An Opportunity for Gordon College

In July I wrote three entries dealing with the media firestorm that Gordon College in Massachusetts had been facing. While the school is no longer making daily headlines they are still grappling with the fallout of those events. The current situation is they are taking 12 to 18 months to review their policies as relates to same-sex behavior. Despite this Gordon has said that their accreditation is not under threat and they have no plans to change their “Life and Conduct Policy.”

Depending on your view of things this may engender great hope or great despair. For me, I see it as a great opportunity for Gordon College to show to the world how a conservative Christian institute of higher education can interact with and include LGBT people in their community.

Gordon is allotting at least a year to think on these issues. To spend so much time on something and not come up with at least one good idea worth pursuing seems to me to be a waste. Some will probably say that Gordon has been unfairly depicted in this whole incident and should not be pushed into change too quickly. I agree, the media’s coverage this past summer left much to be desired in the nuance department. I think Gordon came off as a much worse school than it, in fact, is. I find that highly unfortunate. But what has happened, happened and now Gordon is taking the time to give these issues the hearing they deserve.

Many Christians are overwhelming frustrated with how many people in American society see them today. They are tired of being called bigots and hateful and homophobes. I am not trying to paint them as victims but just to highlight what people on the ground are feeling. Gordon College has an opportunity to change this, to be a beacon for engagement and inclusion towards LGBT people. If they get the next 12-18 months right they will not have to defend themselves against a society and millennial generation that has largely decided that Christianity has little good or moral to offer it. Gordon will be able to highlight that they do not hate, discriminate or stigmatize their LGBT students because they have done this and this and this. They will have set the model for every conservative Christian school to catch up to. They will become a magnet for Christian students who want strong doctrine but also reject the exclusiveness of other schools. Gordon’s long-term legacy and success will be assured. Of course some will never accept that a entity based on religion is worthwhile and no changes by Gordon will dissuade them of those feelings. Those people though are not why Gordon should be changing in the first place.

So what exactly should Gordon do? I’m not sure, I do not run a college or university. I will say this though. Gordon can institute changes that result in what I describe above without giving up their Christian identity, doctrine, and religious belief. Of this I am sure. Many commentators have argued in recent months that their is no “third way” on the issue of LGBT people. Gordon is taking the next 12-18 months to prove those commentators wrong. It is my hope and prayer that they do not waste this opportunity.

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Lunch

A little over 6 months ago I got married. And now I know everything there is to know about having a great marriage.

Just kidding.

But marriage is one of those weird things that is talked about and referenced constantly in society (especially if you are in your 20s or 30s on facebook) and yet you do not truly know what exactly you are getting into until it actually happens.

The past 6 months have been undeniably great and imperfect at the same time. Life is life, stress is stress, and sharing that with someone else is unsurprisingly complex. I hardly know anything yet about what being married really means but I do want to share a quick story that happened 2 days after our wedding that really crystallizes why, apart from everything else, this crazy marriage thing might be worth it.

I was teaching when we got married and so we delayed our “real” honeymoon 2 weeks until my Spring break. Instead right after our wedding we spent 2 nights at a bed and breakfast and than that following Tuesday I returned to classes. My commute than was 66 miles for a 7:30AM class start. That meant I did everything possible the night before to get ready. Shower, lay out my work clothes, and make lunch. Since I started working in a school the spring before I was accustomed to my routine. I did everything myself because, well I was a 29 year old adult. It was not always fun doing this but I prided myself on being responsible and I hated making a sandwich with crusts in my eyes at the 6AM hour.

And so, after our fantastic “just married” weekend we returned to our apartment, husband and wife, and I resigned myself to the fact that school was tomorrow and part of the glorious mystery of the marriage pact was having a lunch ready for the morning. I opened up the pantry door and the following interaction with my wife occurred:

Her: What are you doing?

Me: Making my lunch.

Her: I already did.

Me: Really???

Her: Yes. Love you.

Me: Love you too.

I swear to you I started tearing up right in the pantry doorway. Such a small insignificant gesture, a spouse doing something for their mate, and yet it showed me so well what marriage was supposed to be. The past 6 months have been arguably more complicated than any in my life. But that small gesture from my wife sticks with me and reminds me of what marriage can and should be. Marriage is about love and commitment and life together for sure. But sometimes its just about making lunch.