Too Mutch

...a safe place to dance with ideas, play with theology, and re-create a life implicated by God

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Firing the Catholics?

Cornerstone University has fired a technology staff member after learning that he was a Catholic. You can read about it here. See the two articles titled "CU employee fired because of faith" and "Students respond to firing of Graves."

A couple of months ago, Scot McKnight posted here about a philosophy professor at Wheaton College that was fired after converting to Roman Catholocism. Both men, according to my understanding, were willing in good faith to sign the statements of faith that these institutions require.

So, do you think they have been treated justly / fairly?

Now, moving on to a retelling of a story Donald Miller told at the National Pastor's Convention that I think applies here to some degree...

I was having coffee with a friend who attends a bible college and we were talking about my involvement and ministry at Reed College. At Reed, anything goes. There are, essentially, no rules and no one can be excluded or persecuted...that is...except Christians. And so my friend was really bothered by this unfair treatment. He felt that it was not only unfair, but also rigid and exlusionary. So I asked him, "What if Reed had a written policy that essentially stated what is already being lived out? What if they had a policy that said suspected Christians on campus would be forced to sign an affidavit saying that they were, indeed, not a Christian?"

This friend of mine didn't like the sound of that. He believed strongly that Christians ought to be able to attend Reed College without being set aside or persecuted. Then, carefully, I pointed out to him that the Bible College he was attending required people to sign just the kind of affidavit we were talking about.

So, is any of this unfair? Is it exclusionary? Are there "kingdom of God" implications here?


At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 11:22 PM, Anonymous rapraptorman said...

Hey Mr. Eyebrows, nice posts.
Is it exclusionary for a church to say you may not be a member of this organization unless you confess, "Jesus is Lord" and commit to such and such faith practice?
As for Donald buddy old pal Miller, I think he is not comparing apples with apples. The one (Christian)college is basing its identity and membership on who they are. The other group (Reeds, in the example) is basing their identity and membership on who they are not (and in so doing they are persecuting one religious group). If Reeds College would require you sign a form saying that you believe that macroevolution explains the existence of the universe and that therefore you won't worship a personal God of any sort, I think that would be fine. I'd have no problem with that. They should have a freedom to associate based on that positive claim.

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Chris Farley said...

we're gonna be buddies, we're gonna be pals, we're gonna be amigos, we're gonna bunk together.....

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous rapraptorman said...

It sounds to me like these two guys got a bum rap unless the faith statements required that one attend a certain type of church. Then again if Rex Rogers defines an evangelical church as a church where salvation is gained through faith alone in Jesus Christ...well I think Roman Catholic churches post Vatican II fall into that boat or am I mistaken? Mcnight had an interesting post. Is Roman Catholic tradition much different from our interpretations of Scripture which we hold to be very authoritative?

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Greg said...

1. You say the difference is that the Christian college is basing it's identity on who they are, but by doing so they are being, to some degree, more exclusionary. And I would ask, does the kingdom that Jesus inaugurates lead us to being more or less exclusionary? Seems to me Jesus was about breaking down the walls.

2. Both men were willing to sign the faith statments at the schools in good conscience. To which Wheaton replied that they needed to relook at their statement of faith.

3. The guy at cornerstone was an IT help guy...not faculty...not leadership level staff. Do you think this matters? Does Calvin or Hope hire non-evangelicals to work anywhere on campus? If so, aren't they still Christian institutions? Save your remarks about hope, ok?

thanks for weighing in

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous raptor said...

1. Okay, I guess Donald Miller's example of Reed's college is more discriminatory, not more exclusionary, than the Christian college, because it picks on one more narrow group by defining themselves according to "who they are not." It's still not comparing apples with apples. Does the kingdom of Jesus lead us to be more or less exclusionary? Less exclusionary because we incorporate Gentiles (like Texans) and outcasts and poor people. But there is still a proper sense of saying, "you are a follower of Jesus and you are not." Are our churches improperly exclusionary for requiring members/sheep to confess "Jesus is Lord" and to commit to certain faith deeds? I don't think so. Was God improperly exclusionary for wacking Annanias and Saphira? No. He's concerned about the purity of his church. Let's not water down the terms disciple, Christian, or follower (I'm not saying you want to do this) while still understanding that people are at different places on the journey of following and the journey toward becoming a follower.
I'm not familiar with Calvin's hiring practices other than that the professors must attend CRC or RCA churches and send their children to Christian day schools. On a political/legal level I think any private institution should have the right to say, "you must live in such and such a way and agree to such and such a creed to work here." An Islamic or even Roman Catholic institution should have the right to exclude me. On a kingdom of God level, I'm not sure how Jesus would set up a liberal arts college. That's an interesting question to blog about. How would Jesus, if he were President, set up a college? Any ideas? I doubt the lunch lady would have to subscribe to the Canons of Dort.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Greg said...

good stuff, raptor. However, your take on exclusion shifted from schools/institutions to churches, then back to organizations/institutions. I certainly agree that churches should have the right to say "who we are" but not to the extent that it creates an impermeable wall b/w us/them. The us/them dichotomy needs to go (or at least be weakened signficiantly). The church, as McKnight says, should have permeable walls, so people can pass more easily from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous rapraptorman said...

Yeah, I do switch back and forth. Kingdom institutions and schools are harder to figure out, I think.
So how would Jesus set up a college if he was president. What does Mrs. Eyebrows have to say about this? I'm calling her out. Where is she?

At 2:19 AM, Blogger grace_explosion said...

Rules that break the law of love were made to be broken. Who broke what rule?? I think Cornerstone broke the law of love by firing a man who broke their rules by being Catholic.


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