I don't normally do this, but...
...I am going to put a plug in for a post I just put as my "Worth Your Time" link on my sidebar.
First, I must thank my pal, A. Lo for making me take a look into something that I had previously let my interest pass on by. I recall noticing SOMETHING SOMEWHERE about this "Soulforce Equality Ride" business on an ACU related site, whether that was the Optimist website, or it was a student or alumus' blog-site. Whichever it was, I remember just blowing by it without reading about it and what it was about. But as I am spending this Friday night enjoying some time to myself doing things that I enjoy, such as surfing blogs, I came across A.Lo's blog.
Now, as you'll see, should you visit the "Worth Your Time" read, you'll see that A.Lo's post is basically just a post asking for thoughts on a topic. Though I give her the credit for this blog worth reading, her blog really isn't what you need to read, it is the link IN her blog that sends you to another site (which I will not put here, because you need to go through her site to get it! Look at that marketing for A.Lo's blog...HA HA!) ;)
What that link will take you to is another blog which is a blog of, what I'm guessing to be, an ACU student. About the author doesn't matter though, the important part is the blog entry that is linked from A.Lo's site. This blog really got me interested...
...and I mean REALLY interested! My thoughts were going crazy! I wanted more. I wanted to know what more people thought. I wanted to be on campus when the chapel annoucement was made by Dr. Money. I wanted to hear the crowd reactions myself.
Reading that blog entry and then the comments on it thus far really got me excited and thinking!
And then, as I longed for more information, I quickly took advantage of BOTH the links the author had supplied in his own comment section to two more blog posts about this same topic. Both of these blogs had a LOT more comments...
....I WAS GETTING WHAT I WANTED!!! More thoughts and opinions on the matter! You could see the excitement whirling up within me!
[Do not proceed beyond this point of the post until you have read about what the "Soulforce Equality Ride" situation is that is coming to ACU in late March by going to the A.Lo post and/or both of the other "blog posts" links.]
I don't normally do this, but...
...I am going to give some of my thoughts on what I've read and come to understand about this ACU situation BEFORE I get my reader's thoughts on the matter.
[I say "I don't normally do this," because though some of you are probably thinking, "whatever, you always share your opinions on your blog and then ask for comments and thoughts on the matter," but that is not ALWAYS the case. Matter of fact, especially recently, if I feel a certain way about something and i'm pretty sure the opinions of my readers might be mixed, or I don't think they will know where I will stand on the matter, I try to lead a non-biased blog and then ask for y'alls thoughts BEFORE I share what I think on the matter. Plus, I believe often times, people can be easily swayed in their opinions on some matters, so I try to hold back my own thoughts in hopes of getting more un-influenced comments.]
As I read over the linked blogs, I couldn't help but go through a mix of thoughts. First, when Dr. Money mentioned the part about having the "visitors" removed from campus and arrested, and the student's clapped and cheered, I'll be honest and say, I could have almost BET you money, I would have been among that group clapping, AS WELL AS LAUGHING. I think the key point there is I would have been laughing with my clapping. Let me explain...
In ACU chapel, when someone says something that gets people worked up and excited (whether excited in a "happy" manner or in an "aggrevated" manner), a commotion will normally break out. That's just how a chapel setting with that many college students is going to be. And what does that bring to someone like me? Laughter and applause out of the humor I find in it. TOTALLY not related to what was said by any speaker.
Second, in reference to this situation (what Dr. Money said and how the crowd reacted), I would be willing to say that a majority of the cheers and claps were for the thought of seeing people arrested and escorted off the campus by police. I honestly do not think the majority of those who cheered in chapel were cheering for the idea that "ACU shouldn't put up with gay and lesbian endorsers on their campus, so we should have them removed because we do NOT tolerate that type of endorsement." I honestly think a majority of those students just cheered for the excitement factor of getting to have people arrested and escorted off of campus. Let's face it, that type of situation is NOT an everyday occurrence at ACU. I would be lying if I said I wouldn't get a kick out of seeing people arrested and removed from campus...HA! Suckers! ;)
Don't get me wrong. There were for sure some genuine cheers and claps in that situation, I'm sure. ["Genuine cheers and claps" meaning cheers and claps that were meant as agreeance with the speakers statement, in that they stand behind the purpose and true meaning of the statement.] I'm sure there are a good number of students at ACU that would like to have nothing to do with someone trying to stand up for gay and lesbian rights, nor would they be willing to give those "types" of people a minute of their own time to listen to their opinions. But...
...as Dr. Money made clear in his next point, those people will just have to stay inside on March 27th, because ACU IS going to welcome the Soulforce Equality Riders to come to campus without the lurking police ready to escort them off.
