C Wess Daniels - " ... to call it to more openness and hospitality."

" ... to call it to more openness and hospitality." Wess Daniels

In a recent letter , Wess Daniels shared his decision to no longer teach a seminary course at George Fox University because GFU conditioned his position on his willingness to conform to the institution's (his employer) rule that he no longer discuss a particular issue publically.

A person can respect Wess' decision remove himself from his teaching association with his employer to freely express his conscience publically. A person can also respect GFU's openness and hospitality concerning Wess' public statements against the institution on a specific issue. GFU demonstrated openness and hospitality by offering a compromise it was comfortable with; which Wess rejected. It is Wess' right to speak conscience as it is GFU's right to regulate employee speech.

Wess' use of the outward ideas of openness and hospitality against GFU manifests a commensurate lack of openness and hospitality.

Sometimes the best result is to cordially disassociate. Affirmation of Christ's presence in a given circumstance does not, of necessity, mean one or the other are in complete unity.

URL to Wess Daniels letter:
https://m.facebook.com/onegeorgefox/posts/549525301813709?fref=nf

Views: 363

Comment by A.J. Mendoza on 11th mo. 6, 2014 at 1:49pm

First I'd like to start with some definitions of some words that you used that I think may not have been correct:

"Openness"-
is an overarching concept or philosophy that is characterized by an emphasis on transparency and free unrestricted access to knowledge and information as well as collaborative or cooperative management and decision making rather than a central authority.

"Hospitality"-the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

Ok, so now that we have some working definitions, a bit about your comment.  I find it extremely telling that in the entirety of you're piece, talking about rights and so forth, that there is one person you left out completely.  
Additionally, let us consider the point of an academic institution. Academia hinges on the concept of a free and open exchange of ideas, with vigorous testing, peer review, and debate.  Quakers have traditionally viewed preserving this kind of environment as an important goal, just look at all the Friends schools.  
So when you say "institution's rule that he no longer discuss a particular issue publicly." I hear you defending a practice that 
could hardly be called academic (and completely un-Quaker).  The silencing of ideas through force and coercion.  
Its fascinating for me that you make an equivocation between what GFU has done and what Wes did, especially considering the power differential.  It is as amusing as considering John Woodman's plea to slaveowners to be itself an act that lacks openness and hospitality. 

I think most Quakers get the concept that unity is not the same thing as unanimity. However, the post concerning part of you're entire piece is when you reduce an entire person into simply an "issue".  An issue to be either talked about publicly, or not.  We are talking about a person, not an issue, and his name is Jayce. 

Sincerely,

A.J. Mendoza

Comment by Keith Saylor on 11th mo. 6, 2014 at 2:55pm

Hello AJ. Thank you for sharing your construct on this matter. I am not of the same mind. Just to understand. Are you equating GFU with slave owners? If you are, we are completely of another mind. GFU is not asserting ownership over Wess and using force and coercion to silence him. Wess is free to speak his conscience, just not as an employee of the institution. As is the case in each and every educational institution to a greater or lesser extent. There is absolutely no correlation between the Wess' circumstance and slavery here. Your analogue is overstated and forced. For the analogue to hold, you would have to have GFU asserting ownership over Wess and locking him on campus where he is not allowed to speak. This is not the case.

Comment by A.J. Mendoza on 11th mo. 6, 2014 at 3:15pm

Equating in the situation in only one sense, that if a Friend has a strong disagreement of conscience, how should we go about handling it.  I say that Woolman was in the right with how he handled it, speaking truth, but still loving those who he disagreed with, and **not** disassociating. Using your construct, Woolman should have said nothing and politely disassociated, or shouted his disagreement at a comfortable distance without any real expectation to engage in relationship.  So yes, what is true and right at one point, is true and right for all time, its the principle of the matter.

I kind of figured you'd get hung up on that analogy, which is why I used it to see if we could get back to my main contention.  Again, in you're follow up, you left out the most critically important piece (person) in this puzzle.  His name is Jayce.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 11th mo. 6, 2014 at 3:37pm

Thanks you for engaging AJ. I feel I understand your ideological leaning better. Please note the subject of my post. It was about Wess and his circumstance, not that of Jayce. I hope one day to discuss Woolman with you. Just because people decide to disassociate does not mean they do not love one another. I can love you even when we do not share the same conscience. We can chose to tolerate one another's existence and love each other even though we may not wish to live amongst each other.

In the love of Christ,

Keith

Comment by A.J. Mendoza on 11th mo. 6, 2014 at 3:57pm

I believe that really community, not pseudo-community, is necessarily hard.  I am uncomfortable with what has become the Quaker "tradition" of separating when we reach points where we just simply can't stand to be around each other any longer.  I think the that bar has generally been accepted as low, when the Friends in the past who we hold in high esteem saw that bar as extraordinarily high.  Furthermore, while this point may not hold as much for other Quakes, you and I being Christ-centered Friends, could we not agree that Jesus specifically in John 17 called Christians to be one body?  I don't think that call was given with an expectation that it would come naturally or easily.  

I am glad you mentioned Jayce, and I don't think this discussion about Wess can be had apart from him.  How Jayce should be treated, is the crux of the entire thing.  Jayce is my friend.

In the Light of Christ,

A.J.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 11th mo. 6, 2014 at 4:30pm

I understand and sympathize with your thoughts about community. Unlike you, I am not uncomfortable with outward ideological, institutional, and individual fragmentation. I embrace it.

AJ, I am gathered with you in the Presence and affirm the spirit of Christ within you and love you in through through the power of the Light's inshining. I am not gathered with you ideologically, institutionally, philosophically, theologically, politically, etc. You and I are of one in mind and spirit in the presence of Christ. In Christ's direct presence we are of one spiritual body. Presence is the foundation of community, not outward ideological forms and professions. I may not share your conscience on many things, and, because of that, we may not walk in the same place (community) in this world. However, were we to meet, by the power of the inward Light, I know we would find cordiality with one another and enjoy out time together with much ease. 

Comment by A.J. Mendoza on 11th mo. 7, 2014 at 2:01am
Keith, I fear that embracing that mindset will lead us to continue down the road of endless schism. As a generally easy going person, I have no doubt we would find cordiality with each other, but as a Christian, I would hope we could be more. Again, this comes back to my unrealistically idealistic view of community. I have no doubt each of us will continue to be faithful to the dictates of our conscience.

David, as a gay person,and a 2013 alum of GFU who was president of its LGBTQ student organization, I'll tell you that their posted responses do not reflect the on the ground reality for students. Not in the slightest.

Furthermore, as a member of NWYM, of which the school is affliated, I'll tell you that the only reason they got Title IX exception is because of a woefully incomplete process. While the law actually says that the denomination has to have a clear and strongly held belief (Which is not in our Faith&Practice), the DOE did not consult with NWYM at all. So a lot of us are miffed/confused about it, and the decision isn't final. It is being reinvestigated as we speak. You state that you are a liberal, it is frightening to me how quickly you would accept one side without any question, especially when it concerns a marginalized population. That makes me very sad.

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