Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A letter from Wheaton

I received this by email today:

Dear Stasi,

I write to ask you for your prayers.

On Thursday and Friday of this week we will be visited by a group of homosexual activists traveling on a bus tour across the United States to various Christian college campuses. Their agenda is to draw negative media attention to institutions who maintain an historic biblical stand on the issue of homosexuality. This, of course, Wheaton does. (See Wheaton's Community Covenant) Hence our place on their list of targeted institutions.

We did not invite these visitors to our campus. But since they are intent on coming anyway, we decided to make a virtue out of a necessity by turning their coming into a teaching opportunity for our students. Given the ongoing changes in our culture, today’s students are potentially facing a lifetime of confrontations over the issue of homosexuality. What should be their Christian response? We have endeavored to prepare our students to respond to these visitors with the biblical balance captured in the injunction to “speak the truth in love.”

Wheaton’s provost, Dr. Stan Jones, a psychologist who has done extensive work in the area of human sexuality, has prepared a biblical rebuttal to the false teaching of this group. (See “CACE Resources on Homosexuality”) These and other written materials, along with various scheduled meetings and chapels, have been devoted to helping our students understand the many issues and shape a balanced Christian response. This process has been highly educational for all involved.

After this event is over, we will let you know how it went. In the meantime, please pray for us, asking that God will be glorified, His truth will be upheld with grace and humility, and our Christian witness to a watching world will be an effective one.

Thank you.
Duane Litfin
President
Wheaton College

Here is what I wrote in reply:

Dear Dr. Litfin,

I will indeed pray that hearts and minds at Wheaton will be changed, and the school, along with Christians in general, will stop persecuting our GLBT brothers and sisters in Christ. Wheaton has the opportunity to be at the forefront of important social change. In 100 years, I hope Wheaton will not be among those regretfully saying, "What were we thinking?" when we all look back on this situation (as do many Christians with the issues of slavery and ordination of women).

The group's teaching is sound and biblical and I pray that people will see past their biases to really encounter what the Bible does - and does not - say about homosexuality.

In the meantime, thank you for providing a hospitable welcome to the Soulforce Equality Riders, and for teaching the current students how to speak their minds with love. Of course, the many GLBT students at Wheaton (they were there during my time and no doubt are there now) will hopefully take heart when they meet Christians who love Jesus and have discovered that their sexuality does not conflict with their faith. I know I speak for many alumni when I say we are hoping and praying for the day when Wheaton will embrace GLBT students among its own.

I very much look forward to your report on the events.

Peace to all of you.
Stasi McAteer
Class of 1997

Now, some of you have alerted me to some great resources that I wish to share with my readers. The first is this yahoo group for GLBT Wheaties: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WheatonGLBT

And this blog which is full of heartbreaking and hopeful stories:
http://www.overflowmag.com/

Peace be upon all of the GLBT students struggling at Christian colleges, particularly my alma mater. And pox - I mean, Pax - upon the colleges as they struggle to find the way to compassion and truth. The real truth.

6 comments:

Suzanne said...

God bless you Stasi! That was a courageous, gracious response. I'm sorry about the other project/ministry that imploded and the disappointment and pain that's caused you.

Stacy said...

I am so impressed by your letter to Wheaton. I too am a Wheatie -- class of '89, and I was saddened by the letter from Liftin (but not too surprised). I wondered how I could respond. I don't think anything I would have written would have been as eloquent as your response. I just discovered your blog and and have enjoyed reading! I was raised Episcopalian and am also a Fuller alum! Thank you for your sharing.

Pisco Sours said...

Actually, in addition to your wonderful response, Stasi, I was gently surprised by the dean's initial letter. I mean, yes, he's in the wrong and homophobic, but he's gracious about it. He wants to dialogue and thresh things out. With the political discourse these days far too poisioned, I'm really impressed with both of you.

Sarah said...

I love it. I love your response. I also agree with piscosours.

mochajunkie said...

Yea! You said exactly what I wanted to. Thank you for doing it.

Class of '89

AK said...

Nice Job Stasi! That was far more positive than I would have written.