I’m adjusting to boarding school…slowly. I’m staying here as part of a part time youth evangelism job!
I recently heard some announcements before one of the dorm worships that taught me a lot about the strange culture that develops when young adults are heaped together without having come from similar backgrounds.
There are a lot of rules here—because not everyone received the same education about etiquette and taking care of property. Some of the rules include the following:
1. (Always wear your ID Badge.) If you don’t badge on campus, you don’t belong on campus.
2. (Dump your ramen broth outside, but not your noodles.) Dump the broth outside on the lawn, but not the noodles. No one wants noodles stuck to their shoes as they trudge to class.
3. No playing with Grace’s wheel chair. It’s not a toy. (fold it up if its in your way, roll it to the side, but otherwise. NO TOUCHY!
4. When using the bathroom, employ the “mercy flush” method. Dump ,flush, wipe, flush. At least two flushes. Based on volume, maybe three.
5. (Not in video) No wearing blankets to breakfast. Blankets are not clothing, except for when they are ponchos, which are basically blankets with armholes. Ask a dean if your poncho is acceptable. sheets are never ponchos. Neither are paper towels.
I was dying inside when I first heard these rules. WHAT? WHY? I was asking myself. What on earth could have made these rules “a thing”? Who even cares?
While I was puzzling over these, I remembered some really weird rules of the Bible.
1. Don’t cut the hair on the sides of your head. (Leviticus 19:27)
2. Don’t grab the private parts of a man fighting with your husband. (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)
3. Carry a shovel with you to cover up your excrement (Deuteronomy 23:13)
And there are plenty more.
And they don’t make sense to me either. WHAT? WHY? Who would have to be told some of these things?
But these people were in various states of understanding, various states of responsibility and they were a community. Sure, some of the rules seemed really strange, and I bet there was some complaining, but on the whole, the rules raised the standard of the entire group of people. And there WERE reasons for the rules, even if we don’t understand them all.
Just like there are reasons for not moving Grace’s wheel chair (SHE CAN’T WALK, PEOPLE!) and not dumping your ramen broth (the fat congeals and clogs the drains) and for double flushing when you use the toilet (again, the clogs!) God has reasons for his rules too. Some are eternal and explain God’s character, many were given to protect your health, and others were temporary civil laws that taught people at that time how to interact.
The more days I’m here at a boarding school, the more I understand what’s behind the rules. And it helps me understand that just like us, God’s people were a diverse group of people from everywhere who needed to know how to interact with God and eachother. They needed rules to function well–and even to know how to dispose of their poop. Just like us. And that’s fabulous.
See the youtube video on this topic.