Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eyebrow Raise. Palm to Face. Shaking Head. Repeat.

Eyebrow Raise. Palm to Face. Shaking Head. Repeat. This has been my reaction to about 45% of what has been taught at my college the past two weeks. I occasionally share the "gems" (usually straight quotes from my professors) that I have to offer up on twitter or (more detailed) on Facebook. As I said, I have no issues with my professors on a personal level but I am just not comfortable with what's being taught. Sound familiar? While I am going to try to no longer write about everything that I disagree with, I will say that I have at least learned how to deal with these things and allow myself to laugh a little more.

First, I will say that I've found a level of comfort as far as "correcting" my professors goes. This past week I raised my hand and put my two cents in more than most of my classmates. While I usually shy away from doing this (and I can still feel my face flushing when I do this), there are some things I just have to question, challenge, and/or have them clarify for me so that those who are Catholic don't get the wrong idea. When I know that it will be a pointless argument/discussion because they won't let go of the specific topic, I just let it go. There have been discussions on everything from predestination and why we have no free will (eyebrow raise, palm to face, shaking head, repeat) to why the Catholic Church is behind the times and why it's essentially "bad" (implying it in thinly veiled passive aggressive comments). By the way, God can be a man or a woman and if you want to call Him a "her" that's perfectly acceptable. *Eyebrow raise, palm to face, shaking head, repeat.* I've learned what to comment on and what I won't be able to get away with. Some of my more gutsier classmates (those are actually agnostic or atheists, yes, they exist at this college) will go into arguments with my professors whenever the class gets too religious for them. Um, hello... you're in a Religious Studies class. Luckily God has put a fellow classmate in my path who is on my side when it comes to theological matters. I'm also finding little things that are making me a little happier.

While I still spend my breaks by myself, attempting to catch up on reading or homework, I now have an ally in one of my classes. Whenever the professor says something so completely wrong (i.e. the Bible is inaccurate and propaganda), we just look at each other and express our grief over the statements. This new friend also has a friend who just entered the seminary so we've been able to bond over that as well. I wish I had her in more classes because then we could have that support system. Either way, God is putting the right people in my path so that my next 14-15 months (yes, I counted) at that school will be a little more bearable. I went to Morning Lauds at the chapel on Thursday and was able to pray with about half a dozen students and three faculty members. Though I felt slightly out of place and awkward afterwards (long story), they still welcomed me into their core little group while we prayed. I plan on doing this whenever I get to campus on time. As for what is making me happier during class: just the fact that I can "correct" my professors from time to time is enough. I also get to do a presentation on St. Monica (the only saint left to do the presentation on since I was absent last week when they assigned saints; I'm not complaining :D) for my classmates which makes me happy. I got into a discussion about saints (and why I was bummed I couldn't get St. Cecilia; someone claimed her fast) with one of my professors so that made me feel a little better about being in her class. Little by little, I am feeling a little less regret about not going elsewhere. Though I don't think I will ever be 100% comfortable at the school if only because of what is being taught, I am able to stay true to my beliefs which makes things easier. By the way, I am totally getting this shirt, along with this one, this one and this one, and wearing them to school. :D The classmates can keep giving me dirty looks but I'm wearing them and that's that. ;)

I don't think this will be my last post regarding my experience at school but it may be the last one for a little while. I don't want to keep boring people with the same kinds of rants (and, trust me, I feel bad for being so repetitive). There are other things I want to write about because things are changing and with those changes new challenges, new mistakes (I'm only human), and new discoveries are being made. God truly is wonderful and I am taking every experience as a learning one... one that will only get me closer to Him which is all I want. :D

Alright, I am going to try to get all my homework done tonight so I can enjoy tomorrow as my last vacation day (at least my last long break until mid-October). :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D


Rebecca said...

Oh man....

Sounds just like my time at LMU.

First of all, keep going to mass...daily if you can. I found that receiving the Blessed Sacrament was almost like going to the hospital for meds. Seriously!

Second, pray for your professors. When I started having trouble with profs (most of the time in the film school, though I did have some run-ins with the theology department too) I first tried ignoring them. That lasted like a day LOL, and then I got somewhat snarky and abrasive in my responses to them. Sarcasm never works in conversations about faith and culture (neither is sarcasm very virtuous--Mary had to help me with this one). But I found that as I prayed for my professors, and listened to their arguments, but also inquired about their personal feelings/lives as time went on, I was able to engage them and I have actually become quite close to more than one of my anti-Catholic/agnostic/atheist professors.

It was my experience at LMU that for every rude and distasteful remark about Christ and the Catholic faith, there was a history of pain and confusion regarding God and Church. Misinformation about the sex abuse crisis isn't helping very much either!

Engaging professors (and students) politely, clearly, and firmly will garner not just respect but I promise you IT WILL OPEN HEARTS. Remember that you may be the only vision of Jesus they have in their lives right now. Think of it as planting seeds.

Good luck doll! (And call me if you nee me! LOL)

Emmy Cecilia said...

I wish I could go to daily Mass but they offer it at the same time I'm in my first class every morning (I have classes Monday through Friday). They're going to start offering Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament a couple of times this semester so I will be going to that. :) I'll also keep going to Morning Lauds when it's offered.

I will definitely pray for my professors. Thanks for that recommendation. Hopefully through prayer I will also reach some more understanding and patience when it comes to "dealing" with my professors and fellow classmates.

I may just call/text you at some point this week to see if you have a lunch break or a day off when we can hang out. Thanks, sweet pea!