Was/Is It Right? (On the Purpose of SOLC)

Was/Is it Right?
Post by chrischillin on Jul 1, 2007, 3:50pm

So life has been interesting on here while I’ve been gone. The spate of New LC supporters have made their case, Old LC-ers have made theirs in reply. I don’t know how to wade into all this, except to probe the thoughtful and kind individuals from the other side who have chosen to join us here on our little morself of digital turf.

A couple of responses have been conciliatory, to the effect of “Well, no one’s perfect” and such. So there appears to be some acknowledgment, perhaps, of wrongdoing in the shift to the New LC, or at least of misunderstanding or (abstractly described) “unfortunate situations.” Take, for example, the response from Scott Culpepper, aka “highlandscholar”:

Quote:

Commie, I am genuinely sorry for what you have gone through.

I’d like to tease this out a bit further. To Scott, or Jason, or anyone else who is a new faculty member: does this mean that wrong, hurtful, and yes, sinful actions were directed by the current administration to former faculty and students? Were or were not people intimidated, yelled at, maligned, etc? If Commie is telling the truth, did he not suffer unjustly? If Stephanie is telling the truth, did she not suffer unjustly? And if so, should not Dr. Aguillard repent of said wrongdoing? We’re not Republicans or Democrats after all. We’re Christians.

In other words, I want to ask if we can justify, or play down, such actions even if, from the “conservative” perspective, they have generated a godly result. Can we advance the Kingdom with the Devil’s tools?

Let’s not play the relativist’s game. Truth is truth, after all. If Dr. Aguillard and Peggy Pack did what they did to Stephanie and others, then no amount of what I fully acknowledge to be their kindnesses to others can make such actions acceptable. And if we are actually Christians after all, and if we take Matthew 18 seriously, then what should be done is a reckoning with members of the current administration for these moral failures for their own spiritual health as well as for the sake of reconciliation and healing bitter wounds. Barring this, then the only moral option is to apply Matthew 18 to Stephanie and others because then you must accuse them of lying. What will it be? Shall we discipline each other according to biblical standards, or shall we take or hand from the plow, look back, and find ourselves unworthy of the Kingdom?

And yes, I believe that searching critique and discipline should be leveled at anyone regardless of their side or party. Let me be clear about where I’m coming from. I protested the changes at LC, and I remain a disenchanted alum. Nevertheless, I would disagree with the tactics of some of my cohorts, and I never believed that the Old LC was “perfect.” I no longer participate in Southern Baptist life, and I do identify myself with the CBF, but I in no way accept the label “moderate.” That, and “conservative” and “liberal,” are all but vapid and subjective epithets. Besides, I disagree with a number of theological and methodological stances adopted by the moderate heavyweights. I see myself as belonging to neither side, but as a “third way” catholic Baptist who centers himself on the ancient creeds of the Church universal, not the party politics of our own corner. My major concerns are that the truth be told (and I do believe that the truth is not kind to the administration of the New LC in many instances) and, in the long run, reconciliation be achieved between all who claim Christ.

I have never actually given my real name on these sites before, but that was only because people generally knew who I am. But since you guys do not…well, okay.

Peace,
Chris Schelin
M.Div. candidate, The Divinity School at Duke University
Summer Community Intern, Koinonia Partners farming community


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by buckethead on Jul 1, 2007, 4:29pm

um….ditto


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by walkthisway on Jul 1, 2007, 5:59pm

Hello Chris, I’m glad you finally got the chance to address these very interesting developments. I only have a few things to add.

You and I have known each other for years and we have many things in common. In particular, I am much like you in that I hate being told to pick sides. In situations such as these, I hesitate to associate myself with either side and usually look for a higher road, a third way.

I find myself doing the same here with some frustration. I hope that you and I will soon have the opportunity to perhaps start another thread and discuss the Old LC, and why or why not some serious change of direction was needed. I used to side with the negative, but my personal studies of American academic history have led me to think otherwise. My premise is that the Old LC was what, in the 19th century, we would have called a “broadly Christian” institution. It was not by any means a secular school, but it had the potential of becoming secular without any sure safeguard against it. We came close to discussing this on the previous version of this site but never got around to it. Hopefully we will have the chance to discuss it soon, because I am as interested as always in hearing your thoughts.

That being said, I say once again that I stand by what I said to undergrace in the “What’s going on?” thread. Was theological reform needed? My answer is yes, which is precisely why I am still unpersuaded that Dr. Aguillard was the right choice. I was physically present when Dr. Aguillard’s strongest student supporter was speaking to the TownTalk. Her argument was that “Theologians don’t run schools.” For supporters of Dr. Aguillard, allow me to guard against a possible misconception. This should by no means be taken as a suggestion that Dr. Aguillard’s platform did not have theological (or at least ideological) reasons for supporting him. It does mean that he happened to be on the right side theologically, but the final search committee obviously had other reasons for interviewing no one else but him. That is evidently one reason for hiring Dr. Quarles, as “resident theologian” is included in the job description for the VPIFL. I believe that it should be part of the President’s duties…but that’s just me.

Is all this irrelevant now? Maybe. After all, I can’t exactly go to the next Board meeting and present a new nominee for President. That’s just not how it works.

Either way, Drs. Meyer and Culpepper have an obvious advantage over me in that all they have to deal with is the future. And I am honestly quite optimistic about LC’s future, if somewhat dissatisfied with its present. I am somewhat close to swallowing my pain and supporting Dr. Aguillard, but even then I think I would be at a loss for enthusiasm.

Yet another reason why hate being told either-or.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by undergrace on Jul 2, 2007, 6:19am

Chris,

I think you’re completely right. However, what do you mean when you use the term discipline? Are you using it more as we see it today, synonymous with punishment? Should it be like church discipline? Should it merely mean teaching/directing as (I forget the actual greek word) a father disciplines his children – instills discipline?

I ask more specifically about the church discipline question. If it is what you mean, then how do you go about disciplining people whose discipline should come from their local church bodies (assuming they follow a biblical model of church discipline – which most churches don’t)? If the accusations against Aguillard and Pack are true, then the biblical model would be for one person from each person’s local body would go to them, question them in a loving way – face to face, in order to know if they are repentant. If not, two people should go, face to face and lovingly talk with them to see if they are repentant. If (and I will restate, if it is clear that they are guilty of these things) still no repentance, the body will, in essence, kick them out and love them to repentance and back into the fold. I just think it’s hard to do this outside of the local body – not wise, and not biblical. Though like I said, I have seen few churches in that area follow that model – so I doubt the church will fulfill its responsibility. So back to my question, who disciplines who and how?


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by chrischillin on Jul 4, 2007, 5:57pm

Paul and….other guy (yeah, so I haven’t figured out who you are yet….)

Both great posts that should spawn other discussions at a later point….right now, though, I’m still calling out the new faculty at LC to answer my opening comments. Thoughts, gentlemen? Are we cowards or citizens of the Kingdom?


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by oasis on Jul 5, 2007, 2:55pm

When I went to LC, I got involved in the politics my junior year with SGA. After seeing that people like Joe and the adminstration were stubborn bullies, I decided to “turn the other cheek.” There came a time, one year later that I could no longer turn the other cheek and and realize that it is now a time for war. When these people decided to intimidate and and attempt to humiliate my wife one week before graduation, I had enough. Although it may be easy to have “a third way,” there is an old saying I would like to state, “apathy is the glove which evil slips its hand.”


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by walkthisway on Jul 5, 2007, 5:55pm

Quote:

When I went to LC, I got involved in the politics my junior year with SGA. After seeing that people like Joe and the adminstration were stubborn bullies, I decided to “turn the other cheek.” There came a time, one year later that I could no longer turn the other cheek and and realize that it is now a time for war. When these people decided to intimidate and and attempt to humiliate my wife one week before graduation, I had enough. Although it may be easy to have “a third way,” there is an old saying I would like to state, “apathy is the glove which evil slips its hand.”

I’m going to stand by what I said earlier. If there must be a war, we need better justification. As your fellow SGA member, I also saw the “bully” side of the administration. One of their weaknesses, in my opinion, is their need for displayed loyalty. It is not conducive to bridge-building, and can create all sorts of self-fulfilling prophecies.

I see this when I read arguments between my friends and new faculty. The new faculty have their stories about how nice Dr. Aguillard is, and we have our stories about his dark side. Now here’s the million-dollar question: Those who support Dr. Aguillard see his good side. Those who oppose him see his dark side. Coincidence?

Once again, this is a weakness, and I see it in almost all populist personalities. In my experience, the best way to approach these situations is to allow intellectual issues to take priority over personality issues. In other words, we need something to guide us that transcends partisanship. What we have here is polarization hinging on loyalty or disloyalty to a popular figure. This kind of situation, in my opinion, is always bad. However, if we want to overcome the polarization, we shouldn’t start by contributing to it.

My friend, I am not merely sorry for the way your wife was treated. I am positively disgusted with it. Unfortunately, if “war” is the alternative, count me out. There must be better grounds for war than having been hurt, or it is mere revenge. And if we want this administration to stop bullying people, why resort to further subversive behavior? This mutual hostility only keeps feeding on itself.

Quote:

Although it may be easy to have “a third way,” there is an old saying I would like to state, “apathy is the glove which evil slips its hand.”

This reminds me of another famous saying, “All evil needs is for good to do nothing,” or something like that. I have no problem with this saying itself, but I do dislike the unspoken premise: us=good, them=evil. These debates have become far too personal and too emotional. I am more than ready for us to get back to the larger questions: What are the important challenges that Christians face in this age? What is Christian education about? I believe it is then, and only then, that we can begin to put all of these horror stories into perspective.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Jul 6, 2007, 12:37pm

Walk,

So, you want “intellectual issues to take priority over personal issues”? If only it were that simple! Alas, humans are not exclusively intellectual beings. Cicero once remarked that we are guided more by love, anger, joy, hate, jealously, and so on than any regard for the “truth.” So, while I appreciate your idealism, don’t expect to make things better by imploring, “Hey, let’s have a rational debate.”

If you want bridges to be built, the New LC and its faculty must say “We’re genuinely sorry.” And they need to mean it. Period.

Remember how Bill Clinton had to say “my bad” twice (I think) for his relations with Monica L.? The first time, the “public” didn’t buy it, as he was not sufficiently contrite. The second time was more appealing, as he donned his specs during at a National Prayer Breakfast.

Why do I bring up Clinton here? Bill had to suffer a “symbolic death” before the “public” would allow him to move on. Similarly, the New LC must also symbolically die to find redemption among guardians and friends of the Old LC.

Students of Kenneth Burke (a literary critic, philosophy, and expert on rhetoric), like me and (probably) Sophist, realize that persuasion hinges not on winning a contest with the “best evidence.” Rather, persuasion hinges—in part—on the drama of purging guilt.

Certainly, the fundamentalists in this contest might feel like they are guilty of nothing, save for “returning LC to its roots.” If that’s the case, they may continue to issue obtuse proclamations (e.g., “SOLC is simply a place for harsh, unfounded rumors,” and “Dr. A. has been great to me, therefore, he’s a fine, Christian leader.”).

However, humans—as the extra-rational beings they are—appreciate acts of humility. So, if members of the New LC want to be inclusive and if they want to make LC a place where genuine dialogues can be held, they need to (shudder) put pride aside, be empathetic, and acknowledge that damage was done. “Good Christians” are capable of such things, I think. Good Christians are not like Joe Stalin, who purged the ranks of “capitalist sympathizers” and who then asked the survivors, “Comrades! Do you see how we are undeniably united by Communism’s march to global dominance?”

With all of that said, Chillin’s question still stands tall and untouched: “Thoughts, gentlemen? Are we cowards or citizens of the Kingdom?”


