I guess I can say that I am really confused.
For the past several months, I have just sat back and watched the things at Cedarville unfold. And by watched, I mean seen glimpses here and there when different things come to the surface, mostly through facebook.
My last semester of Cedarville, I was student teaching, and therefore was mostly unattached from the actual college. I didn’t attend chapel, I didn’t have contact with any profs (unless I made an appointment) and I didn’t spend hardly any time on campus since I lived in my own home with my husband.
When Dr. Brown announced his resignation, I thought nothing of it. Ten years is a long time to serve, and perhaps he was simply ready to move on.
Then came the Carl Ruby incident. This one hit a little closer to home, and was a little more shocking. However, I was not ready to jump on the conspiracy theorist bandwagon. Really, anything could have taken place, and it could have been a coincidence that both Dr. Brown and Dr. Ruby were leaving the same year.
Around this time, however, I was starting to get confused as to why there was no communication towards students about what was happening. Suddenly, Dr. Brown was leaving. Then just as suddenly, Dr. Ruby was asked to leave. I was confused, but like I said…not entirely ready to jump to conclusions. Theo and I had some conversations about it, and always agreed to think of it in the best light possible.
The past few months, there has been several more people who have either ‘retired’ or been ‘let go’. Jon Purple and now Pastor Rohm, just to name a few major ones.
Basically, if you are aware of Cedarville but don’t understand what is going on, you are not alone.
None of us understand.
I wish that an email of explanation, but the only thing that we as students and alumni have heard is that ‘this person is being let go because of budget cuts’. One after another, month after month.
Right now, I am confused and not sure how to approach this issue. To me, it clear that there is something not right. There really are two sides to every story, but I feel like we (as students and alum) have neither side of the story.
These are scary times we are living in, and it is important to not just believe everything that everyone says, or to follow all the things that our “leaders” do. We need to examine everything in light of Scripture and proceed from there. There does seem to be decisions that have been made that are not very good ones, in my opinion.
However, I think that the most heartbreaking part of this situation is the responses I have seen and heard, mostly through facebook. If you read my blog, you know that I think facebook is both a great gift and huge curse. In light of this issue, I have seen so many students bashing anyone and everyone that they believe is on board with this “conspiracy” (I don’t even know what the conspiracy really is). I have seen vulgar language, judgmental attitudes, extremist ideas and un-thought-through arguments all appear on facebook.
While I don’t support everything that seems to be happening with the leadership at Cedarville right now, I also don’t support all the students who don’t support it, and make sure that everyone knows how they feel about. I appreciate well thought through comments, as well as questions that make us ponder WHY this all might be happening. But airing opinions and bashing people who make decisions is not going to help anybody in the long run.
I feel like this whole post isn’t very cohesive, but I just wanted to post my thoughts on this issue. Theo and I have had numerous conversations (and disagreements) about what we should DO about this. It is so easy to form an opinion and post it on facebook, argue until our faces are blue, but what are we going to DO about what we disagree with? Theo and I read through many of the comments posted in response to the recent news of P. Rohm, and Theo wanted to respond with this:
Cedarville University made more administrative decisions.
Am I ashamed?
Ashamed is a strong word, one I don’t want to use flippantly.
I will say I’m disappointed…but not at Cedarville University.
I am disappointed at the responses people have made regarding the university’s decisions. I am especially disappointed in those individuals who call themselves followers of Jesus yet malign his name by responding as poorly as they have.
How did people back in Jesus’ time know that the twelve disciples were followers of him? Because they literally followed him everywhere. So after Jesus left the twelve disciples, how then did people know they were still “followers” of Jesus? How do people know that WE are followers of him today? The Bible say’s in John 13:35 that people will know you are a follower of Jesus if you HAVE LOVE for one another.
What does it look like to have love for one another? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 gives some great descriptions. Here are some of the phrases: “Love is patient,” “Love is kind,” “it is not arrogant or rude,” “it does not insist on it’s own way,” “Love always trusts, always hopes, always endures.”
I want to encourage you all to go read 1 Corinthians 13 and just sit and think about it for a while. I want to challenge us not to be a people who are disrespectful, assume the worst, or quick to judge. Jesus would have us first of all be kind to one another. As his followers we are also to be a people abounding in hope and trust, for he is our example of hope. Lastly, love is patient. Instead of thoughtlessly jumping to our own frustrations, twists and conclusions and posting them for everyone to see, we ought to be patiently in prayer, asking God how he would have us respond, so that he is glorified.
I’ll be the first to say that I am far from perfect. In my own strength I cannot and do not always honor the name of Jesus. I admit, just last night my wife and I had a disagreement regarding the news from Cedarville University. Although I tried to discuss and reason and act out of love, I definitely made mistakes.
I don’t have all the answers about what’s going on. Honestly, I feel like I don’t have very many at all, but that DOES NOT change who I represent and how I should respond. Together, let us pray without ceasing and encourage not only each other but also those making decisions at Cedarville University.
Perhaps this needs to be a call for us to wake up and do something. Perhaps everything that is happening at Cedarville is NOT ok, not biblical. Perhaps there is a conspiracy and things need to be brought to light. But the way that many students, alumni and parents have approached this issue is far from Biblical.
What we should do instead:
1. Pray. Before you post that comment on facebook, maybe you should pray about it. Pray for Dr. White. Maybe his heart is in the wrong place. Pray it will be placed in the right place. Pray for yourself. That your attitude will be corrected, and that you will be able to speak words that do not harm, but built up. Pray that God will be glorified, and that He will use you if at all possible. Pray for the leaders, who are making these decisions. Pray for the incoming students, who may not have a clue what is going on. Pray for returning students, who have been informed through comments on facebook are are already against certain people in leadership. Pray that your words will not harm, but will build up.
2. Do not gossip or use malicious talk. Have you ever heard the saying “If not’s helpful, don’t say it at all.”? Apply that simple childrens rule to your discussions about the whole Cedarville situation. The Bible is full of warning about the tongue and it’s deadly fire. Sure, you didn’t use that tongue to talk on facebook, but it’s the same concept. Also, the Bible is full of warning about gossip. If you didn’t hear it straight from an email or a person, don’t make it up. In fact, even if you didn’t hear it from someone directly does not mean that it is true! Watch what you say.
3. Talk about it to those you trust. Sure, it’s a huge issue. You are ashamed and frustrated. And maybe really, really confused. But maybe instead of venting on facebook, you could talk to your discipleship group leader, your parents, and older sibling, a mentor, a friend or a pastor. Those people can all join in prayer, or help you see other perspectives that might be valid in this situation as well. They can help you brainstorm ways to raise awareness or steps to take to stop the things that you think are issues. But talking to ANYBODY before you post on facebook will probably help to limit the rash decisions and attitudes that are popping up in comments sections left and right.
4. Do something. I have no idea what we could do, but if you really believe that this is all horrible injustices, do something about it instead of just complaining on facebook. Write a letter to Dr. Brown, Dr. Ruby, Dean Purple or Pastor Rohm thanking them for their service, asking them what comes next, or simply encouraging them with a verse. Write a kind letter to Dr. White telling him that you are praying for him (you don’t have to tell him that you are praying he will have a change of heart! =) ). Write another letter to the board of trustees, explaining your frustration and asking for further clarification of the situation.
But whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God.