On to more of my thoughts on this "situation"...
My first obvious thoughts were related to what I think about homosexuality and ACU's policies and what I think about all that...but those thoughts honestly didn't last very long, because, while this might sound really weird, I did not see that as the big point of this "situation." Let's face it, I HIGHLY doubt this "Ride" coming through campus is going to change ANY policies at ACU, so with that being the case, why even really discuss my thoughts on the matter. And please do not take that comment to mean I lean one way or another on that topic. I am totally pleading the 5th on that topic for this blog entry. Catch me another time if you're interested! ;)
What I do find SOO interesting, and what became my next thoughts on this situation, was the whole idea people STANDING UP Ffor what they believe, AS WELL AS, and JUST AS IMPORTANT, people WILLINGLY being OPEN to listening to others who are sharing an opinion that they most likely will disagree with!
I don't normally do this, but...
...PRAISE GOD! HA! ;) (in reference to a Christian University, as well as a blog audience that is HEAVILY populated with Christians, I use that phrase as a way to get my point across!)
Those are two things I really admire...
People standing up for what they believe in a RESPECTFUL and MATURE manner. And people being open-minded and willing to listen to an opinon that very well might turn out to be an opinion they disagree with.
What is the hurt, or what lose is it to you, if someone shares an opinion with you, that you don't agree with? Nothing. If you haven't changed your mind, that's fine. It didn't HURT you to listen. If anything, it gained respect for you from the one you listened to because you were willing to be open to them to at least hear them out.
And then to the Soulforce Riders, I don't say "this will be a wasteful trip," since I already stated that I HIGHLY doubt any policies will be rewritten, but I DO say this: I applaud your willingness to, first of all, make this "ride" across the country, but even more than that, I applaud your courage and passion to "look the enemy in the eye," so to speak. The Riders are definitely going to hit some places thoughout this "free" country of ours that will DEFINITELY "hate" them for what they are doing, as well as totally disagree with EVERYTHING they might have to say. With that being the case, I wish them the best in their journey and say, I applaud them standing up for what they believe.
Finally, as I read these blogs about this "situation" I couldn't help but get interested, and THEN, totally excited! Honestly, for some phyisological reason, my heartbeat increased the more I read about this stuff and people's opinions. I'll go with adreneline on this one! ;)
My excitement started as, "I can't wait to read about how this all turns out," via the Optimist and blogs of course. Then it turned too, "I'm marking this on my calendar!" and me thinking, I honestly think I might consider going out to Abilene for this, and try to keep a low profile and just watch as this all goes on. Then it turned too...
I don't normally do this, but...
...I want to protest! HA! Honestly, I'm not one really for "protesting" anything. I'm just too laidback and "I don't care" kind of attitude, but something in me was like, "I am SO for this...the standing up for what you believe and people being open to listening" that I wanted to go out and "protest" my support for BOTH of these things!
Here is what I was envisioning...
I honestly am thinking how much I want to take like white t-shirts and write on them in Sharpies, (yes, make them look like that, then they WILL be read and less likely to be overlooked) and like be, in the background, at places where these "riders" are "working." Wherever they happen to be getting to talk, and ACUers have chosen to listen.
The important point there is "be in the background" because I want to make sure people are aware that I am not protesting WITH the Riders but BECAUSE of the Riders.
Be sure to note that my actual "protest" would be FOR people standing up for what they believe AND people being wiling to listen to people and be open about topics, whether they disagree or not. I would be "protesting" AGAINST close-mindedness.
ONCE AGAIN--NOTE: I would in NO WAY be protesting for or against homosexuality. Remember, I said, I do not see that as the biggest point in this "situation."
P.S...I've had some thoughts cross my mind as to what I'd actually write on the white t-shirt, but I'm still working on that part, so I am not going to post that part at this point.
I realize I've put a LOT before my readers in this one blog (take potty breaks, as well as time outs to think about some of the points, whenever needed...HA!), but I want to end with one comment I found VERY interesting that was on one of the sites (you might have read it already). The author of this comment stated this question "I have to wonder if ACU would be as ‘welcoming’ of the protesters if they were to show up on lectureship weekend instead of a benign day in March? "
Now THAT is a question that sadly, we will never know the answer too, I guess. But you can't help but think about it and wonder. Honestly...
...I think I'm going to end this post by doing what I NORMALLY do and leave this "question" for your thoughts and opinions BEFORE I tell what I think. ;)
Do YOU think had it been the "lectureship weekend" when our "visitors" had decided to "ride" through things would have been any different or the same? Do you think Dr. Money's comments would have been the same? Do you think the "openness" of campus would have been any different?