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The Final Decision The story of my removal from leadership at Cedarville University • Avery Redic Throughout the fall semester, SGA was required to meet with Eric Garland, the new SGA advisor, for 30 minutes on a weekly basis. In doing so, Eric and I “hit it off.” He would often tell me, platonically of course, that he loved me, was excited that we were becoming close friends, and often missed me when we were apart. I thought it was important to tell him about my sexuality. Being the standing Campus Community Director, promoting unity and inclusion on campus, I thought he should know that being gay fueled so many of my initiatives. Just before Thanksgiving break I told him. He was shocked. Our meetings became his attempt at expressing his concern for me. Jon Wood, the standing Vice President of Christian Ministries and Student Life, became involved when Eric, feeling unable to adequately mentor me through this issue, sought Jon’s advice in dealing with me. Jon called me into his office. Once there, I explained my entire story to him: I’m gay; I’m single; I’m not sure if it’s wrong to be gay; but don’t worry, I’m single. He labeled it “spiritual instability.” He was fearful that my spiritual influence was too great and too public on campus. With this ponderous issue in my life, I had too many people interested in my opinions, initiatives, and guidance. He gave me a stack of Distorted Sexuality notes from a class he taught in the South and told me that he would be in contact regarding his final decision. The next morning, as students were dismissed from SGA chapel, Jon Wood told the president and vice president of SGA that I had resigned from my SGA position. I was unaware of my fate at that moment. Later that afternoon, Jon called me into his office to break the news. I was removed from SGA, my new OneVoice Gospel Choir core leadership position, and the Tour Guide admissions team. Jon told me that he didn’t want me to be a face for

Fear at Cedarville I’m Gay: Why I must live in fear at Cedarville! Anonymous

the University, as he explained his incentive for removing me from the Tour Guide position. Had I been in less public positions, I would have retained my employment. In that final meeting, in my hand was the SGA Constitution. I read him the stipulations for standing SGA members; I told him that I broke none of the rules. He agreed. He explained to me some of the bylaws in the Community Covenant regarding sexuality; he made sure to mention that I broke no rules in the eyes of the university. “Do not see this as a punishment,” he reaffirmed, “see this as an opportunity to clear your schedule to gain clarity on this serious issue.” According to Jon, it was a “profound issue of the soul” that resulted from both

Medieval author Christine de Pizan had some choice words for the conspiracies of her time—after all, blaming women for corruption in society and oppressing them as a result of such blame did not line up with her own observations of the female “race.” In The Book of the City of Ladies, Pizan argues that “Even if some wicked women have done evil things, it still seems to me that this is far outweighed by all the good that other women have done and continue to do.” Furthermore, she says, “This should prove to you that not all men’s arguments are based on reason, and that these men in particular are wrong.” I have utmost empathy for Pizan, because people like me are also mischaracterized and thrown to the curb far too often—thanks to individuals acting in “the name of God and the Bible.” The fact is that I’m gay. No, I’m not nor have I ever been in a relationship with another guy. I’m not writing to change your political or theological perspective on the issue, either. Instead, I want to stand up against the mischaracterization that we (the gay community) receive all the time in places like Cedarville. You say, “dude, I’m not condemning you at all—but the

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Photo Credit: Caleb Morris

Ruminations on Diversity Reflections on the true meaning of the diversity claimed by Cedarville! Jonathan Hammond, CU Alumnus Difference, Diversity, Multiculturalism, Tolerance – these words can spark heated debate in any culture; and questions of difference are at the heart of many discussions within contemporary religious, political, economic, and educational organizations as well as within an individual’s struggle to understand diversity. Cedarville is not exempt from the ongoing debate and over the last year certain events (Title IX investigation, high number of faculty and staff departures, shakeup of Board of Trustees and administration, elimination of philosophy major) highlight and underscore Cedarville’s commitment to diversity. The University’s diversity statement states Cedarville “actively seeks to attract and serve a diverse group of Christian employees and students...” Cedarville believes its diversity statement is a supplement to the mission statement as it articulates Cedarville’s commitment to be a diverse Christian university. The question of Cedarville’s commitment to diversity must go beyond a written statement, beyond an articulation of commitment; it must have a measurable existence in

