PERTH BIBLE COLLEGE

It was a sunny warm day and I think better when I am comfortable and comfortable to me in many ways means being warm. How I hate being cold. I got away from New Zealand because of its cold. Wellington is no place to find natural warmth. I know our ancestors went to New Zealand seeking a better standard of living, they found it, but alas the weather was not much different from Great Britain. So here I am living in Perth Australia and I have no regrets moving here. Now it was warm today and I was on a high. I felt nice and comfortable. I had an interview with the College Principle. This was no ordinary College, this was a Bible College. 

I arrived at the College with plenty of time to spare. I was jubilant in my thinking at being hopefully a future Bible College student. I thought I was in a lovely peaceful place. The College grounds were neat and tidy, there were plenty of trees and shrubs and flowers. It was a grand place. The buildings were modern looking and everything seemed clean. I entered the administration building and was asked by the receptionist to wait. I sat down in the foyer and waited. Another hopeful student was waiting. It was a lady and she was seated next to me. Since becoming a Christian (in 1979) I thought that the church as a whole was one big family and we were all Christian brothers and sisters and we helped each other. Maybe my outlook on this Christian family was somewhat naive, and I guess it was. I mean my mother said to me a few times the church was about “Pray to God and pass the ammunition”. My mother was not naive. Most of my life I was seemingly immature, but how does one become mature; I mean I didn’t want to be immature. So I was taking longer than usual to mature. This lady sitting next to me seemed to ignore me. I said “hi I am Lester” or some nice introduction that I can not remember word for word. She looked at me and spluttered out words that surprised me. I won’t say her real name. She said “Miss Buccaneer to you”. I gathered that she too was applying to be a student. And I was right as later she was accepted as a first year student. I thought wow she is not receptive to me. Why was she not being nice to me? I was a single man, was I looking like I was desperate for a wife? But I was just trying to be friendly. I mean we were brother and sister in Christ. 
I was accepted as a student. I moved in to a lovely unit. It was like a motel unit all self contained. I had a few flat mates. Lunch was the main meal of the day and it was served in a large communal dining room. We took our evening meal in our own units and cooked by ourselves. Bible College was quite idyllic, it was like one great big family. We helped one another. So Christianity can be practiced in community; It does work but nothing is perfect, we are all sinners. Bible College can be a place where Christian community does work. My first introduction to a Christian lady at Bible College was not up to my expectations but not all was gloom and doom. I met other ladies at College who treated me better. Bible College was much better than the College I attended in my youth. College in the past was like a nightmare. At my first College I had very little help from staff or students. At College it was very much a competitive thing and was like based on jungle law “Survival of the fittest”. Those first College days turned out to be miserable for me. At my youth College days it was like weeding out the weak. Only the strong survive. In those days I felt like it was me against the world and no one really loved me. But at Bible College it was remarkably different, the staff and students were interested in you and wanted to help you. We were trying to get our certificates, diplomas and degrees and it was not dog fight dog but help each other to acquire our qualifications. If we were savages at Bible College at least we were noble savages and much different from the savages at ordinary College. We were noble and children of God. Savages attack each other but the students at Bible College did try and respect others. We did not go around biting each other, we were noble and wise. Fools bite others. Bible College was not all easy peasy. It was plain hard work at times. Assignments drove us up the wall. There was hard work and there was easy times. I loved the sense of community. It was about community and God. We worshipped and prayed to God. In our community times we did worship God together, we called it chapel, and this was once each week day in the morning. Chapel time brought us together to acknowledge we believed in the one God and His Son Jesus Christ. Gods Word brought us together to recognise the true wisdom of how we are to behave. We knew how we were to act and we knew how others were meant to act. We had the true WISDOM. God was supreme and we were in relationship with Him. We had to attend classes. Classes were easy. The assignments were hard. Examinations were hard. 
