“What good is a Methodist college that doesn't have religion professors?” asks one student.
Does immersion in secular music and literature strengthen faith? Does it destroy it?
Historically, black people and those deemed “homosexual” have been marginalized and silenced on many faith-based campuses. My Then & Now post from December notes the increasing acceptance of black Christians at Christian schools. However, such acceptance has not been extended to LGBTQ Christians. W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk intertwines “the problem of the twentieth century” color line with LGBTQ resistance in the 21st century.
W. E. B. Du Bois wrote his prophetic words “the problem of the 20th century is the problem of color line” decades before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Yet those words allowed blacks to note how the removal of Jim Crow from educational institutions was slow in many parts of the country. Often among those responsible were Christian segregationists in Christian schools and colleges.
Last semester, I had students review Divided By Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith. For those unfamiliar with this book, the authors make two general claims: America is a racialized society. White evangelical Protestants are unwitting proponents of racialization.
How can a Christian college build community amid diversity? Some tend toward relativism, others toward fundamentalism. SPU seeks a third way.