I met with the chaplain at MIT today, who is also a brother within the Church of Christ. We had coffee and spoke for a bit in his office. He invited Janette and I to attend Brookline Church of Christ with his family come Easter Sunday, which we will do. We spoke about my academic work and teaching, as well as his work. Family. Discomforts of New England culture and his sense that I might feel isolated in this world — when many here are not like me. And I agree with his assessment. The books he gave me as I left his office captured me. I have been reading since. I have come to a number of conclusions about the Church of Christ as a faith-based community.
1) Too many folks worship the Bible and not God. That is clear in how many but not all engage in community work. Many within the “denomination” have turned Alexander Campbell and his influence into a Lutheran like messiah. Many do not realize that they are operating under Campbell’s scientific interpretation of the New Testament — not the actual New Testament. Campbell said it and folks have followed it as gospel. Hence – it was part of the historical race issues of past in the CoC.
2) Church of Christ schools and institutions cannot continue to exist the way they do. With an emerging demographic of LGBTQ folks and millennial allies for social justice, the traditional school might look a certain way for a bit longer — but the makeup and operation of students will be different. Yes — your next roommate at Harding might and will probably be a devout Christ loving gay Christian.
3) As a now outsider to the Church of Christ world, I must use my love for others and leadership to help the establishment see its many weaknesses. This I am willing to do; it might require a compromise on my part, but I am sure I can to some extent.
4) I must help such institutions change through my scholarship. In many cases, joining other scholars with more knowledge as we write and publish in a fashion that will be readable to a mass audience.