Monday, April 29, 2013

The Baylor Bubble

Well, it's official. I am done with undergraduate classes...forever. I could not have spent my last semester a better way. I had the opportunity to do an independent study with my professor/mentor, Dr. Horton, in Cross-Cultural Ministry specific to Hong Kong. My last official assignment was a reflection paper on my time here. I was able to write all that I have experienced, and it finally hit me how much I have learned through this time and how grateful I am that the Lord opened up this opportunity for me to live in Asia the last 5 months.

Believe it or not, I have actually formed a new appreciation for American culture while being here in Hong Kong. Now let me give some background on this. I've been SO extremely blessed to be able to travel. Most, if not all, of my trips had been so incredible that I had slowly grown a discontent towards America and a negative perspective of the American mentality. With that, came a gradual preference towards international people and traditions and a disgust towards domestic occurrences and what they call "wealthy Americans." I was hit with a HUGE smack of culture shock when I came back from the jungle of Costa Rica to the campus of Baylor University - the land of Mercedes and name-brands. I'll admit I fell into this negativity towards the wealth that is so evident at our private, Christian university. So then I got stuck in a real big rut, when I then started forming these judgments against others who felt called to ministry! (I know I'm completely absurd and a broken human being). I remember sitting in Spanish Ministry class when our professor asked us all what we envisioned for our future. I'm going to say about 95% of the class said they felt called to global missions. Our professor then launched into a lecture about how the modern generation feels that in order to be the most "righteous" Christian they must travel to Africa and work with orphans. Yet, as the owner of her own non-profit ministry, she emphasized how nothing could be done for the Kingdom without the support and experience of those in business, the medical field, education, etc. etc. That while being a missionary was a noble and just call, it was not the only profession that could bring glory to God - and that bringing glory to the Kingdom REQUIRED so many other professions and skills.

Okay I am TOTALLY sidetracking from how I envisioned this blog. Why do I do that? I can't help but think about my favorite line from the women's conference a couple weekends ago: "If the Bible was written by women it would be a WHOLE lot thicker" haha, it is just sooo true.

I'm bringin it back. So this growing judgment towards wealth and the narrow-minded view of righteousness had slowly seeped into my life. A lot of times when I feel the Lord directing me a certain way, I don't necessarily sense a call to one area but I moreso feel a deep sense of discontent in the opposite arena. One day, walking on campus, I just had this huge burden of discontent that I could NOT stay here (at Baylor). I sort of considered the thought ridiculous considering it was October and I was graduating in May - so what other options did I have?! I was going to be on campus. But of course - the Lord always makes the ridiculous possible.

In its service to the Church, Baylor's pursuit of knowledge is strengthened by the conviction that truth has its ultimate source in God and by a Baptist heritage that champions religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

The next thing you know I'm in Hong Kong. Okay, it wasn't that simple or easy - and actually through that complex process I learned that doing the Lord's will is NOT always easy and it doesn't always just fall into place - but for the sake of this already being too long I'll just leave it at that. What's funny, is that my time in HK has created this deep appreciation for Baylor and all that was and is Baylor. While I have loved Asia and HK, I'll admit that the academic side has been a little bit disappointing for me - class style is just SO different then what I am used to: 3 hours/class, once/week, lecture based, and no conversation. I've truly missed the classes I had at Baylor - being in the ministry program and having professors that were not just my superiors, but my mentors and friends; having classmates who encouraged me in my faith and inspired me to grow in righteousness; being surrounded by supervisors and administration who loved Jesus and prayed over work, tests, and classes.

I realized - the good ol Baylor Bubble really is a rarity. Not only compared to universities in other parts of the world, but even within the States. So many universities have the name "Baptist" or "Christian" but have lingered away from that label as many professors and students do not even proclaim the faith, or might "believe" and put up a piece of Scripture or two on a facebook status, but have never known an intimate, personal relationship with Christ. When I talk about my university to people here, I attribute Baylor to that "city on a hill" where majority of the people and administration are actively seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord and uplifting one another as we grow in representing the body of Christ.

Baylor holds firm to the conviction that the world needs a preeminent research university that is unambiguously Christian, where such a commitment requires scholarship and creative endeavors at the highest levels of quality to complement and inform its teaching and service. 

I look back on the last four years of college and see Baylor. I might not have been on campus the entire time, but I see the life-transformation it has created in me and the experiences it has brought me that have allowed me to experience the fullness of Christ. From that first Welcome Week as a Freshman, coming in practically as an Atheist - to rededicating my life that first semester and discovering a radical community who desired to be on fire for the Lord. rushing KXA - and meeting amazing Christian women who became my closest friends, accountability partners, and awesome sense of community.

To my internship in the legislature where the Lord brought me to my breaking point; when I finally came to surrender my plans and was first called to ministry.

To study abroad in the Netherlands where I met two incredible girls who I backpacked Europe with, and the most incredible best friend/accountability partner/absolute soul mate Emily Jones.

To being accepted into the ministry program - giving me financial support, mentors, and spiritual discernment. To children's counseling and ministry internships that allowed me to grow in my understanding of real need and hurt.

To my last semester - in Hong Kong, where the Lord has taught me to love international cultures and people, but also to have a deep appreciation for America as well - for poverty AND wealth, for majority world AND first world, for the woman in the slums AND the empty sorority girl.

It's this growth that I am most appreciative of. For who are we to choose who most deserves our love and affection? For didn't the Lord transform both the crippled AND the prideful? Wasn't Paul highly regarded yet deeply broken - didn't God show us that both the poor and wealthy need Christ desperately?

I know what it is to be in need, 
and I know what it is to have plenty. 
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, 
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12

As I journey into this next stage called the "real world" I find hope and security in the lessons of the Lord. Yet in this moment, I am most grateful for Baylor and the "Baylor Bubble" a university that really has acted as a training ground - with a mission to build up disciples to share the love of Christ in all the days that follow graduation and the years that form the rest of our lives.

At Baylor, we celebrate our distinctive place in higher education - where research, scholarship and faith guide the mind in understanding the complex diversity of God's creation and prepare the whole person for service and leadership.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful outlook on the Baylor system, and what an amazing transformative journey you have been on.