Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Donuts And Theology

It's amazing how much college takes you out of your "bubble." I'm meeting people with very different ideologies and backgrounds from mine (and from each other.) I suppose, coming from a small town, it's something I'm not very used to. Still, it's a lot of fun, and provides a great opportunity to witness.

Case in point: Last night about fifteen of us decided that we'd make a midnight run to Krispie Kreme to get some fresh donuts, so we piled into cars and made our way to the shop. After socializing in the parking lot (and going through about three boxes of donuts,) one group decided to head to some frat party, while the rest of us went back to the dorm. The car I ended up in contained some very interesting people, and on the way back to campus we decided to discuss theology. There was a hardcore agnostic guy (if such a thing exists,) a Catholic-turned-agnostic guy, a Southern Baptist girl (who had earlier admitted to occasionally enjoying marijuana,) and my little Methodist gay-struggling self. I won't go through the details of the conversation here, but I will say that Hardcore Agnostic Guy was very dismissive (and a little rude) about organized religion. Baptist Girl and myself had to (respectfully, I hope) tell him to quit referring to it as "a bunch of B.S." (And he didn't use those initials, either.)

Also on the way back, the subject of homosexuality came up. Seeing that my silence in this subject would do more harm than good, I let them in on my situation. Everyone seemed accepting, even Baptist Girl. In fact, she didn't think it was a sin, citing, "If you love someone, I mean really love them, then how can that be bad?" I didn't argue with her too much, but I did say that I was a bit more literal when it came to the Bible and I didn't want to ignore those verses. Anyway, I think it was a good thing that I said it. Otherwise I would've been seen as a close-minded, "holier-than-thou" type, which I'm not.

When we got back to the dorm, the theological conversation continued in our floor's common room. We just threw in another Methodist, a Presbyterian and two Catholics who had been sitting there when we came in. Now I didn't reveal my orientation to all of them, but I do hope I added to the conversation, which at times got serious, at times got confusing and at times got downright silly.

Still, despite the occasional expletives and the pretty non-Christian opinions of some of the participants, I can't help but feel that God was there through that whole conversation. The beautiful thing was that everyone had an opinion about spirituality. No one was apathetic about it (and teens can be apathetic about a lot of things, like current events and politics.) I didn't "witness" in the traditional sense. I mean, I said what I believed, but I tried not to be condemning of other people's beliefs. In my experience, fire and brimstone preaching, like its namesake, most often brings destruction.

This conversation is probably to be the first of many. I have an excellent group of people on my hall. We like to play beach volleyball, watch 80's teen movies, jam to 90's rock and, as stated, head to Krispie Kreme Donuts at 12:00am. Theological differences won't change that, and they shouldn't. In fact, I think adults could learn a lesson from all of us, but I'm not sure what that lesson is yet. Does anybody know?

11 comments:

Cheryl of the Wilds of C said...

Oh Great...now I am craving a doughnut!

I enjoy your descriptions of people by their faith. Baptist Girl; couple of catholics; agnostic guy. Sounds like a recipe for stew.

I am noticing that American english has a lot less vowels in it than Canadian english.

Sounds like you are going to have some interesting conversations, Jay.

kurt_t said...
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Jay said...

Cheryl: I guess you also spell color "colour" and honor "honour" huh? Oh, you crazy Canadians :) Don't worry; at least you can understand me. If you could hear me talk in my Southern accent, you might not be able to. I'm looking forward to more religious discussions at school, and here as well. As always, thanks for commenting.

Kurt: I don't know what you were getting at by linking to that Betty Butterfield clip in your comment. I understand that it was satirical, but I did not find it funny. There were also expletives in it. Please consider the content of the things you link to, or don't post them at all. So, Betty doesn't think Methodists stand for anything? Well, I just deleted your comment, Kurt. How's that?

I still hope you comment, but please think about the other people who might be coming to this blog when you do.

kurt_t said...

Oh sorry, Jay. I didn't remember that there was bad language in the video. Should have checked before I linked to it. My bad. Betty's usually pretty clean.

Jay said...

That's okay. Hope I wasn't too hard on you in the response. Today was the first day of classes, and I'm beat. :)

em said...

Jay:

Sounds like some good college times. I think that I can still stay up until 2 a.m. and be mentally available for work the next day -- it doesn't work. haha! But, it doesn't keep me from trying!

To answer your question at the end... I think much of the difference between your schoolmates and "adults" is geography. The more "adult" we become in the states, the more-likely we are to associate only with people who are like us - same economic status, same neighborhood, same workplace, same whatever. Even in the Church, we see these dynamics hard at work. We have classes for young marrieds, older marrieds singles, high school, elementary, etc.

Much of the beauty of humanity living in community is that we bring different things to the table to make something that is much more beautiful than a homogenous cluster of people.

Right now, the main thing that brings you and your classmates together is school. But, there are so many other differences that haven't segregated you yet. In fact, you're all new to this thing... so you're looking to form bonds, not cut people off.

Anyway, it's an interesting dynamic and probably a good lesson to learn. Being the kind of person who actively engages and befriends other types of people is important. That's something you're probably learning more about. The older you get, the more you will be "silently pressured" to find your own niche of just-like-you people. I'd encourage you to learn from these times and not follow suit. :-)

em said...
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Angie said...

Hello Jay... My name is Angie and I found your blog through our mutual friend Grace. I tell ya, I'm diggin' your blog! It's so very refreshing. You're a unique guy, in that you seem to be wise beyond your years in some areas... but without sacrificing the beauty and vitality of your youth. It's gonna be exciting to journey with you while you soak up college and share yourself and your beliefs in this new environment.

LOVED the Krispy Kreme story! And you're right... so much that the church in particular could learn from that scenario. Regarding SSA, it's such a controversial issue... we just gotta expect many different opinions. Personally, I think your beliefs and mine align pretty well... but I'd love you regardless. We do so much harm when we draw lines between every differing factor rather than taking someone just as they are and fully loving and accepting them.

Blah, blah, blah...

Anyway... just wanted to pop up to say hello rather than lurking around and eavesdropping on your conversations.

Much love to you in this new phase of life, new friend!

Jay said...

Em: I think that, as a future teacher, I'll always be able to connect to a variety of people. Teachers get to experience all walks of life during their careers, and therefore I think they make excellent Christians(just take Grace, for instance).

Angie: That's right Angie, don't lurk. Come into the light :)

It's great to have you here. I hope you comment often. God bless, Jay.

Jared said...

What is 'traditional' witnessing, but sharing your faith? And God, well, he's always there; especially in the face of expletives. ;)

Thanks for letting us live vicariously through your college days. Though I can't say I miss the smell of unwashed feet all that much...

Inheritor of Heaven said...

You just had to type Krispie Kreme didn't you. It's 11:30 pm here and I need to go to sleep. I don't think counting sheep leaping over the fence to the Krispie Kreme shop is going to help either. (no, that's not the lesson I learned!)
In addition perhaps you should jam to '80's new wave music to go with your '80's movies? U2 R.E.M. and the Clash go well with film.

The lesson to be learned is that our witness is best shared in relationships. Even relationships that include Krispie Kremes.

I may just have to go drive to Krispie Kreme and hope the "HOT" light is on.

By the way, my daughter said that on her first day at college a bunch of new freshmen were hanging out and someone suggested going for donuts and so a HUGE (her word) group went out. You must be in a parallel universe (or at least in 4 months a warmer one).