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reality. In short, what does Diversity at Cedarville look like? The language of Cedarville’s diversity statement is intentional, deliberate and calculated. Cedarville claims its definition of diversity has its origin in Creation. The statement uses Gen. 1:27 to establish God’s intention and divine order. Gen 1:27 describes an action of God, that of creating man in God’s image and creating male and female. Intention or the thought process of God is absent in that particular text. The phrase of “intention and divine order” is critical to Cedarville’s argument of its version of diversity. Cedarville elevates the concept of diversity to one of an order and established boundaries. It is another way of saying that diversity has an order to it, just as a tapestry does. In a tapestry, there are several distinct threads of fabric—all of different color, weight, value and purpose. What makes a tapestry different from a bolt of fabric is the separation of those threads. In a bolt of fabric, all the threads are the same; deviation is an abnormality and reduces the value of the bolt. The value of a tapestry is in maintaining its separation of threads – that the threads do not blend, mix or become one. The additional two verses of scripture (Gen 9:6 and 2 Cor. 3:18) reiterate the “image of God” narrative. In contrast, Cedarville uses those two verses to argue that God “declared all people – regardless of race, gender, physical ability, or socioeconomic class—equally valuable,” a narrative found in Galatians 3:28 and not in the three verses cited. At that point, Cedarville’s

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Diversity (con’t) statement concludes, “[i]t’s clear that God delights in the rich tapestry of diversity.” Gen. 1:27 declares God’s act of creation in God’s image, Gen. 9:6 declares God created in God’s image, and 2 Cor. 3:18 adds a different image by declaring the transformation into the image of God’s glory. From three verses stating man was made in the image of God, Cedarville argues that it knows God’s intent (purpose, see Isaiah 55:8), knows what divine order should look like, knows what delights God and knows that in God’s perspective, diversity is a tapestry. Venturing into the area of claiming to know God’s mind is questionable at best and dangerous at worst. Cedarville explains diversity as “a demonstration of God’s intention and divine order for humankind” and uses the metaphor of a tapestry. To be clear, Cedarville does not state diversity is like a tapestry, it concludes that diversity is a tapestry. Using the metaphor of a tapestry, Cedarville’s diversity statement ventures into an area that sheds light on Cedarville’s masked view of diversity. Keep in mind that for Cedarville, diversity is a tapestry. Just as a tapestry must maintain the separation of threads to maintain its identity, so too must Cedarville’s concept of diversity. Remember, Cedarville believes the God established the order of diversity at Creation and God’s intention is to maintain that order—to maintain the tapestry. In that tapestry, the combination of two threads, forming a third thread, destroys the distinctness and separation and the order of the tapestry is not maintained. In the same manner, when two aspects of diversity (the ones mentioned by Cedarville are race, gender, physical ability and socioeconomic class) combine, that combination destroys the distinctness and separation of the order of diversity. Applying the tapestry metaphor, when two individuals from two distinct races give birth to a child of a third race, the original distinctness and separation is destroyed. When we realize that gender is not the same concept as sex and is a social construction of reality, the original distinctness and separation is destroyed. Cedarville’s view of a tapestry is no more than a veiled argument for racial segregation, binary division of sex, division of people into physically abled and differently-abled, and for the maintenance of the system of economic power and economic powerless. These arguments, whether they be thinly veiled or not, are at the core of the system of oppressor and oppressed. The language of Cedarville’s diversity statement reveals a desire to maintain diversity’s division, distinctness, and separation that existed at the very moment of Creation. Cedarville wants you to think that diversity has four forms: race, gender [Cedarville means biological sex], physical ability, and socioeconomic class. The practical application of Cedarville’s diversity statement is to maintain divisions, distinctness and separation of races, biological sex, physical ability and socioeconomic class. Under Cedarville’s

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Cedarville Out The Ventriloquist values openness, inclusivity, and dialogue, especially with individuals that are members of groups marginalized by Christian or popular culture. If you are questioning your sexuality and need honest dialogue, support, or a listening ear, Cedarville Out is available to help. Cedarville Out is online at CedarvilleOut.org or email cedarvilleout@gmail.com.

About The Ventriloquist The Ventriloquist is an independently-run, independently-funded student publication at Cedarville University. Our staff defines a university as an institution committed to collective learning. We believe this commitment should extend past the institutional level and include all members of the university community. We recognize that when each community member strives to cultivate creativity, critical thinking, and growth, richer education and character formation result. We believe healthy intellectual pursuit leads to more authentic followers of faith, the goal of any religiouslyaffiliated school. We accept well-written articles from anybody in the Cedarville community and publish them in hope that the reader will give each piece fair consideration. Article ideas, questions, and comments can be submitted to ventriloquistpaper@gmail.com.

