A Night to Remember

Hello Readers!

I was very blessed the other night to be a part of something amazing. Let me set the stage.

It was the Erskine Men’s Soccer team’s senior night, and it just so happened that we were also playing for the conference championship as well. Not only that, we were playing the dreaded, undefeated Limestone College Saints. It was sure to be an exciting night. It was sure to be a tough game.

Knowing the gravity of the situation there was a major push among the fans for some increased school spirit. This being the case, a group of us painted on ourselves a message for the game. “GO EC FLYIN’ FLEET!” would color the sidelines in Maroon and Gold for the duration of the bout. I am proud to have stood as the 2nd ‘E’ in Fleet. On top of that, we “commandeered” the Erskine plane (big aluminum replica) and rode it down the hill to the field. Needless to say, we were all pumped up and ready for an epic game.  

The game was one of attrition with each team running, shooting, and fighting for every opportunity to score. At the end of the first half, Limestone was ahead by one beautiful (no matter how unfortunate) goal. The second half was gruelling as Erskine tried to even the score. At one point it looked like the Saints had asserted their lead when our keeper found himself on the far end of an opportunistic shot. But the eyes of one of our mid-fielders were keen, and he put a head on what would have been an open goal, saving the day. As the play clock drew near to an end, it was beginning to look desperate when Erskine finally capitalized on a well placed shot, tying the score and sending the game into sudden death overtime.

Overtime saw an increase in the electric atmosphere of regular play and just when half of the ten minute period was spent, it happened. Our keeper dropkicked the ball from the edge of his box, and it sailed across the field (as it always does). It touched down at the furthest Limestone defender who let the ball go awry. At that one of our forwards struck. It was a beautiful kick, but just a tad too high, and it bounced off of the crossbar and into the space in front of the goal. Fortunately there are more than one set of keen eyes on the Erskine soccer team and another member of the Fleet found the ball and, using his head, ended the game.

The net rippled, and the crowd erupted in proud exclamation. In an instant, the field was filled with Fleet fanatics who joined their team in chanting “E-C! E-C!” into the brisk Autumn air. My voice has never been more lost, and I’ve never been prouder to be a member of the Erskine family.

And people say that nothing exciting happens in small towns…

God bless,

-BD

More Than Meals

Hello Readers!

It occurred to me today that in my last semester I will most likely not be able to do one of my favorite things here at Erskine- eat dinner with my professor! It might sound weird, but it has meant a lot to me in my time here. Let me explain.

Over the course of my three years at Erskine, I have been invited out to dinner with or over to the home of many of the Erskine faculty for meals. It hasn’t been one particular person and has ranged from the President to the professors. It’s a good break from dining hall food (which is needed every now and again) as well as a time to get to know faculty and peers outside of the classroom.

More than any of that though, these experiences have really embodied something that I love about Erskine and one of it’s distinct charms to quote the common phrasing: “At Erskine, you are more than a number”.  

How many students at big universities have been over to eat at the home of their president? How many students know their professors’ children (even pets!) by name? How many professors would take the time and money to have a home cooked meal for their students? I do not have a lot of experience with other bigger colleges, and so I do not know the answer to these questions. The impression that I get however from the people that I know is that there is something very unique about a place like Erskine in the care and treatment that a student receives here.

I have eaten some good meals, sure, but the overall meaning of my Erskine experience has been more than meals. My professors have always been there outside of class to answer my questions and even to give advice in times of difficulty (both in and out of the realm of academics). I haven’t been treated like a number, rather I have been treated like a person. The flipside to that is that you cannot just skip class without getting the third degree, but nonetheless anonymity is no substitute for intimacy. Home cooked meals win every time.

God bless,

-BD

 

Past, Present, Future

Hello Readers!

My final fall break has marked a semi-definitive halfway mark for my final semester here at Erskine. It is an interesting thing to think about, and as I talk with freshmen in the midst of their first semester it’s hard to believe that three years has gone by so fast. All I can say is “Don’t blink. It only seems to go faster as the years go by”.

Yet, in the midst of that, I have been reminded today of something very important. Our convocation speaker was a graduate of the class of 1939, Erskine’s 100th year as an institution. As we approach our 175th year, I am reminded of the rich history of this place and all of the people who have walked these halls before me. It was apparent that a lot has changed in the past 75 years, but that much has stayed the same. Erskine’s seemingly undefinable charms are still here, and it still stands out as a very special place.

