Today I received the regular Perth bible college newsletter. It comes out every so often and the college posts me a copy. Yes I was a student at Perth Bible college, whoopee. It sounds good to some, Bible college. And I lived on campus in quite nice accommodation and the campus grounds had lovely lawns and shrubs, trees etc. Living on campus was my highlight. It’s nice especially because I was single then I was among people day and night who were on the whole sensible people. Such people you would expect were in to prayer and reading the bible. I enjoy my faith in God; I believed the whole salvation message and still do. I love the idea of a supreme creator God who lives above.

Now I have not always been a Christian believer; I came one in about 1979. It was like I was destined to be a believer in God and a follower of Jesus Christ. But when I was young I knew very little about God and His Son Jesus. God put a desire in to my heart to go to university in 1979. There I met a man that had the integrity and belief in God that helped me to get in to a relationship with God. This man taught me the salvation message of Christ. This man had the good morals that went with a faith in the almighty. He was faithful and loyal to God. After I accepted Christ as my saviour this man was blessed by God; he got married to a really nice lady and God gave enough money through a building society lottery gift for this couple to buy a new home. He was blessed no two ways about it. This man introduced me to the church that he attended and I began attending this church. I was baptised and joined as a member. The minister of this church was quite understanding. But a few years down the track his church flock (not all) turned against him. A church meeting was held to vote the minister out of office of this church. But before the vote took place the minister got a message through to the meeting giving his resignation. Poor show I thought, why did this all happen. The minister was good to me. The church Elders elected a new minister a man that was then overseas as a missionary. This man came back to New Zealand and took up the ministry of this church. But this man died a few years later, he left behind a young wife and young children. I can not remember what caused this mans death. But in hindsight I think the church did a very bad thing to the first minister.

So I was a Christian and in 1999 I applied to be a student at Perth Bible College. I was asked to attend the college for an interview. I arrived at the college, I was enraptured by the beautiful lawns and gardens. The buildings were all semi modern and nice looking. There were many accommodation units all looking modern. I liked what I saw. I came to the administration block walked in and spoke to the receptionist. I was asked to sit down in the foyer and wait. I sat next to a lady; she seemed about 4 or 5 years younger than me and I guessed she also was enrolling to be a student, we both would be mature students older than most students studying here. I introduced myself with my Christian name trying to be nice. But lo and behold this lady was not nice. “Miss Burfoot to you” (not her real name) in a raised voice. I mean what was she on about. I was a Christian and I presumed she was a Christian, does that not make us brother and sister in The Lord Jesus Christ. Am I missing something here? Reminds me of when I was living with my parents, my mother said “Pray and pass the ammunition”. Meaning church is really about fighting each other with words. This lady seemed spiteful and I had never met her before in my life. It was not a good start for her and I tried to avoid her for all my years at college. Yes she was single and I was single. Maybe she thought I was going to come on to her, like pursue her, but what for? I was single and my intentions were honourable to her.

