Monday, June 4, 2007

high school = ten years ago

saturday night on my way to the reunion, I was nervous. this surprised me, because I don't get nervous very often. we parked, and brooke and I walked around the corner, into the B&A warehouse, and next thing I knew, 4 hours quickly went by as I talked to people I have not seen or talked to in ten years, and who I surely will not see or speak to for at least another ten years.

why do we do reunions? I mean - I guess they are fun. but I wonder why people are looking to connect with people they have not seen in so long - and with people who no doubt have hurt them. I think maybe part of me wanted to go because I wanted to show people that I have changed - that I'm not the same jerk I was back then (I'm a slightly older jerk now). but instead I just talked to people in the room and didn't think much of proving myself to anyone. I was glad to find there wasn't much of that going on anyway. nobody was seeming to try to impress anybody.

I went to a christian high school where we learned things like how to fight the evolutionists and what a biblical world view is and how many fetuses get aborted annually and how there is no such thing as a gay gene. it's interesting that so many of the people I talked to on saturday night had so much less figured out today than they did ten years ago. we used to be so smart. we used to be so quick to slap people in the face with a bible verse and what we learned in our bible class. now we're all confused. the whole idea of "christian" education seems more and more bizarre the older I get.

I'm not saying it's all worthless. I'm just saying it seems like some of it is worth reconsidering. for me - the christianity I was served growing up - it was a heavy dose of answers and formulas. there was very little mystery. there was very little left to questioning. there was nothing left unexplained. and it seems that in that environment - at least for me - there was no need for faith. or really even god, because who needs faith in god if you've got everything figured out on your own?

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say. maybe just that it was nice to be with people on saturday night who are also trying to claw their way out of dogmaticism, towards faith. not sure what that looks like, but it's nice to not be alone along the way.


george edema said...

I went to my reunion last year and had a similar experience.

I don't know if any school can really prepare you for life. It seems they want to jam you full of a bunch of info so you will be ready when its time to act, but they don't, and can't, walk with you in those times and show you how life goes. Sometimes I think it would be better if went back to something like apprenticeships where there would be a holistic demonstration of life. As it stands now, it seems like we have to relearn everything on our own anyway, when it matters and we don't have a guide readily available.

I like the classical model the best out of what is available so far because it takes into account stages of life better than the traditional American model. But at a young age I'd think exposing your children to diversity in a positive environment would be a great education in building positive assumptions about the world (I went to upper-middle class white schools and even though we were "taught" to respect everyone we didn't learn it experientially).

Crazy Presbyterian Guy said...

BTM, I think sometimes that growing up the way you did, the way I did, is God's way of showing us Himself. Perhaps showing us how not to live by actually living it. Being married to some false standard, living under its heavy weight, not really experiencing the freedom that is ours through Christ. Maybe this doesn't define how you grew up, but it does me, and I despise it. It makes me thankful for what is true and real, even though I don't have it all figured out.

kristen said...

You are definitely onto something in regards to formulaic vs. mysterious faith. It strikes me often during the communion service how what we proclaim is "the mystery of the faith" isn't some complex systematic theological point, it's the very basics. When we acknowledge THAT is a mystery, it makes it hard to be smug and arrogant about the rest of things.

Robert said...

I totally identify with you. In college I probably would have said something like "porn is better for teens than Christian schools". I think I am coming back around. The problem with my (perhaps our) experience is that our school was really a semi-pagan school. It was a school that used the same pragmatic approach to education that the pagans use (they just put a cross on the sign and creationism in the science books). At the end of the day the administrator was concerned with college admissions, then athletics. Thats what pays the bills, thats what informs how we design our curriculum. Not much value was given to developing many critical thinking skills. When it came to "Christian" it seemed like someone was usually there to do the thinking for us... and that is a little scary.

The bottom line is that we were all a bunch of rich pagan kids who gave lip service to Jesus.

Clint Wells said...

robert - intense.

Brian T. Murphy said...

George – I think a school that didn’t make everything so spiritual would help – would have helped me, at least. But you make some nice points. Apprenticeship would be cool. It’s too bad that doesn’t really happen anymore. but apprenticeship also makes me think “feudal system” – a social system where I would undoubtedly be shoveling poop for kings and queens, so I’ll take high school over that I guess.

CPG – sounds like you and I have had similar experiences.

Kristen – yeah – I think mystery scares a lot of people. It probably scares me on some level too. but acknowledging that what we believe is crazy and hard to wrap our minds around is an important acknowledgement, I think.

Robert – I do not think you have ever made a comment that I agree with more. Thanks, man. not for agreeing with me – but for wrapping up some ideas very well.

Clint – that is how Robert rolls.

John in Birmingham said...

A hearty amen to Robert's comments, particularly this one: "Not much value was given to developing many critical thinking skills. When it came to 'Christian' it seemed like someone was usually there to do the thinking for us." This is precisely why my wife and I helped start a classical school in our city before our children were born.

george edema said...

Ah.. but think of the character you would build shoveling poop.

You were the history major so maybe I'm nit-picking with the wrong guy, but I think apprenticeship reached its hay day after feudal times - in the mercantile days up to when elementary education became widely systematized. So maybe you'd be a gunsmith or a wain wright.

Your comment about making everything spiritual is kind of what I was trying to get at. Spiritual, by itself, doesn't end up being very spiritual, it needs to be lived or experienced. So, if our schools want to make biblical applications, they have to be real ones. Which would be cool if it could be done. I might have actually felt something like an adult when I graduated from high school instead of still wondering what that is like. And I'm not saying it was the school's responsibility, except that they claim that is was what they were doing and everyone believed them 'til it was too late.

Robert said...

Don't get me wrong, there were people at our HS that rocked. I think I respect them more in retrospect. Coach Walker probably is at the top of the list. Mostly, the culture was about pretending everyone was a saint. A reformed perspective was pretty much missing. I think this had a lot to do with it.

Missing Reformed perspective => bad theology of culture => lots of neo-gnosticism and the evolution of Christian counter culture (see TBN and CCM).

Liz said...

love the new picture. and the quote

Remington said...

what do you think a reformed perspective on education looks like?

i'm curious because i'm currently looking for a job teaching high school science, and i probably have not thought about this as much as i need to.

Benj said...

Sometimes I'm glad I never went to school.

Brian T. Murphy said...

John – I’m not going to let my kids go to school at all. in fact, I plan to suck their brains out of their ear holes 4 days after they are born.

George – I wasn’t exactly what you’d call a stellar student in college. Mercantile feudal modern its all the same isn’t it? basically, people had diseases and sold things and then ate food and later died. I don’t know what I’m trying to say, except that I’m glad I live now, where this is peace and the world is good and lovely. and yes – the spiritual aspect of my school is probably what was most confusing to me.

Robert – I met my wife in coach walker’s class. he also once threw an eraser and hit me in the eyeball, causing me to scream in pain, because the chalk-dust was burning my eyeball.

Liz – cool. I like changing it up every now and then, and I don’t do much macro photography, so I had fun with that one.

Remington – I have no idea. I used to get really excited about the word “reformed” and now that word just sort of irritates me.

Benj – because you never went to school, your brain is actually smaller than a woman’s brain.

Benj said...

Another reason for me to hate women. I hadn't thought of that one yet... probably because of my unlarge brain.

Steve said...

Dear Brian,
Sometimes I read your blog. I really liked this one.
And you're a fine photographer.

OK. That's all I have to say.

Supabloggasuprememama said...

I totally agree Brian. It's interesting to hear of your experiences ...still up in the air about mine...glad you guys had fun.