I have been very blessed to be a part of Erskine, and I will take the lessons learned here with me wherever I go. I am refusing to let myself get too bogged down with the what-ifs of my past three years. Two months will fly by, no doubt, but there is plenty of time to soak up the last drops of Erskine experience that I have left.

I guess the comments of an alumni have brought me to the realization that I too, will soon be an alumni. I am not too far from being out of my “Erskine bubble” and into the world. There is definitely a special culture on this campus. It is a safe place in a lot of ways and there are so many opportunities here that are perhaps harder to find elsewhere. One of the things that Miss Dot told us today was a quote from one of her friends. He said that all of his graduate studies had indeed prepared him for his career, but that his time at Erskine had prepared him for life.

God bless,

-BD

 

Living Like Jonah

Hello Readers!

I am about to try something bold…very bold. You see, over the summer I was very blessed to be able to go to Wales on a missionary internship with World Witness (the ARP missions organization). My bold attempt is going to be to give a brief summary of an experience that took 42 blog posts over the course of the summer. But here it goes!

My trip to Wales was an amazing experience, and I was able to go abroad with my fiance, who worked with a church a few hills over from where I was. We left on the last day of May and returned to America on the last day of July. I was given the opportunity to do work with the churches and young people in the Pontypridd area in South Wales. The trip was rife with a lot of hard work, a lot of joy, and more new experiences than I care to try and count. This was not my first overseas mission trip, but it was the first time that I had been abroad for so long. It was also the first time that I was able to do ministry as a day-to-day occupation.

I met so many amazing people on my journey and was able to work alongside of so many Welsh brothers and sisters. They were a great encouragement to me in my faith and taught me so much about hospitality and evangelism. Being in Wales gave me such a different perspective on my view of what it means to be a Christian. The European Church culture is far different than that of American Christianity. It is humbling to see people who face such scrutiny and mockery holding on and working so hard for the sake of their Savior.

One of the coolest things about this trip, and a point of relevance, is the connectedness that it had to Erskine. At Erskine I have made connections with many people who have encouraged and supported me in my various endeavors, especially in Wales. Not only have my Erskine relationships been important for my trip to Wales, but Wales was an important step in my Erskine education as well. It served as my practical internship for my Christian Ed major and, aside from the fact that I was able to receive school credit for my trip, it provided a platform for me to use all of the things that I have learned in my time here. My time in Wales has been invaluable to my growth as a student of the Bible, and I am truly blessed to have spent time in such a special place.

If anyone would be at all interested to read more about my trip the link is: http://livinlikejonah.blogspot.com/

God bless!

-BD

 

Home Away From Home

Hello Readers!

In keeping with my one blog streak of talking about Christian growth, I felt like this would be a good opportunity about how meaningful and beneficial it has been to have a church home while at college.

For starters, I am a part of a small denomination called the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church or ARP for short. I have been a part of the ARP ever since I became a Christian, and I love it for a lot of reasons. For being a relatively small denomination there are actually quite a lot of ARP churches in the Southeast. That being the case, it was not hard to find an ARP church nearby. There is even one right in town only a stone’s throw away from my dorm room window. As it turns out, due to various long time friends, I find myself a three year attendee of the Greenwood ARP Church about 20 minutes away.

Having a church at college is really like having a home away from home (given the right church at least). I have found in these past few years that the friends and leaders at GARP (I like abbreviations) have been such a great help and encouragement in so many different ways. I have received words of wisdom from my pastor and other men in the church concerning a variety of things from tips for my college classes to marriage advice. I have been a part of several Sunday School classes and have even been able to teach Sunday School on one occasion! When I endeavored to go to Wales for a missions internship this past summer, I found this church to be more than willing to support me in prayer and with their finances. They wanted to hear about my intended mission before I ever went over seas. and then they were even more eager to hear about my adventures once I got back!

