Vandy vs. The Street Preacher

Ah yes, the good old Vanderbilt days.  Though it has been so long since I have seen my Alma Mater, only a brief glimpse brings back all the memories.  But alas, this is what I see, from foot ball Saturday this past weekend:  (You only need to watch a minute or two of this video to get the point.)

(Oh boo they took the video down!!!  Well imagine man and woman drive around Vandy on Football saturday.  They make observations about all the drunkards and frat parties and inappropriate outfits.  And then they start speaking on a PA system to the frats.  The message is repent, for drunkards do not enter the kingdom of God.  They argue with some students and eventually the police kick them off campus.)

Today, I am going to be teaching Malagasy young people the book of first Thessalonians.  It ends with some advice.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil. -1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

My gut reaction is to hide in embarrassment from Mr. and Mrs.  I do not like their methods.  But in light of the preceding verse, perhaps it might to be wise to not “despise” their words outright.  Do they speak any truth?

Let’s just be honest.  The observations made in this video are quite accurate, if not slightly understated.  Would many of the students walking the streets answer, “Christian” if asked their religion?  Yes, although that number is probably getting smaller and smaller.  Are the parties full of drunkenness?  Ha, let’s not ask the obvious—next question.  Will there be a plentitude of sexual immorality as a result of all the partying?  We students all know the answer is yes.  How many abortions does that result in each year at Vandy?  God only knows.  Should parents be more concerned about the spiritual well being of their children who they send off to a University.  I would say so.  Is repentance a beautiful, God given gift?  Absolutely.  Shame on us for ruining that word.

Other than the form their preaching  takes, I would say that the people in the car have it all right.  One might argue, “They don’t know Vanderbilt!  How can they presume to drive through and judge everyone?”  But truthfully, are we that diffucult to judge?  It isn’t as though the shirtless gentlemen on ΣΧ’s front lawn are sending cryptic messages about their lifestyles.  We’re allowed to judge a tree by its fruit, we’re just not allowed to by hypocrites.  It is mistaken and confused to equate making a judgement with being a hypocrite.

I know that there are born-again Christians at Vanderbilt.  I would hope so, since I’m counting on the fact that I was one of them.  But I also know that past generations of Christians would be appalled at our behavior at Vandy.  And I know that Christians outside the West and outside the “Vandy-bubble” would be appalled at our behavior.  Why were we so ok with it?  Not that we approved.  But it was just kind of the norm.   A part of me wonders why I was not more appalled while I was there.  All of the drunken stupidity seemed like more of a joke than anything in the midst of it all.  Why were we so proud to blend in so well—to conform in every way except to outright sins?  The video is titled “Caring for the Lost at Vanderbilt.”  How much did we really care?

At one point in the video, the woman yells at the students to wake up.  Perhaps she is right.  Perhaps everyone at Vandy, born-again or otherwise, does need a wake up call.

Mr. StreetPreacher, please observe, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” (Matthew 7:6).  It is no fun to watch the gospel get spat and stomped upon.

Vandy, please observe everything else in the Bible.  God will not be mocked.  Repenting would be a wise idea.


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