Thursday, March 05, 2009

What My Education is Doing to Me

In a lecture on the role of the Christian College and University, Dr Mike Beaty gets autobiographical:

Sometime during that first semester at Ouachita, I ambled out of Dr. Berryman’s class, engaging him in a conversation about some topic he had raised in class, but also anxious to get to my dorm to get ready for a flag football game that afternoon.

Saying he wanted to chat with me about something important, at his suggestion, we left the Berry Bible building, and meandered toward a huge magnolia tree standing near Riley Library and took our seat on the concrete bench under it. At one pause in the conversation, Dr B, as I fondly called him, asked, “What are you going to major in, Beaty?” I answered, “Dr B, I don’t know. I really don’t know what I want to do after college yet, though I know I should.” He pooh-poohed the notion that I needed to have a career plan firmly in mind, suggesting that college was more than preparation for a career. No one had ever suggested that to me.

He said something like, “You obviously like philosophy. Why not major in it?” I responded, “Dr B, what would I do with it?” And he said, Mike, at this point, it is not important what you will do with it; what is important is what it is doing to you.”

I turned that thought over in my mind a few times and found I liked it a lot. Soon after, I declared my intention to major in philosophy with no idea that this decision would lead, in time, to my discovering my vocation as a Christian philosopher and educator.

Source: Mike Beaty, ‘In Praise of Baptist Colleges and Universities’, Hester Lecture #1, given at the meeting of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Dr Mike Beaty, Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Baylor University.