2.28.2011

One of Many Homes

**Typical Joelle disclaimer: This post is not an "I love Jesus" kind of post. I promise that there is a point.**
 
As you all are {well} aware, the title of my blog is Where We Love is Home. For four years of my life, my physical home was the residence halls of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. Though its been almost two years since I moved out of Grace hall, I still consider this university one of my many homes. I have had so many incredible experiences at this place. It allowed me to grow and learn, in so many more ways than I ever could have imagined.
 
I am not an overly religious person, though I was raised in the Lutheran church. Being at CLU gave me the opportunity to truly develop my beliefs. I was able to not only question the Christian faith, but to create my own understanding of what being a Christian meant.
 
I think that was, and is, the beauty of CLU. We are a community founded on the basic principles of Christianity; a community that encourages diversity, questions, and love.
 
While I'm sure almost every student at this school would agree with the above statement, it seems as if being an exceptionally open Christian university isn't enough. Now, I agree that there are plenty of areas in which CLU could develop and grow, but removing the Lutheran identity from California Lutheran University isn't exactly the way to go.
 
Here is a little background information, in case you are interested {which, if you're still reading this post, I assume that you are}: the student body president at CLU, a self-proclaimed atheist {of whom I know personally and have no problems with his non-religious identity} supports a measure by another student to replace the phrase "to further Christian growth" with "to further faith and reason" in the  ASCLUG {Associate Students of California Lutheran University Government, for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym} constitution. This change is very minor, and probably would have gone almost unnoticed had the local newspaper {not exactly a reputable source, but still widely read} not printed an article about the proposed change.
 
I am so very disappointed that the current students of CLU would allow this change to happen. Granted, the ASCLUG constitution isn't typically a platform for controversial discussion, but it is important in the regard that it is an official statement on what the students on ASCLUG, representatives of the student body as a whole, are working toward.
 
As much as I want to refrain from the whole, "would this happen at a {insert other religious university} school?" argument, it's really common sense. This wouldn't happen at another Lutheran {or Jewish or Muslim or Catholic or Mormon} school, and the fact that it is happening at CLU makes me believe that our open environment is being taken advantage of.
 
We believe in diversity and love and acceptance because we are a Christian university, not despite it. All of the things that these students love about the university are a direct result of that Christian identity. I like to think that we prove the misconception that Christians are not open to diversity and acceptance, wrong.
 
Again, this is a minor detail in the grand scheme of things. The official mission statement of the university explicitly states that CLU is "rooted in the Lutheran tradition of Christian faith, the University encourages critical inquiry into matters of both faith and reason."
 
We get the best of both worlds. Why can't we just leave it at that?
 
Much love,

6 comments:

Jenna said...

Agreed, and I couldn't agree more with you on the topic. I also personally know the current president and consider him to be a great friend and wonderful person, but this is along the same principles of taken "in god we trust" off the dollar and taking God out of the pledge of alliegence - CLU is a Christian school founded on Christianity, but open to all view points, when you agree to become a part of the student population you acknowledge that you are attending a Christian school - that's all there is to it.

xoxo
Jenna

Joelle said...

You're right Jenna; He chose to come to CLU, which is a Christian school, though not nearly as strict as some Christian schools...

Kevin said...

Great post, Joelle. I think this seems so trivial.

Beka said...

Hmm. That is very interesting!

Krista said...

Hey I went to CLU too!! How cool, I had no idea!

I have a slightly different take on this, because I was raised as a very conservative christian, but now consider myself agnostic. I can understand why they would want to change it to be more inclusive of the non-christian students, but it seems like a trivial change when the NAME of the school includes the name of a relgious group. Unless you're willing to change the name and take away the chapel, I say don't worry about the motto.
I have to say that I disagree with the parallel to taking away "in god we trust" etc. The issue of being inclusive to all people and religions is much more serious for a country based on principles of equality and seperation of church and state than for a privately run school. Not everyone knows that the phrase "in god we trust" was added to the dollar in 1957. I don't feel strongly either way if the phrase stays or goes, but I get annoyed when people think that taking it away would somehow undermine Christianity. No one is saying that you're not entitled to your beleifs.

Ok, I'll stop now..

Lauren Michelle said...

I totally agree with Jenna. There's just no sense to me in why you would want to change a Christian-based school to something where Christianity is taken out altogether. If you agree to attend that school, in spite of your own beliefs, then I believe you need to accept what that school stands for.