If Bible college culture revolves around anything it is cliques. I'm telling you it's worse than high school and then some.
First, we have the Briefcase Bangers, or the BBs. No one knows where the briefcases came from, or why carry them everywhere, but it is a defining factor for this sect. Dressed in suits from my grandfather's closet, the goal of this group is to convince the church that the Bible is not relevant unless it is preached by someone wearing polyester. Though they are academics, they are also strong devotees to anything socially awkward including limp handkerchiefs and going without deodorant. They rock the Wal-Mart pre-packaged, short sleeve dress shirt and tie combo; this is their every day uniform. Most are preaching majors, but should that fall through, there's always Star Treck conventions to keep them entertained. These guys did Bible College by the book, honing in on obeying the rules with precision.
In stark contrast, there's the group I hung with, The Nonconformists. I owe surviving Bible College to this group. I remain now, as I was then, a delicate combination of Elaine Benes meets Mary Kathrine Gallagher. We were a motley concoction of sarcasm, caffeine, and scary clown antics. Always willing to push the envelope in a conservative setting, the Briefcase Bangers considered us obnoxious and untouchable.
Never, and I mean NEVER do these two groups interact. But during my senior year, our worlds collided every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7 am for Church Administration class.
This class would better be named "How To Marry, Bury & Baptize". The BBs ate it up. My group mocked it at every turn. While the BBs were writing beautiful eulogies about fictitious but Godly saints, we were writing eulogies for old, boring church history profs who somehow ended up dying while teaching.
Our Church Admin. prof decided that it would be a good idea for us to learn how to baptize people "the right way". So, in February, in the snow, at 7 am we all had to haul our bathig suit clad cookies to the school's indoor pool. Everyone in the class (about 40 people) was there except for the leader of the BBs, which was strange because he NEVER missed a class, so his absence was notable.
To start class the prof. gives us a demonstration of how to baptize (because we have never seen one before). Then, it happens. The head of the BBs rushes into the pool area...
He's wearing a full suit and tie. He's carrying his briefcase. And he's wearing...
HIS OWN PERSONAL SET OF WAIST HIGH WADERS. (No he didn't. Oh yes he did!)
He's out of breath because he didn't remember we weren't meeting in our normal classroom. So that means HE WALKED THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE CAMPUS AND MAIN BUILDING WEARING WAIST HIGH WADERS!!!!
I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head I laughed so hard, doubled over in hysterics....grabbing the person next to me so I wouldn't fall to the floor....WADERS!!!!!!!! His own PERSONAL WADERS!!!!!!!!!!!!
He had plastic/Mylar/rubberish salvation pants.
Don't bring all that mess up in here and then expect me to baptize somebody! Seriously, people.
By the time we all got in the pool the Nonconformists were over it. Mr. Salvation Pants had slaughtered the 2 ounces of reverence we brought with us to the pool that morning. When the prof gave us the "okay" to start baptizing each other it was sheer pandemonium. People were slamming each other under water, they'd spring up and fake speaking in tongues. There was splashing and cannon balls, and blood-curdling shrieks of "Hallelujah!" Some were scream-singing "Now I Belong To Jesus". Others were holding people under the water yelling, "Satan, COME OUT!" We were like Gremlins. Bad things happen when you put us in water.
The BBs literally huddled in a corner of the pool and did this strange gawking-twitching thing. Though I'm not certain I think I heard one of them cry for his mother.
If you think all the baptism shenanigans are irreverent, you are correct. But don't blame me or any of the other Nonconformists in the class. Blame the Briefcase Bangers, and their leader, Mr. Salvation Pants.
So....what kind of pants are you wearing today?????????
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