It’s high school graduation time and we’re going through some themes in the new book Game Plan: Practical Wisdom for the College Experience (co-written by Nic Gibson). The first chapter (written by Nic) deals with what he calls “three converging dangers” that students face on secular campuses:
unlimited freedom, the absence of the comfortable Christian community they enjoyed in high school, and the potential assault on the heart and mind that comes from anti-Christian ideologies.
I vividly remember my World Civ teacher who proudly announced to the class early on that we should check our religion at the door, that if she offended our religious beliefs at some point, don’t worry because she’d be offending every religion eventually. She went on to make outrageous claims about the foundations of Christianity, that Jesus was married, and that he was a follower of John the Baptist’s (not the other way around), among other things. She said that this was history, that she had the research to prove it.
Thankfully, I mustered the strength to ask her about her “research,” prepared to write down dense scholarly texts that I’d have to pore through. In both cases, her primary source was…the Bible (yeah, that Bible): Jesus was married because the groom was responsible for the wine at a wedding so at the wedding in Cana (that John says “Jesus and his disciples were invited to”), when they went to Jesus for more wine, it meant he was the groom. And because the Bible reports that John the Baptist baptized Jesus, that means Jesus was a follower of John’s. I was relieved to hear that that was the extent of her research. But other college students may not bother to look for an answer: they’ll hear something like that and assume that what they learned at church is a myth.
How do we help them? Nic recommends spiritual disciplines like Bible study, prayer, and fellowship, but also finding a spiritual mentor with whom the student can talk through any challenges he or she is facing. I don’t think I could have made it through without my mentors, and count it a privilege to be a mentor to others now.
What experiences did you have in your own World Civ classes? How did some of you make it through?