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The Road Goes On

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 at 4:38 PM

Regime Change

HoustonChronicle.com - Baylor's interim chief hopes to heal the wounds

Yesterday was Robert Sloan's last day as President of Baylor University. After a bitter and divisive last few years, he resigned back in February.

I've written about this whole deal elsewhere, believing that Sloan's controversial attempt to make Baylor a legitimate top-tier research university thoroughly grounded in Christian convictions is an important story worth watching -- even if you otherwise wouldn't have any interest in the fortunes of a Baptist school in Waco, TX.

I still have greatly mixed feelings. I can see the argument that a lot of this mess has been caused by relationally tone-deaf ideologues who've run over people in the service of noble ideals. Yet on the other side, I simply hear people for whom Christian convictions really don't mean anything other than being nice and preserving the status quo.

How do you strike the balance between wanting a community, congregation, etc. to have a healthy sense of defining (and true!) convictions and not running roughshod over people in the name of those convictions?

Garry Wills has argued that Robert E. Lee is the prime example of one who, when forced with a difficult decision, chose community over principle: better to remain loyal to one's own (staying with Virginia) than cut yourself off from the roots that nourish you (accepting leadership of the Union Army). Do I love Baylor enough to accept that the Texas Baptist old guard for the time being still makes up the majority of Baylor's constituency -- even if that means that the primary theological stance of the institution (to the extent there is one) will be a negative one: "We're not mean, intolerant, in-your-face fundies . . . that's our unifying confession." Link

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