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by eagle on Jul 6, 2007, 1:39pm

I would not hold my breath waiting for the architects and builders of the “New LC” to apologize for anything. They believe that God has ordained their ends and their means.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by oasis on Jul 6, 2007, 8:16pm

I would chris to please clarify his question, “Are we cowards of citizens?” I apologize for what may seem a “simplistic” thought process. I am just an old country boy who didn’t read alot in growing up.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by chrischillin on Jul 8, 2007, 1:55pm

My question has to do with my opening post. Will the new faculty either call the administration to account for sinful tactics or will they declare you and your wife liars? They have to do one or the other if they believe in (nonpartisan) Christian discipline. Same goes to anyone else. If we do not choose to hold one another accountable, if we’re afraid to take up that challenge of the Kingdom, then perhaps we’re not worthy of Jesus after all…


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by bigleague on Jul 8, 2007, 4:23pm

All right, I think I’m ready to start posting again. Chris (ha ha I accidentally typed “Christ”), you are more eloquent and rational than I could be at this point (and possibly ever. As Keith used to say–“Hey, I’m not an English major!”) Thank you for being the voice of calm reason. Paul… I think you may live your life differently from the average person, and where I respect your opinion, I don’t feel that you have processed your experiences in the same way that many of us have. It’s about more than reason and logic, it’s about the anger, the hurt, and the constant struggle to keep your dignity and self-respect.

I notice for all of their brass, none of the new faculty have posted yet. Are they spending time in quiet reflection? I hope so. Will they never post again, or ignore this thread? I wouldn’t blame them. They don’t know enough about the situation to make a judgment call. It’s time for them to admit that, then, and tone it down accordingly. (I mean that, too. When I was new here, I hardly ever posted. You gain more from listening and reflecting than you do shooting off at the mouth about a topic on which you have no authority.)

I’m still waiting for Dr. Quarles to respond to that other thread. I hope I won’t have to wait so long on these new members who are alleged more willing to engage us.

What I’d really like to see is Joe post on here, or Peggy, and admit that it’s them. I know you post, Joe. I know you read this. What are you afraid of, if you’re right? What are you afraid of, if your actions are morally defendable?

If what you new faculty members say about wanting to engage in debate and wanting to be reasonable, then welcome. I’d be glad to see someone at the new LC who is genuinely concerned for their Christian brothers and sisters who have suffered at LC. We are, after all, brothers and sisters in faith before we are Pro-Joe’s and No-Joe’s. However, if you’re just on here to blindly defend your leader, go waste someone else’s time.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by walkthisway on Jul 10, 2007, 8:20pm

Matt and Steph:

I guess I’m just back to my earlier question….Why war? Is this a “just war” or is it revenge? Why? No accusations here, just questions between friends.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by bigleague on Jul 11, 2007, 11:17am

Frankly, I’m a little bit insulted that you asked. I hoped you knew me better than that. This is way too exhausting to be revenge (though it would be fun to pull a Count of Monte Cristo and come back years later with a new identity and a lot of money… I’d leave out the murder part.)

I’m still fighting because the war is still going on, and because I don’t want anyone else to go through what so many people have at the hands of the new administration, and even the Evangelical church, to an extent: loss, humiliation, slander, unfounded hatred, all under the banner of Christianity, of true faith and servitude.

That’s what it boils down to. Do we let these people parade around brandishing the name of God while systematically destroying what we hold (held?) dear? I can’t stand for it. It should make you sick like it makes me sick. It should make you want to do something, even if the only thing you’re capable of doing is making the truth known and exposing the lies.

All the philosophy, theology, and speculation are absolutely useless if not backed by conscience and action. As much as I hate it, I’m in this war. I intend to stay in it as long as I’m useful. I intend to keep in touch with SGA and other students at the school. I want to know every single, solitary, sordid detail there is to know, and I want the entire world to know, too.

I won’t lie. It is sweet to be so under their skin. That’s the human part of me, and I’m being honest. It’s just not worth it for personal gain, though. It’s not fun to lie awake at night, three months after I’ve graduated and was supposed to have gone on with my life. (Is this a common sentiment? Some of my consolation–and, conversely, my ire–comes from thinking I’m not the only one still lying awake, thinking of what was, unable to extract the pleasant memories from the unpleasant.) It’s not fun to be called a liar (especially not by a liar.) It’s not fun to have to pay legal fees. It’s not fun, but it is validating, because I believe I’m doing the right thing.

I hope that answers your question a bit. You have an interesting outlook on life, Paul. Even though it’s frustrating, it’s one of the reasons I like you. : )


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Jul 11, 2007, 12:21pm

Walk,

I never used the terms “war” or “revenge,” although my comments might sound hostile. I’m interested in “sacrifice” or, to repeat the term I used previously, “symbolic death.”

And, to reiterate, here’s my point: if the New LC wants some kind of peace with allies of the Old LC, JoeCo needs to offer up its mistakes on the altar. For example, if all Steph has said is true (and I have no reason to doubt her), don’t you think her plight needs to be recognized? It’s not revenge, necessarily; it’s the hope of confession that I’m after.

Sure, allies of the Old LC might have done or said some questionable things in the past. Maybe some of these folks–myself included–should say a few “sorries.”

Nevertheless, if you want to have both sides get beyond an “us v. them” mentality, I am merely suggesting a way to coax a truce and to begin reconciliation.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by highlandscholar on Jul 31, 2007, 4:34pm

I have been engaged in teaching two classes this second summer session and blissfully unable to visit this site due to those and other responsibilities. Imagine my intense delight on discovering that we have been promoted from “loosers” to “cowards.” 🙂 It is always interesting to try new things and I have yet to be labeled a “coward” in either my ministerial or academic roles. Chris, I appreciate the spirit in which you couch the question and agree that one cannot build God’s kingdom (I assume that is the one we are discussing) by using unjust means. However, do not interpret an expression of sympathy as a white flag or agreement with the interpretation of events popular on this site. I feel sorry for anyone who has to uproot their families and start over whether the cause was justified or not. Besides, I have a special affection for Commie. Without Commie, there would be no “loosers” club and my life would be less complete. Stephanie is correct in saying that those of us who are new were not invovled in some of the situations discussed on this list and therefore are not able to directly address them in the way others can. I must remind her that we did not post to “defend our boss.” He is more than capable of doing that when and if he chooses. We posted in response to comments made about us personally. Departing from my “Christianese” which seems to be simplistic for this sophisticated crowd, I would say that I think the change at LC is promising, hate that it had to be so acrimonious, do not accept at face value some of the contentions made on this list, and wish to remind everyone that there are two sides to the story. In fact, Stephanie has unwittingly corroborated things I have heard about other problems not related to her at the college in her posts which had originally been denied by former faculty. Like Rondall, I assure you that I am not a “yes” man or a slavish underling. I have never been afriad to question authority if that authority was unjust. (including some elements at the former LC who easily held my academic future in their hands). I prefer my soul to my paycheck. I had another offer at a fine school when I accepted this one. I do not write what I write because I am desperate to keep my job. I write from conviction, not coercion. If I were to attack the movties of others on this list in such a manner, there would be an immediate chorus of objection. There is plenty of “dirt” that could be dished in answer to some of the things on this list. Realize that you enjoy a freedom the administration, which is bound by confidentiality rules for the protection of discharged employees, does not enjoy. Answer me this Chris, is it ethical for employees at a Christian college to continue to work there when their views are out of harmony with the mission of that college? Is it ethical to stand back and allow students’ lives to be destroyed (I can give examples) when it is in your power to prevent it? The quote is “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” and the quote is often attributed to one of my heroes, Edmund Burke, though no one has been able to find it in any of his extant writings. I think it applies to the situation at LC, though not in the way it has been applied previously on the list.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by kevinm817 on Aug 1, 2007, 12:48pm

Wow, things have changed a lot since I was a student at LC (’87 to ’91). I’m not going to weigh in on the ongoing debate, primarily because any opinion I put forth would admittedly be one based in ignorance. Just consider this a note from an old LC’er who wishes to state publically that my thoughts and prayers go out to all of you…and that I hope that out of this huge divide, LC will once again emerge as the wonderful academic institution that she once was.

In reading these boards, I realize now just how much I took for granted while I was there. I had the pleasure of sitting in the history classes of Dr. Howell, the sociology classes of Dr. Sara Anders, the OT class of Dr. Downing (I wish I had taken more under him)…not to mention other wonderful professors such as Dr. Heath, Dr. Cleamon Downs and Dr. George Hearn. Yep, I took a lot for granted. I guess I just assumed that sitting under such wonderful teachers should be considered the norm at ANY institution of higher learning.

I have no idea what kind of professors are coming into LC now. Like I said, any opinion I express in this matter would only be steeped in ignorance. While I was there (Which sounds suspiciously like “Back in MY day”), my professors were learned men and women who raised the bar, challenged me academically and were a constant source of both academic and spiritual inspiration (There was one professor, in particular, who helped me tremendously in my faith by taking the time out of his busy schedule to counsel with me. I won’t name any names. But yet once again I can now see how his “open door” policy to see students about matters not academically related would hardly be the norm at any other university. And once again, it was something that I took for granted). I only pray and hope that the current students at LC get to experience something similar.

I refuse to think that LC’s best days are behind her. It saddens me to hear about the discord and unrest on her campus. I can only hope that out of this chaos, she will emerge again even better than before.

My prayers are with you all. Thanks for listening to the ramblings of an old geezer. Now…if you don’t mind…I have to take my Geritol and fire up the old Zenith for the Lawrence Welk marathon (Hey…I won’t even go into how you could once walk down the halls of Tudor at night to the constant tapping sound of electric typewriters. You know…back before all of this newfangled internet stuff came along). 😉

Kevin M. Maillet
Class of ’91


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Aug 3, 2007, 7:58am

Highlandscholar,

Very interesting posts—especially in the thread about Calvinism. Like you, I have plenty of work on my desk, so I can’t spend too much time posting here. Nevertheless, your comments about “good and evil,” which follow questions about professional ethics and the mission of a college, got me thinking.

After reading that portion of your post, I must say that I am glad that I am no longer at LC, and not simply because it has changed so much since my time in Pineville. (Alas, even if I wanted to be there, perhaps I would have fallen victim to the purge.) True, I miss some of the people I met there. Also, I don’t doubt that you’d be an interesting cat with whom to chat. We’d disagree on a lot, I’m sure, but an engaging conversation is a good one.

But on to my point: I can’t see working at a school where the pursuit of knowing God is limited to a single perspective or approach. Because my theological vocabulary isn’t top shelf, I don’t know what label to apply to LC. Is it “fundamentalist”? “Conservative Baptist”? Nevertheless, God is bigger than any denomination or approach. Like Kierkegaard might say in his more tame moments, organized religion entirely bad; we can learn a lot from it. But, ultimately, we are all responsible for charting our own paths.

So, to completely buy into the general tenets of reformed religion, I think, is unduly restrictive. Do Arminians or Universalists have it all wrong? Must the Bible be the “literal” word of God when it was conceived when many people were illiterate and relied on the power of the spoken word?

Some folks might label a college that teaches a variety of perspectives, like Universalism, “evil.” I call it giving people a choice. Now, I suppose “fundamentalists,” or whatever the term might be, are entitled to fund a college that espouses their views. But, is it ethical to call a “fundamentalist” school a “liberal arts college” or a “Christian college”? Truth (whatever that is) needs to be in advertising, right? I have a feeling that the academic study of Christianity is much more broad than what the new LC is promoting.

When I read Burke’s quote about good and evil, I recalled that the book of Genesis mentions a couple kinds of shrubs. One was, I think, “the tree of life,” and the other was “the tree of knowledge about good and evil.” Humanity got into trouble when it bit into the apple from the latter. So, with our limited perspectives, I think we need be very careful about what we label “evil” and about how we fight for “good.”


