When I wrote about Louisiana College yesterday, I really wasn’t planning on writing on the subject again and I don’t plan to continue. But, I need to acknowledge the good and not just call out the bad. A reader named Alex linked the video below from an LC Chapel service on January 19 of this year with the comment, “Step in the right direction.” It certainly is and I want to acknowledge that.
You can see Kirk’s apology beginning at the 18:45 mark.
Kirk Jones is a Louisiana Pastor and member of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees. I know Kirk just a little. We have interacted on-line some, about Louisiana College issues, and became Facebook friends. I don’t want to imply that Kirk and I became buddies. Like many Facebook friends we don’t interact too much but we are cordial. I also don’t want to imply that we agree on LC issues. We have large disagreements, the largest of which revolves around David Hankins and his role in the dysfunction at LC and in the Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC) at large. But, in the course of 136 seconds Kirk did done more to heal the wounds at LC than anyone, with the possible exception of Brewer firing Aguillard.
This is the first apology, of any sort, I have seen from an LC official regarding the turmoil of the recent years. Kirk is correct that the board owes an apology to the students. They were negligent in protecting the educational value of the LC degree. I am glad to hear Kirk make this statement. But, in the list of ways that the Trustees have failed to set a proper worldview example, probation is a relatively minor issue. He acknowledges the risk that students took when they came back to LC when the school was on probation, which is good.
Kirk goes on to say, “Never be the person who has to be called on something not being the way it ought to be.” He is on the right track here. Probation was terrible for the school economically. In terms of overall school health, it was great as it made the college address some important issues. While I don’t want to minimize the educational failings of Louisiana College, we must realize that the major failings at Louisiana College were moral and spiritual, not educational. The spiritual abuses from the office of the President, enabled by the Board of Trustees, were unconscionable. The mistreatment of employees and students was striking. The economic, career, personal, and spiritual harm done to individuals by the college was unacceptable. The sins tolerated, supported, and covered-up were unthinkable for a secular institution much less a Christian one. There has been no apology from the board or the administration about any of this. The College has yet to take responsibility for the terrible things it did. That is not Christian that is still not teaching students a proper Christian worldview as Kirk referenced.
A couple of years after leaving LC, I had an interview at a well-respected Christian College. When I met with the dean, she brought up my situation at LC. To my surprise, she didn’t ask me to explain what happened or to justify myself. She asked one simple question, “After going through that why are you still interested in Christian education?” This experienced academic and administrator understood the tragedy at LC. She understood that the actions of a school like that drive people away from Christian education, away from the Church, and away from God.
I am glad to hear Kirk’s apology and it is a step in the right direction. It is, however, the first step in a long journey. LC has more to apologize for. They have more for which to seek forgiveness. They should not feel satisfied by taking just the first steps in the journey to restoration.