Saturday, January 28, 2017

Let Us Now Praise Lutheran Colleges

On Wednesday, I wrote this Facebook post:

"Let us now praise Lutheran colleges: my college roommate, Heatherlynn is visiting, and tonight she will go to choir practice with my college boyfriend, now spouse, Carl. She will sing with my church's choir on Sunday. Thanks, Newberry College, for making this possible!"

In the interest of honesty, I should say that neither of them sang in college, at least not in a formal group.  It would be a better story if they sang in the Madrigalians (Newberry College's most highly regarded and selective choral group) and had gone on to sing in local choirs.  But would it be a sad story?  Not in real life, but in the hands of a fiction writer, perhaps.  If I was writing the story, I'd do what I could to have readers expect a sad story or a midlife crisis story, but the ending would have the characters realize how lucky they are that they can still sing in a group.  Not everyone gets to continue following a passion this way, especially not a passion that needs a group.

I think of all the ways that being at a small, Lutheran school in the 1980's shaped us.  My college friend came to see us on her way back from last Saturday's women's march.  We came to college with a strong thirst for social justice, and the school encouraged that. 

The school at that time had very minimalist dorms, and only one or two people had their own televisions--those appliances were too expensive back in those days.  So we had plenty of time to talk and dream.  We took long walks through the picturesque town that surrounded the college.  I remember one late night walk where the only person who bothered us was the police officer who slowed down his car to make sure we were O.K.

We're still doing that.  It's been a good week of home-cooked meals, long walks, and discussions of social justice.  It's as if no time has passed at all.

We see a lot of discussions about how church shapes children into better adults, how camp does the same thing, and how other groups compare.  It's interesting to think about the same issues when it comes to Lutheran schools (or other church supported schools) and seminaries do much the same thing.

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