I reflect now “What did I learn from the Lecturers at Bible College”? I can really only think of one thing. One of the Lecturers was trained in counselling. This Lecturer ran the counselling classes. This teacher offered free counselling to the full time students. I took up his offer. I met him for private counselling many times. We were together in his office one day and he went to the marker board and drew the lines outlining a graph. The horizontal line and the vertical line. Then he drew a straight horizontal line. He said to me “You are a straight thinker, you think in a straight line”. This insight to me, about me, out shines all the other teachings that I was taught at Bible College. I mean the great philosophers speak about “Know thyself”. Knowing thyself is understanding. But in my thinking to know oneself one must reflect off someone or something. That someone is God. God mirrors us. We reflect off God. God is the best reflection. We need a clean mirror. God is all clean. This Lecturer helped me really only once, I mean what he said about my straight thinking was a nugget of gold. 
At Bible College students had to do work around the campus. We did not have College servants. The students cut the lawns, weeded, cleaned, painted, did maintenance. For 3 hours each Friday afternoon we students worked on the campus. We called this work “Scrub”. Scrub was hard work. But the College was impeccable in its looks. Clean and tidy we were. The College looked good. My first “Scrub” job was easy. I was given an administrative task. But things changed soon enough. I was put on cleaning the College male toilets. It was hard work and yes humbling work. It was only one bathroom but it was a big bathroom. I used the fire hose to hose out the toilets. Then it was mopping and cleaning. It was kind of straight forward cleaning except for one problem. There was this female lecturer who was in charge of the students doing the cleaning and this lecturer often came to the toilets while I was cleaning to check on my job. She checked on me regularly. I hated this lecturer coming to check on me at work. I knew when she was coming because in my heart I would get vexed. My heart would get troubled at any sign that she was on her way. You may say “She is just doing her job as the overseer”. But when I eventually got moved to another job this lecturer would and did not check on the new person cleaning the male toilets. This female lecturer had a side kick, a student who assisted her in her overseeing the cleaning jobs. This side kick did no physical work for scrub she just checked on people’s work. But she was not a necessity to do this checking, we were all responsible adults. They checked on me and they seemed to delight in checking on me. They made a big show on checking just mainly on me. Who was this side kick? Only but the lady I introduced myself to in the administration foyer when I first arrived at the College for my first interview. Now this side kick was being a trouble to me. She checked on my work with the female lecturer and made fun of me. I was cleaning the male toilets for I think one semester (half year). Now I thought that after one semester of cleaning toilets I should get moved to doing some other job. But no, this lady lecturer had decided I would clean the male toilets for another semester. I rebelled against this decision and asked to be moved. I was given a job in the College kitchen. Here I was seldom checked on. But now there was another problem. While in the kitchen on a Friday afternoon another student also cleaning here would have the radio on. Now this would not sound out of place, I mean what’s wrong with a bit of music to help you through your work. The thing wrong was that the radios volume was up very high. I mean high high. I took this for a number of Friday’s. But I was was seething with anger. There were times I thought of grabbing the radio and throwing it on the floor. I did ask another fellow student about the noise, but she just brushed me off and said that the Principle gave permission. I seethed again with anger thinking “We are at a Bible College not some disco”. The noise was so bad but I was not in charge. The lady who had the radio was engaged to marry and I thought “Was she having problems with her hormones?”. Besides I have never liked much noise I prefer silence. I had to do something or I would go crazy. I went to the lady lecturer appealing for a move in job. This time I was moved to cleaning the classrooms. It was quite straight forward, vacuuming and dusting. This job was my last job for scrub. 
Class was nothing to write home about. I was in the missions class once and there was a little drama. The lady lecturer who was the scrub cleaning overseer was lecturer of the missions class. You may think that I write a lot about her. I do. I was single and older and so was she. She might have been a bit older than me. But she seemed a confirmed spinster so why would she show an interest in me. When I say confirmed spinster I mean confirmed. I raised my hand and said “Why do Bible College classes not teach a bit about other religions”. This lady lecturer shot my suggestion down in flames. Then the vexation started. I mean vexation in my heart. I thought “I don’t usually get vexation about my class work nor with the teachers”. I knew this lecturer and I were now in conflict. For me it was just a vexation that I can cope with but for her she would suffer. After class we had our usual class break with morning tea. We met out in the court yard outside the classroom. An urn and cups and hot water were set up. Students usually stood around talking. The lady lecturer came steaming up to me and in a loud voice that all could hear said “You are arrogant”. She moved away from me, I said nothing in reply to her outburst. I was shocked in to silence, it was so unexpected. I mean she is a lecturer. Lecturers don’t go around saying words of emotion to their students, especially not in public. I don’t remember what I did next but I know I missed a few of her future mission classes. She found me in the College library one day and apologised to me. I returned to mission classes and tried to forget her outburst. I wish I had explained myself more. I did not intend the College to teach from the Koran nor teach from any other non Christian dogma texts but to explain in simple terms what other religions believe. My idea was not receptive so I did not pursue it. 
