Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Greenville College Lifestyle Statement

On January 27, 2015 the Greenville College board and other administrators posted an updated version of the Greenville College lifestyle statement under the title of "Community Standards."  At Greenville College, the lifestyle statement has been a document that bound the college together as a community.  However, there has always exsited numerous instances of problematic language, especially concerning gender and sexuality.

Previously, the lifestyle statement only made minimal claims concerning sexuality

"Scripture also prohibits certain behaviors and community members should avoid them. They include backbiting, cheating, dishonesty, drunkenness, gossip, immodesty of dress, lying, occult practices, profanity, sexual promiscuity (including adultery, homosexual behavior, pre-marital sex), theft, and vulgarity (including crude language)." (as of January 27, 2015 https://www.greenville.edu/about/foundational_documents/lifestyle_statement.html)

However, these statements concerning gender and sexuality have been amplified (see under the title Freedom of Purity). 

Growing and Learning Together Lifestyle Statement
Greenville College is a community in the Wesleyan Holiness tradition, affiliated with the Free Methodist denomination, where individuals join together to further their academic achievement, personal development, and spiritual growth. Together we seek to honor Christ by integrating faith and learning while our hearts and lives reflect mature Christian practice. This statement explains the principles and the expectations that help us live together and meet institutional objectives. We acknowledge that it is impossible to create expectations that fully satisfy every member. Nevertheless, certain expectations bring order to community life. When individuals join Greenville College, they freely and willingly choose to take upon themselves the responsibilities outlined in this statement.
Loving God and being accountable to Him are the primary motivations for Christian relationships and behavior.
The Bible is our authority; it provides the essential teachings and principles for personal and community conduct.
God, through the Holy Spirit, places in every believer the inner resources and attributes to minister to others through supportive relationships.
Employees of this community are committed to Christ. Students are either committed to Christ or at least sympathetic with a Christian perspective and desire to achieve a liberal arts education in an evangelical Christian context.
Living in daily fellowship with others is a privilege and an expression of God’s grace.
In recognition of this privilege, we place great value on the quality of relationships in our community. We acknowledge that we live in a fellowship where we depend on and are accountable to one another. The New Testament word for fellowship is
koinonia. It is translated as partaker, communion, communication, contribution, distribution. Members, therefore, are encouraged to seek as many opportunities as possible to demonstrate koinonia.
Within our community the greatest expression of fellowship and the highest principle for relationships is love. As Scripture states:
“We should love one another. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers...let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions as in truth. Since God so loved us, we ought to love one another. Whoever loves God must also love his brothers” (1John 3:11-16, 18; 4:11, 21 NIV).
In order for growth to occur, we have identified the following specific expressions of love among the most desirable in our relationships.
BUILDING UP ONE ANOTHER. Each member of the community is expected to strive consciously to maintain relationships that support, encourage, and help others. “We who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up” (Romans 15:1- 2 NIV).
MAKING ALLOWANCE FOR ONE ANOTHER. We are responsible to support those experiencing grief, discouragement, illness, tragedy, and other personal trials. Expressions of bearing one another’s burdens include comfort, consolation, encouragement, and intercession. Difficulties in relationships can occur because of our humanness. In such cases we are to respond as Scripture states: “...clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another” (Colossians 3:12 NIV).
SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE TO ONE ANOTHER. Speaking the truth to each other in love can strengthen our community. We can often resolve problems of relationships and behavior by constructively confronting one another in the appropriate spirit. If the welfare of the one confronted is paramount and if the confronter acts in love, growth can result. We believe healing broken relationships is necessary for healthy community. “...and He (Christ) has given us the ministry of reconciliation...and He has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:18-19 NIV). We recognize that direct confrontation is not always possible or helpful in some cases, such as raising a matter of harassment, discrimination, assault or other illegal act to College authorities and have reporting policies in place for those situations.
Implementing the above expressions of love in relationships requires sensitivity to others and continual effort. It also requires that we love others as we love ourselves. Relationships of this quality enrich our lives and community, honor God, and assist in meeting the goals of the College.
ATTRIBUTES OF THE HEART. Scripture teaches that certain attributes are available to all individuals through the Holy Spirit. These attributes include “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-24, NIV). This “fruit of the Spirit” is to be sought, nurtured, and demonstrated in our relationships. In contrast to encouraging these positive attributes, Scripture condemns such things as greed, jealousy, pride, lust, needless anger, an unforgiving spirit, harmful discrimination, and prejudice.
PROHIBITED BEHAVIORS. Scripture prohibits certain behaviors and community members should avoid them. They include backbiting, cheating, dishonesty, drunkenness, gossip, immodesty of dress, lying, occult practices, profanity, sexual promiscuity, theft, and vulgarity.
