How Did I Miss This?

I somehow missed this article from the Stanford Daily a few weeks ago : Christian Groups Sue Universities Nationwide.

some Christian groups have been successful in forcing colleges to allow them to bar gay students and atheists.

That’s an awfully loaded interesting way to describe what’s been happening. It makes it sound as though the Christian groups are agitating for rights previously denied them instead of reacting to new university policies which undermine their beliefs. For a different take, read Christianity Today’s weblog (and this follow-up).

Junior Rosabelle Oribello, the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered] Center’s liaison to on-campus residences, believes the current political atmosphere at Stanford will help prevent the outbreak of such a controversy.

“I don’t think it will happen at this campus because the message the center has gotten from the religious groups has been that they are pretty affirming of LGBTs,” she said. “Though I don’t know what it’s like on other college campuses, we have a pretty liberal campus and that goes far in reducing the chances of these kinds of conflicts.”

While many religious groups at Stanford clearly do affirm whatever sexual choices you make, many others do not. You would have no clue based on this article. That’s odd.

[Scotty] McLennan agreed with Oribello’s reasoning.

“Stanford is a very pluralistic environment, religious and in other ways,” he said.

Many students believe that it is this politically-homogeneous atmosphere that prevents the difficulties faced at other schools.

The contrast between one sentence and the next is striking: “pluralistic environment” switched to “politically homogeneous.” That it wasn’t caught by the reporter or the copyeditor is revealing–the pluralism that Stanford presupposes is a superficial pluralism which focuses on color, culture, and sexual conduct but which usually ignores convictions. In other words, ideological diversity is the one sort of diversity that is frowned upon.

On that note, I find it curious that the author apparently didn’t seek to interview anyone who disagreed with his presuppositions. Of the three religious groups he did interview, none had been involved in the lawsuits on other campuses. That’s worth noting simply because the article mentions InterVarsity at Tufts by name and there’s a very active InterVarsity chapter here on the Farm. I wonder what they would have said had they been asked?

If you’re interested in stuff like this, Andy Crouch has a great article called Campus Collisions that explains why InterVarsity, in particular, is more likely to get involved in lawsuits than the rest of us.

Gene Scott Died

Gene Scott died yesterday, and I feel obliged to say something for some strange reason. I guess it’s because I’m always struck by the vaguely overlapping areas of our lives.

First, he was at one time an Assemblies of God minister in my district. He left the denomination years back (in good standing, surprisingly enough), but the connection is still there.

Second, Dr. Scott had a connection with Stanford University–he earned his doctorate here in 1957 and was apparently once profiled for the cover story of the Stanford alumni magazine (this seems to be an undigitized issue or else I would link to it).

Third, his ministry was by its nature a money-asking sort. His methods were way over the line (some allege immoral and illegal), although he was pretty funny about it: “I sometimes get asked about what happens to all the money that comes in to this ministry. Let me tell you what happens to it. I spend it!”

Fourth, he was eccentric. That’s putting it mildly. If you’ve seen his show you know what I mean, and if you haven’t there’s no way you would believe me–for instance, one of his peculiar worship songs was Kill a Pissant for Jesus (I do not, sadly, have the lyrics). While I applaud the use of the underutilized word pissant , the song gives me pause. If you’ve got a few minutes, read over this old article from the LA Times: The Shock Jock of Television to get a feel for his unique ministry style.

The Assemblies of God, Stanford, fundraising, and eccentricity. That’s really all we had in common as far as I can determine (that, and we were both California white males). In some ways I admire him tremendously, and in other ways I shudder when I think of him. Either way, I consider him a distant cousin in ministry.

I hope he’s in heaven. If so, I imagine there are a lot of surprised people having some very unusual conversations with him.

GQ Profiles The Jesus Freaks

I just read Upon This Rock, an absolutely phenomenal article by an ex-Christian who goes to a Christian music festival and writes about it for GQ.

If you are a college or youth pastor you really need to read the article in its entirety. I mean it–all the way to the end.

(thanks to GetReligion for drawing my attention to this)

Those Wacky Bozemanites

I just got a phone call from Will Klier, Chi Alpha leader in Bozeman, MT. A phone call from Will, one of Chi Alpha’s most inventive leaders, is always a treat.

Anyway, he was telling me that they’ve been having unseasonably warm weather in Montana (in the 50s) and they’ve also been trying to drum up publicity for Chi Alpha, so they decided to stage a mock protest.

Actual slogans chanted:

What do we want? Winter! When do we want it? Now!

Heck no, we want snow, global warming’s got to go!

Powder to the people!

The protest wound up being covered by the media and made it into the AP wire, so that the picture you see above was copied from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Now that’s a creative (and successful) publicity stunt.

Be sure to let me know if you ever have any ideas like that for our group.