A Thousand Voices: II

From Mali and France in 2006, to Plaster Rock, New Brunswick around 2003. I was signed up for a home schooler’s class for teens that had never had the opportunity to use a high school chemistry or biology lab. My mother and I were going to be staying in residence at Atlantic Baptist University where the class was being held.

There were about 40 people in the course and the majority were from a Christian fundamentalist community in the area. By majority, I mean everyone but me. Atlantic Baptist University “reflects the values of Christian Higher Education” as their website says.

Our chemistry prof for this course was a piece of work. He tried to pass off protein folding and calcite’s double refractive properties as proof of the existence of the Judeo-Christian god. I found his reasoning lacking and disingenuous, to say the least. Generally speaking, he gave the impression of someone who does not make life more worth living. I kept my mouth shut. The other students were actually quite easy to work with. They were diligent and focused, but had very little academic background outside math, writing and bible study. I had loads of science background by this point, but found it difficult to pay attention to the plodding nature of the lab work. If we had any personal conflicts I don’t recall them. One girl was particularly impressed with my knowledge.

While I was doing the lab work my mother was usually free to talk to the other parents. In their conversations it came up that the parents of the other students also had issues with the chemistry prof. Part of the practice of this Christian community was, to paraphrase, training to sense and invite the presence of god, and whenever this prof walked into the room all of these people said they felt god leave.

To my great regret I didn’t hear this story until several years later, when both my life and my mother’s had become significantly more open to non-physical reality. I still wish I could talk to those people about their practices and what they experience. Would god leave the room for them if I walked in?

Because this is the first post where I’ve really said anything about Christianity I want clear up some impression I might have given. I tend to quote a lot of people who are very rough on Christianity as a whole. I don’t want to be rough on Christianity as a whole because, for starters, I don’t think I understand Christianity as a whole, or should I say the Christianities, as there are a plurality of forms. I do have issues with certain people who identify as Christian and with their practices. I will try to be frank when this is the case, but otherwise I don’t intend my quotations or comments to be insulting or derogatory.

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2 Responses to “A Thousand Voices: II”

  1. Quanta Says:

    You describe your memory well … with finely crafted writing. The sense of “being there” is strong in this interesting memoir.

    Stace

  2. wildrote Says:

    Thanks, Stace.

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