As I prepare for my final semester at Beeson Divinity School, it strikes me just how well I was prepared for my seminary education by my undergraduate professors at Cedarville University.
All things considered, my time at CU exposed me to the riches of biblical and theological studies, and it left me hungry for more.
College gave me a love for Christ’s gospel and Christ’s Church - which has only increased since I arrived at Beeson.
Plus, I met my wife there! :)
And yet, college also left a bad taste in my mouth.
See, in the year before I graduated, some crazy things went down at my alma mater.
- It all started with some sketchy White Papers getting sprung on the faculty right before contract renewal.
- Then, it led to the secret summer firing of a professor.
- I reacted on my blog.
- Christianity Today picked it up. As well as a local newspaper.
- The same day the Christianity Today piece ran, the President “resigned.”
- So did the Vice President of Student Life.
- You know what? It’s a long story, just read it here if you’re interested.
I’d like to think we made a bit of a difference - perhaps in slowing things down enough to let professors find jobs elsewhere before they got fired. Heck, we even made it into The New York Times. (Although, I will say: I’m embarrassed of the picture they chose for the article.)
However, in the long run, we failed.
Cedarville is now a much different place than when I arrived. What’s more, I became so entangled in the mess that I arrived to seminary with some burn wounds - from a prophetic fire that burnt a bit too hot.
I’m thankful for my time at Cedarville, however.
God has been healing those wounds. Beeson Divinity School and Anglicanism have both been balms to my spirit. And, with the healing has come the realization that I would not be who I am today were it not for my four years in Cedarville, Ohio.
Many of the lessons I learned there were sealed with blood, sweat, and tears - as it were. However, those kinds of lessons are often the most important and enduring.
By God’s grace, I hope to carry forward into my future ministry a combination of prophetic fire and patient faithfulness in the face of injustice and suffering.
Here’s the thing, though: I’m worried about the other members of the “Cedarville Diaspora.”“Cedarville ex-pats”? Take your pick of terms.
No, not so much the professors who were pushed out. They’ve miraculously landed on their feet, and I’ve witnessed God’s powerful work of redemption through them in their current careers and ministries.
No, I’m talking about the alumni who got burned by fundamentalism and may have already thrown out the Christian baby with the fundamentalist bathwater. Or perhaps they’re seriously considering doing so.
See, God has blessed me with a wonderful seminary and church community in which to grow and heal after Cedarville. Without those things, I don’t know where I’d be after the awful ending to my Christian college experience.
Others, however, may be feeling very lonely and angry right now.
If that’s you, or if you know someone to whom this applies, would you let me know if there’s any way I can help you?
I’ll gladly listen to you vent. I’d love to pray for you specifically, and perhaps to share what I’ve found helpful along the journey.