Generation Progress The Ventriloquist is proudly published with support from Generation Progress, a division of the Center for American Progress. Generation Progress is online at GenProgress.org.

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Or D, None of the Above A discussion on the root causes of problems in the education system! Stephanie Petersen, CU Alumna Any casual observer of American public education has seen them-the unending, unbelievable, miserable charts, graphs and other statistics that affirm our colossal failure. From dropout rates, college retention and standardized testing data, we know without a doubt that something is not working, and that certainly no one is openly pleased about it. In a semi-intentional survey of popular media, I see that concerned citizens have selected several particular demons upon which to focus this wrath, which, in my opinion, is a tragic misuse of passion and energy towards a policy area that desperately needs passionate people. I recently saw the phrase “Arkansas Mom destroys Common Core in Just Four Powerful Minutes” captioning a grainy YouTube video-it was shared by several of my Facebook friends, and reflects the ennui of many education advocates within the US. Many are quick to attribute the lack of student achievement to the big three: the effects of poverty, bad parenting, or the Common Core. Although each of these three warrant their own civil discussions, I propose that the root cause of the education crisis comes in what policymakers and parents say when teachers wail -“ what I am supposed to do?”. Between training, support, development and retention, we as a nation have a cloudier vision than ever of what it means to lead children in meaningful instruction and social development. During my years at Cedarville, I was gifted with a strong foundation in special education, courtesy of my experienced professors and the core skills outlined by the National Council for Teacher Education, which lays out foundational beliefs and knowledge that they believe teachers must possess in order to be certified, even before they take state Praxis or other commensurate examinations. I learned the foundations of pedagogy, educational psychology, and philosophy, as well as many practical skills such as unit planning, assessment and special education methodology such as data collection, and behavior management. When I left Cedarville, and even during my student teaching experience, I often felt adequately prepared- or if not, adequately supported and developed- to fulfill what I perceived as the role of teacher. I only worked at home during student teaching as a result of what I perceived as bureaucratic obligations (eight page lesson plans, reflections, etc) that I certainly thought would go away when someone trusted me enough to lead my own classroom. When I stepped into my first full time teaching role at one of the worst performing schools on the Eastern seaboard, my mindset began to change. In most traditional teacher training programs, the focus is on how you would craft a perfect classroom- in an ideal world. Although most colleges offer courses on behavior management (responding to students who are defiant, non-compliant or disruptive), there is no nationally mandated coursework for what do when children call you a “fucking bitch” two days into teaching. Furthermore, programs like mine hire traditionally trained teachers, although I also have the role of assisting in physical restraints when children go into full-blown, blackout crisis- not something most, if any teachers receive training on pre-service. More importantly still, there is no nationally mandated programming on dealing with cultural, racial, and sexual politics in the classroom- mostly with adults, but also with children. Although these are global issues that can’t be compressed into 2-credit university courses, I believe that intensive development on mindset, cultural communication and community building must be a foundation for teachers that desire to teach in our multicultural universe. Alternative certification programs like Teach For America or Urban Teacher Center often get this right, with a strong emphasis on examining prejudice or bias, but fail to deliver strong pedagogical background that teachers need in equal dose. In summary, teacher training must be do a 180 to accommodate the real concerns of administrators, parents and veteran teachers who tremble each time a “first year” walks through the door. Onto teacher support: within weeks of beginning my teaching career, I fell into a deep depression. I felt as if I was a simultaneous social worker, secretary, nurse, parent, curriculum designer, cheerleader, and lackey until I received tenure. Assured that I would be provided with high quality curricula, I was awestruck at the lack of research-based, vetted and fleshed out materials that were available for my particular subject area and grade level. It’s not unheard of to expect teachers to create curricula or materials, but the intensive research and preparation needed for such a task- let alone

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Dan Sizemore, CU Alumnus Sarah Burch, CU Alumna Jonathan Hammond, CU Alumnus

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Fear (con’t)

