Podium | Struggles in the stacks

Podium | Struggles in the stacks

Is God at university?


ince starting back in school this September, I’ve discovered all sorts of things I had forgotten. I forgot how much there is to learn. I love school because everyday I encounter what I didn’t know that I didn’t know. In the five years since I finished my last degree, I forgot how to read, at least how to sit, read critically and for hours on end. Plus, there are a lot of really big words out there I can’t recall stumbling over before – mandarin (not the orange), bifurcation, apogee. One night I dreamt that I used the word ‘transmogrify’. Later while editing an essay, I discovered it wasn’t a dream. It was right there on page eight.

I also forgot how university challenges faith – how many academics tend to roll their eyes or speak condescendingly when debating the perspective or behaviour or beliefs of Christians. After discussing any of the many acts of ignorance and violence committed in the name of Christ, it can be easy to see their point.

In my first month at school, I struggled internally with being an academic and a Christian. When you see the arguments stacking up against Christianity, where does that leave trust in God? But I know people far smarter than me have gone down this scholarly road and maintained their faith. So I wrestled. And I waited.

It was a few weeks before I came to the answer I know I’ve learned before.  It’s pretty simple. If God can be discredited by grad school (and not even a science program, at that), then He’s not really God, is He?

God is not challenged by my new knowledge, or a few eye-rolls. It’s not new to Him, just me. What is challenged are the limitations that I have put on Him, trying to keep my education and my faith in separate, air-tight boxes. And maybe those need to be expanded, along with my vocabulary.

It’s not much, but it’s the thing I really need to remember.

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Writer: Avery Wolaniuk is working on a Masters of Communication at Carleton University. With a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Journalism already on her resume, she decided work was for the birds and took a leave of absence from her government job in Winnipeg (and saint ben’s) to go back to school. Whenever homework is finished, Avery spends her time exploring Ottawa, skating the canal and becoming a true Ontarian by consuming as many Beavertails as possible.

Podium is an occasional article series written by people connected to saint benedict’s table. Working from a specific assignment, writers make their point in a few hundred words. Engage with their ideas by leaving a comment.

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