Friday, February 6, 2009

the major

After high school, I decided to pursue university instead of going to art school. I debated for some time if I should go into photography and graphic design or go for a bachelor of arts degree at some university. After some time of prayer and reflection, I decided to go to McGill to study History. I then realized that memorizing the names and dates of kings and historic events was really boring to me. Instead, I was more interested in how the kings and politicians organized society and how their political agenda affected the lives of their citizens. So, next came Political Science which really sparked my interest. However, Political Science began to threaten my Christian faith (see some of my past notes for the reasons). Then came Philosophy which was enjoyable but way too much brain power was required. You either get it or you don’t and when you don’t. Its so frustrating. Then came Sociology which to be honest, I thought was going to be my last major change. I picked it because I really wanted to find out how come Christianity was so unpopular to mainstream society. I wanted to find out how come people thought Christians were intolerant and oppressive. I wanted to rescue Christianity and hopefully restore some of its respectability. I was really interested in gender, family, and religion so I picked courses which I hoped would give me the environment to express my Christian views and also to engage in constructive conversations with other people (not necessarily Christians) at the state of the family, the role of religion, and how gender impacts both. The intro course gave me a taste but I really wanted to get at the heart of why people are repulsed by the faith. So, I decided to take Sociology of Modern Family, and Christianity in the Woman Tradition (Christian Feminism).

In both courses, the professors were atheists and feminists. I am a Christian male. (Josh places and L on his forehead).

At the beginning of each course, I was pumped up, ready to be all “I am gunna stand up for Christianity!” After the second class, I completely gave up. I came to realize that my professors were not really interested in another point of view. I do not blame them, neither was I. My professors spent years studying feminist theory and have taught it for many years. My parents pretty much brought me up with a Bible in my hand. We were at two completely different ends of the spectrum and were not willing to budge. I was really frustrated.

Since I was the student and not the teacher, and because I got tired of all the other white-female-uggs-and-legg
ings-wearing-macbook-using classmates staring at me with"shut-up faces" every time I raised my hand, I had to be quiet and study what feminist theory actually was. After getting over my pride, I have to confess that my feminist professors did teach me quiet a lot.

My professors blamed most of the problems women face in society on the oppressive and sexist patriarchal structure in society. Since patriarchy stems from Christianity, my professors were highly critical of the religion and pushed my classmates to accept liberal stances on issues. I believe that my professors misinterpreted the heart of what Christianity was about.

Now before all of you start rebuking me and de-friending me off facebook, let me explain. I am not saying that I have "converted" to feminism, but what I am saying is that I have gained a new appreciation for the sacrifices women have made throughout history and a new respect for Christian women who have served God underneath oppression. Much of the oppression, admittedly, has come from Christians who have misinterpreted Scripture.

I have gained a new appreciation for the sacrifices women like my mother have made. Like a lot of Asian housewives, she stayed at home, raising me and my other siblings from the second we pop out of her womb. She gave up her career, her education, and her talents to serve God, my family and my father. She had a ton of opportunities available to her but she was obedient to God and never gave up even when facing sickness and problems from family. My feminist teachers helped me realize how much we undervalue and disrespect the job of being a mother.

I have also learned that throughout history, many women have given up their lives to serve God underneath husbands and male leaders who did not live out, or misunderstood, the second part of Ephesians 5:23 of loving their submitting wives. Yes, although there were a lot of righteous men who also gave up their lives to serve God, many serving women were not given the flexibility or the honour that serving men have historical had. Without the work and sacrifices that women have in the history of Christianity, we would be without many social movements and crucial teachings.

So a certain extent, the feminists did win a little. They were able to change a prideful, unwilling, and judgmental Christian like me to a more appreciative and respectful one. Ironically, I originally wanted to rescue the negative view of Christianity from intolerant and hypocritical Christians. However, I soon came to realize that I was one of them. I was rescuing Christianity from hypocrites like me.

However, after an entire semester of feminist professors, I believe I have had enough. Although I gained a new appreciation, if I study any more feminist theory, I believe I will go insane. I realized that religion and the state cannot mix. My conservative views on marriage, family, education, and religion cannot survive in a liberal-progressive state. It was hard to find people who are willing to actual engage in constructive conversations (with a few exceptions - thanks to Amina, Leora, and Tracey, you guys made it bearable :P). I have decided to switch my major again. This time, its Theology.

I took New Testament Studies as an elective this semester, which was amazing. I became aware of so many empowering and amazing passages which really guided much of my spiritual walk this past semester. I am switching with the only intention of sharpening my faith and growing to become a man who find peace and strength in His Word.

With this major, however, are many things I have to be aware of. I know that many people who go into Theology end up becoming really prideful. Pride has been something that I have struggled with for many years. It is the deepest cry of my heart that I will be humble and willing to give up all that I know in the hopes of being a Christian who has “lieu” (Chinese for substance).

With that said, I am excited. I am excited to see what God has in store for me and it is going to be amazing to share all the insights I gain in class.