Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Skipping Class

College classes weren’t quite what I thought they would be like. I’m not sure what fueled my imagination, but for some reason I pictured deep discussions, reading important books, drinking coffee with professors, and debating with classmates. Now, this could be found on my campus, to be sure, but it wasn’t the norm.

I can remember the first time I had to choose classes. I considered consulting my advisor, but he was hard of hearing and English was his second language. So, a group of friends met in the computer lab (laptops weren’t the norm yet either!) and we looked through the course selections. Here was the criterion: nothing before 10:00, nothing after 4:00, no major research papers, the more standardized tests the better, especially if they’d been “standardized” for over 10 years! One friend told me: “If you have Dr. so-and-so write ‘go Cubs!’ at the end of every test. He will give you an extra letter grade.” I tried it and I think it worked. Seriously.

But then something happened. A local youth pastor gave me a recorded lecture by Ravi Zacharias, speaking at Harvard. I sat in my car to listen to it and skipped class to finish it. I was fascinated not just by his main point, that the Truth claims of Christ had a place in the academy, but by his underlying message: ideas matter. Ravi was serious about learning and his passion was contagious.

I still consider that day sitting in the car listening to Ravi as a milestone in my life of faith. For the first time I realized that being faithful to Christ included caring about learning. It would eventually take more than a taped lecture to push me to greater faithfulness, but it was a start. Ironically, I learned it while skipping class.

Go Cubs!

1 comment:

Eric Bierker said...

Good first advisor in college, when I reached him by phone, told me to forge his initials on my course selection card. I was so stunned I had no idea about how to respond.

He was this rabble-rousing Jewish intellectual type who was absolutely bitter about being in Amish country. I wound up really liking the guy as a professor but he was pretty advanced on the abrasive scale