stories from the frontlines of difference in the evangelical university

Month: December, 2015

A terrifying thought

Thinking a bit more about  Dr. Hawkins and many other similar abuses of power that I have witnessed against black women faculty at places like Westmont College (see here, for an example), I am struck by a terrifying thought:

Is it possible for a black woman of conscience who is a member of the faculty at an evangelical college to do more than survive at these institutions? In other words, is the basic structure of these institutions so anti-black that its impossible for black faculty (especially women) to simply exist?



The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

One of the ironies of the pervasive anti-intellectualism of evangelical colleges like Wheaton College is that many of the Christian thinkers that they regularly invoke would never actually stand a chance of keeping their jobs were they part of the faculty. A person like Miroslav Volf, for instance, regularly receives speaking invitations to Wheaton, but it is quite clear that he wouldn’t last a day if he were to be part of the Wheaton faculty. That old adage about freedom of the press applies even more brutally at evangelical colleges like Wheaton, Westmont and Calvin when it comes to academic freedom: “academic freedom is guaranteed to those who own one.”

Here is Volf on Wheaton College’s bigotry:

“Wheaton professor’s suspension is about anti-Muslim bigotry, not theology.”

On Fear and Loathing at Wheaton College: An Alumna’s Perspective

The following blog post is by Elena Yee, an alumna of Illinois’ Wheaton College. This post was originally published at Elena Yee’s blog, The View From Here:

The other day a friend of mine posted on social media about all that’s happening at Wheaton College in IL. If you haven’t heard by now, it’s about the supposed conflation of Islam and Christianity by a tenured professor seeking solidarity with Muslims. Although I’m disappointed, I’m hardly surprised considering how the institution has gotten into hot water about birth control and having fired a professor who converted to the Catholic faith. Add to it is their football team dressed up in KKK robes for a skit and a LGBT student leader who was attacked with an apple. So, frankly, even as Wheaton College has attempted to address the issues of racism, it is hardly the place for acceptance, understanding or empathy when it comes to diversity of any kind (except to evangelize them into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ).

On the same posting, I wrote about how I, as an alum of the graduate school, decided over a year ago to remove myself from the college’s mailing list for reasons completely unrelated to the most recent news. Another person, also an alum (I believe), indirectly criticized me (so passive aggressive) about how people like me do things like that (meaning removing myself from the alum mailing list) and that I no longer am implicated (i.e. not involved, responsible).

However, as a Christian (yes, I am deeply devoted to Jesus Christ and his teachings of mercy, love and justice), I am implicated every time I apply for any job because Wheaton College is on my resume. I have lost opportunities because of having attended and worked at Wheaton College as well as worked at another evangelical college. I am implicated because I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, so, no, I don’t believe I’m any less removed from the institution or the issues that arise from intolerance, judgment and even hate.

And, oh, by the way my degree was in in Missions (Intercultural Studies) in preparation to serve in the Muslim world. Everything I learned in my classes AT Wheaton College was more about the and/both and not either/or because those of us working cross-culturally understand implicitly how Jesus and the Apostle Paul crossed cultures and found common ground for all that is good, true and beautiful.

Fear and Loathing at Wheaton College

Suppose you were Islamophobic and racist, and suppose you were an Evangelical College; but I repeat myself.