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RC501 — Class 4

Last November, I presented a paper at the annual National Communication Association convention analyzing Bob Jones University’s recent statement on race based on my theory of romantic separation. I argued that rather than a standard apologia, theirs was more a code duello. My paper begins to round-out the dramatistic theory of romance. In fact, all the papers in that panel were a rounding-out of my theory of Burkean romance. 🙂

BJU’s rhetoric is more Lost Cause than we (especially Northern) 21st-century listeners might readily perceive. In their drama, God is not an active participant. He’s not even a goal that we might wish to reach someday. No, He’s he’s simply our pit bull — our vicious, Old-Testament force which will scare people back into shape for the sake of preserving that old patrician hierarchy. In sum, God god is not an actor, not an ultimate idealistic purpose, but simply the frightening and preservationist means for the socially successful.

And just this week, a new text plops into my inbox proving the same drama.

The BJU buzz this week swirled around two stories. One, Jim Berg is making a lateral move from the admin building to the seminary come July with Eric Newton taking his place as Dean of Students. Secondly, Bob Jones University finally sanctions its students to use Facebook — even on campus. The new liberty, however, comes with a set of regulations which I’ve cited below. Do you see the romantic drama that I see? Who’s the Actor in the text? What’s the Act? Where or under what conditions is s/he acting? And why? And how?

Another way of asking that is — where’s God in this? Notice that the reason for all the rules is to benefit Bob Jones University, not Christ or the Church. It all centers around BJU’s reputation and preserving that hierarchy.

Social Media Guidelines

Guidelines for Participating in Social Media

A Christian’s use of social media, like any other form of communication, can reflect positively or negatively on his Christian testimony. The guidelines below are common sense principles that will help a Christian maintain a consistent testimony when communicating with others.

  • Social media are public forums; there are no private social media sites. Post only information that you are comfortable having many people, including potential future employers, read about you.
  • Avoid posting personal information such as your address, phone number, etc., that could make you a target for identity theft.
  • Post worthwhile information that adds value; avoid self-promotion and information of limited interest.
  • Assume personal responsibility for what you post. Make sure it is accurate. Secure permission before citing another person. Respect copyright laws. Do not post proprietary information, including course syllabi, lecture notes or material on course pages. Cite references, and when you do so, acknowledge the source. Keep in mind that you are legally liable for what you post.
  • Identify yourself by your real name and write in the first person. If you identify yourself as a student or faculty/staff member of BJU, be clear that you speak for yourself, not BJU. Keep in mind that what you post will reflect on BJU. As appropriate, add a disclaimer that indicates the content of your site represents your views and does not represent the opinions or positions of BJU.
  • Respect your audience. Avoid abusive, slanderous, complaining, profane, irreligious, blasphemous or tale-bearing speech.
  • Follow biblical principles when posting on your personal site: communications should be edifying.
  • Do not post photos of children or students under 18 without prior parental permission in writing.
  • Take the high ground and avoid picking fights. Do not respond to posts critical of you or the University if posting will prolong discussion. If you post information in error, be the first to correct your mistakes.
  • Delay posting if you are angry or upset about an issue as this is the time when you are most likely to post information you later regret.
  • If you alter a previous post, indicate that you made a modification.

Guidelines for Establishing/Maintaining a BJU Social Media Site

  • BJU departments and pre-college schools wanting a social media site are to provide Internet Marketing with the goal(s) for the site, a brief three to six-month plan for how the site will be used and who will post and monitor information. Internet Marketing will launch the site, secure the handle and turn over the site to the existing department. This procedure will ensure there is a record of all “official” sites and that site names are appropriate and consistent. BJU Press departments should direct requests to Interactive Marketing.
  • Official sites require time and people resources. In conjunction with setting goals, establish metrics for your site to continually measure its effectiveness. Keep in mind that effectiveness is not always measured by number of followers.
  • Student groups such as the Collegian, UBA, etc., are free to establish sites as long as the faculty advisor monitors the site.
  • Understand that a department site will bring negative and positive feedback; value the negative feedback and use it to improve as appropriate.
  • Provide timely responses.
  • In speaking on behalf of the University, be familiar with FERPA regulations and avoid disclosing personal information about a student.
  • Avoid articulating positions contrary to the public position of BJU.
  • Avoid using an official BJU site to endorse a cause, product or political candidate.
  • Keep in mind that you may see student posts that reveal questionable activity or activity contrary to BJU student policies. Use this as an opportunity for dirtyhanded discipleship.
  • Faculty and staff should limit access to personal sites during work hours to interactions with students.
  • When posting photos, ensure people in the photos meet the dress code for the activity involved. Do not post photos of children or students under 18 without prior parental approval in writing.
  • If a question arises you cannot answer, do not try to answer it. Find the appropriate person who can answer.
  • Follow the University’s general guidelines for participating in social media.

