I’ve recently been doing a bit of social-networking stalking of old acquaintances, and it seems a few of them have fallen into a problem that I had for a while: hating everything that Louisiana College and those associated with it touched.

And that means that they’ve rejected a lot of good, proper doctrines because they disagree with a few of the administrators and department heads.

If you don’t know (and most folks don’t), the small Baptist college in Pineville underwent a microcosm of the Southern Baptist Convention’s conservative resurgence of the late 1970s. In order to reach a certain end, the powers that were used a number of questionable means to get there (including spreading false information, a charge that is well-documented). Along the way, after most of the vetting was completed, they decided to crack down on student dissent; the student were angry that a few beloved professors were fired or forced into retirement, and they let it be known.

The administration responded, in turn, by pushing back. Hard. A friend of mine nearly had to sue the school in order to graduate after they responded poorly to a criticism she leveled against them (she called someone out on an untruth publicly).

A lot of this was done in the name of God, in the name of reclaiming the college for its godly heritage. (There are those who dispute that it ever really strayed. There are others who dispute  the claims about how much the college had strayed.) Like the culture war, the proponents or opponents of were labeled either “conservative” or “liberal.” The Bible was quoted extensively. Those opposed to the changes or even the tactics of change were accused of standing against God’s will. Things only degenerated from there.

So a lot of former students are angry. Angry they were misrepresented, talked down to, ignored and bullied. Angry that God’s name was dragged into a fiasco that was anything but godly. Angry that just about any means necessary were used to achieve an end. (For example, one professor was turned over to the secret service on terrorism charges while she was teaching a class on that very subject.)

In reaction to all of this, many former students decided to reject what the people who led the charge for change represent. The problem is that I’ve seen them reject good doctrine for anything-thats-not-LC. (Or worse, anything that’s opposite LC.)

I left the school in the midst of the turmoil but before a lot of the force was redirected from professors to students. My advisor and core professor had resigned, and I had my doubts whether or not the contentious little journalism program would survive without him. (A new journalism professor still hasn’t been hired, but the program has a few students — I wish them the best of luck!)

I was unhappy when I left, but somewhere along the way I decided that I was not going to let my faith be defined by a reaction to someone else’s bad motives, especially not 30 men and women in a board room at a college.

I would rather be able to say “this I believe” than “this I do not.”

To get there, that meant letting Louisiana College be. Since then, I’m able to look back at it fondly, not bitterly, and I can remember the positive ways my faith and person were shaped by both my friends, professors and scores of other people around campus. I am not happy with how things came to be, but I don’t want to see the college fail just to spite a few people.

And I’m not going to throw out good theology just because someone used it badly.

My prayer is that one day, others can do the same.

Advertisements