Sunday, May 20, 2012

Plans for the Week and for the Summer

This week, we're taking a break from our usual blogging schedule.  Veronica is taking an intensive weeklong course at Brite.  I have family in town to celebrate my bride's graduation from the Catholic University of America School of Law (and, of course, to shower our month-old newborn daughter with love and attention).

We've covered a lot of ground since Spring Break, our last week off.  Our readership has grown significantly in that timespan.  So this week, we're featuring some highlights from the past two months, since many in our coalition may have missed them the first time around.

I want to expand briefly on Veronica's Friday note about summer plans.  As the summertime approaches, we will scale back and retool our blogging efforts, but only a little bit.  We still have posts planned about the fine arts area, some trustee issues, and the results of our recently completed survey of over 100 BGCO pastors and church staff.  But in the summer months, we'll also try some new things.  We want to tell more peoples' OBU stories.  We want to build bridges to concerned constituents of other Baptist institutions.  We will continue to present and defend the Baptist distinctives that stand at the core of what we're trying to accomplish.  And we may try to facilitate some online book reading/discussion groups.  (Let us know if you want to help out: SaveOBU@gmail.com).

A lot of people have been asking, "Where do we stand?" and "What can I do?"  OBU is definitely in a better place today than it was nine months ago.  We believe the cumulative effect of vocal faculty opposition, last fall's alumni petition, passionate protests from retirees, and the Save OBU movement has been to put the administration on notice that there will be no fundamentalist takeover at OBU.  We still have trustees and a president who want the best for OBU.  The provost, who had been a one-man Takeover architect, was severely chastened this year, even before a sobering set of job evaluations made it crystal clear that the faculty do not want his meddling -- and many (if not most) do not want him -- at OBU.  Our website statistics indicate that we are not really being read in Thurmond Hall.  But we are being read in the Baptist Building.  We've presented a number of inconvenient truths about the OBU/BGCO relationship.  But some of our hardest-hitting arguments will be hard to make without data that we don't have (i.e., how few BGCO pulpits are filled with OBU ministry grads, how many OBU grads attend non-SBC seminaries, etc).

Here are a few things you can do:
  • Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  This increases our social reach dramatically.
  • Tell your non-fundamentalist friends and classmates about what has gone on at OBU and what Save OBU is doing to stop it.
  • Share the news of Save OBU with friends who are faculty/students/alumni at other Baptist colleges.  Chances are, their schools are experiencing versions of the same problems.
  • Use the link at right to donate $30 via PayPal to fund a Facebook ad campaign.  (These have been extremely effective.)
  • Learn as much as you can about the state of Baptist and evangelical higher education.  Remain in prayer and discernment about how to ensure the best possible future for OBU students and for the university's greatest asset -- its faculty.
Organizationally, we will be convening an advisory board for Save OBU this summer.  Ideally, members should be active laypeople in Oklahoma Baptist churches.  Sadly, I don't think BGCO clergy will have the freedom to be leaders in our effort, although we know from many emails that a number of them share our concerns.  If you would like to help provide leadership in this way, please let us know.  Also, please let us know if you would like to nominate someone for the Save OBU Advisory Board.

Thank you for your continued support.  Most of all, thank you for your love and passion for OBU!

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