Memorandum 1

This is the first of seven memoranda to seven groups, ranging loosely from the least irritating to the most. 

To all “non-denominational” “Christian” students: I understand very well that your home-schooling mother and your pastor may have given you to understand that you, like them, are members of a superior species, and that in this life you need only to “minister” to the rest of us unfortunates. For purposes of my class and this university, however, you are still required to do work and learn material. Whining and insisting that you are a good person are not substitutes for these activities. Organizing a prayer group at your church on behalf of my soul is kind of you, but is not required by me. You must really put your schoolwork first.


14 thoughts on “Memorandum 1

  1. I have students who include those little Christian comic books inside their folders with their final papers along with notes that have told me how much Jesus loves me. ..

  2. Let’s add, “do not come on a mission journey during office hours at a public university.” I am not “so close to understand the truth.” You have no idea.

  3. I may post this one on my door: “do not come on a mission journey during office hours at a public university.”

    thanks servetus!

  4. OMG, I have NEVER had any try to convert me. If they pray for me, they don’t tell me about it. Should I feel left out? Or is it because it’s not the Minnesota way? I do have students whose travel experience to Latin America includes misson trips. I try not to visibly recoil in class when they tell me this.

  5. I do think Minnesotans are somewhat more restrained, although it has a lot to do with whether the students think that you could plausibly be Xian already. If there is doubt there, you can easily become the object of missionizing in your own office.

  6. I am actually grateful for the ones who have been on mission trips because they speak Spanish, or Portuguese as the case may be, and because they have been abroad at all.

    The way they know I am not Christian is that I do not say I am. The same way they “knew” for years I was lesbian because I wear a lot of black, never wear spike heels, have strong opinions, go to New Orleans, and never discuss relationships with men in class.

    They only organize prayer groups, though, when they think the class is too intellectually challenging.

  7. P.S. – they also think I may be a Republican because I don’t say I’m anything and I criticize the Democrats as much as I do the Republicans.

  8. P.P.S. – although it is inverosimil, given the content of my courses, that anyone could imagine me Republican. But they do imagine it.

  9. Ha. May I add to the memorandum?: And also, using The Bible as a scholarly resource really is out of the question. I’m not simply trying to test your faith by telling you that it’s out of the question, just waiting to give those Christian soldiers among you an A. Really.

  10. Oh, yes. I know how they’re using it, too. Except for my one stellar Biblical scholar when we were studying the Popol Vuh – another sacred text composed from lost fragments, which we were reading in translation, etc., etc. He totally got the problematics of the text.

    Initially I wondered, because he was a freshman who spoke Spanish because of having been a missionary, so was placed in a literature class without any literary background. He was worried whether it might be too hard, and so was I. After a couple of days I asked him how it seemed and he said, “It’s fine, it’s a lot like Bible study, and I’ve done that, so I get it.” “Bible study?! My class is like Bible study?!” I asked, amazed. Then he explained why, and *I* got it – it’s hermeneutics!!!

  11. Hermeneutics! That’s wonderful. What a great experience! Makes one wish they were all bible scholars.

    Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever had a student use the bible to point out even an allusion. It’s more like, “The Bible says, ___” and the American Psychiatric Association says, ____;” therefore, the APA is wrong. (This is a simulation, of course. In real life, the semi-colon would never be there:)

    Ha, I know you know…

  12. I teach a lot of things where the Bible comes up, so I am used to it being taken out in class–in fact, I am glad when they do that. It is the people who quote the Bible without ever having read it who are the problem.

  13. Professor Zero had a 7th Day Adventist who had memorized the Bible and could identify every Biblical allusion in every literary text – extremely useful !!!

  14. thank you for this one. i especially would get annoyed when students quoted the bible when it came to queer studies, but refused to read the assigned text. that was just ANNOYING.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s