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 3, 2007, 11:04am

Quote:

Highlandscholar, 

But on to my point: I can’t see working at a school where the pursuit of knowing God is limited to a single perspective or approach. Because my theological vocabulary isn’t top shelf, I don’t know what label to apply to LC. Is it “fundamentalist”? “Conservative Baptist”? Nevertheless, God is bigger than any denomination or approach. Like Kierkegaard might say in his more tame moments, organized religion entirely bad; we can learn a lot from it. But, ultimately, we are all responsible for charting our own paths.

I will focus on the boldfaced part. Even when I was at LC it was not as multi-faceted as people want to believe. I was ridiculed by many students in the religion dept for believing that God spoke in his word.

Calvinists, too, were ridiculed. So you can blame the new administration for whatever you want, but don’t pretend that the old school was always open-minded. It is impossible to be open-minded. Everyone has a worldview and a perspective through which they interpret reality.

Quote:

So, to completely buy into the general tenets of reformed religion, I think, is unduly restrictive. Do Arminians or Universalists have it all wrong? Must the Bible be the “literal” word of God when it was conceived when many people were illiterate and relied on the power of the spoken word?

“all wrong” on what? Universalists? Yes, they have it all wrong. Even when they make factually correct statements, they are borrowing capital from the Christian worldview.

Do Arminians have it all wrong? No, not all wrong. They are wrong on most of the points on how man is saved. They have a tendency to go more wrong because they begin with man, not God as their ultimate.

Quote:

But, is it ethical to call a “fundamentalist” school a “liberal arts college” or a “Christian college”? Truth (whatever that is) needs to be in advertising, right? I have a feeling that the academic study of Christianity is much more broad than what the new LC is promoting.

Ethics presuppose value judgments, which presuppose right and wrong, which presuppose absolute morality. Can such a school call itself “liberal arts?” I don’t see why not.

As to the bold section, you would need to define what “an academic study of Christianity” is and why we should accept your definition.

Quote:

When I read Burke’s quote about good and evil, I recalled that the book of Genesis mentions a couple kinds of shrubs. One was, I think, “the tree of life,” and the other was “the tree of knowledge about good and evil.” Humanity got into trouble when it bit into the apple from the latter. So, with our limited perspectives, I think we need be very careful about what we label “evil” and about how we fight for “good.”

Humanity got in trouble, not for labeling a tree evil, but for eating from it and disobeying God.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Aug 3, 2007, 1:03pm

LWN,

A very revealing post. Certainly, you’re entitled to your opinions. However, it seems we have some honest disagreements, and that’s fine. Still, in the spirt of lively conversation, let me post these thoughts….

I agree that it’s impossible to be open minded. But shouldn’t we try to expand our understandings? I thought that’s the goal of a liberal arts education and, perhaps, the goal of an academic approach to Christianity.

Your mind, it seems, is rather made up. “God spoke in his word,” huh? Maybe. But I doubt we can ever know for sure or even exactly what he meant. Why do I make this assertion? Well, how about the idea that language isn’t mimetic. It doesn’t mirror reality because it’s a product of social interaction.

For instance, a simple statement like “It’s 9:00 AM” isn’t “objectively” real. Given that the earth rotates around the sun at varying speeds and orbits, the correspondence between your Timex and the position of heavenly bodies is more complicated than it seems. In short, time is an intersubjective construct that we impose on the world. Meaning—even the meaning of 9:00 AM—is a moving target.

Despite such a notion and others like it, fundamentalists assume that the “word” of God can be grasped with their, particular way of thinking. Thus, “liberal” college professors are disparaged because we don’t settle on one view of the “truth” or on “right and wrong.”

Some might call me a relativist who believes in nothing in particular. Maybe that’s right. Maybe I should enroll at LC so I can get the “facts.”


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 3, 2007, 1:21pm

Quote:


I agree that it’s impossible to be open minded. But shouldn’t we try to expand our understandings? I thought that’s the goal of a liberal arts education and, perhaps, the goal of an academic approach to Christianity.

Agreed. I am merely pointing out some discrepancies in the old order.

Quote:

Your mind, it seems, is rather made up. “God spoke in his word,” huh? Maybe. But I doubt we can ever know for sure or even exactly what he meant. Why do I make this assertion? Well, how about the idea that language isn’t mimetic. It doesn’t mirror reality because it’s a product of social interaction.

1. So? God isn’t a timex. You’re objection only applies in the temporal world. If God were finite–like universalist or Arminian God–you would have a valid objection. But God transcends that and has revealed himself.

Your mind seems rather made up that language doesn’t mirror reality. You are no less dogmatic than I am.

Quote:

Despite such a notion and others like it, fundamentalists assume that the “word” of God can be grasped with their, particular way of thinking. Thus, “liberal” college professors are disparaged because we don’t settle on one view of the “truth” or on “right and wrong.”

You keep labeling people “fundamentalists” but have provided no historical definition of the term. I can only assume you are using it in an ad hom sense

Quote:

Some might call me a relativist who believes in nothing in particular. Maybe that’s right. Maybe I should enroll at LC so I can get the “facts.”

There is no such thing as a relativist. You demonstrated that. You seemed absolutistic on language.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by highlandscholar on Aug 3, 2007, 2:08pm

Elm,

I wanted to respond to your post and then I also will have to turn my attention to other responsibilities for a time. I need to invest all this writing energy into meeting some article deadlines that are looming before the Fall semester begins. I quoted Burke in response to a person who earlier had attempted to supply the quote and apply it to LC’s current administration, thereby implying that the current leadership of LC is evil or endorsing evil acts. I believe we all have a tragic propensity for evil (a very Reformed notion) and therefore see our common foes as “principalities and powers” rather than our fellow human beings. All the result of a bad produce choice, as you noted. (I believe that when the Bible speaks of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” the negative knowledge described is a loss of innocence and familiarity with the ways of deceit and disobedience, not the development of our mental faculties through the pursuit of learning coupled with wisdom)

Your concerns about LC were in fact my concerns when I came to interview. I definitely wanted to teach at a liberal arts college rather than a “bible college”. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found in conversation with administrators and faculty. You must remember that the liberal arts tradition is much older than the modern research university, dating back to Europe during the High Middle Ages and possibly including the intellectual currents among Muslims in Baghdad a century or so earlier. The early universities of Western Europe were hatched in the nest of the Roman Catholic Church.

In terms of providing intellectual choices, I actually think, as “Liberalism’s Worst” stated, that we offer students greater intellectual freedom. I am very conscientious that I am responsible, as a scholar and a Christian, to accurately and fairly present the views of other people as well as those I espouse. Even if I did not hold this conviction, common sense dictates that we must maintain an even higher standard for accuracy at LC than most colleges. We are under much greater scruitiny than most schools. If we do not, we would quickly be labeled as a diploma mill and deservedly so. Students who come through classes at LC are still going to be exposed to the basic materials that every well educated person should know. We still explore different worldviews. Whether it be Hinduism, the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, the ancient history of MesoAmerica, or the theology of Martin Luther, my task is to help my students understand these historical developments intelligently and critically. (Incidentally, I now know why Dr. Howell always won the faculty trivial pursuit competitions. History truly is the study of everything else too).

Yes, I do offer my interpretations and am very open about the fact that one of my intellectual presuppositions is my faith in Jesus Christ. As “Liberalism’s Worst” noted (you sound like a guy I would enjoy getting to know better LW), the same is true of every other scholar, whether they admit it or not. We all have presuppositions and starting points for our intellectual journey. Marxist, Feminist, and Christian scholars from other schools of thought all filter their presentation of facts through the interpretive grid of their own worlview. To me, integrity demands that we be honest about our presuppositions and then work to represent the views of others as fairly as we represent our own. George Marsden argues this thesis more eloquently that I ever could in his “concluding unscientific poscript” at the end of The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief (1994) and its sequel The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship (1997). I commend both to you for further study if you are interested as well as a plethora of similar works that have poured from evangelical presses in the last ten years.

To provide an example, my second class in Civ. I deals with the question of human origins. That obviously entails a discussion of Darwinian and Lamarkian theories regarding human development and the adaptation of species. I want to be as fair and accurate as possible in describing the viewpoint of Darwinian Naturalists. One of the funniest things I ever witnessed in a class room occurred in a seminary class at NOBTS called “Christianity and the Cults.” The speaker, a representative from Watchman Fellowship, somehow launched into a critique of the “Star Wars” films and the elements of Asian religions present within the films that he associated with the New Age movement. One of the students had brought his son to class (he was about ten). As the speaker went on about “Yoga” and how the character was shaped by Buddhist elements, the rest of us tried to politely ignore the gaffe. Finally, my friend’s son could not longer contain himself. He blurted out, “His name is Yoda!” The speaker was embarrassed and stood corrected by a kid. The incident has stayed with me and made me very aware that I need to know what I am talking about, esepcially if I am providing a critique. I am sure I do not accomplish that goal perfectly, but hope that I come as close as possible. Therefore, Charles Darwin, “Lucy”, and Homo Erectus all get their fair moment in the sun.

I will follow that up by disccussing creationist views of human origins, including Intelligent Design theories. These views would not typically be discussed in a college classroom, even at many Christian colleges (Science faculty at Baylor had a strong negative reaction to the establishment of the Polanyi Institute a few years ago to study questions related to Intelliegent Design theories). Creationist views would be ruled out of bounds through a form of self-censorship that labels such views as “unscientific” and “speculative.” I also inform the students about the views of theistic evolutionists. I am open about the fact that I hold to a direct creationist understanding of human origins, but do not force them to adopt my view to pass the class or prevent them from providing counter-arguments in the discussion that follows. In fact, I welcome counter-arguments. That is how we learn more about our own views as well as those of others. No Gulags are built. No copies of the “Four Spiritual Laws” are given to students with other views. No Democrats (or evolutionists) are hung from the trees outside Alexandria Hall. At the end of class, they have been presented with an accurate and fair account (at least that is the goal) of Darwininan Evolutionary Theories. In addition, they have been presented with two other views that the reigning “academic orthodoxy” of the day would deny them. They can then take, leave, or embrace any of the three as they chart their path in life (from a human perspective ;)). I hope they will at least be favorably inclined to the perspective I hold, but will not lose respect for them if they do not or force them to adpot it. I believe such an intellectual conversation is in keeping with best elements of the liberal arts tradition. Hence my belief that we actually offer the student more choices rather than less.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by walkthisway on Aug 3, 2007, 2:14pm

To build on HS and LWN:

I know that many people get offended when it is said that LC held to “Christian liberalism” in the past, not least because “liberalism” has become such an emotive term.

It is helpful, however, to consider that Christian liberalism is not really a theology, but a spirit. When people get offended at the use of the term, it is because they mistakenly understand it to mean a denial of doctrines such as Biblical inspiration, original sin, or the virgin birth. One can accept all of these and still be a good liberal Christian. The main thing that Christian liberalism repudiates is confessionalism. In other words, Christian liberalism is not so much about denying doctrines as it is about refusing to insist on them, because it is really not about doctrine at all. From the liberal perspective, Christianity is (or at least should be) about life or experience, not doctrine.

Christian liberalism affirms and preaches values rooted in both the Enlightenment and the American revival tradition: the belief that no ecclesiastical body has a fence around Truth, passionate opposition to any kind of coercion, and reverence for diversity and the individual search for truth.

I hope no one would deny that the Old LC fully embraced the values of Christian liberalism as described above. In my time at LC, the faculty always championed and encouraged these values. They insisted that their job was to teach students how to think, not what to think. Larry Taylor was Trustee Chairman in the early 90s. I went to Emmanuel for three years, and I can say that his preaching epitomized these values. When the Board began its course of action, the Old LC was emphatically defended in the name of these values, as Matt has done even now.

