Blog 1044 – 07.05.2018
The U. Of U. (or You)
When I first got out of the military many years ago I attended briefly the first of three universities and a Bible College that were to be the sum total of my formal secondary education. The first was the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga from which I dropped out of before completing even the first semester due to working too many hours after and before school and too many “extra curricular activities” that robbed me of study time and made me too tired to get much out of the classes that I did attend. A year or so after that and a failed TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) Steam Plant Generator Operator course, and on the job training program, that I also quit four months into, I talked the VA (Veterans Administration) into giving me one more shot at Gulf Coast Bible College in Houston, Texas. I scored high enough on the VA’s aptitude tests in social work to make them think I might stick it out and become a pastor.
I completed three years consisting of 82 semester hours mostly in undergraduate basic courses with sociology, psychology, and several Bible courses thrown in. I did not complete a degree but got side tracked yet again by getting married again but even more by becoming disillusioned with the Bible College and becoming even more enamored with a local congregation whose pastor and they were even more cultish and narrow in their thinking than the Bible College. I recall one Army Chaplain in Vietnam warning us young guys to steer clear of radical fundamentalists, perhaps I should have listened closer. After Bible College and a year working in that church as a children’s pastor, don’t laugh, it was the biggest congregation that I ever preached to, way over a hundred, five to twelve year olds ever Sunday morning, and you had to keep their attention for an hour with songs, games and a short interesting sermon. With my second wife, I moved back to Chattanooga and tried to help an older pastor that I knew there build up the congregation of a little church that he had started many years before. We built a new, bigger sanctuary and after my wife tired of that life or more of me, the pastor and I, the associate pastor, even started a bus ministry. After a time I concluded there were reasons that little church never grew that I could not or would not change so I moved on. I ended up back in Houston with the more radical fundamentalists and only after seven more years and another wife did I find my way out of that. I can tell you, being deprogrammed from those kinds of powerful misbeliefs is quite a process, many never succeed at that in a lifetime. After leaving that church and divorcing for the third time, still working full time, and paying child support, I attempted a couple of night classes at the University Of Houston, Downtown Campus. In my thirties it was quite difficult to submit to even younger professors with their often inflexible and pedagogical delivery of pontifications. And yeah I now know that others only reflect back to us those aspects of ourselves we most need to face up to, so see, despite my limited success with formal secondary education I have learned a few things. My University Of Houston experience was similar to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga one, not even a semester completed and no credits hours earned. My son, Jay, completed a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting at U. of H. and is today a CPA (Certified Public Accountant.)
My last venture into higher education was with Kennedy-Western University which I learned, after completing five on-line courses and submitting and having accepted a 175 word thesis, and being conferred a Bachelor Of Science Degree in Quality Assurance and Quality Control, turned out to be all completely bogus. They had never secured the accreditation they claimed to have had. They had accepted my previous college hours and had given me credit for my work and life experiences. They had also taken a lot of money from me and matching money from one of the companies that I had worked for when I began their program, all for a pretty piece of paper that turn out to be just that.
But, hey, I did learn something and you might wonder, why I share so much of my personal story, “Doesn’t it embarrass you, Dave? Or do you really think anyone is interested it all those details?” Well, maybe not. But all we have are our stories and learning to share them is our life’s work even if we are not all speakers, writers, singers, songwriters, teachers, degreed or un-degreed. I think we all are really and graduates (“come louder” or something that means “with honors” and jokesters, I know the Latin for I took two years of it in high school and attended several colleges, I just did not want to look up the correct spelling) of the University that counts most, the U. Of U. (Or You) where we have been enrolled all our lives. And I think where and when we graduate from here it is not to some pie in the sky, cloud and angel or seventy virgin, paradise but to an even higher learning alma mater. What do you think, fellow students?
Your friend and fellow traveler,