Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Baylor 'Pride' Redux

Carrying the Torch
A Beacon of Freedom?
(Image from BAA Magazine Baylor Line)

Now that I've had time to read more from my Fall 2007 issue of the Baylor Alumni Association's magazine, the Baylor Line, I find that I was right about how the BAA is framing the conflict with the current Baylor administration under the guidance of Baylor University President John Lilley.

In an article titled "Carrying the Torch," Baylor Alumni Association President-Elect Bill Nesbitt made the following, crucial point:
We are concerned that the cherished and historic principles that have guided Baylor be not lost, principles that have made Baylor successful in merging faith and the pursuit of academic excellence. We are concerned that revolutionary Baptist principles such as priesthood of the believer, if not understood and cherished, may be swept away in favor of a creedal circumstance in which the central authority seeks to enforce that Baylor become more Christian and more intentional about faith according to the precepts of the enforcer's faith (Bill Nesbitt, "Carrying the Torch," Baylor Line, Fall 2007, Volume 69, Number 3).
I seem to have been on the mark in defining the "pride" alluded to on the front cover of the Baylor Line's current edition: "A Tradition of Pride." Nesbitt is emphasizing 'justifiable' pride in the Baptist tradition of the individual believer's priesthood against the 'unjustifiable' pride of creeds that dictate what the believer must proclaim.

Okay, that's the BAA's way of framing the issue, but how many divisions does Nesbitt have?
There are a hundred thousand alumni who devoted years of their lives and all the money they could beg or borrow to further their educations at Baylor. Many of them care deeply about the university. They are the human face of the fabled "good old Baylor Line." Those human faces collectively have the paramount vested interest in Baylor.
A hundred thousand. That's a good, round number. What do they all want? Nesbitt hopes for support:
Those who cherish Baylor's traditional moderate position -- a position Jon Meacham, in his address at John Lilley's inauguration, called the "sensible center" -- and those who cherish the principles that have guided Baylor over the years will have a happy and supportive alumni association cheering them on. Those who would steer her to the left or to the right will provoke a quarrelsome alumni association.
Nesbitt is hoping for full support from Baylor alumni, but will he get it? Do Baptists still support traditional Baptist views emphasizing the individual believer's freedom of interpretation? Or have they moved toward creedal Christianity's emphasis upon affirmation of an explicit statement of faith?

John Lilley, mind you, is also a Baylor alumnus, so what does he support? I guess that we'll soon see.

Meanwhile, the shape of Baylor's future hangs in the balance, but as special agent K put it in Men in Black, "The world is always about to be destroyed by someone."

Nothing new.

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At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Baylor a Baptist school?

The reason I ask is that I discern the image you've chosen to depict on this, looks alot like Pope John Paul waving. I mean it really looks like "a wave from the grave."

Now why should he be waving on a posting concerning a Protestant school?


At 9:20 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Perhaps the Baylor Alumni Association is really a crypto-Catholic conspiracy trying to grab control of Baylor's future, whereas the current Baylor administration is valiantly struggling to steer the University in a more Baptist direction.

So, that flame isn't a wave, its the Pope's beckoning beacon!

Ignore that man behind the curtain of flame...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh thank you for replying thusly. I was afraid I was the only one who saw him.


At 3:25 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, we're both sane.

Jeffery Hodges

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