Saturday, September 02, 2006

In the Wee Small Hours...(4)

Mark 7:8 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

For six years, I studied at the University of Glasgow in Scotland in the Divinity Faculty. I was there full time and had been President of the Divinity Students Association. I passed all my exams and attended all of my classes, but in the final three months of my final year, I took a grave infection which almost killed me.

When I got better, I contacted my professors to see what I needed to do about my finals. I thought that with my track record, they would have found some way to grant me an exemption. I had been a diligent student, so I expected some leeway with regard to the exams. I was also suffering from jaundice after the infection, so I was yellow from head to toe.

I didn’t get any sympathy from the dean. He told me to bring in a doctor’s note and sit the exams. The University rules didn’t allow for anything else. I was also informed that I could sit the exams at a later date, but that would have excluded me from graduating with my peers.

Despite being weak, I took the exams. Because I was still jaundiced, they kept me away from the other students. I then had to go and present my doctor’s letter to the dean. It was the last time I ever visited his office.

When he saw me he was shocked because I had lost over thirty pounds in weight. He apologized for having put me through the exams, discomfort and stress, but he concluded, “The University rules are the rules, and they cannot be changed.”

That’s when I lost it. “For six years, “I said, “I have worked hard to finish this course and graduate with my peers. I have sat in many classes where professors have derided my beliefs, ripped scripture apart and twisted God’s rules to suit themselves. You abandon the ways of God and hold on to the traditions of the University, as if they were almighty and inviolable. You could not show leniency to me due to illness because it would violate the rules. In my six years at this Faculty, I have seen more violations of the Real Rules. I am glad to be finished here.”

More than twenty years later, I find myself feeling that the same, sad, and sorrowful ways are being applied by our denomination. The commandments of God are being abandoned for the sake of upholding the traditions of men. Will we ever learn?

Stushie is the blogger of Heaven's Highway and also the writer of Sky Pilots-resources for Busy Pastors


Anonymous said...

Great post. You are right.
My prayer is that God is merciful to me and to all of us, because we (at least I) violate the rules on a regular basis.

Glad you are fine in these days. Have a wonderful Labor Day

Anonymous said...

I have never posted here before (in fact, I've never posted anything anywhere), but your post could not be read without comment. What you experienced seems to be very typical of those who teach others how to pastor/preach. From my own experiences, I have given up on organized religion. Note that I did not say that I had given up on Christianity or on God. But I have learned that only the arrogant will ever claim to impart the Word of God to others. Without fail those who preach to others of the love of God seem to be completely unable to express any type of agape, charis, or eleos to other human beings; however, they never fail to demand unconditional love for themselves. Yes, God loves; God saves; God shows mercy and gives hope. Unfortunately, the church and its institutions have no reason to exist.