Final Decision (con’t)

gay community is an endorsement of a sinful lifestyle! Don’t identify with it.” Exactly my point. In the same manner of Pizan’s time, when women as a collective were ignorantly thought to have corrupt motives, the Church today does not even try to understand the gay community. Historically speaking, people fear what they don’t know—anything that looks different. And I believe that’s our problem. We look threatening, and it brings a whole host of mischaracterization. This mischaracterization puts me into a constant state of fear, not only at Cedarville but also at home. My parents have no idea that I don’t like women, but I cannot tell them. In a meeting with Christopher Yuan last year, he suggested I “test the waters” and talk about the issue before coming out. So I did. I told them that I had met a gay kid at Cedarville (sort of true) and that I was helping him by serving as an accountability partner (also sort of true). In reality, though, I am that gay kid. Their response, you ask? They told me to get away from him—simply because he might “make me gay” too. My mother also said that she “couldn’t believe gay people were at a Christian school. He must be sneaking out at night to have promiscuous sex! That’s what gay people do, after all.” I nearly began to sob—how could they say such things about their own son, knowing or not? How could they be so ignorant? The point is that Conservative Christianity doesn’t get a bad reputation for believing gay sex is a sin. Conservative Christianity gets a bad reputation because it refuses to understand the gay community. From the outside, all that Christians see are a bunch of men in speedos dancing at pride parades; they see a group that wants to corrupt families and turn against God. They don’t ever stop and think, “Why do they host pride parades?” They refuse to think that, gasp, gay people might actually desire genuine love and families to raise—not sex, sex, and more sex. Worst of all, they refuse to see how lonely I am. I do not believe I was designed for singleness. I know what the classic response is. “But singleness is a blessing! 1 Corinthians 7:8b says, ‘It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.’” That is correct, but don’t forget verse 9b: “for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Do you understand the incredible, God-given, natural urge within me to have intimacy with another human being? Do you understand that one day, on my death bed, I will be in the hospital and breathing my last few breaths—and will glance around the room only to discover that no one is there? No husband ever existed, no children raised, no family legacy to leave behind. This… this is not natural. The gay community isn’t an evil effort to destroy morals and God. The gay community is made up of thousands of people, just like me, who desire love and unity through marriage. As I said before, I don’t want to change your views theologically or politically. What I want to change is the flawed and ignorant fear towards the gay community. When you see a pride parade, understand that gay people are told throughout their entire lives that they are scum. Pride is an event for gay people to feel normal and… “not scum.” I’m not endorsing everything that happens, and I personally don’t like those parades. I’m simply explaining that you mustn’t live and act out of fear toward the gay community. When we ask you to legalize gay marriage, we aren’t secretly plotting to get rid of morals and destroy families. Actually, at a time when you straight folks are divorcing more than ever, we’re the ones asking to get married! Like Pizan argues about women, I must argue that gay people have done far more good than bad. It’s well known that gay folks often find themselves in human rights campaigns, feeding the homeless, and caring for the community in general. Are you sure we’re destroying society? At the end of the day, I’m not actually for or against gay marriage (at a personal level). I’m still figuring that out—and studying scripture first. But I’m in danger. When the university administration chooses to strip a gay student of all his leadership and ministry positions (and he ends up at Wright State) because he’s not sure what he believes on the issue, that’s a problem. It means that for the rest of my time at Cedarville, my status is on the line. I have to live in fear of my own “Christian” community and what they might do to me. They fear us because they think we’re parasites. They think we’re in a massive plot to destroy your morals and theology. In their ignorance, they act. And thanks to those actions, I must fear. And in my fear, I am deeply broken. I leave you with this question: If Jesus was in charge of Cedarville, would he endorse a religious bubble built on codes and regulations that strip people of their ministry and leadership opportunities— even their fate at the school—for questioning the validity of such positions? Would students like me have to live in fear? ♦

