Have You Heard the One About…Standing Too Close?

I just wanted to write and tell you of an incident that just happened a couple of weeks ago. One of the guys that lives next door to me, was written up and socialed [restricted from communicating in any way with someone of the opposite sex – eds.] for standing too close to his girlfriend in the lunch line. Not touching but standing too close. He went to DC and after pleading his case, the man told him that he would have to go see the assistant dean of men, because he could not do anything about it. So after going to see —, Mr. — told him that he would try and find the person that wrote him up and talk to him about it. But he was still socialed until he could talk to this person that wrote him up. The next day my friend called Mr. — to see the verdict and he had not talked to him, and he said he would call him back. He never did. My friend kept calling Mr. — never getting a returned phone call.

Finally about 3 or 4 days later, he got to see Mr. — and he said that he had prayed about it and even asked his wife and that he was going to unsocial him. But wait there’s more. Not 2 days later, my friend was scanning in at the desk, and Mr. — was sitting there, he saw some writing on my friend’s hand which said, “I Love You”, he preceded to ask who had written it on his hand, and my friend replied “my girlfriend,” he then asked, “What is her name, I am going to have to write you up for a social infraction.”

“I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange?” – Shakespeare

Ears For The Mind

When I was first applying to attend PCC, I asked a friend and current student about the rules concerning music. They basically limit you to a very conservative selection of Christian and classical music, he told me. I believed that they wanted to “err on the side of caution” and thought they simply set the standard so tight to avoid any controversy. My friend explained that they truly believed that music outside of their standards was, in fact, ungodly. I thought this was quite odd, and as I was soon to learn, they only created controversy by picking and choosing measure by measure through songs to decide whether they “passed.”

We’ve received a few comments from readers noting that the school draws a vague distinction between which of their rules are actual sins and which are simply their “way” at PCC. From the vehement chapel messages I would gather they feel quite strongly that their music standards should be the universal standard within Christendom. It is here which I have a bit of difficulty. Their broad denuciation of “Contemporary Christian Music” (CCM: a regrettable label, but adequate for this discussion) as well as modern Twentieth Century styles, such as blues and jazz, is simply too much to biblicaly justify. Would they have us believe that absolutely everyone involved in CCM is out of God’s will? I know of no single case of a musician, singer or producer leaving modern Christian music because God had laid that on their heart or because they felt guilt (which the Holy Spirit promises to bring to convict us of wrong). It seems quite improbable that the witnesses of thousands of honest believers is invalid (which the PCC standard would require). In fact, the only guilt I know of from listening to CCM is that which is heaped on you by people with the mind-set of PCC.

To that I say there is great danger in forcing your personal convictions on others. It is also ludicrous to go through a song measure by measure and suggest that when the drum-beat kicks in the artist has evidently become a servant of Satan, which is effectively the argument of PCC. There is the perception that because the music style is new, that is to say, less than 100 years old, it is almost by default bad. This has absolutely nothing to do with the Bible and more to do with the tastes of the people making the rules. I would venture to say that among the administration, every music style they enjoy passes and every style they dislike does not pass. The music performed at PCC seems at times to be strictly for the personal enjoyment of the older generations, but more on that later.

A great contention of PCC is that music is not neutral. Granted, but I think the mistake is made by then presuming it is therefore good or evil. Not so. You could no more draw that distinction with a gun. The object has power, but it is how it is used and the user which determine morality. Music of all styles induces EMOTION, but that should not to be confused with morality. Before I go on, let me first clarify that I am not discussing lyrics. Obviously, lyrics can be godly, ungodly or neutral (e.g.”Take me out to the ballgame”). I make no argument that Christians must be aware of what they put into their minds, but that certainly wouldn’t exclude CCM or instrumental jazz.

To return to the point, a song written in a minor key may suggest sadness or even pain, but that is simply using the music to communicate. Negative emotions don’t instantly invalidate a song. A song may depress you or get you “up,” but that is no different than an illustration used by Pastor Shettler every time he speaks. Music is communicating and trying to stir a reaction. Of course, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be manipulated by it any more than we should blindly follow a speaker. Now, what about “upbeat” music, the type which PCC quickly disqualifies from our lives? I am no music scholar, but I believe a contention of “conservatives” is that older “passable” styles are melody driven while newer styles have a more prominent rhythm. This may mean it is poorer music (although not necessarily), but it hardly makes it sinful. God created rhythm just as surely as melody, and since He proscribed no songwriting rules, we are simply using the different things He gave us. A driving beat or repetitive rhythm is no more or less ordained than an organ solo. I will say this, though – our ASSOCIATIONS with a style of music may be ungodly, based upon what we’ve experienced or seen. It may very well be that because of your past you need to avoid certain styles of music, regardless of lyrics, to keep your mind clean; but the mistake is made when you force your own weakness on a brother. Let me also add that the volume and the rate of music is completely subjective and certainly is not a sin issue.

I am reminded of the story, which most of you have probably heard, concerning the missionary kids who were playing Christian rock in the jungle, and the redeemed native commented to the father about how it was the same style they used to call up demons. Well, this may or may not be true (it IS doubtful), but it only illustrates the principle of the weaker brother. The kids were hardly in danger of accidentally conjuring up some demon. As with any tool, it must be used wisely and appropriately.

Another common perception is that “rock” or “blues” styles are worldy, and thus unclean for any Christian. Unfortunately, this is a mind set that has caused the Christians of today to be artistically mediocre and culturally irrelevant. Simply because a style of music was not originated by Christians does not eliminate it from being a tool we can use. We can’t shrink back from the creativity of the world. We should be the ones leading in the arts for we are children of the Creator Of All. We think that because the world does
something they have “claimed” it. Not so. What if homosexuals became known for painting nature scenes? Could Christians then not? Or if Atheists all wore yellow? Throw out that color! That’s ludicrous!
All music needs to be captured for Christ’s use and we are negligent to ignore any of it.

From a solely educational standpoint, for PCC to offer any sort of general music degree, it would be negligent to not insist on teaching about the blues and jazz styles. They have made of profound impact on music and they explore areas untouched by classical music. That a student should be restricted from learning about and listening to these forms in ANY liberal arts degree suggests a deficiency in our overall education.

“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:3

I would also like to comment on the oft abused “new song” phrase used throughout the Psalms. Supposedly this suggest that as a Christian we should have separate music from the world, thus the hymns and ensemble music (of which the world certainly wants no part!). I propose that this complete butchery of these verses is a poignant example of wanting so bad to find a scripture to fit your beliefs that you are willing to ignore anything you know about common sense and hermeneutics. What I would assume to be a clear
meaning of the “new song” phrase is the condition of our heart. God gives us a “new song” spiritually, or a renewal, and as suggested by David, it happens more than once, and in this case well after he was “saved.” It should be an evidence to unbelievers that we are a different person. It has nothing to do with what style of music to listen to. Even to take this idea literally would suggest that the Lord would be constantly giving us new music to sing to worship Him, which would contradict the fact that PCC revels in music that was written before any of us were born. The Lord should be inspiring creativity and “new songs” as we explore music and our desire to worship Him.

Other references to “new song” in Psalms: 33:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1.

I would also like to mention what can only be considered my personal opinion – the music at PCC is completely lame. The idea that because something is old or a hymn we should sing it is ridiculous. As with any style of music, there are far more bad hymns than good ones, and unfortunately when that’s all you sing, it’s inevitable that you get your fair share of dogs. Don’t get me wrong; hymns are fine – but not all the time. Second, the ensemble music is at best trite and immature. The little tic-toc or “animals
on the ark” songs seem designed for the under 10 crowd. And while I am no song writing expert, it seems like poor writing when a listener can continually guess the next line because it is assuredly another Christian cliche which rhymes with the last. The tunes are in no way original and seem to be the first thing the writer plunked out on the old country piano. Good “specials” are usually just contemporary Christian songs instrumentally watered down. Is this the “new song”?

And that opera voice the women sing with? Come on. It may be classical or “proper” but it is intelligible and at times painful. A women’s NATURAL voice sounds so nice – why not use it. Unfortunately, PCC has backed themselves into such a corner by their misguided standards that they have effectively eliminated so much good Christian music (and secular music, as well). Their students (and themselves) miss out on so much of what God is doing today.

In closing, I would like to be clear on one thing. While attending PCC, you have given your word to obey their rules, and I am in no way suggesting that it is okay for you to disobey their music standards. I think very strongly that their music standards are WRONG, but, as it is not sin to obey, you must. This essay was written to hopefully show the wrong thinking in the PCC policy and to assist in positive change. It may also (by God’s grace) free many of you from the irrational burden placed on you by the PCC
“morality standard” when you are free to choose what you listen to, although let me reiterate that the “weaker brother” principle is not an insult, and all of us should be wary of what we put into our minds.

UnderTheMercy,

lupos

Have You Heard The One About…Demerit Records?

This is a story that was sent to us by a current student. – eds.

A little more that halfway into my sophomore year I went over 75 demerits for the first time in my college career. And in DC, for this “special event” (being campused for the first time), the person (no longer here) who read my offenses to me, showed me where to sign and then asked me, “What’s your major?”

I just stared at him, trying to see what relevance his question had to my being campused.

“I said, what’s your major?”

Still trying to understand, I answered him with a quizzical tone of voice, “Commercial Writing?”

To which he replied, “I wouldn’t hire you.”

I was even more confused.

“Sir?”

“If I were a newspaper editor and you came to me for a job, and I saw how many demerits you had in college, I wouldn’t hire you.”

That hurt.

“I wouldn’t hire someone who got as many demerits as you have right now.”

Then he dismissed me, and for the remainder of my sophomore year, what he said to me that day nearly gave me ulcers. And during the entire time, I never told anyone what he had said to me, and several times I almost decided to drop out of school because of it. The only thing I could think of was, “Why should I even bother going to college when I’ll never be able to get a
job after I graduate because of my demerit record?”

Several months later, during the summer, I set out to find out if there was any truth to what I was told in DC that day.

I was able to speak to 3 people in the publishing industry — one of which was the chief editor of a local newspaper. I asked each of them what they took into consideration when hiring new employees. I learned a great deal as a result of those interviews, but the best response I got from them was when I asked them what they thought about a “demerit record.” All 3 of them laughed out-loud, one nearly spewing his coffee. They said that demerit records, to them, were a “joke” and that it was no business of theirs to probe into a student’s personal life unless it was a
criminal offense (considered so by a court of law) they committed in college. They went on to say that they didn’t think that college institutions had any right to use demerits as a legitimate form of disciplinary action. Suspension or paying a fee, they agreed, was legitimate punishment — if the offense was truly worthy of such action. But they all felt that a demerit system, for college students, was ludicrously unnecessary.

The best response by far was from the newspaper editor who told me that if he saw a lot of demerits on my record, he would take that to mean that I was a “risk-taker,” and in the newspaper business, he said, “risk-takers are the best d**n employees I can ever hope to hire.” So was this particular staff member “just” in placing an entirely unnecessary burden of guilt on my shoulders for me to bear alone for over 6 months? I think not. And it certainly wasn’t something Christ would’ve done either. My grades even suffered drastically as a result. And I neglected to mention that he added “insult to injury” by asking me for my car keys. WHAT RIGHT DID THEY HAVE TO TAKE AWAY THE KEYS TO MY CAR? In most states, even ALCOHOLICS aren’t forced to give up their right to
drive until the 2nd or 3rd offense!

So I called the only TRUE parental authority in my life at that time — my dad — and informed him of the situation. Like most parents, he, of course, became angry because he owned the car and the college had no rights over his private property. So he called the Deans’ Offices to complain, and like most parents, he was put on hold or advised to call back later when the Deans would be “more readily available.” And in the midst of all the hoopla, I guess they forgot to ask me again to turn in my keys, so I carried them ’round with me proudly until the day my
“sentence” had ended.

Still, there are employers I have later come across who do consider your demerit record, even for “piddly things,” to be reason enough not to hire you. But I do agree with your position on the matter — an adult should not have to explain to a prospective employer why they got demerits for wearing “the wrong shoes,” or for the vile offense of leaving a hat hanging on a bedpost, of all things. But I don’t want anyone else to have to go through the personal agony I experienced as a result of how I was belittled in DC that day. Should it happen to you, “shake the dust off your feet” and go on living in the state of Grace. You’re God’s Child, and He won’t allow you to suffer later in life just because you may have had a lot of demerits in college.

“He will not see the righteous suffer, nor His seed begging bread.”

Some Words From A Deacon

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“Conditions on some campuses call to mind the tombstone in a rural English churchyard, which contains the simple six-word epitaph: ‘I told you I was sick.’ ”
– George F. Will

“Only the suppressed word is dangerous.”
– Ludwig Borne

“Many occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”
– Winston Churchill

“Don’t be a dropout in the school of wisdom.”
– Charles Stanley

I have not even finished reading your material yet and I am so enthused that you are doing what needed to be done for a long, long time. I have an interesting PCC story to share:

In the Fall of 19** my wife (then Fiance) and I were preparing to get married over interterm. We needed “permission” from the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Goddard to remain students after getting married. The rule at the time (since changed I believe) was that you must have completed your junior year and be over 21. I fit the requirements but my wife did not (she was a few credits short of becoming a junior). Dr. Goddard proceeded to tell us that we were out of God’s will because God had led Dr. Horton to put that rule in the rule book. He further pronounced that if we went ahead my wife (fiance) would get pregnant and NEVER finish college. I let him go on and did not argue with him, since apparently we were at his mercy with LOTS of time and money invested in credits that would not transfer anywhere else. I asked if my wife could take classes at PJC and transfer them in thus becoming a junior and fulfilling the requirements to finish. He said he would check with (I believe) academic council and let me know. I did not recieve the note I was expecting, instead I recieved a call slip to his office. He proceeded to give me yet another lecture on the fact that we were proceeding out of God’s will because God had led Dr. Horton to put the rule in the rulebook, yada, yada, yada. I had finally had enough and explained to him that since my wife and I had both prayed about it and felt led of God to get married, and both sets of parents felt the same way, the preponderance of the evidence would lead me to believe that it was in fact Dr. Horton that was out of God’s will if there was a conflict. He then (with hands visibly shaking and trembling voice) asked me to leave his office. We both finished college at PCC as married town students, I got an MBA. My wife worked as an Elementary Teacher for several years and did not get pregnant as Dr. Goddard threatened. (He also seemed to imply that his daughter, whose name escapes me, was not planned so maybe HE was out of God’s will at the time (his logic not mine)).

Our continuing problem with PCC is that they will not cooperate with returning a form my wife needs to get state certified to teach where we currently live. They (PCC) merely state that they never intended for a graduate to become a public school teacher (even though I explained it was to facilitate home schooling in the future, not public school employment). We are not thwarted however, she will teach one more year here and get the form filled out by her current employer. I would not recommend anyone attend PCC if they may need an accredited degree or certification in whatever field in the future. That is why I got an MBA before we moved from Pensacola (which they would not run in the alumni news section of the UPDATE, apparently only PCC staff members can have external degrees publicized).

Thank you for providing the forum for this free and open discussion to take place. To refute your critics that your readers are just disgruntled backsliders, let me point out that my wife and I both graduated from PCC and I am currently a deacon in a local New Testament Baptist church, sing in the choir, my wife teaches Sunday School, etc. ad nauseum.

Well, we try to make it clear that many of our supporters are not “disgruntled backsliders,” but are in fact good Christians who simply want to see the Cause of Christ be more than a nice campus with strict rules, but unfortunately, this seems to be a difficult position to convince many people of.

Without getting into too much detail right now, consider what we have said about authority [Issue 1, No. 1], and think about whether a college has the authority to tell someone when they can and can’t get married, or perhaps more accurately, that a person is unfit to attend college because they have decided to get married. – eds.

“Behold”

It has been a consistent sentiment that the purveyors of The Student Voice hate the school and are bitter. While I resist this, it brings up a interesting point. First of all let me say that I don’t believe I am bitter, but maybe the heart is deceitful. Also, it would seem to me to be an odd thing to “hate” the college you graduated from, so obviously this must be an extreme situation. More to the point, though, is this “bitterness” question.

I would loosely define bitterness under Christian terms as “unforgiveness based upon a real or perceived wrong done to you; a grudge which Christ does not allow you to hold.” This definition could probably be improved upon, but I assume there will be general agreement that it is something like that. To suggest that we are bitter would suggest that we have been (in our mind) wronged. For that to be the immediate reaction of so many “pro” PCC-policy respondants, would suggest that it is NOT uncommon for students to be wronged, or again, for fairness sake, PERCEIVE they are wronged. I would like to illustrate this with anecdotes from one student’s experience at PCC. The student was not looking for trouble, but it just seemed to be looking for him.

Wishing to play tennis with a girl, the student received the proper instructions from the dean’s office on how to go about it: it must be day, there must be at least three people and two of them must be girls. The student met two girls at the courts and played for a while. Upon leaving, the girls went a separate way back to their dorms. As the student walked back to his dorm a security guard asked him his name. The student naively thought he was being (overly) friendly and gave it, then asked his. The guard asked if he had just been playing tennis, which alerted the student that the pretense was only to get his true name (evidentally the guard suspected the student might lie). A teacher had called in from the AC building that the student was playing alone with a girl. The student explained there were two girls so he was made to sit there for five minutes while the guard biked around to find the other two, which he eventually did. He returned and allowed the student to go.

Points: why should a professor in college waste his time spying on students in plain sight and then bother to find a phone to call it in. Why wasn’t the word of the student sufficient to appease the guard?

The student received a “Phil Keaggy” instrumental tape in the mail, which he open outside the commons on the wall. He showed this tape to a friend next to him and talked about it “out loud.” A chaperone came over and told the student that he didn’t think Phil Keaggy “passed.” The student informed him that he was quite sure this particular tape did. Two days later the student’s floorleader came to his room, having been informed by the chaperone he had a tape that didn’t pass. The student indignantly took the tape to the dorm supervisor, who agreed it did, in fact, pass, as the student had plainly said all along.

Walking from chapel to the AC building, the student called to a friend ahead of him in a “cartoony” voice. The friend looked back and quickly kept walking. The student thought this was odd, but called out again “that’s right, keep walking” in a playful way. He was then whistled at (like a dog) by someone behind him. He turned to see a stern Dr. Goddard marching toward him. The Dr. got in his face and asked, “what do you think you are doing?” A little intimidated, the student replied, “just goofing around.” Dr. Goddard then chastised him for the “witness” he was being in front of the elevator repair men. The student said “I just wasn’t thinking” to deflate the situation and Dr. Goddard nodded and let him go. Apparently it is a “bad” witness to have fun with friends, but a “good” witness to be needlessly harangued by authority for harmless fun.

The student was sitting with friends at a picnic table by Brent field. Girls were sitting at a table some 50 yards away. A security guard came and informed the men that the area was unchaperoned and they must leave. The student replied that he was pretty sure the student handbook says that during daylight hours anyone can use the tables as long as the individual tables are segregated. The guard leaves, presumably to check this rule, and returns about 15 minutes later. He takes the name and ID of all the men and insisted they leave. Upon checking the handbook, it said exactly what the student remembered and that they were doing nothing wrong. No response was ever made by the school.

While it was raining one evening, the student stood on the brick wall outside the commons with a friend. A security guard approached the student and ordered him to go inside. Not clearly hearing him, the student asked him if he was telling him he couldn’t stand on the wall. The guard said again, “go inside.” Wanting clarification, the student asked if the guard was telling him he was not allowed to be out in the rain. The guard responded, “do you want to get written up first?” Bowing to this obvious abuse of authority, the student complied.

The student was informed by his floorleader that he had a tape that didn’t pass which was seen by the room-check floorleader that morning. Apparently, the “Batman” movie soundtrack completely instrumental) does not pass, because of the “association.” That, however, was beside the point. The tape was in a stack on a box behind the students bed at the far end of the room. It was not “hidden” but for the floorleader to see this, he had to be not just checking to see that all students were gone, but searching around the nooks and crannies of another student’s room with the only purpose to find things to get him in trouble. What kind of way is this to treat one another?

Finally, one Saturday afternoon, the student and a friend went out on the grass to shoot a “water-rocket” toy. Having done this a few times, a security guard came, took their names and told them to stop. When asked if this was against the rules, the guard had no response. Again, no disciplinary action was taken against the students? If it wasn’t an offense, why did they have to stop?

I write all this to illustrate what goes on in the life of a student on a DAILY basis, while he is simply trying to live his life. He wasn’t breaking rules, yet still he was completely hassled constantly for NO REASON. If you say “yeah, but he never got demerits for those things, so its okay,” you are wrong. It is not okay. There’s the needless inconvenience, the frustration, the “burden” of constantly being watched, and the possibility (God forbid) that a student might acually think this is what Christianity is like. PCC policy self-righteously acts with complete autonomy. Never was the student apologized to for the waste of his time or the hassle. He was never told, “oh wait, you can go to the picnic tables, our rules say so right here.”

So maybe a student has a reason to be bitter. Well, I don’t know if I am, but I do know this: I am hurt.

Hurt by the treatment we receive from the school and the treatment in encourages in their students.

Hurt that the school treats its visitors much better than it treats the people who pay to be there.

Hurt that each time I took a test the school questioned me on whether I was really an honest person.

Hurt that they turned my graduation into a commercial for how great PCC is by having grads stop and praise the school. Couldn’t we just have one day?

Hurt that in a place of Christians I was treated worse than I have ever been by the world.

And so it goes. Do I expect an apology? No. Is how I deal with this my responsibility? Yes. Am I trying to get back at the school? No. If this was all in the past, it would be just that, and we would all move on. But the fact is this treatment, tantamount to abuse, is still going on. It is not isolated and it is not just.

UnderTheMercy.
lupos