16 thoughts on “RC501 — Class 4

  1. One off-topic observation: “precollege schools wanting a social media site”……. Has the dinosaur finally moved a bit? I know of several teachers in the junior high and high school who desperately wanted their own websites as teachers of a particular subject. It was expressly forbidden for them to do it!!!!! Does this give leave for the Academy/ Jr. High to move a bit into the 21st century? The resources and make up help that my children’s teachers are able to provide via the convenience of the internet is amazing. Imagine forbidding a resourceful teacher from using this? But….I am probably making an assumption here though; it does say “precollege schools,” not “classes” so we will see what this may mean, if anything, for the very, very, archaic, obsolete Bob Jones Academy.

    Anybody bristle at all at the “dirtyhanded discipleship” terminology? I think I know what they might be trying to say, but that’s a condescending way to put it. I guess they mean actually speak to someone about what they’re doing instead of anonymously tattling.

  2. Given the consistent inoculation and sanitization metaphors, the idea of “dirty-handed discipleship” takes on a very different meaning than what you’d hear outside of fundamentalism.

    If the sin/dirt is “out there,” you have to be careful!

  3. If you google the phrase, this blog post is the first link. 😀 So that doesn’t help much.

    They are trying to say that you need to get involved with people face-to-face and hand-to-hand and heart-to-heart. That’s what they are trying to say.

  4. What’s amazing (amusing) to me is how BJU’s spice-and-cumin approach to religion comes shining through in something as mundane as a policy statement like this.

    You can’t teach an old fundy new tricks.

  5. “Dirtyhanded discipleship” sounds like it’s just an extension of their on-campus policy of a police state. Everyone is obliged to inform on anyone they might see doing something “wrong.” Turning someone in for demerits is NOT discipleship in any way!

  6. Ha ha! Okay, I think I get it. For dirtyhanded discipleship you talk to them first and then turn them in. Yeah, right.

  7. I think the biggest problem I have with BJUs policy and apparent focus is summed up in their use of the word _*testimony*_. Most of the policies seem to have NOTHING to do with spiritual growth or personal sanctification, but rather they are focused on preserving an allusion of some kind of “perfection” or “near perfection.” This is also what has infected many churches in the BJ sphere of influence, so that protectionism (of family and church) is next to Godliness.

  8. Yes, Ethan. I’m pretty sure I don’t even know what testimony really is thanks to all they ways the meaning was perverted while I was associated with BJ. After having some some problems with personnel at BJ who just simply would not do their jobs and take care of a relatively simple matter, I was told never to speak of it again because of the “testimony” of the Lord Jesus Christ? Hello???? Jesus is doing just fine, thank you. The problem is that these people didn’t want to make anything right and wanted me to shut up about it while they hurt me in Jesus’ name. And I was told to “never speak of this again” because of “testimony.” (What if people found out what BJ (God) had done?) If they were so concerned about “testimony” they could have done right themselves in the first place.

    The Dean of Men is on record as saying that it would hurt his “testimony” if he ever let it be known that he struggles with sin. It would discourage the students to know that he still has struggles? Huh? Hello? So, he’s reached sinless perfection? I guess so.

    I felt sorry for all the BJ people at the church I attended in Greenville. They all had to pretend like they were perfect. You know, testimony and all that……… And not the testimony of Jesus Christ, I’m sure….since they know precious little about the real Jesus…but the testimony of the all consuming, encompassing, totally right institution of Bob Jones University.

  9. You know, now that I think about it “testimony” was the only excuse I ever hear from anyone on the whole interracial dating policies, and facial hair and . . . well most of the weird issues of the bubble world.

    You know the body of Christ is not functioning right when “testimony” is more important than the lives of fellow members of the body and the lost around them. Christ said that the the world will know that you are my disciples because you have L O V E for one another. No because of your spotless testimony.

