The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Real Issue

I preface this entry by saying that I have indeed loved my time at Harding, and I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to study here. I do, however, feel the need to shed some light (as I see it) on recent PR nightmares that have negatively affected the culture that the university strives to create.

If a quote or verse could be painted above the doorway of the offices of those who make decisions here, I would look to Proverbs 17:27, which says, "A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered."

I believe Harding falls under the context of James 3:1, which warns: "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment." Though this verse correlates with our accountability to God, I also believe it implies that others will hold extra magnifying glasses of scrutiny in our direction. It seems that one misstep or mistaken word lands us in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and on most Little Rock television stations. (Shall we remember the Robert Randolph concert or the lottery decision or the recent Susan G. Komen vs. bookstore fiasco?)

I think my disappointment lies not in the fact that Harding makes these calls; it's that they do it in haste and end up reversing their previous decision. I feel like it's only after a considerable amount of flack that they later realize, "Hey, maybe we were too quick in making that decision. Perhaps we should have researched it and thought it out a little more."

My only fear is that the university will begin to make decisions based on a perhaps very logical fear that financial supporters or benefactors will pull the plug at a moment's notice if they disagree with what was done. I understand why, as a private institution, this would cause severe anxiousness. I feel like, however, that judgment calls should be based on the current situation, taking all factors into consideration-- not on whether or not someone is going to conveniently forget to sign their check this month.

Pulling Susan G. Komen items off the shelf during the prime "Race for the Cure" season without proper investigation was not a good move. People are donning their pink shirts, changing their Facebook statuses and remembering their loved ones who have died of breast cancer. Beginning with support and then yanking it away because of a rumored connection, then putting them back sends a crazy mixed message to the student body and the community as a whole.

It's the same mixed message that is sent when Jason Mraz can perform on the Benson stage high as a kite, but Casting Crowns can't sing about praising God in the storms of life. It's the same mixed message that is sent when those who admit the truth get expelled, while those who deny are allowed to stay. It's the same mixed message that is sent when 20-year-old kids are thought to be mature enough for married life, but are not yet responsible enough to go camping with friends of the opposite sex.

I am not trying to bash the school that I love or the people I respect greatly; I am only saying that I sometimes feel like in an effort to be held in high esteem, we end up doing ourselves in. Many of these instances remind me of Jesus and the adulteress woman that is recounted in John.

An individual or group of individuals will approach someone with a complaint that is the modern-day version of, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now the Law of Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?"

Instead of playing Jesus and carefully revealing "the real issue" at hand, we tend to get overly concerned with the scribes and the Pharisees that are surrounding us with a question.

I have no authority. I have no power or influence, even in the city of Searcy or at the university. But I am here to assert that we need to take our finger and begin drawing in the dirt. We need to not cave to the pressure of others and see people-- and specific instances-- as Jesus himself would.

It is only then that the stones will begin to fall to the ground and the controversy will leave our midst.


Blogger Cole said...

great post Ashton! I love HU but some of their decisions drive me crazy esp when they later go back and change their minds!

October 8, 2010 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Ronda said...

Wise words. Agree.

October 8, 2010 at 5:24 PM  

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