Like most people I don’t have time to sit around thinking much about college. Once in a while you’re forced into it, however. This time it was by an NPR article. I attended Grove City College for a few reasons: it was a Christian school close to home, it wasn’t expensive, and, perhaps most of all, I knew campus because the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church held its annual conference there. I’d been several times during high school. It didn’t hurt that I was a Fundamentalist at the time. Grove City was a college of the Presbyterian Church and I loved having debates about predestination with professors who actually believed in it. At the same time, I was encouraged to think things through, which liberal arts colleges are known for promoting. Is it now “conservative arts?”
The NPR story my wife sent me was about how Critical Race Theory is disputed at my alma mater (sic). I noticed in the article that Grove City is no longer affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. It’s become much more right wing than that. At the same time they ask me for money on a regular basis. What made them think they had to go hard right? Are they still educating students or are they indoctrinating them? It reminded me of a sermon I heard at yet another conservative school I was associated with: Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary (or at least it was then). The priest made an entire sermon about how it was right to be conservative, as if no matter what the issues there was some creed to get behind in staying behind. As if virtue exists in never admitting you were wrong.
I suspect that my failure to attain a full-time academic position at a reputable school was because of what looks like a conservative outlook, despite the evidence of this blog. Yes, I grew up Fundamentalist—you grow up the way you were raised. Hopefully, however, you start thinking after that. And experiencing. And yes, using critical thought. There comes a time when “because I told you so” just doesn’t cut it anymore. For many of us that’s when we go to college. If it’s a good one you’ll be encouraged to debate with your professors. Not one of them has all the answers, I can assure you. Education is, by its very nature, progressive. We learn and we continue to learn. We don’t stand still and say the 1950s was when God reigned on earth. It wasn’t. And it wasn’t any time before that either. Now we know that Critical Race Theory should be taught. We know Black Lives Matter. What I personally don’t know is what became of a college that was once conservative, but at the same time, believed in education.