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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:16 PM
Original message
Being a left-wing Christian at a public university can be a tad lonely
Allow me to expound.

That my faith is rooted in social gospel/liberation theology drew much ire at the one Christian organization at college--Campus Crusade for Christ (the meeting I went to was rife with right-wing Reconstructionists who were upset that I challenged the notion that non-Christians are damned)--and, being an ascetic (I don't even believe in sex outside of wedlock), I found the whole hedonistic dorm-room scene repellent.

Don't get me wrong, I'm fortunate to been given an education. And there was an upside: I spent my four years huddled in the library, devouring the works of Dostoevsky, Merton, Tolstoy and others--and this has only enriched my religiosity. But still...

Did anyone else find themselves in such a precarious situation?
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Dookus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. It seems to me
that there are countless affiliations/interests through which to meet interesting people at a university. Why focus on one's religion? I'm sure there are plenty of people you could befriend based on other criteria.
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. I spoke to some wonderful people at seminars and guest lectures
Because of commuter and work situations, though, we usually opted to go to the movies.

And I did try to join several organizations--College Democrats and this gaming club, but they were uneventful: I attended the former to engage in political discussions, but was dismayed to find that their intention was to get Democrat politicians elected (many of whom I feel are centrist and corrupt); as for the latter, I was nonplussed that their pleasures were devoted solely to Dungeons and Dragons, and not to sci-fi/fantasy literature and film.

I tried.
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Dookus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. wait...
you were surprised that the College Democrats were devoted to trying to get Democratic (note the proper use of the adjective) politicians elected? And you were then surprised to find the Gaming Club full of D&D geeks?

I think you have unusual expectations.
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Bear in mind the level of desperation I had
I enjoy nothing more than conversation, and was hoping (against hope) that I could wax politics with the College Democrats (think Realtime with Bill Maher) and sci-fi/fantasy/horror with the gamers (think Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons). Campaigning and role-playing weren't my thing.

You're right: in retrospect, my expectations were downright bizarro.
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fertilizeonarbusto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
2. No, I'm not a believer
but I feel for you-that experience sounds awful. Hey, consider it your forty days in the desert.
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Maestro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
3. I'm on that journey right now actually
I am a very liberal Christian (?) doubting at times the existence of God, knowing that there was a Jesus but doubting at times who he really was. I suppose I am best described as a spiritual person not religious and I do feel uncomfortable around anyone who is very religious. My family is religious but they leave me alone because they know my views and just avoid the situation altogether. Anyhow, I am much older than you probably but yes there are some of us out there.
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
4. Can't say I did
but I met the author of this book who received death threats from the "culture of life" crowd:

If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person

Ordained pastors with backgrounds in traditional Protestant denominations, Gulley (Home to Harmony) and Mulholland (Praying Like Jesus) are now Quaker ministers and Universalists who believe that God will in fact save every person and banish no one to the fiery furnace. For every scriptural passage promoting "an eye for an eye," they counter with as many advocating "turn the other cheek." Jesus is deemed Lord and Savior, but his blood was not spilled to expiate human sins. As for the concept of free will-that is, each of us has to choose between accepting and rejecting God, thereby sealing our own fate-they argue that it is not up to us to choose salvation; God has already chosen to save everyone. Do the authors argue convincingly that each of us will end up in "heaven"? Yes. Will they convince all readers that there is no "hell" reserved for the likes of Hitler and Saddam Hussein? Probably not. Still, even those who believe in the absolute inerrancy of the King James version of the Bible will find something here to encourage them to rethink beliefs they have held for years.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry...

Pretty controversial.
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fertilizeonarbusto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. sounds interesting
and refreshingly heretical...
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progmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
6. I did the exact same thing when I was in college.

(though I don't believe I would categorize myself as an ascetic)

We liberal Christians often tend to be quiet about our Christianity, I have found. So it's hard to find people of a like mind.
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WI_DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
7. your true to your principles
and that will win out in the end.
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TlalocW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
8. Try being...
A left-wing Christian in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Gotcha beat. :)

TlalocW
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. One of the most right-wing Christian cities in the world
ugh, all sympathies extended from a left-wing Christian in Norman, (where at least I don't have the tower of Oral Roberts looking down on me wherever I wander).
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TlalocW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Actually, I have a lot of fun here
I'm a computer programmer, but I do entertaining (magic, balloons, juggling) on the side, and you cannot believe how freaked out certain church-goers will get over certain magic tricks. I had one woman believing I had real psychic (contradiction in terms) powers and implied I was of the devil. :)

Another time, I needed some small manilla envelopes for a trick I wanted to do. I went to a Christian stationary store (Mardel's) to get them because they're used to put donations in at various churches, and I figured they would have them. I asked for help in finding them, and a saleslady took me to where they were and asked me what I needed them for (probably thought I was a youth minister or something), and without thinking, I told her, "A magic trick." I saw her visibly flinch, so I figured, oh, what the hell and told her, "Yeah, it's really cool. I pull five cards, a poker chip, and a five dollar bill from the envelope and then have someone place the poker chip in front of whichever card they want, and I bet them the five that I'll be right, and of course I am." She quickly got away from me as fast as she could as I was going to use Christian goods to perform evil involving psychic powers and gambling. I should have worked in, "Oh, and I'm drunk and naked when I do it."

As bad as Oral Roberts is, Rhema (in Broken Arrow - a suburb) can be just as bad. The joke is that Rhema pisses off everyone for 11 months out of the year then makes up for it at Christmas by stringing up over a million lights on the campus for people to walk around and look at for free.

