As far as we know, never before has Soulforce returned to a school once it had moved on and never before has Soulforce gone en masse into a chapel uninvited. I was on the program and we were going to debrief students on yesterday's experience, but Soulforce's actions thwarted us.
Vice President for Student Development Tom Emigh spoke to the chapel audience at about 9:10 am, telling them what was happening and why Soulforce was not permitted to be in chapel. At 9:25 am we cancelled chapel because of Soulforce’s disruption. At about the same time, the Soulforce riders began filing out of their own accord, knowing that they had probably pushed the limit of time available before the Grand Rapids Police Department arrived and possibly arrested all of them. It was a $100 fine yesterday and would have been, I was told, a $500 fine today.
A Soulforce leader said they “just came to worship,” but their actions belie their words:
-- They could have come in street clothes and attempted to blend with our students. Instead most riders arrived in gray Soulforce logo jackets.
-- They sat together for a more visible impact.
-- They had a video camera person staged inside Mol Arena and two still cameras outside.
After exiting the Hansen Athletic Center, all but two Soulforce riders walked off campus to the Leonard Avenue sidewalk. Two riders walked with two or three of our students to the campus bookstore and were stopped by police officers on their way back. Their names were taken and, since they were with our students—making the legal lines hazier—and since they agreed to leave, the police did not arrest them.
I was asked by the press, “Some might say you made your point yesterday when two people were arrested. Why not just let them alone today?”
I answered, “I understand the compassion or the desire to be hospitable that lies behind that view, but there’s another principle at stake here. If any organization can at anytime come to our campus and involve itself uninvited in any program or event, than we don’t have control over our own programs or property. Our liberty is being violated. That’s true for you as a homeowner and its true for every corporation and organization in this town. Soulforce’s actions are ethically and legally questionable.”
I don’t know if they will come back to CU again, but we're about "Soulforced out." It's time to move on.
Yesterday's coverage and off campus response to what we are doing was and is very favorable. We are grateful for people's letters, calls, and notes of support and for their sustaining prayers.
Sadly, the texts I had chosen to reference today in chapel were Matthew 7:3-5 and Luke 6:41-42. This is the parable warning us not to get carried away judging the "speck" in someone else's eye while we ignore a "plank" in our own eye. My point was going to be that, "Yes, Soulforce riders have embraced the 'speck' of alternative sexuality and this is immoral, and we should continue to pray for them. Meanwhile, we must not forget the "plank of sins (other kinds, perhaps, but still sin) in our own eyes."
We cannot speak for or control others' choices, but we can commit our own to the Lord.
I think this biblical teaching reminds us to beware self-righeousness even as it points us back to fixing our eyes on Jesus. I wish I could have shared this truth.
Thank you to so many who have prayed and are praying for CU. We want to glorify him.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2007
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