I landed at Bible College in Southwestern Missouri, about a 7 hour drive from home. My first look at the school was the day I moved in. Honest. My parent’s drove me to the school, first year students weren’t permitted to have cars on campus or facial hair or t.v.s. Actually the car thing was just for first years, but none of us were ever supposed to have hair on our faces or t.v.s in our rooms. Eventually they relaxed the rule right before I graduated and you could have a mustache as long as it didn’t grow below the corners of you rmouth. (Liberals!) I don’t think there was anything in the handbook about smoking and drinking in the dorm room. It was assumed everyone knew the 11th and 12th commandments.
Once I was in and we’d toured the place, Mom & Dad said good-bye and then they were in the car and off for home. Later Dad told me that Mom cried the whole way home. 7 hours. I was too busy living forward to notice much or really even care that my parent’s were moving into new territory just like I was. Sitting in my little dorm room I wondered who my roommate would be, what they’d be like and whether or not I could handle the heat and humidity in my very un-air-conditioned dorm. I had misunderstood the directions in the handbook they’d sent me and I’d arrived a full day before most of the other students and two whole days before first years were supposed to be there.
Slowly the dorm filled up around me and the campus started coming to life. My roommate still hadn’t shown up but I was meeting a few people. There was a certain picture I had in my head about what dorm and campus life would be like. I had imagined students with Bibles open walking along in deep discussion, people in brown robes with rope belts walking to morning and evening prayer. Turned out, not so much. My second night in the dorm I heard the sound of thunder rolling down the hall and two students came running by, one chasing the other, shooting water pistols with both hands and wearing belts and cowboy hats and little else.
I wondered if maybe I hadn’t heard God on this one. But my doubts then were nothing like what happened on my first day of classes.
I sat down with all the other students, got out my notebook and pen, my Bible and tried to figure out what evil person thought up the idea of 7 a.m. class. The worst part was walking to class in the dark and passing by the girl’s dorm. Try this yourself. Walk along in the dark near a row of windows. Have someone suddenly turn on the light in the room you are walking by and see if you don’t reflexively turn towards the burst of light. Now put a freshmen girl in the window in mid-clothes change who continues to yell, “Perv!” long after you’ve sprinted on down the sidewalk once your groggy, 7 a.m. brain realizes what you’ve just seen. My first day started in shock and pretty much ran the whole rest of the day that way. I think that’s why I raised my hand.
My prof asked the class a simple question. “Who here thinks that God has spoken to them?” I raised my hand. The prof stopped. I slowly turned my head to scan the rest of the room and realized that I was the only one out of 40 other students to have my hand up. I knew that couldn’t be good. “And what did God say to you?” he asked me.
“Well, I think he told me to go to this Bible College.” I omitted the part about the hot girl on page 16 of the school catalogue. “I prayed about where to go and I really felt like he was telling me to come here.” Whatever instinct grips a mouse at the moment he’s taken the cheese but before the trap closes on him was the sensation that hit me at that second. I lowered my hand as my prof said, “Well, better grab a red pen and right it in the back of your Bible then. If God said it, it belongs in the Bible.” And with that he launched into a little preach all about how when God finished dictating the Bible to folks he figured he’s said just about all he needed to say and hasn’t really had anything to say ever since. That’s a rough translation.
And that was it. No more fun with God. No more conversations with the Almighty. My prof knew way better than me and just like that the little switch went into the ‘Off’ position and I stopped hearing God. The Messiah became a mute. And I did my best to make sure that everyone else was straight on this too, I sure didn’t want anyone else to be deceived the way I had been.
…to be concluded.