If you aren’t connected to NNU or the Nazarene church, this post (http://ricshewell.com/why-is-tom-oord-getting-fired/) by my friend Ric sums up what has been going on there the past few weeks, and it will help you understand this post. I’m basically putting this up on my blog because it was too long for a facebook post.
I feel I should speak up. A lot of the angry posts about NNU that you are probably seeing on social media in the firestorm following Tom Oord’s dismissal, are from people I went to school with. There are many who are saying we should keep quiet, and many who believe that old grievances should not be aired, but I want to defend the posts of my peers. When I was at the school, there were a lot of students deeply hurt by administration and actions taken by leaders within the school structure. Many of us have since struggled with leaving the church entirely because of said hurts. Dr. Oord was a big part of our campus life and education, and seeing him treated wrongly has freshly opened old wounds. It’s impossible to separate the old from the new, because in many ways they are connected. I’ll ask you for grace and understanding when reading such posts. This incident with Dr. Oord isn’t an isolated incident in many of our minds, and it seems like a good time to stand up and speak out. Many of us have remained quiet for too many years because of age and bitterness, and now we see an opportunity to tell everyone our stories, and ask for a bigger change. Please read these posts and process them along with Dr. Oord’s story. There is value there, even when they might seem disconnected.
I think part of the problem for us is that the things we went through are fairly recent events that feel like they were never resolved. I started NNU in 2003 and finished in 2008. Many of my contemporaries are just now feeling like we’re old enough to have our voices listened to and matter. I think there is a way to speak out in our own defense, and do that in love, and I think a lot of us are speaking out BECAUSE we love, not only those involved in the current situation, but our school as well. I have deep roots in the Nazarene church, and at NNU. My grandma went to high school there when College High existed, and my dad and sister both also attended there. My in-laws also went to NNU, which means that my kids have grads on both sides of their family from the school. However, in it’s current state, I couldn’t tell my kids I thought it wise to attend the university. I have 10 years (my oldest is in 2nd grade) for the school to get better if I am to recommend to my daughter that she go to college at my alma mater. I love the history of the school. I love the professors I had who are still at the school. I love the Nazarene church which is why, even while struggling greatly with it, I haven’t yet left. I think, sometimes, when you love something or someone, it is okay to say, “Look, these things are wrong and need to change BECAUSE I love you.” I love my children, but I also discipline them and chastise them when they do wrong. I believe myself to be an incredibly loving, but incredibly fair person. I think those two things can be work well together. This is more than lancing personal wounds, it is asking for some sort of satisfaction. I realize that I, personally, am never going to get an apology from anyone at NNU, but I also hope that I can help the university change so that other students don’t have to experience what I, and others, went through when we were there. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but for me, that would be enough to make me feel like what I went through was worth it.