Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rules

There were a lot of rules at BJU. You may be aware of this. I mentioned the not walking on the grass.

We had to be in class and be on time. We got 5 demerits for lateness, but after 20 minutes one was considered absent. So, we figured, if we were 1 minute late, we might as well be 19 minutes late and enjoy our bagels.

We had to be out of bed at 6:56 AM and in bed by 11 PM. In the morning, the first bell rang at 6:55 and we were to be out of bed by 6:56 when the second light bell rang. Then the hall leader came around to make sure we were up (this meant both feet on the floor).

We had to have our room clean and there was room check each morning, too. The rooommates took turns cleaning the sink, vacuuming, and taking out the trash. There were demerits if you did not do you job.

Attendance was required at chapel each day at 11.

Quiet hour was from 7 PM to 10 PM. This was in the dorms and we were to be quiet in our rooms (studying) and not loud in the hall. There was a monitor on each hall to shush the noisies.

If you committed some sort of rule infraction, you had to go to the Discipline Committee. Sometimes you knew why you were going and others you had to go to find out. Well, some offenses you just straight up got demerits for but others you had to go to DC for. Like missing class. Once as a freshman I had skipped a class and when I went to DC, I said I forgot what day it was and that's why I missed it. And I didn't get demerits.

I actually didn't have to go to the Discipline Committee that often. I think if you knew what your did and weren't going to fight the demerits, you didn't have to go. Or there were certain levels of offenses that meant you had to go. Something. As real as being there in the the dream is, some of the details are (thankfully) getting foggy.

When I left BJU, I went to teach jr. high at a Christian School in Bloomsburg, PA. It was January 1997 and I was not ready for what I was getting into. I put on a good face, though. And I was incredibly arrogant because I was a graduate of Bob Jones University. I had my turtlenecks pinned and my skirts to my ankles. I happily wore hose with my close-toed sandals. There was a moment of pause when they asked if I could recite the books of the Bible in the interview; but hey, I'd known them my whole life so I rattled off the New Testament for them.

That spring I went back to Greenville for a friend's wedding and I went to the Dean of Women's office and told Miss Baker how grateful I was for BJ and their training because what did I do now that I was in the "real world"? I got up early, followed a dress code, and went to bed early (to be able to get up early).

And recited the books of the Bible.

I'm horrified now that I thanked them. I look back and realize how immature I was, and in many ways it seems that that was intentional; by the school, controlling all aspects of our lives and making it easy for us to not think for ourselves. And it makes the masses easier to control. My parents, too, had a major role in keeping me immature, whether by design or just oversight. I did things because they were the rules, and didn't really know the reasons why.

But this is where I am now: God loves me. He loves me. He doesn't care if I can recite the books of the Bible or the 12 apostles or the Creed. He loves me whether I have a skirt to my ankle or shorts with a 3" inseam.

I find myself now, 15 years since leaving there, decades since accepting Christ as my Savior, and mere weeks since even starting these retrospective posts, questioning. A little bit. Starting with questioning why I tried so hard to earn God's love by following rules.

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