Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My OBU Story: Kris Shiplet '03

We are pleased to have found so much support in such a short time.  Dozens of you have emailed with words of encouragement and gratitude.  As we build this grassroots network, we want to help connect current students with retired faculty, older alumni with recent alumni, and Shawnee residents with Baptist clergy and laypeople around the state.  Most of us know OBU only from our personal experience.  Yet others' OBU experiences can provide great insight.  We all share -- students, alumni, parents, faculty, and concerned friends -- a wellspring of affection for OBU, a great deal of anger and disappointment about its recent trend toward fundamentalism, and a collective fear for its future as long as we lack autonomy and independence from the BGCO.

Today, we continue sharing our OBU stories.  If you would like to send in yours, copy the text below and type to your heart's content!  Email your story to SaveOBU@gmail.com for inclusion in an upcoming edition!

Name: Kris Shiplet

Years: 1999-2003

Major(s): Youth Ministry & Journalism

Hometown: Bixby, Oklahoma

Church Affiliation Then: Southern Baptist

How/Why I Chose OBU: I felt called to be a youth pastor and wanted to go to a college that would give me the knowledge needed for the job. Raised by a Baptist pastor and Shawnee was the perfect distance away from home.

Good Times: Many, many good memories. Meeting and bonding with several students, especially Bible and ministry majors. Eating with the guys at Van's Pig Stand, late-night studying at IHOP/Denny's. Working with some talented writers at The Bison and writing "The Ship on Sports." Meeting my wife through one of my roommates.

Bad Times: Seeing the odd tension between fundamentalists and moderates on a daily basis. I think we had a great blend of professors but it was obvious even then that OBU was headed in the wrong direction because of Dr. Brister's leanings. Being labeled a liberal amongst fellow ministry majors because I think women in ministry is a good thing.

Best Thing(s) about OBU: Preaching at "OBU Day" my Freshman and Sophomore years. When I preached at a church in Enid my Freshman year, that was my very first experience behind the pulpit. When I preached at a small church in St. Louis, OK my sophomore year, I got my very first job in youth ministry and was there for the rest of my time as a student. Learning from great profs like Mr. Philip Todd, Dr. Mac, Dr. Bobby Kelly and Dr. Tom Wilks...

Worst Thing(s) about OBU: Again, just the odd tension between a fundamentalist President and conservative/moderate profs. Finding out that not too long after I left Mr. Todd, who taught me not only about journalism but a great deal about life in general, was fired basically because he wouldn't allow Brister to completely censor the newspaper.

Spiritual/Religious Reflections (if any): OBU was great for my spiritual life. I had plenty of fellow students and professors who encouraged me in my faith. When my mom had a stroke, I had a lot of support. If I had a question about ministry or something good to share, I always had support right there. I learned to think for myself and become more open-minded, but definitely didn't "lose my faith." I came there with the idea of learning things on my own, not just taking my dad's opinion, and I accomplished that.

Life/Career: I'm married and have a great dog :) I work as a customer service rep for US Cellular and volunteer/teach in the youth ministry at Christ's Church of Yukon.
Residence: Yukon, OK

Church Affiliation Now: Christian Independent

Reflections on OBU-BGCO Relationship: I genuinely believe that the two need to break up. OBU needs freedom from the organization itself. OBU can be a Baptist University without being the redheaded stepchild of the Mother that is BGCO. It needs to be a place of learning, not just a 4-year-long Sunday School class that it seems to be becoming.

Final Thoughts: I genuinely loved my time on Bison Hill and pray for its success. I still have friends who work there and hope they can continue to teach future generations. I hope true balanced liberal arts education can be restored.

Now, it's your turn...
Church Affiliation Then:
How/Why I Chose OBU:
Good Times:
Bad Times:
Best Thing(s) about OBU:
Worst Thing(s) about OBU:
Spiritual/Religious Reflections (if any):
Church Affiliation Now:
Reflections on OBU-BGCO Relationship:
Final Thoughts:

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