A window inside life at Augustana College

A Lesson in Humility

Augie is usually a very welcoming community, as I said in this post. I love it here. It’s just that sometimes, as a non-Christian, I used to feel a little in the minority.

Foundations this term also incorporates our Christian Traditions perspective, a requirement for every student at Augie. We just finished reading An Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. and before that, we read Loaves and Fishes, a memoir by Dorothy Day, one of the founders of the Catholic Worker Movement. Surprisingly, these two individuals, who were both deeply motivated by their Christian principles, Day as a Catholic and King as a Baptist, both preached tolerance and tried as hard as they could to integrate their respective movements.

Did you know that most members of the Catholic Worker Movement today are not Catholic? Did you know that many Jews joined the Civil Rights Movement?

So I have no problems with the texts or my professor, who often encourages us to bring in secular ideas to illustrate principles we’re talking about. But sometimes, my class gets into religious debates where they start flinging Bible quotes back and forth like water balloons. I do have a basic (very basic) knowledge of the Bible. I know a few of the stories, like the Good Samaritan and Moses parting the Red Sea and Jesus feeding a huge crowd with a few loaves and fishes. But when my class starts talking about Ecclesiastes and the gospel of Mark and things, I felt uncomfortable and out of my depth.

I mean, come on, I’m an Honors student. I was in AP and Accelerated classes in high school. I’m used to being (at the risk of sounding pretentious) one of the “smart” ones. I guess my pride was sometimes bruised because I was in the position of not knowing as much as everyone else. I contribute whenever the discussion isn’t straying into Biblical territory, but now I’ve learned to listen and absorb new knowledge when it does.

I’m at college to learn, after all. And to learn, you have to not know first.

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