Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mars Hill Graduate School

Yesterday I attended my first ever class at Mars Hill Graduate School with the super brilliant Jen (I would normally link Jen's blog here. But I think she may be into keeping her blog relatively private. I shall ask). Thank you for the invitation, Jen! A few impressions:

  • Money. The ... global impression was that there is rather a lot of ambient money in the environment. The location, the ... decor, the laptops, the clothing, ... etc.
  • Whiteness. Everybody, or if I missed someone then at least very *nearly* everybody, was white, in the "White American of European descent" sense.
  • Intensity. As with my previous encounters with Mars Hill faculty and students, people were *intense*. I mean to say that, for instance, they were into asking and being asked very hard questions, both about themselves, the world, others, ... I'm talking about at a fairly terrifying level. I wouldn't say they weren't afraid. Rather they were into pinpointing what they were afraid of and then turning to fully engage it. I am enormously drawn toward and repulsed by this (as has previously been the case). I find myself hoping that, in general regarding this sort of thing, the attraction will win over the repulsion. But I'm not at all confident that will be the case, for me.
  • Excellence. I got the feeling that excellence was being pursued. People who graduate from the counselling program, me thinks, are going to be very good counsellors. At least for other wealthy white people.
  • Anger. I felt angry, in between being fascinated, attracted, and repulsed. Brain McClaren said "Americans are the most excellent consumers in the history of the world" We (yes, of *course* I'm part of it) are consuming excellent education at a relatively high level, from a global perspective. We're using up prodigous resources in that pursuit, while 25,000 children starve to death today. While our government oversees the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqi civilians every week. While one billion people won't be able to have a safe drink of water today. How dare we? How unfair is it? Is it possible that it's actually *impossible* for the whole world to consume at this level, and that therefore the *only* way, ultimately, for the consumption level of the poorest to be raised is for us to *lower* our consumption level? All this stuff going through my head during the two hour group therapy class yesterday.
  • They'd never let me in anyway. I mean it's a *seminary*! And I'm not even a Christian. Oh well. I wouldn't really want to do it anyway. Too intense (I'm convincing myself here).

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