Dear Men Who Run Bob Jones University:

Hi, guys! You don’t know me, but I’m … well, a blogger.

I was blogging about you just yesterday! (See Waiting for Bob Jones’ Huge Gay Bomb to Drop—which, I know, is an obnoxious post title. Sorry about that. I was just having a little fun. And if there’s one thing I know you guys enjoy, it’s having fun! But not too much fun, right? Ha ha ha!)

When I heard last week that in each of your morning chapel services this week you’d be delivering sermons on homosexuality, I was so excited I just about bobbled my whole donut straight into my coffee! After all, the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity is one hot topic these days. But look who I’m telling! BJU is only the premier Christian fundamentalist college in the U.S.A. today. Who better to speak on this topic than you?

You have the attention of so many Christians! You’re an authority on Christianity! Uncountable numbers of Christians really care what BJU has to say on this vital matter.

So that’s why I wanted to let you guys know that something has gone wrong with your uploading of the audio file of yesterday’s chapel sermon. I know, right? Technology! Who can understand it? Besides you guys, I mean. Because I know that within an hour or so of every single one of your daily chapel services, you never fail to post to this page the audio from that morning’s service.

But here it is, a whole day and a half after yesterday’s chapel time, and still no audio file of that sermon!

So I just wanted to let you know that a lot of people are out here, eagerly waiting to hear what you said yesterday about gay people.

Oh, gosh, look at the time!

I see that we’re now waiting to hear what you’ve said twice about gay people and the Bible!

Clearly, someone in your organization has goofed. And we’re sure a mistake is all it is. It’s not like you wouldn’t want the world to know exactly what you’re telling some 3,500 young people about homosexuality, right? Of course you would! And of course you’d want all the parents of your wards to know what you’re saying to them about such a sensitive and important topic, right? Of course right! You’re proud Christians, proud of what you’re saying! As the Bible tells us (fancy me, telling you what the Bible says!):

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. — Matthew 5: 24-16

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.— John 3:20-21

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. — 1 Peter 2:12

But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him. — John 11:10

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. — 1 John 1:5-6

Follow-up post: Remember Christ’s “The truth shall set you free?”, Bob Jones University?

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Richard W. Fitch

    Perhaps the audio tech was Raptured and all his tools and works went with him.

    • Kathryn F.

      Really? Sardonically making up a worst case situation and rape is the first thing you blurt out? Nice.

      • Matt

        I actually think that Richard meant “raptured.” Hence the ending about tools and works going with the tech. Of course, comments are editable now, so we’ll see if my instincts are correct.

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          I think he meant that too; I’ll bet he was iPhoning it. I’ll go change the word to raptured.

          • Jill

            Hey John! Did you know you were Mod!

            (I know it means moderator, but it looks groovy.)

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            Yeah, baby–YEAH!

          • Richard W. Fitch

            I only own a dumb phone and laptop computer plus a very dim view of BJU.

      • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

        Fitch knows his stuff. Chill.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Droids are also notorious for taking what you meant to say and turning it into something idiotic

  • Jeffrey Hoffman

    Weird, isn’t it? I mean, there are kids in that college who aren’t even 18 yet. You’d think BJU would want their parents to know what they are saying to them about such a sensitive and important topic, wouldn’t you? Especially if they’re changing course, as they kinda/sorta indicated in last week’s announcement…

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      You know, you raise a superb point about the parents. I’m going to go work that into the piece somewhere. Great job, Jeffrey. Thanks.

      • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

        Okay, I worked it in. It’s great; thanks again. (I tried to say something like, “As a friend of mine was just saying … “, but, timing-wise, I couldn’t make it work in the little bit of time I had to mess with it before having to cut out for awhile. But this works very nicely to make the wonderful point you did. Thanks again.)