TlalocW
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. lol ... i have a mardel's story too
The first time I went there I did not know full-well the cultural climate, being an incoming freshman from another state (wyoming) where the religious right aren't particularly influential. I was wearing the Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here shirt (with the diver entering still water), and had an associate follow me around the whole store. Finally he talked to me, asking if I liked Pink Floyd (yeah, which is why I'm wearing the shirt). He looked like he was slightly worried, but trying his best to be engaging as he said: "they seem to have quite a following, quite a cult following, don't they."

I didn't offer any smart aleck reply (though I was tempted), I just said I hadn't thought about it in cultish terms before and made my way out of the store. But I can still see the half-worried look on his face, as it must have conjured up all his strength to challenge the pink floyd demon.

I've heard Rhema is really bad. I used to occasionally listen to some of their preachers on a radio network here, and even though it was the year 2000, they would still play Billie Brimm's lessons relating the communist bloc to the anti-christ. :eyes: And I have some friends who grew up in B.A., and they had some stories about the group as well :scared:

Anyway, glad you're able to enjoy Tulsa in spite of it all :hi:
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TlalocW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Yeah, Rhema is wacky
I think the reason we have so many churches in Tulsa is because of Oral Roberts and Rhema, and while that sounds obvious, my reasoning takes a different tact in that Oral Roberts and Rhema charge so much (at Rhema you have to buy these 30 page books that cost $65 each that were written by the founder of course) that the people doing ministerial studies can't afford to move elsewhere, and at Rhema, they're encouraged to start building their flock so that they'll stay in the area and donate generously to the university.

Rhema stories:
I had a friend who grew up in this area (I'm originally from Kansas), and when she was in high school, her bus driver was a Rhema student. Well, one day, my friend looked out at some guy driving a convertible, and she mockingly said, "Oooh, look at that guy... He's such a god!" Well, the Rhema bus driver wanted to discuss this with her, and my friend basically told her to get bent. She was later called into the principal's office where the bus driver was waiting for her having made up some story about her doing something really wrong on the bus.

A lot of the Rhema people also have no problem bouncing checks or not paying their debts, thinking that God will provide. A computer programmer I know did $8000.00 worth of work for some Rhema guy, who then didn't pay him because he didn't have the "right spirit." This computer programmer is a former minister.

TlalocW
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drumwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. Wow. Unbelievable
I'd already suspected that a lot of these right-wing fundies essentially use Jesus Christ not as an inspiration to be good people or as a set of moral/ethical guidelines, but as a justification for their own venal, low-class behavior. But I didn't realize the extent to which this was true until reading your stories.
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harrison Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
9. Well, you know quoting the Sermon on the Mount usually
gets em every time. Don't hear right wing Xtians make much mention of that particular passage of scripture.
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drumwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
10. Nothing to do with your college experience, but....
...are you already familiar with Sojourners (http://www.sojo.net )? They are an organization of progressive Christians. Maybe they could be a resource for you to meet other like-minded co-religionists?

I encourage you and every progressive Christian to speak out by all means. We will have a much easier time fighting the Right's chokehold on this country if we can dispel the perception that "Christian" equals "right-wing Dominionist wingnut."
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. I'm a subscriber!
The magazine, and aforementioned website, have meant a great deal to me. Thanks for the mention!
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
17. *hugs* I feel a lot less lonely now that I know
how many messageboards on the internet are available to help me find fellowship with similar believers. :)


------------------------------------
Would Jesus love a liberal? You bet!
http://timeforachange.bluelemur.com/
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pres2032 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
20. i'm with you!
I'm a liberal Catholic at a Lutheran College (i know you said public, but it has lost's its Lutheran majority). Catholics do have the majority, like 35%, but there is also a large number of Christian right wingers, including conservative Catholics. However, the lady in charge of all things catholic at the college is liberal and we've had many long discussions on the sad state of affairs here and in this country.
I was called a hypocrit by the leader of the Christian fellowship group (nationally recognized as a cult) for working a John Kerry table before the election. I then left that group that night and haven't spoke to them since. I've actually grown in my catholicism after getting the hell out of that group.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
21. I guess I got lucky but I went to an independent private college
The college was not religiously affiliated. Some college professors were religious. Some were atheists. Most professors that had political leanings tended towards the liberal side. The college president as well as the college's mission statement encouraged critical thinking and considering a variety of ideas, true liberal learning.
I joined the Christian group, which is affiliated with Intervarsity Fellowship. The members had a variety of different political leanings and differed somewhat on theology but all were welcome. It was cool because our Bible studies were a lot better than any Bible study that I had attended before because we were students who were used to reading and discussing books. In general the group was tolerant of all people, including gays, although individual members differed on whether they thought that homosexuality was a sin. When a Christian group from the surrounding community came to campus with anti gay literature, the action was condemned by the campus Christian group in a campus newspaper letter to the editor.
The campus was also rather diverse. Diversity of thought was encouraged. Some students were into the party scene while some were not. Most people felt comfortable being who they are and were able to find like minded friends whatever their persuasion.
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ContraBass Black Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 03:23 PM
Response to Original message
22. I was fortunate
Edited on Tue Jan-25-05 03:26 PM by ContraBass Black
A tolerant Christian organization of my own denomination, the Wesley Foundation, swept me in off the street a year and a half ago and has treated me as most beloved family ever since. We've also managed to collect several people who have been driven far and away by Campus Crusade.
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tcfrogs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
24. I sympathize, try the same at a PRIVATE University n/t
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