As most of you know, I myself embraced these values early in my time at LC, but have since then come to reject them. It may sound charitable or benign to oppose the use of doctrinal tests to determine what is and is not Christian, but such opposition is really an indictment against all of catholic and orthodox (again, in the broad sense) Christianity from the 4th century (a conservative estimate) to the Radical Reformation. The objection is often raised that it is not what we believe about Christ that matters, but that we follow his example. But do we not need to believe something about Christ before we are determined to follow his example?

In short, I have no problem with LC using doctrinal tests to uphold its mission. That does not require telling someone they are “wrong” if they deviate from that mission. Itdoes require saying that they are indeed deviating from the mission of the institution in which they voluntarily participate, and I see nothing wrong with that.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 3, 2007, 2:21pm

Also, few people here on the board no what “censorship” or “academic persecution” really is. When you have had professors threaten to throw you in jail or label you a terrorist for your beliefs, then come talk to me.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 3, 2007, 6:57pm

Forgive the double post, but I just noticed something.

Quote:

Meaning—even the meaning of 9:00 AM—is a moving target.

If that is indeed the case, how can you:
1) Be sure of what you just said?
2) Be sure that others will accurately comprehend what you said?

This is why postmodernism is self-referentially incoherent. I can use big words, too.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by walkthisway on Aug 3, 2007, 8:10pm

Matt:

I also have thoughts to add, drawing on your statement about the measure of time. If language is a social construction and “9:00 am” is not an abstract reality (I agree with you here), then concepts like “an academic study of religion” are all the more man-made, relative, and open to interpretation! Having spent four years at LC at the height of the controversy, God knows how many times I have heard people defend the Old LC by saying, “But education is about such-and-such,” as if the angel of education revealed its universal will on stone tablets, and it has become mildly annoying to me. Surely you can appreciate what I’m getting at here.

Props to Dr. Culpepper for recommending George Marsden’s books. I’m a huge fan. I’ve read The Soul of the American University, and I’m fascinated not only at its scrutiny and clarity, but at how relevant his work is for our discussions about LC. I personally think reading that book or something similar should be a prerequisite for posting on this board. (I’ll try and get a majority vote at the next convention meeting. :)) And just in case he sounds like a pet scholar for New LC types, I’ll have you know that Dr. Howell used one of his books as the primary text for Religion in America.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 3, 2007, 9:24pm

Read Fundamentalism in American Culture, by Marsden. If not for the text, at least read it for the funny cartoons.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by thepastor on Aug 4, 2007, 11:55pm

Dog-gone-it. Highlander, what is a “loosers”? If LC grads can’t use correct grammar, then I feel we have a horrible institution on our hands.

I just received a letter from my son’s kindergarten teacher and she remarked at how fun it was going to be meeting “knew” friends.

Yes, I went to one of them there loosiana skools!!!!

How embarrassing.

Don’t hate me highlander, I just had to pick at you a bit.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by highlandscholar on Aug 6, 2007, 12:25am

Pastor,
No hard feelings at all my friend. The term “loosers” was born as a typo back in the days when I was posting incognito. Some watchful soul immediately informed me of the typo. Rather than let go of a perfectly good typo, I have continued to employ it since that blessed day. You see Pastor, I am a man who plans ahead. In twenty years, Rondall and I can supplement our LC income with a book and movie deal for “Loosers: The Louisiana College Story.” The posters can carry the tag line, “The story of one institution’s fight for survival by two unqualified Ph. D.’s.” I am hoping that the person who did the old “Soul Train” intro will still be living at the time. You remember how the announcer would come on and say, “It’s the SOOOOUUULLLL Train!” I hear the elongated “Loosers Club” the same way in my head. Hopefully, that can be the first line of the theatrical release. (There is a whole back story to this if you read earlier posts. Commie, before he started reading “Baptists Yesterday”, repeated some misinformation from a perpetually grouchy former faculty member who labeled the new art and history hires as “losers.”) So pastor, the moral of the story is, “When life hands you lemons, write a tell-all memoir.” Any volunteers for the soundtrack?
(For those who have an underdeveloped funny bone or lack of appreciation for satire, I do know that loser is spelled with one O)


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Aug 6, 2007, 7:55am

Ooh. This is fun. Seriously. Thanks to all for their insights.

1. LWN, (a) are the two of us really absolutists of the same cloth? Indeed, God isn’t a Timex, but the point of my metaphor holds, despite your protest: we need language—a human-made construct—to understand everything from God, to time, to green beans. Yes, we are both “absolutists” in a way of speaking, but you place your dogmatism in the metaphysical realm to which we have no direct empirical connection. Yet, too often, advocates of this view claim it is beyond critique. Thus, we see “I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong” assertions. On the other hand, I place my dogmatism in the social realm, which we have a chance of approximating. In this realm, everything is subject to critique and to negotiation.

(b) You note that I provide no definition of fundamentalism. But, I already and openly admitted that my vocabulary for such terms isn’t “top shelf.” Still, if you want me to take an initial stab at what I mean, I would root my definition in (a) above. Or, put another way, fundamentalists demonstrate Platonistic tendencies. I lean toward the Sophistic—“man is the measure of all things,” and so forth.

2. Highland, I applaud your intentions to provide LC with a liberal-arts approach to education. I don’t doubt you’ll give it your best shot and do well. However, let’s deal with a hypothetical. Let’s say that, despite your sincere belief in God, you were actually an ardent opponent of creationism (i.e., the kind Behe champions). And you let that known in your classes at LC. Don’t you think that would get you into some trouble?

Of course, this is mere speculation. Still, I raise the point because I’ve seen a number of faculty members at LC, who are committed to faith, asked to leave or pressured out because they don’t say the “right” things or they don’t have the “right” books listed on their syllabi. Is this a liberal-arts environment? I certainly pray that your confidence in the new LC is well founded.

Ah!, I wish I could keep writing, but I must get to work.

Again, to all, thanks for the engaging conversation.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 6, 2007, 10:04am

Quote:

LWN, (a) are the two of us really absolutists of the same cloth? Indeed, God isn’t a Timex, but the point of my metaphor holds, despite your protest: we need language—a human-made construct—to understand everything from God, to time, to green beans. Yes, we are both “absolutists” in a way of speaking, but you place your dogmatism in the metaphysical realm to which we have no direct empirical connection. Yet, too often, advocates of this view claim it is beyond critique. Thus, we see “I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong” assertions. On the other hand, I place my dogmatism in the social realm, which we have a chance of approximating. In this realm, everything is subject to critique and to negotiation.

You are trying to draw some inferences from “language is a social construct” to whatever your conclusion is about God–I think you are missing a few premises.

I have no problem saying language is a social construct at one level. You want to infer from that that my statements about God are relative. That’s where the hole in your argument is. Of course, I can force you to be consistent and say that our view of logic is also relative since logic can’t be proven a priori or along a posteriori lines. If my view of God is suspect on your proposal, then I maintain you have no grounds for logical reasoning.

Quote:

(b) You note that I provide no definition of fundamentalism. But, I already and openly admitted that my vocabulary for such terms isn’t “top shelf.” Still, if you want me to take an initial stab at what I mean, I would root my definition in (a) above. Or, put another way, fundamentalists demonstrate Platonistic tendencies. I lean toward the Sophistic—“man is the measure of all things,” and so forth.

I hold to biblical revelation, not Platonism. I think Platonism (like all Greek philosophy) is extremely suspect. But let’s look at your statement “man is the measure of all things.” This suggests that man’s mind is the standard of all things. Surely you can’t be serious. This implies that for adequate knowledge, man already has the right perspective on all human data. In other words, for you to say that man is the measure of all things, man must know all things past, present and future, and apply that knowledge perfectly in all situations past, present and future. That, he simply cannot do.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Aug 6, 2007, 10:27am

LWN,

You’re right: I don’t have “absolute” grounds for logical reasoning, because the premises of “reason” are products of social systems. For instance, consider an argument like this one—one made by lots of folks about 150 years ago:

The Bible sanctions slavery.
Slavery is allowed in America.
Therefore, the Bible sanctions America.

Premises are only as good as the social system from which they come and as the terms those social systems employ.

And, yes, I am serious when I say that “man’s mind is the standard of all things.” But I do not argue that we have the “right” perspective on data. We have perspectives. These change over time in relation to political struggles, theological battles, economic exigencies, and so forth. Unless one is a Platonist/fundamentalist, who believes that there are timeless truths that (1) can be comprehended “accurately” by the human mind and (2) can be applied the same way in all situations (e.g., “freedom” for Africans in 1842 in Louisiana and “freedom” for Africans in 2007 in Louisiana).

Indeed, all statements about God are relative. As Kiekegaard put it, all we are sure of in this world is “objective uncertainty.” Thus, we struggle for salvation with “fear and trembling,” not with sureness.

But, as I understand it, the new LC wants the “truth” taught.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 6, 2007, 10:40am

Quote:

LWN, 

You’re right: I don’t have “absolute” grounds for logical reasoning, because the premises of “reason” are products of social systems. For instance, consider an argument like this one—one made by lots of folks about 150 years ago:

The Bible sanctions slavery.
Slavery is allowed in America.
Therefore, the Bible sanctions America.

You are confusing factual premises with logical systems. I am asking how you justify the laws of logic, not how you supply the premises in a syllogism.

And you didn’t read what I said. You said the “premises” of reason are supplied by society. That is obvious. The legitimacy of logic itself is not culturally relative.

Quote:

Premises are only as good as the social system from which they come and as the terms those social systems employ.

We are not debating premises, but the justification of logic.

Quote:

And, yes, I am serious when I say that “man’s mind is the standard of all things.” But I do not argue that we have the “right” perspective on data. We have perspectives. These change over time in relation to political struggles, theological battles, economic exigencies, and so forth.

So man’s mind is the standard, but it doesn’t have the right perspective. In other words, it is a standard that doesn’t see anything.

Quote:

Unless one is a Platonist/fundamentalist, who believes that there are timeless truths that (1) can be comprehended “accurately” by the human mind and (2) can be applied the same way in all situations (e.g., “freedom” for Africans in 1842 in Louisiana and “freedom” for Africans in 2007 in Louisiana).

You are confusing premises with systems again.

Quote:

Indeed, all statements about God are relative. As Kiekegaard put it, all we are sure of in this world is “objective uncertainty.” Thus, we struggle for salvation with “fear and trembling,” not with sureness.

If all statements about God are relative, then that statement about God is relative. And if that statement about God is relative, how can I know what you are saying is true?

And if all statements about God are relative, how can you say my statements about God are wrong? You don’t have a standard by which to assign truth-value.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Aug 6, 2007, 11:10am

LWN,

Ah, good point about premises v. the “laws of logic.” To that, I would respond to say that logic might have its laws and only in an academic sense. Do you really think that humans in the “real world” are logical and are/should be guided by logic?” To borrow your own words, “Surely you can’t be serious.”

Humans are story tellers who don’t have God-like perspectives, who are full of emotions, and who are goaded by myths. Occasionally, those myths become institutionalized as “truth.” We need to question how “truth” comes into being. Once we do, we see that the “standard by which to assign truth-value” isn’t rock solid.

Clever question about “how can I know what you are saying is true?” It’s true, insofar as I typed it. And it’s true, insofar as understanding was generated at the nexus of my sending and your receiving it. But is there an absolute and singular and meaning of the message? Well, you can guess my answer to that.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 6, 2007, 11:48am

Quote:

LWN, 

Ah, good point about premises v. the “laws of logic.” To that, I would respond to say that logic might have its laws and only in an academic sense. Do you really think that humans in the “real world” are logical and are/should be guided by logic?” To borrow your own words, “Surely you can’t be serious.”

Humans aren’t always moral, so we can’t expect them to be moral, right?

Quote:

Humans are story tellers who don’t have God-like perspectives, who are full of emotions, and who are goaded by myths. Occasionally, those myths become institutionalized as “truth.” We need to question how “truth” comes into being. Once we do, we see that the “standard by which to assign truth-value” isn’t rock solid.