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not actively working against my sexual orientation and not firmly condemning homosexuality. I told him I was looking deep into Scripture, commentaries, and analytical materials to find sure answers. I told him it was important to me to find answers. Amid this journey, I was apparently too comfortable saying “I am gay.” Being that Adam and Eve were complimentary and together mirrored the image of God, my sexual orientation and apathy in moving away from it presented weighty issues in my relationship with God. Jon offered a hypothetical situation to drive home the merit in his decision: “Say a freshman male confided in you and admitted to experiencing homosexual attraction. You gave him your perspective and let him astray. The Holy Spirit may work on you in the future, but the damage is done for that student.” His decision came on the last official class day before finals week. I spent the next 7 days explaining my situation to team members, administrators, faculty, and staff before everyone left for vacation. Everyone was enraged. Jon Wood, to prove that I was not being punished, offered to pay me a stipend of what I would have been earning had I not been removed from SGA and OneVoice. How did I feel? I hated myself. Immediately after Jon’s decision I asked myself these questions and I hated myself for it: Should I have asked God to take homosexuality away from me more often? Should I have cried out more often than I had? Should I have asked for more counseling in high school than I had already received? Should I have been receiving counseling now? Should I have tried dating women, to see if I’d like it? Should I have never come to Cedarville, knowing that this would be an issue? I hate these questions. Beyond this, I was pretty numb to the changes until Christmas break. While at school, I was still preparing things for my SGA committee. Amid my removal, we were planning an SGA event to launch on January 20th. I had to find ways to plan the event and schedule it to be hosted without a defined leader. I also decided to withdraw from Cedarville over break. The publicity made it unrealistic for me to return in the spring and focus on academics. I was still so connected to Cedarville; it didn’t feel real. Three weekends prior to Jon’s decision I successfully launched and hosted Cedarville’s largest, campus-wide diversity event this academic year. The day before his decision, I officially signed-on to an officer position in the OneVoice Gospel Choir—a student leadership system set in place just after Justin Spann resigned from Cedarville. I felt like I let Michael Dorsey down—the founder of the OneVoice Gospel Choir who whispered to me just after Justin Spann’s farewell concert, “This is yours now; this is your moment. Let me know if you need anything.” I facilitated an SGA committee that caught wind of my situation during finals week. Since then and to this day, they are without defined leadership and are struggling to find their place in SGA without Briana DuPree and myself as advocates. I had been involved in leadership, and ironically still am, at Cedarville since freshman year—5 semesters or 2.5 years. Jon Wood and Eric Garland have been Cedarville personnel for one semester. They failed to realize that my leadership transcended appointed titles. Jon Wood did what he could to render me less popular to hopefully keep my come-toJesus journey under wraps. Fortunately for me, he suggested I apply for leadership again in the fall because he felt I was a “vital asset to student leadership at Cedarville.” Since withdrawing from Cedarville, Avery has enrolled in classes at Wright State and plans to finish his psychology degree there. Cedarville students who need a listening ear are encouraged to email Avery at redic. 3@wright.edu. You should not use your Cedarville email account, as the administration has the capability to monitor the contents of student emails and has done so in the past. ♦

Or D (con’t) the time at the copier- is simply not built into a teacher’s day. Aside from the search for great materials, there is the ever-shifting target of who is to be held accountable for what. On a foundational level, I am a firm believer that teacher mindsets and actions are the central force in any classroom, and that teachers should be respected enough to be held accountable for students learning and behavior. However, now in my third year of teaching my district with a strong reputation as an instructional leader in my program, each moment of victory my students and I achieve is quickly met with a blatant or inferred criticism from policymakers, researchers or even other adults in my school. If my students are happy and excited, then the assumption is that they’re not being challenged. If they are upset, moody or defiant, the assumption is that my method of teaching fraction (not their diagnosed disability) is to blame. If they lose a paper, it’s my fault. If they get poor grades, it’s because I’m not helping them; when they get A’s, I’m not giving them grade level material. As a society, we are so frustrated with student performance that we hold teachers up as the solution and strike

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Or D (con’t)

Diversity (con’t)

down their every effort with the same hand, unsure of where else to place blame. If we are to solve the problem of teacher support (or lack thereof), we must look to places where teachers are excelling not only in student performance, but in a strong sense of self-worth and work-life balance. We do not have to travel as far as Finland or Norway to see schools across the country that are empowering teachers with 2-3 times the normal amount of planning each day (time to create, collaborate and analyze student data), office spaces that promote professionalism, and an attitude that the teacher is an expert-in-training, rather than a babysitter who directs students’ futures with a red pen. Furthermore, teachers must have a hand in deciding how and when they will receive additional training. In my district, all teachers in a wide range of content and grade levels are required to attend identical professional development, despite almost all teachers I know naming specific areas where they would relish the chance for professional learning opportunities that address immediate concerns. The intentions are goodeducation reformers and policymakers latch on to the latest research citing that teachers with w, x, and y implemented in their classroom are making z percent more impact, which leads to district mandates or professional development centered around these ideas. For example, since pre-writing seems to work in suburban districts, my urban district is currently focusing its professional development around pre-writing rather than strategies to overcome 5 year gaps in reading ability, or high schoolers who still add to ten on their fingers. Before delving in to the area of teacher retention, I ground myself in the story of a friend who has left teaching. Ms. Smith, we’ll call her, started a March morning last year with a student brandishing a knife in her face, throwing it in the ceiling and cursing her out. When Ms. Smith told a nearby administrator, she was informed that since they were in the process of mandated state testing, the concern would be addressed “in a little while, once the other students have tested”. The administrator shut the door and walked away, leaving both the knife, student and teacher in the same room. If these are the conditions in which we expect people to work, it’s not wonder that that bright, passionate people like Ms. Smith leave the profession for a corporate job hundreds of miles away. Teacher retention may not seem like an immediate problem, but the statistics tell us that regardless of their performance or impact on students, at least 50% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years. We cannot expect our students to have meaningful school experiences when their institutions of learning become revolving doors for increasingly depressed and burnt out twenty-somethings. When we speak about increasing teacher retention, we too often speak about pay increases rather than a shift to viewing teaching as a profession much like medicine or law, requiring extensive training, mentoring and continuous development to build effectiveness and belief in one’s own practice. As I sit at my desk, preparing to continue working after 12 hours at my school building, I struggle with the knowledge that there are so many human rights issues that bear action on an undergraduate’s part. However, the arc of history has taught us that the best method of oppression is to keep a people uneducated about their own plight and opportunity. As I am constantly reminded which students are suffering most- students of color, impoverished students and those who are non-native English speakers- I am renewed in my belief that education is the civil rights issue of our day. Subsequently, research and many of our experiences would bolster the knowledge that the most influential factor in a student’s success is the quality of their classroom leader. Therefore I implore you, before you share another article about the failure of the Common Core, the problem of Charter Schools, or the evil of Teach for America, to instead, be passionate, educated and active about how the the teachers of this nation are taught, treated and retained before your children are in front of them. ♦