Bible College was great for social times. We single males were often invited to dinner at the single ladies units. Students came from around the world. We had a lot of Asian students staying on campus and they were all good cooks and I enjoyed many times a feed of Asian cooking. We would also converge to the college carpark and find seats in cars and head off to a restaurant. Many students had their own cars. It was a halcyon life. You could never feel lonely. Our units had people coming and going. There were one bedroomed, two bedroom and three bedroomed units. The units were all self contained; kitchen with oven fridge and sink, laundry, bathroom, lounge/dining room. We lived like kings and queens. We felt so safe there that often our doors were left unlocked. Stealing was never heard of on campus. 
What did I learn at Bible College? I was dropped into the deep end of putting out assignments. These assignments were required to be done on computers. Each semester we had to hand in a number of assignments. So I learnt word processing like I never learnt before. I needed my own computer. There were computers on site for the use of students but it was much better to have your own computer in your own bedroom as word processing became much of your life. We churned out many assignments monthly. Often we students were up late at night churning out an assignment due the next morning. A lot of students, me included, would wait until near the due date of the assignment before we got down to doing it. But what did I learn? I learnt how to properly word process. I learnt how to get myself around a computer. I bought my own computer, it was my first computer. Assignments had to be just about perfect. Grammar and spelling had to be dead on. The content was expected to be ok but the layout was also expected to be ok. In the bibliography for example the lecturers expected impeccable layout; commas and dots everywhere where they were meant to be. When I finished my days at Bible College I was so glad to see the end of assignments. But what did I learn in knowledge? To be honest I never learnt much knowledge. I learnt just about nil insights. The text books we had to buy I gave away at the end of college. I seldom read these text books, a lot I never read at all. These books were a requirement to buy and cost me heaps of money. I was a diligent student, worked hard, and passed with good grades just about all my assignments. I did get help from other students. I learnt how to do assignments, that’s what I learnt and I became good at it, it was a skill. Examinations were at the end of each semester (6 months). Exams for two hours and two exams one after the other and maybe one in the afternoon could be the vogue. You go in to an exam and you just write. Two hours just writing. I mean you get so tired in your writing wrist that you think your wrist might go in to lock down. Then you soon go in to another exam and write constantly for another two hours. Exams I hated. But I passed them all. I was hoping for a Diploma of Ministry and I got it. But still what understanding did I learn? I learnt nothing really from the text books and lecturers, no knowledge that I could take away and help me live a better life. I only came away knowing that I was “A straight thinker”. I studied hard to get learning but over time it was all jettisoned out of my thinking as if it was not needed. But the experience at Bible College is valuable. Mixing with people from around the world is interesting and a learning in itself. 
I received my Certificate of Biblical Studies and later a Diploma of Ministry and soon got a job at a Church as a Church Officer come jack of all trades. I was not interested in being a Pastor. I worked at a city church and the church gave me free rent in a three bedroomed unit right next to the church. Wow inner city living I was loving it. Supermarket and cinemas and McDonalds just up the street. My neighbour across the road was the Governor of Western Australia. I hit good times. The church people were so nice to me. I became a full member of this church. It was halcyon days still. I was a regular at McDonald’s and here I met my wife. It was like it was meant to be, we got married. I did a lot at the church. I was later accepted as a church councillor and then I was secretary of the church council at the same time doing my jack of all trades job at the church. I worked at this church for many years. 
Now I am retired from the established church. I am still in the church but not part of the established church.
Yours Sincerely; Lester John Murray.
http://www.facebook.com/lester.john.murray

Advertisements

Tags: ,

https://mountlester1.wordpress.com

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: