…punch me in the face, and then tell the girl to run.
And you should be skeptical for at least a year, maybe more. I don’t know how these timescales work when I’m 22, but I seriously need to figure my shit out before even thinking about getting involved with anyone else.
So remember the letter our president set out, deftly avoiding any actual engagement with the issue of homosexuality, Haven (our decidedly unofficial LGBTQ safe space club), or anything significant? And the draft I posted of my response? Today I e-mailed and snail-mailed my revised letter to the President. Here’s what I said. This will all make more sense if you read the original letter, which called for clarity and avoidance of a “fog of abstraction”, while delivering exactly the opposite.
Dear President Eaton,
I recently read the letter you sent out to SPU colleagues and friends regarding the recent issues surrounding the continual denial of club status to Haven, and the more recent cessation of any cooperation with Haven. In that letter, one of your main points is that you want to be clear, stating that you don’t want to be vague on the whole topic of human sexuality. You said that you don’t want to dodge the specifics in some fog of abstraction.
If that is indeed the case, I am perplexed as to why Haven was never mentioned by name. It is glaringly obvious to anyone familiar with the current situation that you are directly addressing the recent actions of the administration towards Haven. There are no other “current issues around club status and human sexuality” that I am aware of. I can’t help but note the irony of stressing the need to “address very clearly and openly the issue of club status” without ever mentioning which club’s status you are addressing.
And it is not only the name of the club around which there is a fog of abstraction in this letter. It is also unclear what exactly your position on the matter of homosexuality is. In your fourth point, you make reference to Paul’s venturing into the “tough part” of his letters. I can only assume, given that homosexuality is the matter at hand, that this is a deliberate reference to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. You specify that these are lists of things that we must put off, that are “harmful for us, destructive to our communities of faith, hurtful to our world.” You repeatedly note the importance of living lives that are flourishing. You allude to the “new way of living” that Wright outlines, the ancient text to which we adhere, the image of God, and the good and beautiful. But you never actually state that homosexuality is one of these things that must be put off, or that being gay goes against that which is good and beautiful.
I point these phrases out because I see no conflict between these principles – these things we must put off, this new way of living – and a loving, committed relationship between two people of the same gender. I indeed believe that the scriptures and principles that you mentioned are very compatible with being openly and actively homosexual. Reading your letter, I can only assume that you are trying to imply otherwise. Being very familiar with both sides of the current debate, I can guess what you are trying to hint at. But despite your admonitions towards specificity and clarity, you never once actually specify how homosexuality contradicts or opposes any of the aforementioned principles. I think our student body, faculty, and the public at large deserve more clarity and openness than that.
So in the spirit of clarity, openness, and directness, I would ask that you at least mention homosexuality if you believe that it opposes these scriptures and principles. Because I know that I am not alone in being able to support both the principles you mention and homosexuality without conflict. Ask someone in the Episcopal Church, or any of the pastors that bothered to respond to Haven’s invitation to the pastor panel, for instance. You allude repeatedly to the ancient scriptures, as if they can be used to unambiguously condemn homosexuality, but again, never directly state that they do so. This is an important point to clarify, as many prominent Christian figures – and entire denominations – would disagree with such an assumption.
Taking only the text of your letter, there is nothing that restates or depends on the university’s position in the Statement on Human Sexuality that “sexual experience is intended between a man and a woman.” This avoidance of clarity contradicts your stated goal to not be vague, and dodges the actual issue at hand. It is an excellent public relations piece, as it leaves plenty of room for the reader to infer their own views and predispositions. But the ambiguity of language and avoidance of directly addressing these issues does nothing to foster openness, sort things out, or discover what is right and good.
I do not ask that you agree with me or the Episcopal Church about the role of homosexuality within the Christian church. I realize that our views likely differ, and I respect that. But I do ask that in future statements and correspondence, you adhere to your admonitions of clarity and openness. While your letter makes many overtures to avoiding vagueness, it distinctly avoids mentioning Haven, homosexuality, or directly addressing the “the important, even contested issues of our day.” The conversation around Haven and homosexuality would benefit greatly from true clarity and honesty from the administration, which has been sorely lacking up to this point.
SPU Class of 2011
If you would like to physically send a letter to President Eaton (or any other SPU office) and are on campus, you can address it and just drop it off at Mailing Services, and they will get it to the right place - no postage required!
The president’s address is:
Office of the President
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 101
Seattle, Washington 98119-1922
Michael Steel, spokesman for John Bohener, on Obama’s decision to stop defending Section 3 of DOMA
This is just too rich. After the GOP has been trying to redefine rape, get rid of life-saving abortions, and in general take away women’s rights, they have the nerve to pull the “this isn’t the time” card. In fact, I remember this exact same line being used by Rep. Speier when the GOP was trying to further restrict abortion.
Yes Tumblr Death Match! I think I’d be pretty formidable competition in this here contest.
Done, as long as I can send out explanatory messages afterwards, because the followers I would lose are my favorite ones, and I would be sad if they went away forever :(
And I am woefully far away from 500 followers, but we’ll have to see what I can do in that case ;)
This show is seriously disgusting and offensive on so many levels.
These gifs are the most perfect. Seriously.
I’m watching 9 News and they just had a story preview that said
“Later tonight: How the unrest in Libya could hurt you at the gas pump.”
The unrest in Libya.
Have they reported on what this “unrest” is? No.
You can’t bother to report on the genocide that’s happening right in front of your eyes, but God forbid gas prices go up.
All we care about is our precious gas prices. And people wonder why we invaded Iraq.
I haven’t sent it out yet, because I want some feedback first. Here’s what I wrote in response to Philip Eaton’s letter about Haven:
Dear President Eaton,
I recently read the letter you sent out to SPU’s colleagues and friends regarding the recent issues surrounding the continual denial of club status to Haven, and the more recent cessation of any cooperation with Haven. In that letter, one of your main points is that you want to be clear, stating that you don’t want to be vague on the whole topic of human sexuality. You said that you don’t want to dodge the specifics in some fog of abstraction.
With that in mind, I have a few questions about your letter: first of all, why is Haven never mentioned by name? It is glaringly obvious to anyone familiar with the current situation that you are directly responding to the recent actions of the administration towards Haven. There are no other “current issues around club status and human sexuality” that I am aware of. And I can’t help but note the irony of stressing the need to “address very clearly and openly the issue of club status” without ever mentioning which club’s status we are addressing.
And it is not only the name of the club around which there is a fog of vagueness in this letter. In the fourth point, you make reference to Paul’s venturing into the “tough part” of his letters, which I can only assume are 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. You specify that these are lists of things that we must put off, that are “harmful for us, destructive to our communities of faith, hurtful to our world.” You repeatedly note the importance of living lives that are flourishing. You allude to the “new way of living” that Wright outlines, the ancient text to which we adhere, the image of God, and the good and beautiful.
I believe that all of these are good, true things. But reading your letter, I am left wondering what it all has to do with the issue at hand. Being very familiar with both sides of the current debate, I can guess what the link you are trying to imply is. But despite your admonitions towards specificity and clarity, you never once specify how homosexuality contradicts or opposes any of the aforementioned principles. Particularly, I see no conflict between these principles and a loving, committed relationship between two people of the same gender, and indeed believe that they are compatible with homosexuality.
Because you bring them up, I assume you do see a conflict, and in the spirit of clarity, openness, and directness, I would ask that you at least mention homosexuality if you believe that it opposes these principles. Because I know that I am not alone in being able to support both the principles you allude to and homosexuality without conflict. Ask the Episcopal church or any of the pastors that bothered to respond to Haven’s invitation to the pastor panel, for instance. You allude to ancient scriptures, as if they can be used to unambiguously condemn homosexuality, but again, never directly state that they do so.
I don’t ask that you agree with me or the Episcopal church about the role of homosexuality within the Christian church. But I do ask that in future statements and correspondence, you adhere to your admonitions of clarity and openness. While it makes many overtures to avoiding vagueness, your letter distinctly avoids mentioning Haven, homosexuality, or directly addressing the “the important, even contested issues of our day.”
Taking only the text of your letter, there is nothing that states or depends on the university’s position in the Statement on Human Sexuality that “sexual experience is intended between a man and a woman.” The ambiguity of language and avoidance of directly addressing these issues does nothing to foster openness, sorting things out, or discovering what is right and good.
SPU Class of 2011
This is the letter that was recently sent out to faculty at SPU, regarding the Haven debacle (which was previously discussed on this blog). This is long, but worth the read to see the ineptitude and unwillingness of the administration to actually engage this issue. If you want to skim, at least check the bottom for links on what you can do to help. Quick summary for those not familiar:
Haven is a group that I’m involved in here at Seattle Pacific University. They formed in response to SoulForce’s Equality Ride visiting campus in 2005, initially as a GSA. We were denied club status as a GSA, so we re-formed as Haven, a group dedicated to open and safe discussion of LGBTQ issues. For the past six years, the administration has vetoed our club approval by our student council and continued to give us the runaround, ignoring most of our efforts to become a club, refusing to communicate with us on anything but a token level, and stringing us along by tentatively giving us rooms, on vague, unspecified conditions, taking them away at their whim.
This last month, they decided they were done working with Haven. As far as they were concerned, we didn’t exist. They stopped giving us rooms. This didn’t go over well - in the student newspaper, many alumni, our local liberal weekly, or our other weekly paper. So recently, President Eaton sent out this response. I’ve bolded the especially…interesting passages, with any comments in parentheses.
Dear SPU colleagues and friends,
It is Saturday morning early as I begin this note (I’m actually in the Bay Area as I finish), my time for reflection and regrouping. I am sorry this is the first moment in a very busy week I’ve had time to collect myself on the current issues around club status and human sexuality and care for our students.
But let me offer here some suggestions and principles that might guide us as we move forward.
1. I assure you I have been reading and listening and reflecting on all of this. I have been talking and listening to faculty and Vice Presidents and trustees. I received some thoughtful and articulate letters from a number of recent alums, to which I am responding. I look forward to the chance to talk further with our students at the appropriate time, as I have done in the past.
My question always comes around to this: How can we model, in all we do, genuine Christian community? Here’s the other question we must ask: How we can help guide our students toward a life that is full and healthy and meaningful, help them discover what is right and good, help them affirm the ancient Christian teaching (like the ones on slavery, tattoos, hair length, and women? We have to be more selective) on all matters of life?
And so I share what follows in the spirit of these aspirations.
2. We need at this moment to address very clearly and openly the issue of club status. (That’d be nice, but I doubt it will happen magically after six years of deliberate runaround. Also, which club are we talking about again?) I have asked Vice President Les Steele and Associate Vice President Jeff Jordan to communicate directly the reasons for their decisions. There is a lot of misinformation floating around, and we need to clear things up about what happened and why.
I have also asked them to outline and communicate specific next steps as they work closely with the students and others to get clarity about where we go from here. I will be involved in that discussion.
Let me also commend Les and Jeff for endless hours of work with our students over years on this matter. Their hearts and minds and efforts are absolutely in the right place. We owe them our thanks.
3. We have some differences on these issues, not only on our campus, but surely within our messy and often divided society. Strong communities are always open to differences and are willing to engage those differences meaningfully and together. We should guard against closed or clogged channels. We should seek to respect each other. We should always seek to focus our attention on our students with love and genuine concern for their well being. We should always be willing to tackle the important, even contested issues of our day. That’s what engaging the culture is all about, and we go about that work without fear or hesitation.
4. Let us think hard in this moment about the Christian view of human flourishing that animates the center of our lives and our university. We want the best for our students. Let us love our students even as we affirm our deepest convictions.
We find ourselves these days always asking this question: Where do we turn for guidance about human flourishing when all stories of what is true and good and beautiful are called into question by our postmodern, post-Christian culture? How do we embrace the Christian story when the truth and goodness of our story is decidedly contested by our culture?
Here is my deepest conviction on these questions: We turn to the Christian Scriptures and to the teaching of the Christian church throughout the centuries. As a Christian university, and as Christian individuals, this is our foundation, our deepest and profound resource, our guide. We focus intensely on our holy text. This is the authoritative source that must guide us as we move forward.
As we turn to these teachings, we begin at the beginning: Everyone is created in the image of God (Except, of course, the gays. They came out wrong). Everyone is formed with human dignity. God loves all of his children.
And then we say, in our brokenness, we lean on the grace of God’s transforming power through Jesus Christ. We become new creatures, even so in transformation, but all of us still on our way.
But then, what happens “after we believe,” as N. T. Wright phrases it? Well, we begin the hard work of “putting on,” in Paul’s familiar words, the “garments that suit God’s chosen and beloved people: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience,” tolerance and forgiveness, and of course “to bind everything and complete the whole, there must be love.” All of this is part of the discipline of our lives as Christians, the discipline that contributes to the formation of communities of grace and love.
But then Paul ventures into what is sometimes the tough part: He tells us we must “put off” some things that are harmful for us, destructive to our communities of faith, hurtful to our world. We don’t like boundaries to our freedom, especially in our time, but our faith tradition calls on us to consider the need for certain boundaries, not just in the area of our sexuality, but in all sorts of areas of human experience.
In the end God wants for all of his children lives that are flourishing, and it is our task, “after we believe,” to seek and model and teach our way toward human flourishing. What the disciples discovered in Jesus, says Wright, was “a way of being human which nobody had ever imagined before. This was a way of generosity and forgiveness, a way of self-emptying and a determination to put everyone else’s needs first… .” It was the way of “humility, charity, patience, and chastity,” something unthinkable as virtues to the ancient Greeks.
We seek this remarkable “way of being human, ” the one we discover in Jesus, the one communicated to us through holy Scriptures, the one we grapple with in the teachings of the Christian church throughout the centuries.
We want this new way for our students and for each of our lives and for our community at SPU.
5. Finally, I don’t want to be vague (you just danced around two of the three main verses on homosexuality!) on the whole topic of human sexuality. We’ve got to continue to sort things out. We don’t want to dodge the specifics in some fog of abstraction. We have a statement on human sexuality we have worked on over many years, seeking to be clear, seeking to be nuanced. We lift up that statement, not as holy text, but as something that can encourage our wrestling with these issues.
This is a time when our culture has made some decisive moves on these things, shifting quite dramatically even over the last five years, and we ask now, as a Christian community, how we might affirm where we stand as Christians as we engage that culture, how we might lovingly communicate the ancient tradition we represent?
My great hope is that we can do all of this with humility and in the spirit of grace and love to which we are called. No one has a corner on compassion and righteousness. We are all in this together. My hope is that we can learn better all the time how to treat our students lovingly even as we affirm some things we believe to be true and good and beautiful (like not being gay).
God bless each one of you. May God bless our students. May God bless our community as we seek to be faithful and obedient to God’s call on this place, for this time, even on these very issues.
Philip W. Eaton, President
Seattle Pacific University
(206) 281 2114
Seattle Pacific University
Engaging the Culture, Changing the World
Okay, this letter is ridiculous. Where to start…how about the fact that he never mentions homosexuality in any form, and mentions “sexuality” four times…once to avoid saying “Haven”, once to refer to the Statement on Human Sexuality, and once in this sentence:
“Finally, I don’t want to be vague on the whole topic of human sexuality.”
The irony would be delicious if it wasn’t so repulsively disturbing. Additionally, he never once mentions Haven by name, resorting to vague phrases like “the issue of club status” and “the current issues around club status and human sexuality”. This letter is because your administration denied a campus group called Haven the ability to reserve rooms on campus. Stop handwaving.
And then there’s his obsession with human flourishing (which he mentioned four times as much as “sexuality”). He never really specifies what that means (this whole letter is one long fog of abstraction), but it’s pretty clear that flourishing involves being straight. He continues to allude to “ancient scripture”, as if it uncontestedly condemns homosexuality, but never specifies or actually states that. He alludes vaguely to 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy (not specifically, of course), but only as lists of harmful things we must put off, and things we don’t like putting of but we should anyway. And instead of taking the obvious and clearly implied next step of “homosexuality is one of these things”, he starts a new section. The one that starts with the previously-mentioned sentence:
”Finally, I don’t want to be vague on the whole topic of human sexuality.”
Again, the irony. It burns. It is painful and maddening and deplorable.
The common theme throughout this letter is that there’s a way to live - humility, human flourishing, not harming others, following ancient scripture, the true, the good, the beautiful - and homosexuality contradicts that. He says we need to leran “how to treat our students lovingly even as we affirm some things we believe to be true and good and beautiful” - which are evidently being straight, and not being gay.
And of course, if you missed the link above, he ends with a “we’re all in this together” admonition. Glorious.
If you want to do something, Sign the change.org petition, write a well-reasoned, well-spoken, non-personal letter or e-mail to Philip Eaton (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Jeff Jordan (email@example.com), or join the alumni effort. I’m drafting my letter now.
I obviously am all for shutting it down and I know that makes me the bad guy but I was talking to a friend earlier today, who I might add is a Lesbian who voted for obama and she said she hopes it gets shut down to. I was completely surprised and I asked why and she said she doesnt think its fair that people can go have sex with whoever they want, get STDs and then go there get some pill and be fine. I didnt think of it that way because I believe a baby is a baby at the time of conception.You are in denial if you dont think so. Everyone is all about pro-choice but those babies didnt get to choose. Horrible. and so sad
Punctuationless stream-of-consciousness rambling aside, your argument is invalid.
Only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services provided are abortions; the remainder are education, contraception, cancer screening, breast and gynecological exams, and treatment for illnesses. With these services, PP prevents approximately 291,000 abortions every year. If you truly cared about “the babies,” you would wholeheartedly support Planned Parenthood’s contribution to reducing the abortion rate.
You don’t think it’s fair that medications exist to treat STDs? That people can just treat illnesses without suffering or death? I think it’s really unfair that people can go to school or work, pick up strep throat, and then just magically cure it with amoxicillin. I mean, it’s totally their fault for going out in public, they should be forced to deal with their infectious consequences! So what if some of them die, these people need to learn!
“Baby” is not a scientific term. It is a layperson’s term for an infant, which is defined as becoming an infant only upon live birth. Zygotes are zygotes at fertilization, infants are infants at birth. No, embryos and fetuses do not get to choose, because their bodies are not being used by another organism without their consent. And even if they were, these organisms are unconscious and unaware of themselves and their surroundings.
As a side note: “lesbian” is not a proper noun, and why is your friend’s sexual orientation and voting record relevant? You can still be an anti-choice, anti-women asshole even if you have LGBT friends, are LGBT, or voted Democrat.
Not everyone that gets pregnant or gets an STD is sleeping around irresponsibly. It only takes one time. Even if they are sleeping around, who are you to say that they do not deserve medical care? If you really cared about life you wouldn’t want people to get infected with diseases and suffer and eventually die. Why do real live people matter less than potential life? All of those people were fetuses once too.
There is a very simplistic view of Planned Parenthood that makes them easy to demonize: ABORTION FACTORY.
I used Planned Parenthood as my primary (and often only) health care provider for 11 years. When I worked at a job that kept my hours to 39.5 in order to not provide me with health insurance, Planned Parenthood worked a sliding-scale payment with me so I could do things like get my annual PAP smear and checkup, and Planned Parenthood was who I went to to learn how to do self-examination for breast cancer (which my grandmother suffered from twice, resulting in two complete mastectomies). When my husband and I were too poor to afford to have a baby at the time, the safest, cheapest, and most effective BC method for me was an IUD, which PP gave to me without insinuating that it would be a bad idea because my feeble lady-brain might decide to want to get pregnant right that day and what if I couldn’t do it because I had an IUD? (That’s the actual line a friend’s gyno used to refuse her request for an IUD— she might want to get pregnant right away and an IUD would prohibit that.) Before I got my IUD, Planned Parenthood worked with me to find a BC pill that would help regulate my periods from FIVE DAYS OF DEATH to five days of “If I take an Aleve and a heating pad to bed, I won’t feel like I’m dying.” When my husband didn’t have insurance, he used PP to answer health questions. And when we reached an emotional and financial state where we felt we could support a child, Planned Parenthood prescribed me pre-natal vitamins and taught me how to chart my menstrual cycle and BBT to identify the best time to get pregnant. I am currently five months pregnant with my first child— a wanted child. And Planned Parenthood lived up to their name, helping me to plan and take charge of my fertility so that I became a parent.
This. This is why the GOP’s war on PP is dangerous and myopic.