Here I was now at college, a full time student and cleaning toilets. Yes I was a college toilet cleaner. But you might say were you not a student, you know walked around with a halo and gave off importance. No I was never important at college. But you were learning, why clean toilets? The college had no paid servants other than the teachers. So someone had to clean the toilets and that someone was me against my wishes. Each Friday for 3 hours all full time students had to work on the college; cleaning, gardening, admin, whatever. That brings me back to the lady mentioned above Miss Burfoot. I had more problems with her. But she was aided by another lady a teacher. The teacher here a lady was in charge of some cleaning details and I was in one of those details. This teacher a single lady a bit older than me chose Miss Burfoot to be her supervisor. Miss Burfoot just checked people’s work, I never saw her do any works while she supervised. But I had trouble here. A lot of times I would be cleaning the men’s toilets and then my heart would get vexed. Something was upsetting my heart. Not too long into this vexation the teacher and Miss Burfoot would turn up at my place of cleaning and go through a thorough check on my cleaning. I knew when I got the vexation that it was these 2 ladies vexing me. It was not a pleasant job cleaning toilets and it was more unpleasant having 2 ladies load more work on me and think it was funny. This teacher was the one that had assigned me to toilet cleaning. Next term came again and I was hoping that I would be assigned to a different duty but no this teacher assigned me toilet cleaning again. I had already done months of toilet cleaning and now had to do months more. I went to this teachers office and complained. She obliging did move me to another duty. But the student a male that replaced me on toilet duty did not have problems with the teacher and Miss Burfoot checking up on him. This student was left alone. Talking about vexation, I get vexed a lot, sometimes I can work out who the trouble makers are. I do remember another vexing time at college in the class room. A student sat next to me and while the teacher in front was speaking this student was trying to talk to me. I just wish that student did not talk it was a bother. I mean the teacher was teaching. Now I picked up a vexation in my heart. As soon as the vexation came the teacher addressed me to be quiet. Did I feel bad. I wish that student next to me had kept quiet he caused me to look bad. I had another run in with the single lady teacher. In class we were discussing the merits of teachers teaching about other religions in class. In college only one religion was taught and that was Christianity. I mentioned that universities taught comparative religions, comparing different religions. But this teacher shot my idea down with flames and then the vexation in my heart. It was a strong vexation. I knew it was vexing coming from this teacher. She now looked cross. I knew our hearts had connected and she was suffering. The class finished we went outside to the courtyard for tea and coffee during class break. This teacher came up to me looked at me and said in a loud emotionally charged voice that I was arrogant. And there were a group of people here. I did not go back to her class for a few days or was it one day; she found me in the library and apologised to me. I went back to her classes.

Bible College never taught me any insights. I learnt college is a place where the intelligent people succeed. It’s more about exercising ones intelligence than learning new insights. Schools favour the intelligent students. I learnt that to get the qualification it was about being clever at doing assignments and exams. I learnt the art of doing assignments. I learnt how to learn for exams. It was just about assignments and exams and just attending classes. I learnt word processing on a computer. I learnt how to format essays on the computer. But I never really learnt anything new from the bible. Humanism was big in the teaching at college. I had to work hard it was like big heavy boulders were put on my back. Each year students had to buy many text books as part of their studies, this was a requirement, and the books were big text books and cost lots of money. I hardly ever read these text books. When I left college I gave just about all of them away for free. I did quite well at assignments and exams. I passed with good marks. But now I do not remember anything that I actually learnt from those studies. It seemed all about Just getting good marks in assignments and exams. I was awed by some of the students who seemed to be so intelligent. And yes these intelligent students were like the teachers pets. Teachers seem to love intelligent students, the less intelligent students seem to just be in the way. Teachers give the intelligent students responsible leader positions. No toilet cleaning for the higher intelligent students.

So was bible college halcyon days? They were in part because living on college campus was a nice experience. I made friends and was never lonely. The social life was great. Always something happening, no boredom. I passed my qualification. I really never learnt what I wanted to learn, I wanted to learn straight insights, I wanted none of the humanism, I did not want mans teaching, I wanted good direct insights that were Godly. I wanted the truth taught to me. College maybe is a place not to give you the truth but to guide you to find the truth yourself and think for yourself. Maybe I wanted teachers to teach me direct truth rather than for me to find it. I found out that I could not think like all the other students and teachers, my thinking wanted straight direct, not like up and down; up and down to me was weak thinking, not strong, I want my wrists to be super strong not weak. So to get on a roll in bible college thinking was not natural to me. Such thinking was weak. I think of teachers in the way past before bible college that I have perceived and I saw uninspiring teachers, they gave off a look of dryness in their knowledge, they seemed wooden in spiritual strength, they had no fountain of Wisdom in their hearts. How can you learn from such teachers? To be the strength of wood to me is weak; it may look strong; I mean wood can be a good weapon, but God in Word is strong as iron, and I can not accept anything but the spiritual strength of iron. Wood alludes to nature, it is about creation rather than the creator, its about the body and not the head, wood is created its about nature, and nature is about Mother Nature. So these wooden spiritual strength people worship Mother Nature rather than God above. For them its about mother first and then father. They love the mother more than the father. In a crises they may call out to the mother for help.

I left college but was I better for it? I knew that bible college was far better than my school college in my teens. Bible college did give good support. Teachers did care about their students. There was love and help from students and staff.

Yours Sincerely; Lester John Murray.

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