“At first, that seemed to be something that would be totally contradictory to everything I ever believed…”
Hold a Conversation
Can you imagine leading a conversation about this story? Where? With whom? What kinds of questions would you pose? (See How to use the questions for reflection for one approach.) Please email your questions to us or post them in the comment box for our consideration. If you use them in an actual discussion, let us know how the conversation went.
Transcript for Butting Heads
Well I was raised in Southeast Missouri by a very devout Lutheran family, um, come from a very conservative background both social and financial politics very conservative in that way, and very conservative religiously as well.
Whenever I came to Valpo, the first thing I noticed was a presence of liberal Christianity that I had never really been exposed to outside of the way that my church back home referred to it which was generally in a negative and very dismissive light. And, uh, so I was initially inclined to have that same response whenever I came to Valpo. However, the positions became much harder to maintain after awhile.
Some of my friends who eventually became my fraternity brothers had a huge impact. One of my good friends who graduated last year is uh, is uh, a gay, a gay man who is becoming a pastor in the ELCA church and at first that seemed to be something that would be totally contradictory to everything that I had ever believed.
And I think through his example and through the example of people like them in whom I saw very admirable qualities despite their sexuality was a big thing that, that changed over the course of my freshman year especially. The most significant butting of heads that I’ve ever experienced was actually my freshman year whenever I still held very strongly to conservative Lutheranism sort of, and it was with one of my fraternity brothers who essentially said that because Lutherans didn’t follow the Pope I believe, it was that we were essentially going to Hell over this. And um, it actually nearly came to blows.
And that actually, that butting of heads served as a huge turning point to me because it made me become more disenchanted with the idea of organized religion because I realized what it like makes people do what it makes people want to do to each other even more, and um, you know that sort of feeling myself moved to fury by that, by that situation that into which I thought I was unfairly put just really left a lasting impression on me.
Whenever dialogue with those outside one’s own faith doesn’t happen it sort of leads to the bulbous growth of ones own faith in that it gets bigger looking on the outside but it becomes more and more empty on the inside, and I think that Valpo’s decision to encourage liberalism on campus and allow its students to form societies, and clubs, and organizations that some people view as directly opposed to the Lutheran vision of the world, the Lutheran version of Christianity, et cetera. By allowing them to form these organizations, they have allowed a dialogue that is incredibly important to those who want to maintain their faith, and makes the faith of those who allow themselves to come in contact with these organizations stronger.