Whether it is teaching that the Bible is a scrapbook or that water expresses emotions, professors and speakers at Point Loma make an effort to help us question things, inviting us to know things for ourselves, rather than regurgitate a worldview that isn’t necessarily our own.
In the spring semester of my second year at Point Loma, I experienced grueling challenges in my faith. I remember my prior beliefs—cultivated by my small private fundamentalist Christian high school in Boring, Oregon (yes, Boring is the name of the town)—constantly being called into question as I was challenged in discussions, both in the classroom and by a friend. But the real icing on the cake was when the ASB Director of Spiritual life came out.
By the end of the semester, my beliefs had been sufficiently and effectively called into question. Unfortunately, that’s where it left me: faithless, godless, and broken. Challenges arose from all directions, but there was no hospitable environment for me to wrestle with beliefs.
Being gay on Point Loma’s campus made this process exceptionally difficult. How am I to reconcile my faith when a key contributor to my belief system is the “hush-hush” topic on the campus? It’s like Point Loma seems to think everyone else is living in less sin than I am, making my sexuality a fault. When I was eight-years-old, it wasn’t a fault that I liked the shirtless men in the movies instead of busty women. When I was twelve-years-old, it wasn’t a fault that while holding Hayley’s hand, I secretly wanted to kiss Jake instead.
When something—a truth—is discovered to be applicable to one’s life beyond a superficial level, people grow as individuals. Those experiences allow the questions of our hearts—wrought out of who we are—to be directly addressed. Without them, these central questions of our lives remain ignored. And as Christians, we are called to be without ignorance.
Point Loma is neglecting to foster a community where our experiences can be shared fully and without censorship. I fear we have preached so much that Jesus is the Way but have disregarded that there are many roads.
What is making that unbelieving student want to learn about our faith? Or that struggling gay Christian to say, “I still want in on this thing you call Christianity”? Where can our experiences be heard without the questionable smirk on her face or the reprimanding glare in his eyes?
Fostering the areas in which we already believe ignores the importance of investigating the areas in which we doubt. Too often Point Loma leaves its students where it left me, broken and aimlessly wandering a road; hoping that in the end, we find something that brings us back to the faith, back to the church, back to God. Until then, we walk.