I have had two experiences during summer vacation so far that I thought would be worth sharing, particularly on this blog. The first comes from my summer job, and the second comes from my local library in-the-middle-of-nowhere, Chester New Hampshire.
During this summer my life takes a very different pace, as I am on the grounds crew for a local golf course. Instead of shuffling books or helping patrons with Microsoft Word in a nice air-conditioned library—like during the semester—my average work day here runs from 6:00AM to 2:00PM in the cold, rain, and heat, doing all sorts of different landscaping type-jobs. This year one of my more recent jobs has been teaching a new high school graduate the ropes.
During my time with this new employee, the commonplace discussion about school, life, and family ensued. Upon my saying that I attend “Philadelphia Biblical University” (sorry, I haven’t started saying “Cairn” yet), the discussion about Christianity came up. As this is my third summer working there, all the guys on the course know that I’m a Christian and that I study the Bible at a University. What was different about the discussion this time was how much this new kid didn’t understand about Christianity—his parents were never involved in any type of religion, and he was raised in a government school that never taught him anything about Christianity or the Bible. He was shocked to hear that Jesus was God. We started talking about the Bible. He had never heard of Abraham before. He even asked me if Jews thought that Abraham was God the same way Christians think Jesus was God. Now, I say all this not in any way to make this fellow look bad—he is simply a product of our culture.
The second event was my looking through the catalog for my local library. They don’t even have a copy of Calvin’s Institutes. The closest thing to any sort of “Christian” material available was Joel Osteen, the man from planet prosperity. I was definitely disappointed, although not surprised, at the major lack of Christian materiel available to the public in my area—New England. The land that once was called home to our friends the Puritans.
I tell both of those stories to remind my fellow students of what I was reminded of by them: we take for granted what we have, both in our general understanding AND our library. Not knowing the name of Abraham, if you were raised in a Christian household as I was, is something that’s hard to imagine. As a PBU student, not having access to thousands of commentaries and theological treatise is also something we don’t stop to think about, and often times, it isn’t something we stop to use. Those things being said, I want to encourage you to thank God for the resources he has given you—both through the friends and churches that you have, and also the great collection of writings available to us in the library. Go ahead, pick up a dead theologian. Read Calvin’s Institutes. Praise God that you can.