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Prisoners: Hinting at Grace

I’ve never been a huge movie guy. I enjoy them like everyone else but I wouldn’t consider myself a serious critic. Mostly, I see action films, with a real soft spot for Sci-Fi, and kids …

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The Danger of Duck Dynasty

I haven’t said much about the Duck Dynasty trend that has swept through America over the last couple of years. I know many good Christians who enjoy the show and are attracted to the principled …

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Aguillard in his own words: Will the real Joe Aguillard please stand-up, please stand-up, please stand-up?

Hankins told a Board member that Aguillard would “remain President unless he was found in bed with a live boy or a dead girl.”

There are few characters in Louisiana Baptist life that are as controversial as Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard. For some, he is the near messianic figure that led the redemption of Louisiana College from liberal heresy to conservative orthodoxy. That narrative began to fall into question, beginning in 2011 and gaining steam until 2013, when theological conservatives began to question Aguillard’s leadership. I was the first of the “New LC” crowd to do so in 2011 with my Open Letter to Louisiana Baptists. But in late 2012, a board member called for Aguillard’s resignation and two Vice Presidents filed whistle-blower complaints against Aguillard on ethical grounds. The Board then hired a law firm to investigate the allegations. The firm found that Aguillard had behaved unethically and that there was ample ground to fire him.

President Joe Aguillard
President Joe Aguillard

There is no freedom of speech here. I didn’t make that up. That’s the law. When a student says, “I have freedom of speech…” We have three attorneys who will laugh them into the ground because there is no such thing here.

Despite all this, the Board, unofficially led by Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director David Hankins, chose to close ranks behind Aguillard publicly proclaiming that Aguillard was a good and Godly leader. Though privately, Hankins told a Board member that Aguillard would “remain President unless he was found in bed with a live boy or a dead girl.” To invoke the words of corrupt former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, who had only recently been released from prison and was still on probation, was not a ringing endorsement of Aguillard’s ethics. Further, it illustrated that for Hankins small issues like dishonesty and misappropriating college funds were not a major concern. Indeed, even the fact that Aguillard’s behavior had cost the college their largest donor in history was not enough to make Hankins withdraw his support for Aguillard.

Why is Hankins so supportive of the embattled President? To be honest, I can’t figure it out. This is a President that is so manipulative and controlling that when he became President he asked the IT Department about being able to listen in on employee phone conversations, which they refused to facilitate without a warrant. The one thing that is clear is that Hankins has chosen to support Aguillard at almost all costs.

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Same Sex Attraction and the Aching Heart of Christ

The issue of the relationship, or lack thereof, between homosexuality and the church, especially the evangelical church, is a hot topic these days. In some ways, I am a really bad blogger. I tend to either not write about a hot topic (notice the lack of a Duck Dynasty post) or I tend to post on the subject late (my Treyvon Martin post was intentionally a week or two after it was ‘cool’ to post on the verdict). I do this, in part, because I live in my own head too much and, in part, because I don’t want to be chasing the trendy subject. But sometimes, the trendy topics are also really important topics.

James loves God and...
James loves God and…

If you work in Christian Higher Education you are going to butt up against this issue. If you are involved in the arts you are likely to have friends who are gay. If you attend an ecumenical theological union for your PhD you are also going to have friends who are gay. All this makes the tension between faith and sexuality a live issue. It is not a distant issue like it once was for me. When I have lunch with my friend who is the Managing Director for the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry he is not some abstract political or religious argument, he is my kind, gentle, loving friend who is sitting across the table from me engaging in good conversation.

A saying I have grown fond of is, “We hate the sins we don’t commit.” There are certain sins that the evangelical community has really latched onto as unacceptable. Right now those are homosexuality and abortion. 

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Art Is Not Frivolous

I have an art show installing this week at  Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California and I sent them my standard professional bio. But, the show is at a church and their interest is not …

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Baptist College Bans Nudity in Art Instruction: Louisiana College’s President, Joe Aguillard…Nudity is a No No

"Unacceptable" at Louisiana College
“Unacceptable” at Louisiana College. David by Michelangelo, 1501-04

Louisiana Colleges president promptly responded to my letter sent to his faculty this morning. I believe his response is very telling in both what he addresses and what he does not. (See his full response at the end of this post)

First what  he doesn’t address:

Dr. Aguillard fails to address his blatant violation of copyright law in his reproducing and showing an image which he does not have permission to reproduce or show. He illegally confiscated the painting from the student who painted it in 2011. When the student and her mother attempted to get the painting back, he refused to return the painting until he could have the painting photographed by his lawyer for ‘legal purposes’. Apparently, those legal purposes include disparaging former faculty in faculty meetings.

(ETA: I’ve been informed that Dr. Aguillard is taking this illegal full size reproduction to show to preachers around the state. He does not have authorization from the copyright holder to do this. Unfortunately, the only recourse against this behavior is a restraining order and Dr. Aguillard has shown a willingness to throw the budget of Louisiana College behind his legal defense. A poor young college graduate does not have the financial resources to fight such illegal and unethical behavior on the part of a college president.)

 "Unacceptable" at Louisiana College
“Unacceptable” at Louisiana College. Discobolous by Myron 460-450 BC

He also fails to address that Dr. Scott Culpepper had no link to the painting. The attempt to tie him to the painting was pure unadulterated maliciousness. Dr. Culpepper’s “sin” is merely that he is a friend of mine who also believes Dr. Aguillard’s presidency is filled with ethical and educational failings. He had no part with the painting. Dr. Aguillard connecting him to the painting is a pure attempt at slander.

He did not address that when I interviewed at LC. I was clear that I wanted to bring nude figure studies to LC with the same controls as are used at the respected evangelical institution, Gordon College. I should add that I also included some nude work in my image portfolio when I applied and included nude work in my lecture during the interview. There was ample opportunity for Dr. Aguillard to inform me of his position during the interview process. Instead, the only time he stood against students making such work (he did stand against displaying it in the gallery) was after I wrote a letter notifying the college constituency of moral failings at the school. It makes one wonder.

Now for what he did address:

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