It was a warm, sunny day in August 1994 when I first attended a college class. I went wearing a “Christian” T-Shirt. It wasn’t anything flashy, but that was an indicator of my entire approach to “secular” college life. Living at the Bible college, where I took one class, I drove over to the Community College for the bulk of my classes. I felt as though I was going into enemy territory. Only now, years later, have I come to realize how wrong my perspective was.
There’s a strong “us-and-them” attitude that ran through my evangelicalism. I felt as though I was on a rescue ship uselessly trying to throw lifelines to the largely unwilling masses on a sinking cruise ship. It felt more than a little desperate, and over time it worked its way into a hard fundamentalism.
During perhaps my third or fourth semester, having spent a full semester enrolled at the Bible College before returing to the Community College, I took a public speaking class. One of the ladies in the class was really into herbal remedies at the time, so every time she gave a presentation it had to do with herbs. Her final talk was really in-depth on the topic, talking about going out to the woods with a Native American (for you Canadians, that’d be First Nation) “medicine man” looking for and learning about herbs. I was convinced she was nothing more than a “New Ager,” and I refused to be deceived.
It’s not that I was ever mean towards her or debated with her, but on the other hand I didn’t give a kind and receptive ear to what she had to say. I couldn’t really hear her because I had already judged her. Perhaps I was only hurting myself, but had I been more receptive without abandoning my faith in Christ we could possibly have learned together about the Creator and His good creation.