I write regularly for Christianity Today. I think I am a little bit the odd-ball nephew at CT, who they keep inviting over but can’t completely explain why they keep me around. Stay tuned for my next couple of articles over there. The working titles are: “Rejecting the Doctrine of ‘Assurance of Salvation'” and “We Must Repent of Our Pro-Life Position.”
Anyway, my most recent piece was published on PARSE (a CT blog.) I will post the opening portion of it below and then the link to read it in its entirety. I like this little piece because I have been a bit nostalgic about my college days lately and I only just realized that my neighborhood is about the same size as my college campus. It also gave me a chance to put some great writers on display: John Pattison, Tim Soerens, Dwight Friesen, Paul Sparks and of course, Saint Anthony the Great (3-4th century abbot and one of our beloved crazy uncles of the faith.) Enjoy:
Bounded Place, Rooted People: My longing for college life is more than nostalgia
I miss my university years.
It has been twenty-two years since I graduated from college. I went to a state school in a medium-sized Oregon farm town. For me, it was a fantastic experience and my four years there were among the most meaningful of my life.
I cannot deny the fondness I feel. Is it just nostalgia? Maybe … in part. But when I sit now and reflect back more than two decades there are several formative realities of my university years that seem hard to come by in my modern urban world. And I am not alone. I have heard many others express similar feelings, though it is often hard to put language to this sense of lack.
Here is an attempt to define what made my college days feel significant and formative:
I was connected.
My state-school’s world was only about fifteen-blocks by fifteen-blocks in size, if you took into consideration all the school facilities, living quarters, basic businesses, recreation, employment opportunities, and locations of leisure.
In such a bounded world, it was an amazing feeling (I didn’t even know how good I had it) to get up in the morning and walk down the sidewalks and paths and almost constantly have someone to greet. Chance conversations were the norm. Unexpected encounters were simply a part of walking out my door.
If only life could be like that today.