Stories have an inner-logic to them. There is a plot, theme and hopefully it is coherent (this is why postmodernists can’t write heroic epics).

Quote:

Clever question about “how can I know what you are saying is true?” It’s true, insofar as I typed it. And it’s true, insofar as understanding was generated at the nexus of my sending and your receiving it. But is there an absolute and singular and meaning of the message? Well, you can guess my answer to that.

It’s not a clever question. It’s a reductio ad absurdum.

If logic is relative, so is the rules of grammar. If meaning is relative, then I can’t take your statement and make it say whatever I want it to say.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Aug 6, 2007, 12:26pm

Whew! This could go on for a while. However, I will sign off on this topic. For some, this moment should have come sooner, I’m sure.

LWN, thanks for the sword play. Very fun.

But, alas, I believe this kind of honest discourse between sincere opponents could never happen at the new LC. Definitely not between faculty. There in Pineville, I’m supposing that only one philosophical position is (or a limited number are) allowed. Arguably, a diversity of perspectives *are* discussed by well-intended and highly skilled teachers. But, they are still JoeCo endorsed gatekeepers

This leads me back to an earlier (and probably fuzzy) point about teaching at a “Christian” institution like LC. If a college cannot accommodate or allow intellectual diversity, is it much of a college at all? Sure, lots of places can teach you how to write well. However, as I’ve asserted, the meanings of the world are moving targets that should be viewed through different scopes. Apparently, folks like LWN disagree, as they have but one way to sight a target. To them, I say without malice, “LC is for you.” Enjoy it.

However, I prefer entertaining ideas in an academic setting where “truth” isn’t a foregone conclusion, where “liberals” and “conservatives” (whatever those terms mean) can tussle, and where I can assign a book that features a few f-bombs launched by a practicing Buddhist. Am I hoping for too much???

Keeping the “liberal” in liberal arts,

–elmatt97


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 6, 2007, 3:19pm

I graduated in 05, but am taking teach courses. I am not Baptist so I don’t have an ultimate stake in this discussion; however, I would like to point out that the Old LC was not tolerant of my positions. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, or something like that.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 6, 2007, 3:45pm

One final salvo:

Quote:

Apparently, folks like LWN disagree, as they have but one way to sight a target. To them, I say without malice, “LC is for you.” Enjoy it.

When I was at LC I was one of the few, if any, who read beyond their tradition of beyond what the professors assigned. Most of the cookie-cutter religion students read and assimiliated without question the higher-critical books the profs assigned. I was one of the few to challenge teh status quo.

And when I left LC I was aware of far more positions within Christendom than 9.9/10 students. So I might be narrow-minded and afraid of other viewpoints, but I at least took the time to read those other viewpoints (most of the students don’t know they exist).


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Aug 7, 2007, 9:12am

Thanks for the replies, LW. Glad to know that you read about positions different than yours. I try that, too. For instance, I actually paid money for Ann Coulter’s “Godless.” Read it, too, although I’m still nauseous. :-X


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by chrischillin on Aug 7, 2007, 1:25pm

I have not followed this thread closely over the past few days as I have been busy and as it has since gone well beyond my original intent. For what it’s worth, I have one anecdote in light of Jacob’s “final salvo.” I both highly respected my religion professors (and they remain high in my esteem today) and also refused to swallow wholesale everything they said. I should think that is the ideal experience of one’s academic department. I also wrote a paper in one class taught by Dr. Downing that challenged prevailing scholarly consensus which he himself certainly held to.

I got an A on that paper.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by undergrace on Aug 7, 2007, 1:30pm

and what does Ann Coulter have to do with the subject at hand? I’m sorry elmatt, but your response to Jacob makes neither sense nor point. Would Coulter ever be assigned for reading (new or old LC) in a religion class – being that she is neither philosopher nor theologian? Did you just feel like interjecting something that sounded funny/relevant – or to prove that you read things you don’t like to read? I’m sure you didn’t buy it just so you could complain how bad it was. You sound more like Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson responding to a question about NASCAR.

p.s. Coulter makes me nauseous too


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by walkthisway on Aug 7, 2007, 1:58pm

Hey, Ann Coulter might not be a philosopher or a theologian, but she appeared on TBN! 😛


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by undergrace on Aug 7, 2007, 2:44pm

lol,

you better watch out – Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Rod Parsley, and the Crouch’s have this site tapped for surveillance. They’ll probably put a curse on you then take some verse out of context to back themselves up. It works for everything else they do.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by elmatt97 on Aug 7, 2007, 2:59pm

Zoinks, ‘Gracie!

I was trying to be funny by tossing out an off-the-cuff remark.

And why do you think that AC shouldn’t be assigned reading? Of course, if one thinks that religious views simply spring up from the writings of theologians, then AC might have no place in the classroom. However, if one thinks that religious views are actually shaped by “common” everyday discourse (especially a “best”selling book that talks about ID), then AC might make for some interesting discussions in the classroom.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by undergrace on Aug 7, 2007, 3:16pm

touche’


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 7, 2007, 4:48pm

Quote:

Zoinks, ‘Gracie! 

I was trying to be funny by tossing out an off-the-cuff remark.

And why do you think that AC shouldn’t be assigned reading? Of course, if one thinks that religious views simply spring up from the writings of theologians, then AC might have no place in the classroom. However, if one thinks that religious views are actually shaped by “common” everyday discourse (especially a “best”selling book that talks about ID), then AC might make for some interesting discussions in the classroom.

 

Because she is a neo-conservative. Sorry, cheap shot. I said I read other perspectives. I don’t read her, though. Mainly because if one wants a good critique of liberalism along political or religious or philosophical lines, there is a lot better stuff.

It’s like going to the gun store and choosing a .22 over a 30-06 for deer hunting.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by walkthisway on Aug 7, 2007, 5:18pm

Yes, there are indeed better critiques of liberalism out there, but there is no better critique of feminism than her–not her work, just her existence! 😉


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by bigleague on Aug 8, 2007, 2:26pm

Guys, we gave you a theology board.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 8, 2007, 7:10pm

While I had no intention of derailing a thread, several theological posts were made and required a theological rebuttal (and it would have been confusing to interrupt the argument by starting a new thread elsewhere).

But I think everyone has said their piece, so we won’t derail it further.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by techie on Aug 9, 2007, 6:29am

Quote:

Yes, there are indeed better critiques of liberalism out there, but there is no better critique of feminism than her–not her work, just her existence! 😉

Ok, I have stayed far away from this topic, but Paul, you cannot possible think that Anne Coulter is in any way typical of anyone, let alone feminists.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by walkthisway on Aug 9, 2007, 9:19am

Oh indeed, she is no feminist. But if anyone needs a good argument that women should keep their mouths shut, they need only hold up her picture.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by samueladams on Aug 9, 2007, 11:50am

Quote:

Oh indeed, she is no feminist. But if anyone needs a good argument that women should keep their mouths shut, they need only hold up her picture.

Ouch. You singlehandly offended feminazis and conservatives in one post. Well done!

(seriously, that was cool)


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Aug 14, 2007, 9:53pm

Quote:

I’d like to tease this out a bit further. To Scott, or Jason, or anyone else who is a new faculty member: does this mean that wrong, hurtful, and yes, sinful actions were directed by the current administration to former faculty and students? Were or were not people intimidated, yelled at, maligned, etc? If Commie is telling the truth, did he not suffer unjustly? If Stephanie is telling the truth, did she not suffer unjustly? And if so, should not Dr. Aguillard repent of said wrongdoing? We’re not Republicans or Democrats after all. We’re Christians. 

In other words, I want to ask if we can justify, or play down, such actions even if, from the “conservative” perspective, they have generated a godly result. Can we advance the Kingdom with the Devil’s tools?

In a quick skim of this thread it looks like only Scott has responded to your question. I assume you were looking for more than one perspective so I will give you mine.

No we should not seek to advance God’s Kingdom using Satan’s tools. If the administration has really done the things they are accused of doing on this board they should repent. I have no direct knowledge about this so I don’t really want to go beyond that. My experience with administration has been very different. It is possible that both I have had possitive experiences and that commie has been abused.

I don’t know commie and I don’t know what has happened behind closed doors. At this point, I can only go by my experiences. The administration that is often discribed on this forum has very little resemblence to the administration I have experienced. The wool could be pulled over my eyes. Maybe it is. But, in my very short experience here I have seen behavior that is Christ like.

I have to admit, I hate how experiential my arguement is here. But, at this point in my involvement I don’t see a way around it. I don’t know the people on the board here and am unwilling to accuse them of lying but at the same time the actions they descibe are inconsistent with what I have seen in my limited time.

So, all I can really say is that if administration has behaved in the way discribed here then they should repent. But, there is nothing in my experience to this point to indicate that they have. I may be wrong.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by bigleague on Aug 15, 2007, 7:00pm

You have the best attitude that I’ve seen, and I appreciate it.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by jericho on Aug 16, 2007, 4:15pm

I second Bigleague’s comment. Thank you Hicks for at least being open-minded to consider the other side of the argument. I wish more of your new colleagues would look at their own departments and consider what happened to former faculty there. After all, is it normal for THAT MANY to leave in the last two years?


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by chrischillin on Sept 5, 2007, 12:07am

Quote:

So, all I can really say is that if administration has behaved in the way described here then they should repent. But, there is nothing in my experience to this point to indicate that they have. I may be wrong.

Thank you hicks for your charitable and reflective comments. Talking with friends who have experienced similar “takeovers” or…ahem…”shifts” at other Baptist institutions, it is fascinating how often the two-faced character of the reforming/revolutionary administration is described. Paige Patterson over at Southwestern Seminary is notorious for this – as my friend (a Southwestern grad) puts it, he really knows “how to work a room.” As walkthisway has indicated earlier, it is quite a simple formula. Go along with the administration and you see all the right things. Oppose it, or even just stand out as different, and you can see threats, intimidation, slander, etc. A number of posters on this board can testify, and may even be willing to put name to paper, and describe a particular experience of un-Christlike action on the part of the administration or a member of the Board of Trustees in the name of “restoring LC” or whatever.

Fact is, character contradictions are inherent in any conflict situation in which one chooses to “other” one’s counterparts – that is, to classify them according to any category other than “fellow human” or “neighbor” such that thou may do unto others whatever thou wish. Plenty of devout, compassionate and hardworking whites fumed, raged, and plotted against any hint of opposition to Jim Crow during the middle of the 20th century. So why not a God-fearing administration concerned about an alleged theological liberalism or laissez-faire morals? The supposed stakes are even higher…segregationists were concerned about racial purity, while a theological ultraconservative may very well argue that eternal souls are at stake in what happens here. And then you’re adding all sorts of means to the equation to get the right ends.

I guess my question to you now hicks is this: Do you think you have any means of discerning who is right and who is wrong?


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Sept 7, 2007, 5:13pm

Quote:

I guess my question to you now hicks is this: Do you think you have any means of discerning who is right and who is wrong?

Honestly, I don’t think that I do in this particular situation. I wasn’t around during the change so I have no way to objectively compare how things were to how people say things were. Also, while I have good relations with some who were a part of the “old LC” they ae not ones who had the sorts of things mentioned on these forums happen to them. I don’t know the people on this forum so my experience is really one sided. You are correct of course that there were (are) people who while otherwise good people were (are) racist. And, there could certainly be something akin to that happening here at LC. All I can truly say is that I haven’t seen it. What I’ve personally seen so far from the administration has been Christ honoring and what I see on the board here is at times much less so.

