The following piece is rooted in my experience as a university student at the Oregon Extension, an intentional educational community based atop a mountain in Lincoln, Oregon.
The Oregon Extension was formed by a collective of independent Christian professors in the mid-1970s and grounded in the works of Thoreau, Dostoevsky, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry. It is known for its cultivation and examination of “big ideas,” and has been touted as a space for seekers of all stripes and disgruntled Christians alike. This article is an update of a story that originally appeared in catapult magazine [online] and in Road Journal magazine in 2008.
God, please help me not be an asshole, is about as common a prayer as I pray in my life. – Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix
The year is 2001. Professor John casts his gaze across the batch of eager new students and, pausing for dramatic effect, calculates the measure of our idealism on some internal register built upon years of guiding sanguine undergrads. “Community is bullshit,” he grunts, turning away without explanation. Continue reading