Previously, our Twitter account had been blocked by Truett-McConnell College President Emir Caner after we criticized him for shepherding the fundamentalist takeover of a troubled Georgia Baptist Convention-affiliated school. (Last fall, they had a big ceremony headlined by Paige Patterson in which all faculty signed the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.) Yet recently, Rev. Dr. Caner unblocked us!
Closer to home, however, we now find ourselves blocked from following OBU President David Whitlock on Twitter. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two things I learned by following Rev. Dr. Whitlock. First, OBU's board of trustees has (had?) two M.D./Ph.D. medical researchers. I thought this was great news -- the fewer people affiliated with a university who believe in young earth creationism the better! We may now take
flat young earthers in the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry, but hopefully we can still keep these people off the Board of Trustees. The second thing I learned from Whitlock via Twitter is that he was "proud" that a junior religion prof "represented OBU" at the Baptist World Alliance gathering this summer. I was, of course, shocked that Whitlock would publicly defy all the SBC leaders over the years who so openly loathe the BWA (for its alleged liberalism and, of course, the unpardonable sin of admitting the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as a member). But as far as I was concerned, it was just more proof that deep down, David Whitlock is not a post-Takeover Baptist culture warrior/crusader who is trying to cleanse the world of moderates. Still, I guess I should say: Sorry, Dr. Whitlock, if you had to endure a talking to from your boss-who's-not-really-your-boss-but-kind-of-is-your-boss Anthony Jordan or any of the other SBC elites who may have decided to set you straight about the evils of the Baptist World Alliance.
Just for fun, I'd like to ask everyone to attempt to follow Dr. Whitlock on Twitter. See if he deigns you worthy to read his updates. I'm curious to find out who else is on the outs with him. Did you ask a tough question at a "Fireside Chat" last year about why your favorite religion profs are disappearing? Were you in last spring's production of Hairspray (which prompted a certain dean to end OBU's longstanding collaboration with Shawnee Little Theater)? Or does Whitlock just not handle criticism very well? What does it take to be denied access to 140 characters of someone's thoughts? I'd like to know.
For the uninitiated, Twitter is a lot of fun! Until I founded Save OBU, I had never used it before. Since last December, our account @SaveOBU_Blog has been an invaluable tool for communicating with friends and foes alike. I even started a personal account (@jlupf) so I could end the awkwardness of having the culture wars fought on my Facebook page. (Facebook was a lot more fun before everyone's parents and grandparents joined and, in any event, at my age it should only be used for sharing cute baby pictures.)
Dr. Whitlock, I thought you were unflappable. I actually didn't know we'd made any kind of impact on you, let alone gotten under your skin. Still, even though I don't know you, I believe in my heart you're the kind of guy I'd love to have a beer (or a Dr. Pepper) with. And even though Save OBU can't follow you on Twitter, if you're ever in Washington, I've got a $250 donation (the real D.C. way...) if we can hang out and talk OBU's mission and direction sometime.
And the first round's on me.