Open Mike: Shane Claiborne

At TeamPyro, Phil linked to this story about Cedarville University, and also to this story from Christianity Today about Shane Claiborne getting called off because of "some bloggers" objecting to Claiborne's lecturing (or whatever it is that Emergents do, since I am sure they wouldn't commit that level of rhetorical violence against their fellow humans).

I'm interested in this quote from Claiborne about the goings-on:
aiborne said he was "disappointed that the institution itself at Cedarville was not secure enough to stand up to these vigilante voices."

He also said he wanted to talk to his critics. "Unfortunately, it's difficult to communicate with folks who will not talk to you, who only talk around you, as in this case," he said. "There's too much constructive work to do for the kingdom for us to spend our energies constantly reacting to every destructive voice, especially those who do not honor Jesus' admonition to speak directly to one another in love (Matthew 18)."
And before we unleash the hounds here, let me say a few things.

First of all, I admit that I do not know or understand what is going on at Cedarville, and in some ways I don't really care. I'm not an alum, I'm not a donor, and those who are ought to take an active (not passive) role in being part of the trajectory of that university and its objectives as an educational institution. The rest of us don't have a stake in it.

I mean: they're not a church, right? They're a private university with a Christian heritage -- a hertitage, btw, which is not very well-defined by their website. Their site paints them broadly as a place where Christian social action takes place or is advocated, but for example I couldn't find a direct link to the history of the university which would spell out its ties to a specific church or denomination or confessional statement. So in not being a church, we don't have a stake in its goings-on.

Now, what do I mean by that? Should we not comment at all? No -- I'm blogging about it, folks: I think thinking about it and commenting on it are totally-valid ways to spend a few hours. What I think is a little randy is for people who never attended the University, and don't have any direct ties to the University, to start campaigning for or against some perceived threat to the University.

You know: they have a board of trustees; they are over seen by multiple academic certification organizations. If they are doing wrong, the truth will out.

Which brings us back to Shane Claiborne. His complaint, as I read it, is that "vigilantes" stopped him from speaking at CU and that the worst reason for this is that "it's difficult to communicate with folks who will not talk to you, who only talk around you, as in this case." And the most-keen of you will, of course, recognize his "Like Ministry" plea against making his own case with them or against them.

My opinion is that it's wrong to call these folks "vigilantes". "Busy-bodies"? Yes -- that seems good. "Babblers whose talk will spread like gangrene"? I've heard that one before someplace, and it seems a little, um, dramatic, but OK -- that one might cut both ways here. But factually I can tell you that if Ingrid is one of the culprits who drove off Claiborne, I am certain she is willing to openly discuss any issue she is complaining about.

And that said, I'm opening the meta here for a discussion of what just happened at CU and what the problem is with "watch-bloggers".

Go get it.