My involvement in campus ministry has been a huge part of my spiritual development in these past years of college. That being said, there is no substitute for being a part of a church family that faithfully preaches the word of God and loves with the love of Christ. I have formed bonds with the members of GARP as well as the other students who attend with me.  We ride to and from the church together, listen to the same sermons and even head out to lunch afterwards (when the college budget allows). This “home away from home” has become so much more than that. Erskine has been my home since August 2010 and in that time this church has loved me like any home church would or could. Thier hospitality has been a huge blessing and no matter where I go, this church and all the people in it will have a special place in my life.

God bless,

-BD

Growing in Grace

Hello Readers!

One of my greatest joys at Erskine, and that which has probably been the most beneficial part of my experience, is the Christ-centered community and all of the opportunities that come with it. Growing in my faith is at the core of who I am. I do not find myself wanting in terms of my academic education, but at the end of the day it is not my degree that matters. It is my Savior. Here at Erskine I have not simply found food for my mind but for my heart and soul as well.

This term “Christ-centered community” can be deceptive. It doesn’t mean that everyone at Erskine is perfect. It doesn’t even mean that everyone here is a Christian. What it does mean is that Erskine is committed as an institution (and community) to seeing people grow in their Christian faith. This is not a place of indoctrination. There is no contract that one signs upon enrolling. Rather it is a place where Christians can find opportunities to grow and serve, as well as a place where anyone can learn a great deal about what being a follower of Christ is all about.

There is a rich diversity of campus ministries and groups devoted to growing closer to the Lord. There is Reformed University Fellowship, Baptist Collegiate Ministries and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. These groups meet weekly for worship and the teaching of Scripture, each with its own distinct flavor and appeal. There is also the Student Christian Association, which oversees and aids the ministry efforts on campus, not to mention a large Gospel Choir which practices weekly and regularly brings beautiful truth to the campus through song.

My personal experience has been mainly with RUF. It is what suits me, and what I am used to in terms of my church upbringing. I have many friends who find themselves in other ministries as well, and they find avenues for spiritual growth there. There is no one way that works for everybody and everyone’s path looks different. When I was an SLA, I often told freshmen that “It’s not about coming to the ministry that I prefer but about finding where you will be comfortable and seeking Christ there”.

One of the coolest things to see campus ministry do, in my opinion, is when all of the different organizations work together. Some would spread rumors about the divided nature of our different groups, “cliques” even. In the minds of some that may be true, but I know that on SCA (where all ministries and classes are represented) there have been so many instances with Christians from all different backgrounds and organizations working together in worship, in prayer, and in service to this community. Indeed the Psalmist spoke the truth saying ‘how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!’

God bless,

-BD

A Student’s Point of View

Hello Readers!

I think it is high time that I actually talked about my role as a student, as this is a college blog and that is my primary role here in Due West. Though the appeal and the charm of Erskine extends far outside of the classroom, there is so much value in our academic rigor.

As a Bible major I have been blessed to study academically that subject which is my current and eternal passion: God and His work in this world. I have found the work to be vastly challenging but equally rewarding. Not to mention the fact that my studies have proven immensely practical as I pursue summer and weekend ministry opportunities where I can employ the things that I have been taught. It has started me down a path where learning is not simply confined to the head. It moves out through the hands and feet of a student, making study not a matter of merely checking a box or jumping a hoop, but a matter of passion and vocation. My next step, Lord willing, will be enrolling as a seminary student and then the focus will be intensely practical, with weekly work to supplement my studies. Nothing could have prepared me for that like Erskine has.

Erskine is full of brilliant professors, and the Liberal Arts education means that I get to sample the brilliance of all of the departments. One of the greatest things about ‘being forced’ to take classes from a variety of disciplines, is that I have been given the chance to appreciate other subjects that I might have never been exposed to otherwise. I sometimes think back to the time when I chose my major and think of how it might be different had I known about all of the amazing English and History classes that I have been able to take. I do not regret my Bible major, but even now I am in a Chemistry class for Chem Majors and have been able to find the problems fun like puzzles and the practical insights very intriguing. There have been many classes (Biology, American Military History, Creation Fiction Writing, etc.) that I never imagined enrolling in, let alone enjoying them as much as I did! My time as a student has been full of classes like that. Don’t get me wrong, every day of every class is not my idea of paradise. Sometimes it depends on the day or the time of day (8 AM classes should be illegal), but on base my learning experiences have been very survivable and more often than not, quite enjoyable.

God bless,

-BD