Northwestern: Churches, Internship, Dating

This is the inside of Grace Eden Prairie, what Edina Baptist eventually evolved into.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Northwestern, and I was fully engaged in my classes. However, on Sundays I always went to church and was involved as much as possible. For about the first couple of years in college, I attended a small community church in Golden Valley, Minnesota, about ten miles from college. I was going there before I started college, so there was no reason to make a change. The pastor wasn’t that good at preaching, but he was quite friendly and I liked him. The thing I liked most about him was his commitment to prayer. I remember going to the men’s prayer meeting, which was attended mostly by the church elders and deacons—and me. As you can imagine, going to that group made me feel important, and they really made me feel welcome.

The pastor, Pastor McDonald, was eager to help me fulfill my internship requirements for college. When I told him that I was interested in evangelism, he set me loose canvasing the neighborhood. That was kind of fun, and I think I remember getting into some spiritual conversations, as well as distributing material for the church. Also, as part of my internship, I preached two or three sermons. I was excited about it; but truthfully, I’m not sure I was that true to the Scriptures. I would get better. And I did. Each time was a little better than the last.

Also, totally separate from Golden Valley Community church, Northwestern gave me the chance to preach at a few very small churches. It was kind of scary, but also invigorating and a faith building experience. Most of those churches were way out in the sticks and it took me a couple hours to get there. None of them had more than 30 people in attendance, and they were always very welcoming and glad to see a real preacher come—me! To tell you the truth, they were so eager to get a preacher, I could have said almost anything, true or not, and they would have accepted it.

During my last year or so of college I started going to another church. I can’t remember why I changed, but anyway, it was a lot different. Oh, one reason I decided to go there was because I didn’t have to drive. There was a church bus that brought a group of us there and back. The church, then Edina Baptist, was huge. It had a very good pastor and his preaching was excellent. I immediately got involved in the singles group, and I also joined the choir—great fun! Those were the days. God was giving me some great spiritual teaching. What I wasn’t getting at Northwestern College, I was getting at that church. My feet were being firmly planted, and I was also enjoying it.

One thing that was lacking in my life at that time was establishing any close relationships. I don’t know why, but that was something that I just didn’t catch on to, or that I wasn’t taught. I seemed to be so involved with my studies that relationships with people was sort of forgotten. Sadly, that is still true of me today. I have always been a loner. I can be friendly with people, but establishing close connections is something else.

Because I was around the opposite sex so much at Northwestern, I became more and more interested in, or thinking about marriage. So, I awkwardly attempted to make some female connections. I had a few dates with Sally that went nowhere. I mean, she was a real hottie (as they say); but I could tell, she wasn’t that interested in me. Linda, on the other hand was quite interested in me, but I didn’t find her attractive.

Then there was Elise. I was on and off dating her for a long time. I really liked her, and I felt a real love for her. In fact, we were even engaged for a time, but I felt I had to break it off, because I just knew she wasn’t fully committed to me, she wasn’t being honest with me all the time. In a way it was a strange and stressful relationship. So that’s my sad story.

That’s all I will write about during my time at Northwestern. In my next blog I will write a little about my time at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary.

Northwestern: Food, Campus, Extra Activities

This is the chapel in Nazareth hall.

Besides finding out who my professors were and what my classes were like, I was very interested in what the food was like. I quickly found out that I would be spending as much time in the lunch room as I possibly could—because the food was delicious! And, if I remember correctly, you could come back for seconds. And the coffee was good too. In fact, I think I drank two cups of coffee for each meal. That’s six cups a day—more than I’ve ever consumed.

The campus was great too, old but great. Its oldest buildings, Nazareth Hall, and then later Riley Hall, use to be a preparatory Catholic Seminary. The most beautiful is its chapel—with huge marble pillars and stained-glass windows. I think my most memorable times at Northwestern were those times when I hung out with friends to study and chat. The library was one of those places, and I would always study at the same table where the same group would be. It was good to meet with friends, even though we didn’t talk much—we were all committed to studying.

In my first year at Northwestern I joined the band, and also the wrestling team. But after a while both of those activities went away. I don’t know what happened with the band; I guess I just didn’t have time for it. But I remember all too well what happened with wrestling. I was working out with this little guy, and well, I broke one of my ribs. It was sort of a freak accident. When it came to the next wrestling contest, the coach bandaged me up, but it really didn’t help much.  I was in so much pain that I had to forfeit the match. I loved wrestling, but I knew I had to quit. I couldn’t compete. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe God was guiding me to be more focused on my studies.

The only other extra activities that I can think of was being a security guard for the school and working in maintenance. I really liked the maintenance job. I mainly worked in the wood shop repairing chairs. All I did was take the chairs apart and re-glue them. The security job was not as enjoyable. It was a pain, and it gave me a reputation around school as a mean guy. My job was to walk around at night and check to see if anyone was breaking the rules. I basically was supposed to look with a flashlight into all the parked cars and other dark areas to check and see it there were any couples doing things they weren’t supposed to do. No necking! That was the campus rules. I was glad to finely quiet that job—and I don’t think I was even getting paid for it. I don’t remember how the Dean of Men talked me into it.

Northwestern Bible College: Getting Set Up

This is the Northwestern campus as it looks now. When I went there from 1977-1979, the newer buildings you see in the front weren’t there.

After I graduated from Coastal Carolina Community College, it seemed right for me to move home to Minnesota, and to reconnect with my mom. Even though I did drive home every Christmas (with my friend Dave Peterson who also lived in Minnesota), I hadn’t been home for any extended time since I graduated from high school. I went from high school right into the Marines and Vietnam; and then after the Marines I stayed in North Carolina with the Navigators for the next four years. I was definitely ready to go home.

My mom was recently divorced, had sold her house, and was now living in an apartment in St. Louis Park. When I got home, I had no plans, so, at first, I was just bumming off of mom. But after a week or so I found a job as a kitchen Stewart at the Radisson Hotel in Bloomington. My job description was a kitchen supervisor, but I actually did a lot more than supervise. Yes, I supervised the dish washers, but I also did scheduling, made coffee for all the parties and events, and made sure there was enough dishes washed for all the events. It was a huge job and I didn’t get paid much more than a dish washer. I didn’t complain much, but now that I think about it, I should have gotten paid twice as much as a dish washer—because of all the responsibility I had. I think I worked there for about four months, until I started asking myself, “Why am I here?” and “What do I rally want in my life?”

The answer to myself, and really to my prayers, were to continue on the same course that I was on with the Navigators—something in Christian ministry.  I knew my mom had gone to Northwestern Bible College for a short time, so that seemed like the logical choice. I went right for it. I quit my job at the Radisson, I talked to a counselor at the college, and before I knew it, I was all set up. I was surprised at how fast things were moving. I was accepted almost right away, I had no problem getting a government school loan, and I had an entire year of classes that transferred from my previous college—no problem.

Well, I was going to college again. But this time I felt I had a clearer purpose and a stronger desire.