SUBMISSION TO CIVIL AUTHORITY. In keeping with Scriptural admonitions to bring ourselves under the authority of government, members of the Greenville College community are expected to uphold the laws of the local community, the state of Illinois, and the nation, except for those rare occasions in which obedience to the civil authority would require behavior that conflicts with the teaching of Scripture. On such occasions, each individual would submit voluntarily to the civil penalty for his/her behavior. Behavior resulting in civil arrest on or off campus is subject to review within the College’s disciplinary procedures.
Members of the Greenville College community voluntarily commit themselves to the following standards of behavior. This commitment results from the conviction that these standards serve the good of the individual as well as the total community. These standards are not presented as absolutes or as an index of Christian spirituality, but rather as expectations of this community. Because of the importance of trust in and responsibility to one another, violations of these standards are seen as a serious breach of integrity within the community.
FREEDOM TO WORSHIP CHRIST TOGETHER. Corporate worship, prayer, fellowship, and instruction are essential for our community. Therefore students, faculty and administrators are expected to attend chapel. Regular attendance signals a mature response to our community goals.
FREEDOM TO PROTECT HUMAN LIFE. Greenville College believes in the sanctity and dignity of human life, beginning at conception and extending throughout our natural lives.
FREEDOM TO OBSERVE A DAY OF REST. Members of the community are encouraged to observe the Lord’s Day (traditionally Sunday) as a day set apart primarily for worship, fellowship, ministry, and rest. While activities such as recreation may be a part of the day, “business as usual” that relates to College programs and services will not be sanctioned or encouraged except when absolutely necessary.
FREEDOM FROM DESTRUCTIVE WORDS AND ACTIONS. Consideration of others and standards of respect, civility, and good taste are important to Greenville; therefore, all activities should be guided by this principle. Hence, any kind of demeaning gesture, threat of violence, hate language or physical attack directed toward another person will not be tolerated. Vandalism or theft of property is also not acceptable. The pornography industry exploits people, therefore, pornographic materials are not to be used, possessed, or distributed on or away from campus. Gambling (exchange of money or goods by wagering or betting) is an unwise use of God-given resources, and therefore, is not acceptable in any form. Members of the community observe the demands of academic integrity such as honesty and giving credit to sources. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.
FREEDOM FROM SUBSTANCE ABUSE. As Christians we believe that life is full, abundant and free in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we abstain from whatever damages, destroys, or distorts His life in us. Illicit drugs are prime offenders. The abuse of alcohol or use of tobacco products can have equal or greater destructive effects, thus, we encourage abstaining
from the use of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. Consequently, consumption of alcohol or use of tobacco on Greenville College property or at sponsored events is prohibited. While enrolled in Greenville College, traditional undergraduate members of the community will abstain from the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products. Further, all members of the community are to refrain from the use of illegal drugs and substances, or the use of prescription drugs not authorized by a physician.
FREEDOM OF PURITY. We believe certain sexual behaviors, conduct and practices, go against God’s design as articulated in Scripture, and from which a person in this community should naturally abstain. We believe God created male and female with gender at birth, that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that extramarital sex, premarital sex and homosexual intimacy are distortions of God’s created order. In all issues of purity, we have a corporate responsibility to be God’s agents of transformation to persons as they learn to live a Christian life that is wholesome and pure.
Greenville College expects its members to apply scriptural standards of discretion and discernment and to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As individuals and as a community, we must uphold the ideal of purity when choosing whether or not to participate in an activity. Prudence tells us that environments and activities, which diminish one’s moral sensitivity should be avoided.
Compliance with day-to-day policies and procedures of the community is expected from all members. These routine items are listed in the Student Handbook and the Greenville College Catalog for students and the Employee Handbook for faculty, staff and administrative staff.
The intent of this statement is to identify expectations and responsibilities that assist Greenville College to function as a Christian community and to achieve goals as an institution of higher learning. This statement addresses relationships and behavior. These emphases are parallel and vital to the quality of our lives together. The behavior part of the statement includes standards that are specific to the College. These standards are important and must be consistently maintained to assure a proper climate for growing and learning. These standards need to be kept in perspective with the Biblical responsibilities for relationships and behavior.
The book of Colossians provides an appropriate summary of the goals for our community: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom...with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father...” (Colossians 3:12-17 NIV).
As long as you are a member of the Greenville College community, you are responsible for implementing these stated expectations. Your signature on this document attests that you understand and are willing to comply with the expectations and responsibilities.