Cornel West.

Cornel West addressed a number of issues that put a nice bookend on my first journal entry regarding religion and Christianity. West said, “we need to talk publicly about the courage to love…that’s what I love about the black movement.” And that’s what I love about the Emerging Church. I’ll keep going. West also said he was “just trying to tell the truth, in love.” This was in reference to President Clinton, I believe, and a point that West disagreed with Clinton on. Wow, what a revolutionary way of reacting to something with which you disagree. Or is it revolutionary?

I also liked West’s comment that “American Christianity is a market form of Christianity…that’s why Easter Sunday they’re full, but on Good Friday they’re empty. ‘I’m gonna show up whenever the winner shows up!’” It’s a mindset that in a culture where everything is handed to the middle class and we are all collectively richer than most of the rest of the world, we only want things that help us. Hence marketplace Christianity—great analogy! Churches in other parts of the world view their faith in a much different way—many Americans can’t see that because they’ve never seen a church or a culture outside of “their America.”

Last, West’s comment that the gay community is forced to deal with the insecurities of the straight community was a good analysis—too many people judge others when they don’t even know someone with a given trait, experience, etc.—including homosexuals. I know a number of pastors whose views have changed on the topic of homosexuality when their child came out. Regardless of how they viewed homosexuality, they still loved their child because he/she was their child. That’s a great way of thinking that should be carbon-copied across American culture.

West highlights a comment from Checkov: “Keep loving, keep serving…it’s not about winning overnight…it’s about the legacy you want to leave.” Any social movement should look to Checkov’s comment for motivation. One day, every one of us will leave this Earth. The only thing we leave behind will be the relationships that we have built, the difference we have made and the people we have helped. As we wrestle with questions and converse with those around us, our worldview can only be expanded. When our worldview expands, we grow and become better able to communicate with those around us.


Free speech and the "Leftist Orthodoxy".

In Social Movements today we discussed social movements on campuses and free speech. Two interesting conversations happened:

  • <>A few weeks ago a campus-wide protest against the university president happened, because of a decision he was about to make regarding the football team, rendering them virtually useless by requiring them to offer no scholarships to potential recruits. At the men’s basketball game that night, someone came into the arena with a “Fly the Coop, Cooper” sign, referencing the president–Pres. Cooper. He was thrown out of the arena because he had a sign that was derogatory towards someone not even involved in the game, which violated Athletic Dept. policy. E-mail apologies were sent to the entire campus; mention was made in the local newspaper. People in class today had a problem with this, but i don’t get it, for this reason: we are a private institution, therefore the campus is private property; rules are rules, and the school is governed by the conference and the NCAA. Hence, this wasn’t so much about “free speech,” rather it had to do with a precedent creating an uplifting game-day atmosphere.
  • A discussion started about colleges and universities being home to a movement towards liberalism and suppression of moderate or conservative views in any way. Unfortunately, I have seen that even here. Resident Assistants reprimanded for posting pro-Republican slogans on their door; hiring of a Christian chaplain to represent the majority Christian population on campus when in actuality she represents very little of the Christian community; and the list could go on, both here and at other places. I don’t see the problem as one of conservativism vs. liberalism; rather, the issue is one that has plagued some Protestant Christian seminaries, most conservative Christian colleges and universities and many non-religiously-affiliated colleges and universities: an agenda has been raised which is proclaimed in the classroom as the ultimate truth and considered the rule and law to live by.

My problem arises with this because I feel rather than being brainwashed or bombarded, this generation would be better served to all be taught the exact same thing, whether conservative, moderate or liberal: learning how to learn. If the generation were to be taught how to learn, each would take the information presented and form their own view of the issue. Perhaps it is my Baptist upbringing which brings this out most in my own life. One of the pillars of faith as a Baptist, also one that many seem to have forgotten in shaping the new Southern Baptist Convention, is the “priesthood of all believers” where each person is able to communicate directly to God and does not have to be held accountable to any other person.

The past few years as I started looking into seminaries, I have noticed that many seem to teach and preach with an agenda. I have quickly crossed each one of those institutions off my list. A few months ago I met a pastor from Texas who told me about the seminary he attended. His favorite aspect of the seminary was that he learned how to learn, was given material to learn from and was not spoon-fed his education. I’m looking forward to that.

As this university continues to examine where it’s heading in terms of liberalist vs. conservativist agendas, I hope the committees and Board will recognize that an emphasis should be placed on allowing people to learn how to learn, not spoon-feeding. Those days are behind (most of) us and it’s time for us to shape our own worldview. Presenting an unbiased approach towards learning will lessen the divide, I feel, between each side. If a conservative is attempting to force his/her agenda, sides with either strongly agree or be adamantly opposed. Same for a liberal and his/her agenda. If each student is allowed to make his/her own decision based on their experiences, readings and lifestyle, they will experience an eb and flow of education as they read material they agree with, disagree with and lessens the impact of harsh disagreements between the liberal, moderate and conservative.


News Media.

Washington Post? Sure, Michael Jackson’s endless trial does not effect the general public. But bringing up the Atlanta courthouse shooting as an example of bad media is just wrong. For nearly 24 hours after his jailbreak, Brian Nichols eluded police and law enforcement officials. In today’s world, he could have gone nearly anywhere in the country in 24 hours—but particularly anywhere on the East Coast. Granted he didn’t even leave Atlanta, his escape posed a security threat to much of the country. Why should that not be of national news interest? In the days that followed, what had been a national security threat should certainly have been detailed further in the news. A security breach in a booming metropolis could surely be repeated elsewhere. I don’t understand why people decided to use that case as an example of bad news. Granted there is a lot of bad news, that’s not one of them.