When my best friend heard about New Saint Andrews College, she promptly declared it a cult. Two hundred kids studying Latin and Greek in Idaho? So yesterday I went to investigate with my dad and not-so-little little brother.
Three hours and ten minutes landed us in a colorful college town in Moscow, Idaho: patches of shrinking snow on the foothills, other Universities planted nearby, banners for a jazz festival, hole-in-the-wall cafes and bookstores. NSA looked minuscule, just a brick building along main street deposited next to a tiny restaurant. But like the Tardis (oops, my geekness is spilled), it was bigger on the inside than the outside.
I went to a few recitations (read "discussions"), and heard students talk about the symbolism of gold in Tolkien's Middle Earth, bugs that grow into dragons overnight, a reformed Christian perspective on male and female distinction, and other wonderful topics. A recitation is eight to twelve students, and the first I attended occurred in a professor's refurbished garage over tea and hot coco.
At the end the school gathered in an old movie theater to listen to a man that managed to "tip every sacred cow" according to one professor, spurning homeschooling, family-centered worship, and modernized liturgy while encouraging the separation of men and women in church and psalm chanting to the exclusion of all other worship music. He did have some valid ideas that were pointedly sane amidst his wilder opinions, which may have been his goal. During the lecture I kept peeking at the students and faculty's faces, hoping hoping hoping they were just as skeptical as I was. They were.
The whole experience was wonderful. I didn't feel battered and drained like I've felt after other college visits, I felt revitalized and bursting with hope. NSA was a beautiful community of truth-seekers, and one a long to join next fall.,
Since I first heard about NSA from my lovely friend and practically-aunt Jen, I've felt it was my place. A place to discover my world without the dulling weight of evolution deposited upon each detail. A place where the connections between a subject and the Bible and our beautiful Creator is a constant conversation, in class and out. A place to dissect my assumptions and steep my mind in solid theology. I want that so much my heart presses against my chest and my eyes sting with tiny tears.
But I am striving to hold it with a loose hand. My application hasn't been accepted yet, the finances have to work out, and I know my heart can be easily swayed into believing NSA is God's will when really, it's mine.
If I end up at community college, community college is God's highest and most glorious plan for me. He has crafted me, He has placed me in my situation, and He is sovereign.
"I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).
Sometimes life feels like that beautiful illustration by Arthur Rackham above, a tiny boat pushing through the cutting rocks, seagulls squealing through the air, a child on a lonely adventure. But God has created me for community, a Great Adventure hand-in-hand with His family, my family. Where I will live next year, what I will study, doesn't matter. I still have that. God is here. And so is His people.