Yes, this is about a week old, but it’s worth posting at any time, considering the state of higher education in America and its dogged pursuit of absolute emotional safety at all times. After a student whined about being offended by a passage from 1 Corinthians 13 because it shamed him for not being loving enough, Dr. Everett Piper had heard enough of safe spaces and “haters.” The president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University wrote an open letter to the entire student body challenging them to either grow up, or look for a “day care” instead:
I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience! An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad! It is supposed to make you feel guilty! The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization!
Note well that OKWU is an expressly Christian university, evangelical in orientation. One might suppose that anyone who could muster up the intellect to gain admission to OKWU (not affiliated with the more well-known Wesleyan in Connecticut) might have figured out that an evangelical Christian university would not be likely to apologize for the New Testament. The special snowflake who demanded that Piper do something about all the feelzeez might have done better to attend an evangelical service prior to admission, or find another college to attend.
Piper offered some free advice to students, who may be looking for safe spaces as we read this:
If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.
If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.
Piper is right in both regards. OKWU isn’t the university for special snowflakes, but unfortunately there are many universities and colleges who want to coddle them. Those are less interested in education than indoctrination, and more interested in social statements than preparing their students for life after Academia. Piper makes sure to take a swipe at Mizzou in this regard, and it is certainly a well-earned swipe.
If that’s what students seek, Piper explains what they are missing:
At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.
Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up!
Piper concludes with a declaration that should be in the mission statement of every college and university these days:
This is not a day care. This is a university!
Amen, Dr. Piper. However sharply worded this rebuke is, Dr. Piper isn’t laying all of the blame on the special snowflakes. As he told KOTV yesterday, the current culture teaches kids to be “self-centered and narcissistic”:
“We’ve taught our students, our young people, to throw the victim card,” Dr. Piper emphasizes. That’s because our culture has fetishized victim status, placing all of the social incentives for special snowflakes to demand that everyone else bends toward their wishes rather than find ways to succeed on merit. Dr. Piper wants universities to start teaching self-reliance, but don’t expect that to start happening until the trend threatens to derail Academia altogether … as it has at Mizzou.