The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Seminary’s relationship to campus

I often sit outside of Perkins Chapel to do some reading in the sun. Many of us at Perkins have heard undergrads walk by and say things like, “The Methodist Church doesn’t have anything to do with us at school, thank God,” when they’re trying to sell prospective students on the place, or other things like, “They just study dead languages over there.” And they’re pretty much right. The theology school hasn’t done much to be a part of the undergraduate experience, and some of us do study old languages (like New Testament Greek). We don’t seem to be needed or wanted on campus, and we’re all pretty busy anyway, so we make no effort.

Every once in awhile, however, we remember that we’re still called to be Christians everywhere we go, not only in the churches we serve or in our families. The recent events involving SAE have reminded me of this. Attempts to cover up unpleasant parts of our identity, when resulting in injustice, are completely unacceptable for an institution that claims to be Methodist. The continued presence and existence of such an organization on this campus is also inexcusable.

Occasionally, Christians remember what it means to be Christian. It means being advocates of justice, it means healing and joy and forgiveness. It means getting out of our pews and continuing to be the church outside of the building. It means being the same person on Sunday morning as on Friday night. It means speaking out against alumni and administrators more interested in appearing to have integrity than actually owning it. If my seminary community is willing to speak out against the Bush Library, as some professors have done, I believe we better be willing to address the loss of life and safety on this campus.

As a seminary student, if I see this injustice going on in a place I financially support and do nothing about it, I am complicit in the issue. And as a representative of the church, it makes the United Methodist Church guilty as well. I am not willing to compromise the church’s witness in this way.

I think it is time for us to ask the question: What does it mean for us to be a Methodist university? Are we such in name only, or in substance? Actions like the ones discussed seem to indicate that we are not, in fact, adequate representatives of the church. Perhaps it would be better for the Methodist name to be removed so everyone can stop pretending, and so the integrity of the denomination is not compromised. But if the “Southern Methodist University” still means what it says, as I hope it does, then the leaders of our institution have the obligation and privilege to be agents of justice. We must stop making excuses, and instead ask: What’s it going to be?

Lindsay Childers is a second year graduate student in the school of Divinity. She can be reached at [email protected].

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