    We fail to utilize one of the biggest benefits of the body when we hide our problems and try to appear perfect. Accountability can only be real when we are encouraged to be transparent and lifted up when we fail; not ground down into the mire and told to clean ourselves up before returning to the table. Christ does the cleaning when we repent (say the same thing as God and turn away from the sins).

    How many hidden sins plague the church that practice this and how many churches are crushed by the failure of leadership because of a lack of openness with fellow believers. Teens need to hear their deacons say things like “Yes, I struggle with that too, it is very hard and I must daily claim the help of the Christ and his Spirit, and there are even sometimes that I fail and I have to get back up and repent and keep going.” I NEVER heard a deacon or any man in my church growing up say anything like that and it was so discouraging to me. It wasn’t until I was 24 that I ever had a man in church admit any kind of real sin to me. What a sad commentary on the state of some churches. I find the whole mess discouraging and pray for grow for these fellow believers.

  10. It’s an honesty and integrity issue. Completely disingenuous to posture to young students that the Christian walk is formulaic. Do right = God’s blessing. Then the inverse of course is problems = you are not doing right. My family had problems while we were at BJ (in no small part BECAUSE of BJs negligence). I was disrespected, beaten up, kicked down, mistreated, and abused. And I heard the underlying message that it was perfectly okay for them to treat me like this since obviously God is trying to teach me something. We weren’t enjoying God’s blessing no doubt because of some sin in our lives. So they certainly couldn’t help us since God wanted us to suffer. And they couldn’t make anything right about their wrongs……..I think I will write a book one day. Or one day become as courageous as Camille to blog about our unbelievable story. Sadly I watched all my friends distance themselves from me. They had to hold on to their way of life and not champion my cause even though privately they wished that they could. One dear friend even went so far as to tell me not to mention her name on anything she had confided in me. Of course I wouldn’t have anyway. It was just the hard knowledge that no one would say anything to the administration about wrongs lest it would make them look bad. And if I could do it over again, I suppose I wouldn’t have either. That aspect of the ordeal has caused PTSD symptoms of which I suffer from still today. Thank you Camille for loaning this space. There is some healing in talking about it. There is some comfort in knowing others have had similar experiences. Ooops, I’ll be quiet now. I’m not using my real name like the BJ rules state ….. 😉

  11. Why are you so bitter and combative? Take a step back…maybe two..lol. I went there, did that, and thank God I’ve moved on….



    1. Jason —

      Why are you so uninformed and flippant? Read a post…maybe two. lol. I spent 20 years of life in devoted service there, did that, and thank God I’ll never forget what He redeemed from.


  12. The dirty handed discipleship was proceeded by “questionable activity.” That is the bigger problem. This comes down to what is “questionable activity”, which they leave so open ended as to include anything within your discretion. “This person posted a link of Piper, and I think Piper is questionable, therefore, I should disciple this student.” Or “This student posted something I disagree with, I find that questionable, therefore, I should disciple this student.” How absurd.

    But the one I find the most disturbing is “Avoid articulating positions contrary to the public position of BJU.” Yes and while you are at it can you control every other aspect of my life as well. I’ll just sit here while you spoon feed me every aspect of my life. Thanks but no thanks.

    Thanks for posting.

    1. timf, I know this is almost two years after the post first posted. But timf, your’s has to be the WINNER response. Ha!
      Testimony = anything YOU do to affect MY reputation ( praise God ). TRANSLATION: BJU REQUIRES EVERYBODY NOT IN administration, to Do whatever they possibly CAN do, to help assisting in pumping up the over-inflated Egos of BJ and all his administration goons, and ‘make them look good, feel good, think good, ABOUT THEMSELVES, because this is the only way they know how to exist, in an artificial, stranger than fiction version of fundamentalist reality. “And while non admin people are at it, while at BJU, please remember to always paint BJU in the best light possible. Because we can’t have anybody thinking we’re less than perfect!” The whole world knows how crazy they are, yet, they still believe that their reputation must be protected. ‘What’ reputation? They lost it over fifty years ago! Isn’t spiritual blindness and denial unbelievable? these people really do not believe that thy have a problem! “What fellowship hath light with darkness?” Can they possibly get any worse than they are right now? I doUbt it!

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