her waiting for my girlfriend to walk up when Kate* walked up and said to me, “WOW, Joe you must really be getting your life right with God.” This statement struck me as odd on a lot of levels. Kate and I were friends the first two weeks of our Freshman year, but we hadn’t talked much since then. She did not really know anything about me. Of course, I am sure I had acted in some way that she found to be wrong, or offensive or she had heard a story, but still to walk up to me and make this proclamation threw me off kilter. I had no idea how to respond, so I looked at her and asked what drew her to that conclusion. Here is her response word for word, I will never forget it. These words were literally like blows to my conscience.
She replied, “Well, look at you.” She pointed at my tie. “You’ve been wearing ties and your early to chapel. I’m so happy for you. Good for you, keep it up.”  She smiled and walked away. I don’t remember anything else about that day, but I remember that conversation as if it happened yesterday and as I am sitting here writing this it has been at least 14 years.

…this post is long enough for now. I’ll share more another day.

About Joe

I am a simple guy. I live in West Michigan and have a counseling business. I also do public speaking. I'd love to hear your story.

5 thoughts on “Bible College Ruined Me!! (Almost)

  1. Pingback: Christian » Bible College Ruined Me!! (Almost)

  2. Great post Joe.

    Your story so far is ringing very true.

    It has always amazed me how people equate the way you dress to the level of spirituality. If you wear a 3 piece suit it surely must mean that you are a spiritual giant. It’s too sad to be funny really. 🙂

    We have missed you during your absence here bro.

    Can’t wait to read the rest of the story.


  3. Well Joe, I didn’t go to BBC but what’s worse is that I went to Word of Life and then transferred elsewhere. However, many of my friends and family members went to various BBCs.

    I remember not telling anyone at Liberty that I went to WOL because no one could stand us know-it-alls.

    It took me some time to recover from WOL and I’m over my frustrations. I avoided it altogether (knowing how BC had persuaded all of my peers that after one year they had it all together) but then I found that some people I went to college with started talking on the WOL forum about the EC. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to see who has moved from a legalism position to a grace position. Then as I started to reconnect with people on facebook I was so thankful that the Lord has moved in other people’s hearts as well as mine. It’s like that Brandon Heath song, “I’m Not Who I Was”.

    Their possible demise was teaching the preeminence of the “word of God”. BC taught us that what scripture taught was the final authority. All of the extrabiblical cultural stuff was not scriptural and pulling scriptures out of its context would not longer suffice.

    So come to find out mandatory chapel attendance is no where to be found in the scriptures…oh well!

  4. Haha, I’ve actually got a whole piece about how what they taught led to almost all of the stress they endured.
    As for WOLBI, I cannot stand the place. Went there a LOT as a kid, hate the Superbowls (Give us money, give us money, give us money) and always found WOLBI kids to be fascinating. They all looked alike. Especially the guys. you could pick them out of a crowd. True story: I went to Peru and went to a wedding. I said to the guy sitting next to me, “I bet you that guy’s from WOLBI.” Sure enough, he was! 8,000 miles and you could still pick them out easy.

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