      • FormerFundy1992

        Those who spent their formative years in the BJ system had very little understanding of the terms being used in these “sermons.” In 4th grade I was going to marry the boy who sat next to me in class. Had no clue it was “wrong” – didn’t dawn on me. And no one seemed to be willing to “correct” the thought process. In 6th grade, there was a chapel discussing “gay” people. They could have been talking about circus performers as far as I was concerned…had no clue. It was probably my freshman year in high school when the light bulb went on what “gay” and “homosexual” mean and it was then I realized that I had been hearing people rail against ME. I was scared. I was a sophomore in college before I knew what a condom is and why all the student body was laughing at the “Trojan” mascot of one of the boy’s societies.

  • Matt

    Man, when you get going, John, there is nothing more satisfying.

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      Right? He’s like Taming of the Shrew on steroids.

  • Julie

    John, you crack me up! Love how your tongue is planted firmly in your cheek :)

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Me, too! Except I keep chomping the crap out my tongue. It’s awful. But in the end I think it might help me with that dieting I’ve been meaning to get around to doing ….

  • Gordon

    Snark perfected!! Hilarious. They are not going to publicize these messages, are they? Cowards.

    • Gordon

      I like this new site, by the way. I actually clicked on a Williams Sonoma ad yesterday and bought a wedding gift for my nephew, which I have been procrastinating on for almost 4 months! Family harmony restored! All because of you.

      • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

        NICE! That’s really great. Thanks for … saying that Gordon.

        • Gordon

          I’m totally serious. You seemed a little reticent or maybe even a little embarrassed about the ads when you announced this switch. Don’t be! This is both your livelihood as well as Patheos’s business. This is the Internet. We know what to do. And I got a very nice thank-you note from my nephew and his wife!
          Good luck here!

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            Well, I mean … blogging is a long, long way from anything vaguely resembling a living; I seriously think I made more as a paperboy 40 years ago than I make now blogging. But I do appreciate your sentiment here, very much. Thank you.

  • Bernie Keefe

    And here I thought I was the Sultan of Sarcasm, I can’t hold a candle to you.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      That’s kind of you to say. Sometimes it’s just .. a nicer tack, really, to take.

      Sometimes it’s less nice:

      An open letter to Exodus Internationals’s super-remorseful Alan Chambers

      • Bernie Keefe

        PS. Anything on this morning’s sermon?

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          I’ve heard they’re not going to make any of this week’s sermon’s public.

          • anakinmcfly

            Surely there were at least some students who took notes and are willing to share?

  • Richard W. Fitch

    rape (v.) late 14c., “seize prey; abduct, take by force,” from rape (n.) and from Anglo-French raper (Old French rapir) “to seize, abduct,” a legal term, probably from past participle of Latin rapere “seize, carry off by force, abduct” (see rapid).

    Latin rapere was used for “sexually violate,” but only very rarely; the usual Latin word being stuprare “to defile, ravish, violate,” related to stuprum (n.), literally “disgrace.” Meaning “to abduct (a woman), ravish;” also “seduce (a man)” is from early 15c. in English. Related: Raped; raping. Uncertain connection to Low German and Dutch rapen in the same sense.When capitalized as “Rape” associated with a certain ideological or doctrinal concept of removal of humans from the earthly realm.

    • Matt

      Right, but surely you would be aware of the modern connotations of the word? Being aware of your audience would I think take precedence over complex etymology when communicating.

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      See, I was OK with the original ‘rape’ metaphor. It’s what BJU is doing to its students’ minds. Basically. They need to lay down and take it until they graduate. Then they have a degree everyone in the 21st Century laughs at. It’s awful. As I said elsewhere, though, we all make sacrifices for higher education. BJU is better than WTF Community College.

      • Becky Wiren

        Actually, studies here in Ohio show that college students who attend a 2 yr community college do just as well as juniors and seniors finishing in a 4 yr school, as those who go to 4 yr colleges from the start.

        • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

          Cool! My mom attended a Baptist two-year college in Indiana before transferring to Northwestern. She taught community college for many years in addition to high school. I meant no disrespect.

