To see more posts in this series, please go to the series’ page.
Near the end of my sophomore year, the two floor leaders on my hall nominated me to become a floor leader for the beginning of my junior year. I interviewed for the position with the assistant dean of men and was hired. Following summer break, I returned to Pensacola a week or so earlier than most students to train for my new job. Though it was considered part time, it was anything but. In the mornings I had to go room-by-room on my floor and make sure beds were made, trash was taken out, and the bathroom wasn’t in complete disarray. In the evenings, twice a week, I was responsible for sitting in the hallway for two hours or so during “Quiet Time,” a period in which the whole dorm had to be quiet so that students could do their homework in peace. At 11pm, I went room-by-room to make sure everyone was in their beds and the lights were out.
But I was on call all day. If I saw a student violating a rule, it was my job to either issue a warning or write a demerit slip. (I rarely wrote demerit slips since I found most of the rules silly, though the school framed the rules in terms of obedience to God.) If a student was on the verge of being expelled, they were placed with a floor leader before the administration decided what they were going to do with them. The student was not permitted to speak to any other students except the floor leader accompanying them. They also had to stay in the floor leader’s dorm room and attend the floor leader’s classes with them until a decision was made. Basically, I was a glorified babysitter in an institution that though of us as children, not young adults.
As I indicated in the previous post, I switched my major from Evangelism to History with a minor in biblical languages. So I took Intermediate Greek and Biblical Hebrew with the hope that during my senior year I could take more advanced Greek classes. Even though I remained KJV-Only, my plan was to know the biblical languages well enough to demonstrate that the KJV was the best of all the English translations. Of course, the more I learned, the more I realized that the KJV was problematic.
I also took a number of history classes including “World History Since 1900,” “19th Century Europe,” “The United States in the Twentieth Century,” and more. As you may have anticipated, these classes were taught from a decidedly Christian and very conservative viewpoint. The teachers often touted conspiracy theories, lambasting the United Nations as a one-world government plot from Satan himself. And communists were lurking around every corner. This was in the early 2000s, not the 60s or 70s.
Beginning in my freshman year I began helping with a college-based outreach program to an impoverished neighborhood in Pensacola. It was a requirement for my ministerial program but I continued to do it even after I switched majors. A team of men would go to the neighborhood and half of us would go door-to-door with gospel tracts and evangelize while the other half would put on a show for children in the local park. We had a juggler, puppeteers, and more. In my freshman and sophomore years, I preferred to do the door-to-door work, relishing the chance to discuss and sometimes debate Christianity. But as time progressed, I found more joy in spending time with children, showing them that someone cared about them. And so week-after-week I would go to the same park with this group and the kids from the area would come out to watch a program we put together and just play on the playground or throw around a football. One girl, Alexandria, would run up to me every time I showed up to give me a big hug. She was in a broken home in a neighborhood plagued with drugs and violence. (We saw our fair share of drug busts while we were there.) Being able to show up consistently to show her the love of Jesus was the highlight of my week. To this day I wonder what became of her, if she was able to break out of the cycle of poverty she was born into, and whether she remembers me and the team that would go out to her neighborhood.
In the next installment of this series, I will continue to explore my story, including my departure from PCC during my senior year and my work in youth ministry.