Blog Entry for 1-29-11January 29, 2011 by: Mike Savage
It has been an interesting five months for me. Since I began teaching at SUM I have learned much more than I have taught. I have learned that there really is nothing new under the sun. The questions that Christians have are pretty much the same. We all wonder, at times, if God is listening, if He cares about our personal life, and just how much He is involved in what we are going through. The answers to the questions is yes, yes, and very much indeed.
I wasn’t sure if teaching at a Pentecostal college was going to fit in with who I am as a Christian. I was concerned that I wasn’t Pentecostal enough for what was going to need to be taught, and I was concerned that my theology might not fit in with the doctrine of the school. My views of Pentecostals, prior to my beginning the classes I was assigned to teach, was very narrow and, frankly, pretty biased. My Reformed, Baptist, and other friends, warned me that I would not be accepted and that if I did not speak in tongues at every opportunity, well…I would be considered unsaved and a heretic. My friends were wrong.
I do not fit into the Reformed tradition because I believe in all of the Spiritual gifts. That is a major problem between me and the Reformed tradition. My Baptist friends were concerned because of the questions raised about salvation and whether or not one can lose it once it is attained. My personal experience with what I thought to be Pentecostals was not a good one prior to going to SUM. I will probably have to explain that in another blog post since it involves explaining my background. That may come later.
I think that the thing that put me over the edge was getting to meet the students and staff at the school. The students were accepting from the very beginning. In fact, they made me re-think my position on being a youth pastor…not enough to feel the calling…but enough to make me realize that there are some really great people…men and women of God…that are under the age of 30. Imagine that!
The staff, on the other hand, were a bit cautious with me at the beginning. With the exception of the person who hired me, and the Chancellor of the school, I think that I was initially watched pretty closely by the staff. At first I thought it was because of my background. I was wrong. The staff really cares about the students and wanted to make certain I was the right person for the job. I am glad they did that…NOW…because it set an example of how I should look at people who come to teach there. Eventually I think I have come to be accepted by pretty much everyone. My personality is a bit different than people who have been in an academic setting for 20 years. My 20 years of experience in an institutional setting is radically different from their experience and I tend to be a bit more irreverent than most people in the hierarchy of the college. Still, they put up with me and are very patient and kind with my eccentricities. They are like having older brothers and sisters who watch over a younger sibling. I like that.
So, here we go. Next week I begin my sojourn into being a teacher AND administrator. I will be an assistant to the person I am supposed to eventually replace. I need to show that I can handle the job before they actually give me the reins. Hmmm…sounds like starting over, doesn’t it? Yeah, kind of. My wife is patiently teaching me about being an administrator. She doesn’t give me direct advice but instead chooses to give me a series of looks that tells me how I should be. I think she gets that from her mom. So far she has done a pretty good job but I am a difficult student…at times. My first goal is to not try to avoid staff meetings. She knows I am not a big fan of meetings…something about my short attention span and becoming easily bored. I got a really stern look when I brought that up with her. Like I said, she is a lot like her mom…but, “tiny steps for tiny feet.” Problem is, I wear size 13′s.
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