I will freely admit that I don’t have all the information. However, my personal experience so far has not lent itself to believe the anonomous allegations of people on the internet over the people I have met at LC. That said, I am all about building bridges and my door at LC is always open.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by jericho on Sept 7, 2007, 7:17pm

I would caution you in using the phrase allegations to the stories on this board. If you’ve read Big League’s story in these posts then that did involve the local courts which means that case should be on record for the public to read.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Sept 8, 2007, 2:46pm

Quote:

I would caution you in using the phrase allegations to the stories on this board. If you’ve read Big League’s story in these posts then that did involve the local courts which means that case should be on record for the public to read.

My appologies. I was no tmeaning by my word choice that the assertions on these boards are unsupportable. I only meant that I have not seen support. I did go back and reread Bigleagues story. I had read most but not all of it before. The question of how much of her story is varifiable by court records is still very much in question. That all depends on how the case played out. I would be interested in looking over the court documents but don’t have the time currently to track them down.

My point in my previous post was only that I came around after (hopefully) all the fireworks. I doubt it will be possible for me ever to make a completely fair and unbiased assesment of what went on. I know people on one side and their behavior towards me has been opposite of how they are discribed on this board. That doesn’t mean the people on this board are lying but their statements are, in my limited experience, incongruous with the charater that I see. But, even if the experiences related here are completely accurate I doubt I will ever see that side of these people because those actions were percipitated by behaviors which I am unlikely to duplicate. On the other hand I don’t know the people on this board and my impression of them is clouded by the fact that my only contact with them comes from their involvement on a “gripe board.” So, the only side of them I see is the angry and hurt side. They may be people who are truly gentle, humble and loving but that isn’t the side of them that is accentuated on this board.

Can you see my perdicament? I could spend hours upon hours trying to track down the truth, which I may or may not be able to assertain. Or, I can worry about doing my job here as well as I can. I can focus on building a stronger department, providing a top quality education and building bridges. To me, that seems a more productive approach.

So, no disrespect was meant by my previous comments. I am simply trying to as honestly as possible answer the questions asked of me.

On a side note:

If any here are interested to find out more about the new art guy at LC there was an article in the Town Talk yesterday: http://www.thetowntalk.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007709070303

There was also an interview on Red River Radio last week: http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/rrr/ne….p3&MODULE=n ews

Plus you can always get info from www.Rondall-Reynoso.com

Okay, enough of the shameless self promotion. 😉

I hope those links worked.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by jericho on Sept 8, 2007, 6:12pm

I do applaud you for trying to see all sides, Hicks. You are wise enough to consider all scenarios. Your actions may never precipitate such consequences as what former faculty and students have suffered but never simply assume this as fact. Some victims would no doubt say that they are still confused as to how they incurred the wrath of the administration. The previous art professor, for example, certainly didn’t get the nice publicity from the college as you have had for your first exhibit. For his final exhibition at the college, the college didn’t even bother to give his name to the paper. And he kept to himself and to his art. Good luck at the school but please be careful to what is happening at the school and learn to read in between the lines of what is said (and not said) at LC.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by landshark on Sept 9, 2007, 6:17pm

Hicks, don’t worry about posting the link to your website in your last post; it’s fine really. Compared to what we are used to at LC, any ‘shameless self-promotion’ you could come up with would look like the depressed self-defamation of a man with very low self-esteem.

Now, I’m not attacking you or mocking your post in any way (It’s a shame I even have to preface such an innocent question! But, the world being what it is…). I am wondering what qualities specifically you are referring to when you mention the administrators you have interacted with being ‘Christ-like’. I have to ask because that phrase means so many different things to so many different people. For instance, I’m sure you know this world is full of christian men and women who think that simply being rich and successful but still attending church is enough to make one a ‘great christian man’, regardless of personal characteristics or the way the one treats others. Still some believe that any person who passes out a great number of religious tracts is ‘Christ-like’, while still others would use the term to describe people who have enough political influence in religious circles. I’m sure they don’t mean these specific things when they use the term, but so often, these qualities being present in a persons life is more than sufficient to gain the awe and respect of so many of our brothers and sisters. (I doubt you use that term in any of the above ways, by the way).

So what I’m wondering is, when you say, “What I’ve personally seen so far from the administration has been Christ honoring…” do you mean they have been more than simply friendly, helpful, religiously oriented, and vocally supportive of Christ? Or is there more in them that you have been privy to, such as humility, self-sacrifice, turning the other cheek? Like I said, I’m not trying to attack; I’d just like to know more details about the way you perceive their characters, and why. Thanks!


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by chrischillin on Sept 10, 2007, 11:19pm

Hicks,

I do believe you are trying to be charitable towards the members of this board but who voice their opposition to the current administration (or at least to the process that led to the current administration). But a few of your statements I fear are unfortunately worded and may suggest a predisposition to set aside what we say. For example:

Quote:

my personal experience so far has not lent itself to believe the anonomous allegations of people on the internet over the people I have met at LC

Now in the past those on the board whom I know were typically more concerned for security and privacy when we were students. At this point we have graduated and the concern has diminished. If we aren’t going around advertising our names with every post, it is simply because many of us know each other, and the administration had long since learned our names anyway. Now there’s nothing anonymous about my identity, for example. In the first post of this thread I listed my name and current degree program. I can go further down the fact sheet. You see, I lived and breathed LC up until the calamity. It absolutely pains me to say I can have nothing to do with the new LC. I’m too far away to walk through the door physically, but I’ll sit down at that metaphorical chair with you and keep talking through this.

But I can also name references in Pineville if need be. I can refer you to “thepreacher,” for example, who has extended several invitations on this forum to meet with proponents of the New LC to share a cup of coffee and his experiences. He is a devoted pastor in Pineville and truly a godly fellow.

Heck, you could probably email Dr. Duke right now and get her story too. She’s miles away from that tortuous experience now and blessed with a job that she is enjoying. So she should have the freedom now to talk openly with whoever wants to listen.

I also think this is helpful to keep in mind: whatever “conservatives” say about “liberalists and secularists,” the latter really can’t be accused of being particularly creative. If Stephanie were just some angry liberal who is upset she didn’t get her way, all she would do is denounce the administration with the standard vindictive, ego-stroking denunciations that we’ve all come to expect. “Liberals” don’t make up stories because they’re so clouded by their elitism that they believe everyone who is intelligent should understand the sensibility of their value system. Sure, this isn’t a fool-proof, logical argument, but the detail and pathos of Stephanie’s story simply doesn’t jibe with the typical response of a young adult annoyed by the strictures of whatsoever establishment she finds herself under.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by jericho on Sept 11, 2007, 7:28am

Hicks could also contact Dean Thames. She could certainly tell him some stories as well!


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by dinosaur on Sept 11, 2007, 5:25pm

No one ever mentions Dr. Bill Townsend who came to work one Monday and found the locks on his office changed. Security told him that he had to have permission from Joe to get in. The President told him he was fired and to clean out his office before 5 PM. Security stood guard as he cleaned his desk.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by jericho on Sept 11, 2007, 5:34pm

They hushed up the Townshend thing pretty quickly. What was the administration’s cover story for Townshend leaving?


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Sept 13, 2007, 10:25am

Quote:

I am wondering what qualities specifically you are referring to when you mention the administrators you have interacted with being ‘Christ-like’. I have to ask because that phrase means so many different things to so many different people. For instance, I’m sure you know this world is full of christian men and women who think that simply being rich and successful but still attending church is enough to make one a ‘great christian man’, regardless of personal characteristics or the way the one treats others. Still some believe that any person who passes out a great number of religious tracts is ‘Christ-like’, while still others would use the term to describe people who have enough political influence in religious circles. I’m sure they don’t mean these specific things when they use the term, but so often, these qualities being present in a persons life is more than sufficient to gain the awe and respect of so many of our brothers and sisters. (I doubt you use that term in any of the above ways, by the way). 

So what I’m wondering is, when you say, “What I’ve personally seen so far from the administration has been Christ honoring…” do you mean they have been more than simply friendly, helpful, religiously oriented, and vocally supportive of Christ? Or is there more in them that you have been privy to, such as humility, self-sacrifice, turning the other cheek? Like I said, I’m not trying to attack; I’d just like to know more details about the way you perceive their characters, and why. Thanks!

This is a fair question and I agree that sadly in our culture we need to actually define a little what we mean by terms such as Christ-like.

All I mean by that is that in my experience (which I understand seems to be very different from the experience of some others) they have been kind, humble, loving and focued on trying to please God and follow his will.

I have not seen how the administration has interacted with people on this board nor have I seen them in a time of conflict. All i am saying is that in my experience this is how I have seen them act.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Sept 13, 2007, 10:44am

Quote:


I do believe you are trying to be charitable towards the members of this board but who voice their opposition to the current administration (or at least to the process that led to the current administration). But a few of your statements I fear are unfortunately worded and may suggest a predisposition to set aside what we say. 

Now in the past those on the board whom I know were typically more concerned for security and privacy when we were students. At this point we have graduated and the concern has diminished. If we aren’t going around advertising our names with every post, it is simply because many of us know each other, and the administration had long since learned our names anyway. Now there’s nothing anonymous about my identity, for example. In the first post of this thread I listed my name and current degree program. I can go further down the fact sheet. You see, I lived and breathed LC up until the calamity. It absolutely pains me to say I can have nothing to do with the new LC. I’m too far away to walk through the door physically, but I’ll sit down at that metaphorical chair with you and keep talking through this.

Let em be upfront about my biases. I came to LC because I liked the direction of the school. I had another offer from a christian school in California but was pleased with the spiritual direction of LC…plus housing is a lot cheaper here than in California. 🙂

My point in my pervious post was that it is easier to believe the people I know than the people I don’t know. I can look back at your original post and see your name but I still don’t know you. So, for a person in my situation who was not here during that change and who has had good relations with people who are being assulted on the board it is difficult to believe. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just that it isn’t consistent with the character I have seen.

As far as talking to people who can validate the horror stories, My door is always open. But, in general I don’t want to go there. I wasn’t a part of what happened before. I don’t know how productive it would be for me to really delve into this. If someone wants to call me, e-mail me or stop by then fine. I am more than willing to talk. But, I don’t want to get into trying to track people down. My focus is more on the future than the past… if for no other reason than I wasn’t a part of the past but I am a part fo the future.

I posted originally on this board because unsubstantiated things were being said about me by people who never met me, who were citing as their source people who don’t know me. So, I piped up. But, you also have to realize that that experience don’t add a lot of credibility to this board. In general I post on this board when it has something to do with me but I don’t go much beyond that.

The future of LC interests me much more than the past. By that I don’t mean that the past isn’t important. All I mean is that I can’t do anything about it. But, I can do something about the future.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Sept 13, 2007, 11:00am

Quote:

The previous art professor, for example, certainly didn’t get the nice publicity from the college as you have had for your first exhibit. For his final exhibition at the college, the college didn’t even bother to give his name to the paper. And he kept to himself and to his art.

Please don’t take this as a criticism of the College PR department or the previous faculty.

I don’t know if you are talking about Ted or Bob. I’ve never met Ted but have a good relationship with Bob.

I fully realize that much of hte press that has happened is because I’m new. Not only that but I have a story that is easy to get attention for locally. I don’t expect this type of coverage in the future. But, even at that while the college PR department has done a good job it also took me fostering the relationship and checkig with the department to see if they have done certain things or to talk with them about an idea I have. I don’t think there has been a single week over the last couple of months were I haven’t been in contact with the PR department. Not only that but I have talked to them about upcoming exhibitions where they were not aware of the date. I don’t blame them for this. Promoting art shows isn’t and shouldn’t be the top of their priority list. But, it is near the top of mine. All I am saying is that it is a partnership. If I just kept to myself and my art then I wouldn’t have received as much press and our next show may have missed press all together. Not because they are being mallicious but because they are human and busy and my little corner of the campus isn’t their top priority.

I think the PR department here has done a good job but they wouldn’t have been able to if I hadn’t gone above and beyond.

