Monday, March 29, 2010

The Controversy at Goshen College

There is much being made in Mennonite circles about Goshen College allowing the national anthem to be played at sports events. It is thought that Mennonites are separate from nationalism, representatives of the Kingdom of God, and to play the national anthem is a display of worshiping the false idol of patriotism.

From my perspective, Goshen College has been a compromised institution from the beginning. Not because they have as many conservative evangelical students as Mennonites-- that's great. No, the Mennonite colleges are simply one sign of many that Mennonites are not "representatives of God's Kingdom", but simple Americans, acting in a usual American way.

In general, Mennonites are very partisan in their politics, being pretty easily divided along party lines. Jesus isn't partisan, but shows a new way of looking at all of politics.

The colleges aren't focused on the poor, as Jesus would be. How many scholarships are there for people who couldn't afford to go there otherwise? How many homeless or poor single mothers do they house in their many rooms? Who do they assist other than the cultural core of the upper middle class they focus on?

The colleges are a part of a semi-capitalistic system, where value is measured by money and position which is given to the education and popular, rather than in the kingdom of God where value is measured by the praise of humility and service.

The education that is given, for the most part, is the standard education given to Americans with a few classes concerning Mennonite distinctives. However, should the kingdom of God be in charge of education, almost everything would be distinctive-- there would be classes on alternative economics, classes on being poor as well as helping the poor, classes on the practice of devotion, classes on the surrender of power for another's good.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not going to get all up in arms about a song being played. I suppose it's a proper symbol of what has been happening all along.

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