Tonight I wrote a take-home exam for my Systematic Theology class. It was a closed-book exam with three essay questions. Completely relevant to this is that I also found some $2 wine (on sale!) at Walmart hours before taking the exam. I figured if that wasn’t divine providence then nothing was.
So here’s the product of cheap wine, theology and a student that shouldn’t be allowed to write past 10 PM. Also, if anyone out there is looking to hire a recently-flunked-out-of-seminary-barista…you know where to find me.
Quotes From My Seminary Mid-Term:
- For starters, I actually referred to something as a “theological keg stand”. That’s right, in an academic paper for an Evangelical institution, I analogized keg stands. Well, well…its been fun.
- Oh…and frat parties. Don’t forget frat parties! “All other starting points have the potential of being soaked within cultural ramifications and implications to the point that our perspective on God becomes the intellectual equivalent of a frat party; lots of fun at night but in the morning all that’s left is hangovers and a mess to clean up.”
- At one point I refer to the concepts in some of the class readings as “smacking the reader upside the head”. The author of that particular reading is my professor.
- Relevant sports humor? Well, of course. As long as it’s followed by an blubbering parenthetical apology…. “What is the ultimate source of humility? If you are currently a New York Giants fan, well, then it is watching Sunday football with the fans of unadulterated sports teams (please, dear Lord, don’t let Dr. **** be a New York Giants fan….he is from New England so the odds are in my favor- right??).“
- Of course, beautiful analogies abound: “It’d be like duck hunting with a canon; if you somehow accomplish the means, the desired end of your endeavors will (oh the irony!) be blasted to smithereens by your own stupidity.“
- In reference to church history: “for the love of all that is holy, when it comes to examining church history you must laugh lest you cry without stopping, blubbering incessantly and making everyone in the room feel awkward.” ….dude…what?
- “When I first stumbled into an Anglican church I was like a ballerina in high heels.” Great analogy for a guy named “Bryn”. Waita affirm your masculinity, princess.
- And I really have no idea how this came up, but… “I’m getting married this January and I can assure you that my joy in marriage is not dwindled by the “rule” that I’m not longer allowed to create an account on Christian Mingle.“
- Cultural shout-outs abound: “Evangelicalism came to be primarily through the New World (aka ‘MERICA)”
- …and in case it wasn’t clear that I’d been sipping on cheap Chardonnay: “Tent meetings took place in which revivalists lead highly emotional meetings, the culmination of which was a chance to be converted and there was much hoo-ha, yelling, celebration, weeping and rejoicing. It was basically the most rambunctious event that could possibly take place without the use of alcohol.”
- Of course, my childhood seeps in at some point: “At the core, Evangelicals believe in a couple of things: the inerrancy of scripture, the need for evangelism, the exclusivity of the gospel, salvation through Christ, the need for conversion (slash the existence of conversion stories) and the replacement of Catechism for our youth with Veggie Tales.”
- This might still happen: “I surely would have been dragged from the church and perhaps stoned for my unintended blaspheme like a scene from Monty Python.”
- Referencing the misconceptions fueled by the church of my childhood: “At the same token, I was taught that Tim LaHaye was both a talented author and brilliant theologian; you can see where I’m going with this.“ Dear Lord, please don’t let my professor read Tim LaHaye. Stephanie Meyer, Jan Karon…anything, just not Left Behind.
- On theological education: “To the parishioner who would make such a statement as “I don’t need theology, just give me Jesus” I would probably give the following advice: “go home and tell your wife ‘I don’t need you, just give me sex’ and see how that goes. It’ll give you a good idea of your quest for Jesus without theology”.”
- And this is probably my favorite. After two glasses of wine and an hour of typing, I found my way to this description of Evangelical subculture: “if I were to provide description of the Evangelical race for a ‘Rare and Vanishing Species of New England‘ handbook, I would give the following: ‘Evangelicals typically travel in groups, bonding over conversion experiences to the reality of Christ’s resurrection and saving work. Though generally amicable, they are known to bicker over things called predestination, young earth theories, if trickling water on a forehead is acceptable or a full out dunking of the sinner is necessary and whether or not the end of the world will be ushered in by people getting zapped out of their clothes and taken to heaven where they will, apparently, play harps in the nude. Although undeniably apart of culture, Evangelicals typically insist on being separate from it. They wear clothing bearing sayings like ‘Modesty is Hottest’ and ‘Abreadcrumb and Fish’ and listen to their own brand of music that never refers to drinking, playing cards or the existence of gender-specific body parts. Evangelicals base their entire faith on the Bible which they claim is inerrant, though they’re not entirely sure what that means, just that it absolutely is. All in all they are an amicable group, who believe that their message is one that must be carried and shared to all that will listen.’ Okay, so that was fun.”
At the conclusion, I wrapped up my essay (keep in mind, this is written as an assignment for an Evangelical school) arguing, somewhat insistently, for the necessity of a return to Rome. (Ex)Seminary Student Seeking Employment and Purpose.
The only bright side to this whole situation is: a) that was the most fun I’ve ever had taking an exam b) if I fail this test and end up subsequently failing seminary, I’ll just drop out and get a job that pays better (hahaha but seriously) and c) there’s still some wine left.