And all that said. The next time I have a show at the campus I will be old news and it simply won’t be as interesting to the media.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by jericho on Sept 14, 2007, 4:08pm

It was Bob Howell that didn’t get the recognition for his art show; the show was advertised several days in the paper without a correction being made by the school. That said, simply know that those on this Board are actually trying to look out for new faculty and simply make them aware of the potential for things happening to them. You can be towing the line with this crowd one minute and then be on the outs the next. I hope that at the very least you are questioning why SO MANY PEOPLE were forced out in such a short time. Add to that list you’ve been given Diann Brown Norris from education who’s now out at LSUA. There are questions that you as new faculty should ask and not simply say that all that was is now the past and this is the present. You mention reconciliation in your last note but reconciliation has to come with acknowledgment of what was done wrong and not cover stories smearing people’s names while holding up the administration as some righteous group of people. This board simply wants you to exam both sides, keep your ears open and if you have questions to ask them. Ask them of this board and of the adminstration then compare your answers. You may be surprised at the results.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Sept 17, 2007, 1:44pm

Quote:

It was Bob Howell that didn’t get the recognition for his art show; the show was advertised several days in the paper without a correction being made by the school.

I haven’t talked to Bob about this so I don’t know what all happened. I know there was a case recently where his show was a fill in when another canceled. I don’t know if that was last year or previously. Also, there is also the posibility that LC tried to correct it and it never happened. I know that happened in my case. The short annoucement articles about the show had the correct opening date but on the calendar part it was listed with the wrong day which caused some confusion. The schooled called and told them about it asking them not to run it the day after the opening and cause more confussion. But, it still ran. All that to say that I don’t know the circumstances of Bob’s show and while I agree that it looks bad it may not have been intentional.

Quote:

That said, simply know that those on this Board are actually trying to look out for new faculty and simply make them aware of the potential for things happening to them.

I agree that there are those on this board who are trying to do that and I appriciate it. But, also have to acknowledge that these are more than just kind warnings on this board. The story behind my first post on here is a good example.

Quote:

There are questions that you as new faculty should ask and not simply say that all that was is now the past and this is the present. You mention reconciliation in your last note but reconciliation has to come with acknowledgment of what was done wrong and not cover stories smearing people’s names while holding up the administration as some righteous group of people.

I’d have to look back at my post but I think I mentioned building bridges rather than reconciliation. I wasn’t a part of the previous hurt on either side. So, I can’t really reconcile anything. What I want to do is not cause anymore hurt and build bridges between the art department (and thus the school) and the Cenla and LC communities.

Again also, I have to remind people that I first posted on this forum because my person (you all didn’t know my name yet) was being smeared on here by people who knew nothing about me.

It seems to me that there has been hurt on both sides. And probably both sides need to admit that. I am not holding the administration as “some righteous group” all I’ve said is that my experience with them has been very possitive and that they seem to be seeking to serve God.

Quote:

This board simply wants you to exam both sides, keep your ears open and if you have questions to ask them. Ask them of this board and of the adminstration then compare your answers. You may be surprised at the results.

I’ll try to do that if appropriate. I can’t think of any questions to ask right now though.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Sept 17, 2007, 1:56pm

Quote:


Now, I’m not attacking you or mocking your post in any way (It’s a shame I even have to preface such an innocent question! But, the world being what it is…). I am wondering what qualities specifically you are referring to when you mention the administrators you have interacted with being ‘Christ-like’.

I was thinking about this this last weekend as I flew back to California for an event honoring my Dad. There is a story I want to tell quickly which illustrates my experience with the Dr. Aguillard.

About a month after we got into town my Mother who had breast cancer took a really bad turn. We had to make quick plans to fly back to Califonia to try and get there before she passed away. Dr. Aguillard found out about it from a faculty member who attends his church and he came by our house that afternoon (this was Sunday- we weren’t able to get a plain until Monday) and visited with me and prayed with me. That is something that meant a lot to me. It wasn’t something he had to do but it was something that he chose to do which has made a good impression on me. There are other small things but for me that was a big one.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by landshark on Sept 19, 2007, 11:55am

Hicks,
I’m sorry to hear about your mother. I’m glad that Dr. Aguillard was there to help comfort and encourage you during that time. I won’t question his motives; I really do believe that he wanted to encourage you and your family through prayer, and nothing more.

In Matthew 5, we’re told that we ought to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify God. In the very next chapter, we are told not to perform our acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them, but instead to perform them in secret. If we hold both of these principals to be equally true, we must conclude that some type of balance is necessary. Ultimately, we end up concluding something like ‘we ought to seek earnestly for God to be glorified by all men, and yet seek just as earnestly that we not be glorified by them ourselves.’ A hard trick to pull off for anyone.

When Dr. Aguillard came to your house to pray with you, I can believe he did so out of a sincere desire for you to be able to cope with your family’s situation, and praise God through and even because of it. I am sure that he had no idea that you would post the story on a message board, or even whether you would be telling your friends about it. For the sake of argument, we will assume he didn’t tell anyone either; thus, the only person he could be accused of trying to influence would be you, the very person he was trying to comfort. As you can see, it is not a rich source for someone wishing to besmirch the man’s character. And as I already said, I’m glad that he was there for you.

What bothers me about him is this; in the time that I have known him, he has never seemed to miss an opportunity to demonstrate to the world just exactly how devoted of a Christian he is. He sings in chapel, he goes on mission trips, he prays aloud whenever possible, he sets himself up to preach at LC and Louisiana Churches throughout the year. And yet, whenever his affairs are conducted in secret or away from the public eye, the consistent and invariable result is that decisions are made that are divisive, unethical, or self-promoting.

Some people might say that the former are simply efforts to glorify God; the latter, tough decisions that someone must make, even if it means persecution for righteousness sake from some who do not understand the necessity of those decisions. Before you decide, I really think you ought to wait until after your first couple of secret meetings.

When I think of a Christ-like person, I cannot escape the image of someone who, though he (or she, of course) does good and noble things that others may sometimes see, the majority of his works are done in secret, or at least, done in such a way that others will not be lead to make much of them. When I think of Dr. Aguillard, I cannot escape the praises showered upon him whenever he is introduced in chapel, or the resolution by the faculty last year, thanking him for all of his hard work, dedication, and christ-like leadership, which he personally took numerous steps to ensure would pass, even after multiple failures.

What I am saying is that, whenever we sit down and decide for ourselves whether we will follow someone’s leadership, we should first ask if they are living in a way that honors and pleases Christ (or at least, living with a genuine desire to do so!). Before we can do this, we must examine our criteria. I believe that today many, many Christians hold their leaders to a standard that the pharisees, so outwardly righteous and overtly religious, could easily live up to. We cannot afford to be so naive as this.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by chrischillin on Sept 21, 2007, 2:49pm

Quote:

It wasn’t something he had to do but it was something that he chose to do which has made a good impression on me.

I’m reminded of an anecdote a fellow Duke Div student told to the Board of Directors for our Baptist House of Studies. He had attended Liberty University for his bachelor’s degree (By the way, some of his professors were quite thrilled that he decided to go to Duke. Same goes for my friend who attended Oral Roberts U). During his time there his mother passed away. As he and his family grieved he got a personal phone call from Liberty’s president, Rev. Jerry Falwell. Falwell offered his condolences and prayed with him. It was certainly a warm, pastoral gesture from a very busy, very prominent, and very controversial figure.

Now, a a second story about Falwell. You can look it up in an issue of “The Christian Century” from this summer. William Willimon, a well-known pastor and theological writer in mainline circles, tells about the time he was basically dared to invite Falwell to Duke (Willimon was dean of Duke Chapel for several years, until 2005). Falwell gladly took Willimon up on the offer and became a lightning rod of controversy among the student body before he even showed up on campus. When Falwell came to speak he was greeted by a hostile, hissing crowd. During the time for questions one student got up and berated Falwell for not doing enough about racial discrimination and she asked, in good accusatory fashion, how many African-Americans were enrolled in his school (she herself was black). The audience cheered.

Falwell took off his glasses, paused, and told the girl how much that question deeply pained him. He said he had worked hard and prayed and met with many African-American leaders but he could not figure out to get the enrollment above twelve percent. He then asked the audience if they knew the percentage of African-Americans in the Duke student body and was greeted with silence. “Six percent!” he called out. It was a stunning indictment of a self-congratulatory elite university. Willimon reports that Falwell fielded the rest of the questions “with great aplomb” and received a strong ovation when he finished.

My point is simple. Figures like Falwell and Aguillard are complex men and it is both useless and misleading to castigate them as merely “evil” or “stupid.” It is precisely because they are complex, however, that a person might only see one side of their character…or be willing to see only one side of their character. Because Falwell was a very public figure, and because the media was silly enough to think he represented evangelicalism, he was around the microphone enough that the darker and weirder shadings of his personality are a matter of public record. The same man who prayed for my classmate in his grief is also the same man who, say, encouraged his listeners to threaten an opposing minister (See John Killinger’s account of his time in Lynchburg in his book 10 Things Wrong I Learned from the Conservative Church. Just in case the title scares you, it’s not really a book I endorse, but it has some eye-opening stories in it).

If I may, then, Falwell offers a very public example of the Janus act that many of us here unhesitatingly say Aguillard pulls off. Falwell was vindictive, judgmental, and retributive. He was also kind, gracious, and sensitive. I’m afraid the same goes for Aguillard as well. Otherwise, I have to accuse either you or Stephanie of lying. And I certainly don’t plan on bringing such a charge against someone I know and respect, or against someone I respect for taking the time to chat with us on this board of so-called whiners 😀 (Really now…if I’ve “whined” someone please just cite a post where I’ve supposedly done this…).


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Sept 21, 2007, 6:04pm

Quote:

Hicks,
I’m sorry to hear about your mother. I’m glad that Dr. Aguillard was there to help comfort and encourage you during that time.

Thank you.

Quote:

In Matthew 5, we’re told that we ought to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify God. In the very next chapter, we are told not to perform our acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them, but instead to perform them in secret. If we hold both of these principals to be equally true, we must conclude that some type of balance is necessary. Ultimately, we end up concluding something like ‘we ought to seek earnestly for God to be glorified by all men, and yet seek just as earnestly that we not be glorified by them ourselves.’ A hard trick to pull off for anyone.

Agreed.

Quote:

What bothers me about him is this; in the time that I have known him, he has never seemed to miss an opportunity to demonstrate to the world just exactly how devoted of a Christian he is.

If I see this it will bother me as well. I haven’t at this point. So far what I see is a man who really is trying. Not always perfectly, but honestly trying.

Quote:

He sings in chapel, he goes on mission trips, he prays aloud whenever possible, he sets himself up to preach at LC and Louisiana Churches throughout the year.

I don’t know how things were at LC previously. But, I don’t see anything in this list that is different than what presidents and representatives of other Christian colleges do. These things can be done in a self promotional maner or not. At this point I’ve heard him sign and preach in chapel and heard him pray aloud quite a few times but I have never felt that he did so in an attempt to showcase his righteousness.

Quote:

And yet, whenever his affairs are conducted in secret or away from the public eye, the consistent and invariable result is that decisions are made that are divisive, unethical, or self-promoting.

Again, my experience has been different. I’ve met with him behind closed doors on a couple of occassions and his character to this point has never been different than his public character.

Quote:

Before you decide, I really think you ought to wait until after your first couple of secret meetings.

I hope you don’t view me as already decided. I have my impressions. But, they are formed from a short relationship with the college. So, what I see at this school is very different than what I see written on this board. Maybe, you all are right and I am wrong, maybe I’m correct and you are in error or maybe there is truth in both sides of the story. All I am trying to do is represent my side of the story. Actually, even that isn’t totally correct. All I am trying to do is make sure my character and credentials aren’t irresponsibly attacked as they had been when I first posted on this board. Plus, I am trying to be open enough to answer questions asked of me and respond to issues which involve me.