          • Becky Wiren

            You’re good! I know what you were trying to say. :)

  • Karen Unrue

    bloody brilliant of you John – letting them know, using the very scriptures they claim are the” infallible word of God” that if they are hiding their sermons in the light then they clearly have something to hide

  • Matt Gibbons

    Amen!
    And of course it is so easy to see your response as brilliant.
    But the whole point for all of us is to discern and walk in the light of our soul.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Don’t think anyone would argue with that …

    • disqus_OFY6btKBW4

      Ya think we don’t? But generations of kids got discouraged, confused, hurt; abused, and, apparently the nonsense continues, in the name of Christ. Calling it what it is — our imperative . . .

  • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

    I’m just incredulous that they aren’t releasing the audio/video of the this. WHY? What do they have to hide? If they want to stand up for the truth…then STAND UP FOR THE TRUTH! Tell us what you think and believe and why you think and believe it. Think we’ll misconstrue and misinterpret and misquote? Then make all of the audio available so we CAN’T take things out of context, so we DON’T just guess at what you’re saying to your students.

    When I was at Wheaton — hardly a bastion of liberalism — BJU was the brunt of many a joke about their out-of-touch fundamentalism. Sadly, it seems that some things never change. When will they realize that Christianity isn’t about close-minded insularity? …it’s about open hearts and minds, it’s about open arms, it’s about love and inclusion and acceptance.

    • FormerFundy1992

      LOL… when I was at BJ, we were sad for Wheaton and their students because they have lost the true religion and are among those being discussed in the passage… “not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter heaven.” oh, and Wheaton was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      • Jaclyn Marie

        I second this. While at BJU from 2002-2004, we were always hearing of how far away Wheaton has strayed from God. Something about dancing? Or cigarettes? Downright shameful. :-x

  • Jenni Frencham

    Something I didn’t think to add earlier – there are junior and senior high school students who also attend the university chapels. The students of Bob Jones Academy are required to be in chapel just like the university students are. If the parents of a 17-year old would want to know what their kid is hearing, think about the parents of a 12-year old.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      WHAT? That’s … beyond. Lemme see if I can figure out a way to link to this comment from within the post.

      • Jenni Frencham

        I used to be a row monitor there, and I remember receiving a Valentine’s Day card from the junior high student in my row. Also, I had to write him up for chewing gum in chapel, but whatever. So, yes, there are many minors in the audience.

        • herewegokids

          Jr. High and up. I was one.

        • disqus_OFY6btKBW4

          Got written up for throwing a BJU pamphlet into the trash. Called into the Dean because my bangs were too long . . . It all works against them, poor them. What a waste. Turned us into great humanitarians!

    • Julie

      Of course any parent who sends their child to BJA would likely be in lock step with the view of homosexuality being espoused at these “Chapels.” Makes my heart sad to know that these impressionable teens are being taught such overt hatred. Even more sad for those sitting there who are gay and end up despising themselves as a result of this putrid bile that’s passed off as truth. Shame.

      • FormerFundy1992

        Actually not always… often kids are sent to the primary and secondary schools as a form of “reform” school with no thought given to the religious beliefs and beliefs that have been invented. Its strict with the discipline and there is high hope that the rotten apple will suddenly become fresh again…. Lemme give you a science lesson on what happens when you put only one rotten apple in the bin with all good apples………

  • Jen McClung

    bjunews.com just posted they would not be broadcasting those sermons…….

    • AnnieOly

      It looks like they have links to the bootlegged audio files bju wouldn’t post, too! :-)

      • disqus_OFY6btKBW4

        well, of course. How much time gets wasted working around their silliness.

  • buzzdixon

    Obviously the gays are on double secret probation at BJU.

  • disqus_OFY6btKBW4

    Well, perhaps the Real Men who own/run BJU are preoccupied doing something Even More Exciting than posting “sermons” on the Gay Issue, like searching out Real Saints to award honorary doctorates to at Graduation this spring as they did when I was a student in the sixties, — when they gave doctorates to George Wallace; Ian Paisley. Yep. Yesiree. They have this little problem regarding Human Rights. Anyone’s rights, let alone Gay Rights. Women’s Rights. Civil Rights. But, they do seem to love attention. . . secrecy. Just kind of never can get over that the South lost the war? It really isn’t about theology. Sad and embarrassing. And damaging.


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