Grass Hippies

Dallas Seminary is the weirdest conglomeration of people I've ever seen in my life. Check that - you get a pretty ecclectic mix at the Oklahoma State Fair, but next to that has to be Dallas Seminary. And wherever you have lots of weird people, you end up with some pretty bizzarre cliques.

Dallas Seminary has a few of the groups of people you would expect to see on the campus of a theologically conservative evangelical seminary. The "Hebrew Junkies," and "Greek Junkies" can be spotted pretty easily. They usually have a fist full of vocabulary flash cards, a pocket protector with various colored pens to help them color code their translations, and are loaded down with two or three dictionaries that they never seem to put down.

The "Missions Freaks" are a little harder to spot. Your best bet to spot them is in the parking lot, as they get out of their car that is emblazoned with "Every Tribe, Tongue, and Nation or BUST" bumper stickers. On occasion, you get the random white guy walking around campus in a native African robe... that's a dead giveaway.

My favorite group of people on campus are the "Grass Hippies." (I named them myself) These are the seminary flower children of the twenty-first century. They congregate in the grass in front of the library on almost every occasion.

The seminary has a dress code that seems to fly in the face of the Grass Hippie mojo. You won't find these guys wearing their business-casual attire on campus - not if it interferes with flip-flops and jeans. They seem to buck all the authority of the school, insisting it's legalistic.

The other day, I heard one of them griping about the school's "no-alcohol" policy. It's designed to preserve the reputation of the seminary. This guy was bragging that he drinks a beer every week just in spite.

Today, the temperature has dropped in Dallas. When I drove home from campus, it was 29 degrees. The freezing rain is pelting the campus. But when I walked out of the library to go home, there were two Grass Hippies sitting on the grass, a blanket spread on the ground, and an umbrella protecting them from rain. Flip flops, blue jeans, and a winter parka that must have been imported from Siberia.

The statement they make is pretty obvious. "We're going to do what we want to do when we want to do it because we can."

Never mind that these are the people who will be leading churches in the near future. These are the people who are the product of the church of the past twenty years - the product of a church who consistently put rules ahead of relationship. Don't smoke - you'll go to hell. God won't love you if you have sex before marriage. Show up to church on Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, Sunday mornings, and for Monday night visitation. If you don't, God won't love you as much as those who do.

We've prescribed right behaviors using the wrong motivation. As a result we've taught our kids to distrust any rules or guidelines we present because we've abused them so poorly in the past.

I spent my first couple of years despising the Grass Hippies because they are so overt in their challenge to the guidelines the seminary has put in place. Now, I just feel sorry for them. They feel as though the only way to challenge rules they don't agree with is to obey them just to the point that they won't get kicked out. Where will that attitude land them in five or ten years? Furthermore, how will it change the landscape of the church when these guys start leading their own congregations?

I guess we'll see. But I'm not liking the looks of it.


Zach said...

Dude, I didn't know you went to DTS. Not sure how big the place is, but I know a girl named Jenny Thompson who is going there now. You know her? Anyway, peace out and God Bless.


Chris Freeland said...

Nope, I don't know her. In fact, I checked the directory and don't see anyone listed by that name.

Sure it's DTS?

Zach said...

Whoops, just realized it's southwestern Baptist TS. My bad. PM me and let me know how you're liking DTS. I'd love to hear about it.

Wesley said...

For the record though: the official DTS policy is the dress code only applies while going to class or in the library or chapel. If they walked outside from Stearns or ST they are perfectly kosher :) (although many do have the buck-the-rules attitude anyway)