Quote:

When I think of a Christ-like person, I cannot escape the image of someone who, though he (or she, of course) does good and noble things that others may sometimes see, the majority of his works are done in secret, or at least, done in such a way that others will not be lead to make much of them.

In general I agree with you. But, clearly in scripture there are people who were recognized for what they did Moses, Joshua, Paul, David, etc. Please don’t take me to be saying Dr. Aguillard is akin to these scriptural figures. All I am saying is that there are those who are in very public positions. And, at times much is made of them whether or not they are seeking it. Sometimes deservedly so and sometimes not.

Quote:

When I think of Dr. Aguillard, I cannot escape the praises showered upon him whenever he is introduced in chapel, or the resolution by the faculty last year, thanking him for all of his hard work, dedication, and christ-like leadership, which he personally took numerous steps to ensure would pass, even after multiple failures.

I wasn’t here and can’t comment about this.

Quote:

What I am saying is that, whenever we sit down and decide for ourselves whether we will follow someone’s leadership, we should first ask if they are living in a way that honors and pleases Christ (or at least, living with a genuine desire to do so!). Before we can do this, we must examine our criteria. I believe that today many, many Christians hold their leaders to a standard that the pharisees, so outwardly righteous and overtly religious, could easily live up to. We cannot afford to be so naive as this.

I fully agree with you here. At this point I haven’t Dr. Aguillard as seeking praise. He certainly is often showered with it. And, If I am to be honest there have been a couple of times when it seemed excessive. It has even been a little silly. But, that may be more about me than the actual praise. As, I was typing this I was thinking about my father, Cruz Reynoso, I have seen him introduced many times. In fact, this last weekend I was in California for an event honoring him. At this event and at others where he was merely a speaker he has been showered with praise that far exceeds that given to Dr. Aguillard. It sometimes seems a little silly to me. But, that is probably because I am his son and also know his weeknesses. I am immensely proud of him. He has done great things. I just am not a guy who praises like that so it seems weird to me. But, at the same time I have to recognize that what the people say is generally sincere. And, while he is lavished with it he did nothing to encourage them saying those things. At this point, I just don’t see Dr. Aguillard as the glory hound you do.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by hicks on Sept 21, 2007, 6:17pm

Quote:

My point is simple. Figures like Falwell and Aguillard are complex men and it is both useless and misleading to castigate them as merely “evil” or “stupid.” It is precisely because they are complex, however, that a person might only see one side of their character…or be willing to see only one side of their character.

I agree fully with this. That is in part what bothers me about this board. It can be argued that Falwell has both a hallo and horns but to argue that he has only a hallo or horns and dismissing any evidence about the other is faulty. I am not arguing that the Administration is perfect. All I am saying is that there is more to the story than what I’ve read on this board.

Quote:

If I may, then, Falwell offers a very public example of the Janus act that many of us here unhesitatingly say Aguillard pulls off.

The way it is stated here makes it sound as if you are saying he is intentionally being duplicitous. Is that the case? I think of people like the bob Jones’ who did great things and horrible things. I think they were very wrong about some very important issues but I don’t think they had two intentional sides. They had two sides because while there were great insights in some areas they were blinded in others. It may be that Dr. Aguillard is blind in some areas. I haven’t seen that yet but we all tend that way so it wouldn’t surprise me. But, I haven’t seen evidence that he is anything other than sincere.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by pilgrim on Sept 21, 2007, 10:08pm

Quote:

It may be that Dr. Aguillard is blind in some areas. I haven’t seen that yet but we all tend that way so it wouldn’t surprise me. But, I haven’t seen evidence that he is anything other than sincere.

One of the qualities that is the easiest to fake is sincerity. Absent other important qualities, what is the value of sincerity, anyway?


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by highlandscholar on Sept 22, 2007, 2:13pm

You are a good man and a great scholar Rondall. I appreciate your candor, grace, and patience. I count it an honor to serve with you and feel blessed that we can all encourage each other to remain true to our commitments in the manner you described. (I also answered the alcohol question earlier LS)

Chris, I said there was a lot of whining that has taken place on this board. I did not call you or anyone else on this list a “whiner.” That would be as rude as referring to someone as a “loser.” Before you think I am insensitive to your pain, I want to assure that I can tell you stories of my experiences, ministerial and academic, that could rival any of the stories on this board, including Stephanie’s. Conflict is not pretty. Every academic institution I have attended has been embroiled in it in one way or another. I study denominational conflicts and their consequences as one of my major areas of research. I could easily devote time to instituting a board and attacking several people I have encountered I feel are not fit to serve where they are (One is a “pastor” who is an absolute disgrace). I learned early on that such tactics will only destroy me, internally and externally. My task is to commit myself to following Christ, allow God’s grace and time to bring healing, and focus on the positive. If justice need to be served, then it is God who will repay.

I was not there to see what Dr. A did or did not do at particular moments. However, I echo Rondall’s comments. I have found him to be gracious, humble, and supportive. So far, what you describe is incongruent with the person I have known. I think it is childish and irreverent to make fun of the man’s singing and his Christian commitment (That includes my old friend Brother Dan). Questions you raise about his sincerity, I would raise about some of the so-called “men of God” who inhabited his post and other positions of trust on campus in the past. (Yes, I must say I knew them personally before some recent graduate tells me I am uninformed or delusional).

My perspective is somewhat influenced by the fact that I was previously part of one institution that attempted to achieve a more intentional Christian focus and failed (Despite the current press). In that case, a combination of presidential wavering and a Board of Trustees who was more enamored with wealth than principle (oh yes, they do have money) crushed that possibility. Joe Aguillard and this Board of Trustees did not waver. The conflict, acrimony, criticism, and vilification that Joe Aguillard and his family have endured boggles my mind. Yet, he still continues to persevere. If someone is just another ego-maniac looking for five minutes of grandeur, there are much easier ways to get your fix than stepping into the storm Dr. A has experienced.

Human beings are complex and fallen creatures, as you have rightly noted. The tangled web of our motivations is hard to unravel at times. Sometimes, we ourselves are not sure if our motives are as pure as we would like. I am curious why in your discussion of character complexity you mention only Falwell and Jones. Good case studies to be sure. What about a Clinton (Bill or Hillary), Jesse Jackson (or for that matter MLK, who could champion the cause of equality for all while simultaneously treating women as sexual objects), John Shelby Spong or any of the multitude of people who champion the cause of freedom, but only for their own views. Complexity and dissonance are not the exclusive traits of the political right or Christian fundamentalism. They are part of the human condition.

We are at a bit of a impasse. It is my duty, calling, and obligation to serve God and the best interests of our students at Louisiana College. Every time you make blanket statements of criticism about our faculty, you in essence attack us all. You also hurt our efforts to recruit students. When you make insulting remarks about the ability of the students, you make me sick (Is it not are our task to take those young adults and help them be more and achieve more). When you seem to reel in absolute shock that there are actually people whose idea of a good time is not hanging out at “Finnegan’s” (some youthful desire to be Tom Cruise?), you make our case for us.

Most of my new faculty friends do not read this blog. Some of them got their first taste of it when Mrs. Stagg’s letter appeared in the Town Talk. I watched the incredulity and pain spread on the faces of several faculty members whose record and education refute everything she wrote. The flash of anger I felt that moment was almost indescribable. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am through playing word games with you. I am sorry that you have been hurt, whether by the actions of others or the consequences of your own. But the bottom line is that you are not going to hurt my students, my colleagues, and my alma mater. There is too much at stake for both time and eternity. I am about to disable my “highlandscholar” login because I in no way. shape, or form desire to support this Board any longer. I encourage any other new LC supporters who still remain to do the same. Over time, I think you will find that it this message board, not Louisiana College, that dies on the vine.

I do not desire conflict. I pray for God’s grace to cover us all. I am not the kind of person to seek conflict. However, I have also never run from conflict when it was necessary. As Abraham Kuyper (a good Calvinist, Bystander) once said: “When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.” I pray that we can dwell together in piece. I hope that we can build those bridges which Rondall has been attempting to construct. If, on the other hand, all you can muster is vindictive, hateful, and hurtful action in the future, we will be ready.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by walkthisway on Sept 22, 2007, 8:49pm

I’ve decided to follow Scott to the exit sign. I talked about leaving for months, but never quite did it. That was silly and rude of me, and I apologize. I’ve finally gotten the message that I’m no longer wanted here anyway, and there’s not much I can do about that.

Now that I’m back on facebook, I can continue to discuss LC-related issues with Chris, undergrace, Learned, royer, and landshark, and I can keep in touch with Stephanie. I can also communicate with Jason, Scott, and Chuck via e-mail to offer my encouragement.

I still give my best wishes along my love and respect to everyone. I hope that all of you can somehow find peace and healing, whether at LC or elsewhere. It won’t be easy, and it never is. I was hoping to help others to accomplish that through my efforts here, but I have obviously failed miserably. Thus, I have nothing to contribute that will do the slightest bit of good for anyone here. I really should have left months ago, but my little ego does get the best of me every so often. There: I just said two things that everyone here will agree with. Thank you and goodnight.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by chrischillin on Sept 25, 2007, 11:20pm

Quote:

The way it is stated here makes it sound as if you are saying he is intentionally being duplicitous. Is that the case?

I don’t know. I want to avoid pop-psychologizing. It may be that he is, as you say, “blinded.” We all engage in self deception pretty regularly, and strong religious sentiment can be a great encouragement in that direction, even though the gospel invokes a discipline life to combat such illusion. It is hard to imagine that all this has been accomplished with a complete lack of self-consciousness. Figures in the resurgence/takeover in the SBC (name it what you will…”lamentable rupture” may be better) have been quoted as admitting, essentially, that the ends justify the means and so be it. A lot of ugliness is quickly baptized for the alleged cause of steering an institution “back to the Bible.”


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by chrischillin on Oct 9, 2007, 8:56pm

Quote:

I am curious why in your discussion of character complexity you mention only Falwell and Jones. Good case studies to be sure. What about a Clinton (Bill or Hillary), Jesse Jackson (or for that matter MLK, who could champion the cause of equality for all while simultaneously treating women as sexual objects), John Shelby Spong or any of the multitude of people who champion the cause of freedom, but only for their own views. Complexity and dissonance are not the exclusive traits of the political right or Christian fundamentalism.

This is probably an irrelevant reply since highlandscholar said he doesn’t show up here anymore. Perhaps I could email him if I feel the need. Anyways, I used Falwell as an example not because I think dissonance is a trait only of one particular end of the so-called spectrum. But he is perhaps the closest ideological example to Aguillard, and he was a man who attracted, and still attracts, polarized assessments of his character. With racism typically an undercover phenomenon now, and given that revelations about King’s infidelities have been out in the open for some time now, a more balanced assessment of King is possible such that his accomplishments can be honored while his flawed humanity is acknowledged. With Falwell, it seems, it’s still pretty much the case that people think he was a “man of God” or an awful bigot and essentially evil. It’s the same way with Aguillard and will probably continue to be that way for a while as well. Let me be clear that I did not draw the analogy to castigate Aguillard. I am disappointed that highlandscholar continues to make suspicious assessments of me…but oh well, I don’t suppose I can change that…

BTW: Who is Jones? I didn’t mention any Jones in that post.


Re: Was/Is it Right?
Post by bigleague on May 24, 2010, 6:57pm

To Visitors to Save Our LC:

This thread was pertinent months ago, when we were discussing the purpose of Save Our LC. Please take time to read it, and get acquainted with the “detractors” and “liberals” on this site.

Keep in mind: This thread is old! See how long ago that we “liberals” were on this site, talking together like brothers and sisters in Christ, the few left committed to solving the problem of the evil that had taken over LC.

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