(Re)Considering Christianity: A Skeptic Looks at the Christian Religion, Introduction – part 4

“Doth not even nature itself teach you, that,
if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”
(1 Corinthians 11:14, KJV)

To see more posts in this series, please go to the series’ page.

In August of 2001 I made the trip down to Pensacola, FL where I had enrolled at Pensacola Christian College as an Evangelism major. Having spent my entire life to that point living at home with my parents and brother, traveling over thousand miles away to spend extended periods of time living with people I did not know was jarring. For those unfamiliar with PCC, it is a liberal arts college that at the time I attended was not accredited. However, it had a generally favorable academic reputation among Christian colleges even if it was on the more conservative end of the spectrum. It was a Textus Receptus Only school which meant it was consequently King James Only as well. It was also decidedly in the young earth creationist camp, Baptist in polity, and dispensational in hermeneutic. These things fit well into my worldview.

A Day in the Life at PCC

What didn’t fit into my worldview were the very strict rules. Let’s consider what a typical Monday would have been for me at PCC.

At around 6am I would wake up, take a shower, make my bed, and get dressed. That isn’t too out of the ordinary. But around 7:15am I would begin doing whatever chore I had been assigned by my roommates for that week. Let’s say it was to take the trash from our bins down to the garbage chute at the end of the hall. At 7:30am, a “floor leader” would come into our room, do a quick scan, and write anyone a slip if they did not perform their assigned chore or who did not make their bed. If I had failed to take out the trash I would receive a slip that was worth one demerit. Over the course of a school year if I had accrued one-hundred and fifty demerits I could be expelled. Once the floor leader was finished, I’d quickly throw on my tie and head to class. Some days as I exited the dorm there would be a floor leader standing by to make sure our ties were on before we departed the building. If they weren’t, we were written up.

The first class began at 8am and the second at 9am. But regardless of whether you had morning classes or not, everyone was required to attend chapel service at 10am. There we would hear from the college’s pastor or from a guest speaker. Once chapel was finished I would take my tie off and head to lunch. Depending on my schedule, after lunch I would either head back to my dorm for study or a nap or I would move on to the next class. By 4pm I was done for the day and would head back to my dorm to put on my tie and a suit jacket so I could eat dinner at one of the school’s cafeteria’s. There is nothing so classy as eating a hamburger and french fries in khaki’s and a blue sport coat.

Once I had downed the last french fry and put up my tray I would head back to my room. Around 6pm a bell would ring indicating that it was now “quiet time,” a period of around two hours wherein the entire dorm had to be silent so students could study and work on homework assignments. At the end of quiet time, students could continue studying but were no longer required to speak in hushed tones. When 10:15 rolled around I would stop whatever I was doing and head down to the room of the “prayer leader,” a student designated by the floor leaders to lead three or four rooms in singing, devotional, and prayer. Once our prayer time had ended, I would return to my room and hang out with my roommates as we awaited 11pm: “lights out.” At 10:55 a bell would ring indicating we had only five minutes till lights out and would ring again at 11. At that time, we had to be in our bed and wait for the floor leader to come in, do a head count, write up anyone who was out of bed, and leave.

Every so often after light’s out we’d hear pounding on the door and yelling for us to wake up for “hair check.” I would get out of bed, exit the room, and stand up against the hallway and wait for the residence assistant to come through and make sure our hair wasn’t too long or too “styled.” At times he or a floor leader would come around with a ruler and if your sideburns were over half an inch in length you would be given a slip and receive demerits. Needless to say, there were a lot of students with buzz cuts in the dorm. Afterwards, I would head back to my room and try to fall asleep so that at 6am the next morning I could start it all over again.

Next Time

In the next post I’ll talk about my experience as an Evangelism major at PCC.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.

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