construction of diversity, to go against the tapestry is to go against God’s order of humanity. In this construction of binary opposites, Cedarville’s view of diversity effectively eliminates people who exist between the binaries, where we all live, breathe, and have our being. It reduces humanity into a series of ones and zeroes. It shows a world of Male vs. Female, Black vs. White, Abled vs. Non-abled; the Have’s vs. Have not’s, Master vs. Slave, and Oppressor vs. Oppressed. The Diversity Statement offers no evidence of the four forms of diversity as existing at Creation. The evidence offered about diversity, as it existed at Creation, is the narrative of the “image of God.” Which makes me think that diversity is more about the image of God than the image of people and the divisions created and maintained over the centuries. Cedarville’s official diversity statement focuses on attracting and serving a diverse group of Christian employees and students. Recent personnel changes reveal that, at minimum, Cedarville has no intention of attracting and serving a diverse group of Christian employees. By purging women from the ranks of the Bible department, Cedarville has intentionally silenced the voices of women in regards to theology and church. Cedarville has made it clear that when it comes to women being able to teach religion, women are not equally valuable in the eyes of God. This purge is not complete; Cedarville’s commitment to the idea of biblical integration places all female faculty members at risk. Cedarville boasts of Christian professors who challenge students to think biblically in every subject area and offering an education grounded in biblical truth. For professors to challenge students to think biblically in every subject area and to show how each academic area is grounded in biblical truth, female professors must teach the bible, on some level. I do not offer a neat and perfect answer to the masked meanings of Cedarville’s diversity statement. My intention is to highlight what Cedarville says about diversity and begin a conversation about diversity that is not rooted in an institution’s claim to know the thoughts of God but rather one rooted in the realities of our existence and how gaining a better understanding of diversity will aid in social progress. I have never been a fan of limiting the voices of people. I believe that a better decision is always reached through a multitude of views. The conversation about diversity must continue, in the dorms, in classrooms, in cafeteria lines, in the places where we live. A written statement is insufficient. Especially one that seeks to maintain social divisions and can be read to support segregation policies. I understand that texts have multiple meanings; my concern is when a text has racist, sexist and classist meanings so apparent in what the text includes and in what the text excludes. My ruminations on Cedarville’s diversity are incomplete. Every day I learn something that re-shapes how I look at diversity and how I incorporate that into my daily actions. What I do know is that I must merge critical thinking in everyday life with knowledge learned in books, through study and through life experiences. That union of theory and practice drives my work. We must continually search for ways to think, teach, write, and act in ways that excite and liberate the mind. We must seek that passion to live and act in a way that challenges systems of domination: racism, sexism, class elitism. In many ways, progressive cultural revolution can happen only as we learn to do everything differently. Decolonizing our minds and imaginations, we learn to think differently, to see everything with “the new eyes” we need if we are to enter the struggle as subjects and not objects. This article is an invitation to enter a space of changing thought and opening minds. Get the facts, get educated, get active, and change the world. ♦

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Issue 12 of The Ventriloquist

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