Since I've graduated from Vanguard. A lot has happened since then: I have lived in Portland & Missouri, I got married and I even received my Masters last year. I've experienced the pain of losing someone close to me & the joy of a renewed relationship. I have watched my husband as he has gone through major health & job issues. I have changed a lot. I'm not the only one that has had a great deal of change happen in my life since then.
Looking at some of the students I went to Vanguard with, I see a great change too. Everyone I knew was secretly gay has come out. Everyone who drank, did drugs or was sexually active secretly does so in full force now. Everyone I knew who was secretly doubting their faith has primarily abandoned it now.
A Christian school should not have so many of these cases- right? Here is the reason Vanguard did- secrecy.
Vanguard had a Student Conduct Committee that drew very similar parallels to that if the Salem Witch Trials. If you were breaking contract & decided to come clean, you were forced into a "care" program, forced to resign & forced to name your accomplices so you wouldn't get into further trouble. You would have to sign a contract stating you would not do it again & would be legally bound by this.
What this process taught students was to keep it a secret if they struggled with anything opposed to the VU contract. I was outspoken about my problems with this process as a student & four years later I am even more outspoken about it now.
What would it have looked like if there was no punishment, contract etc if you were gay, questioned your faith or were partying while at Vanguard? What if these issues weren't secretly sought after, but instead addressed in truth & love (vs a stigma)? What if students were not punished, but were able to openly be themselves while mentors brought & encouraged them with the truth if the Bible.
We don't force legalistic rules on people outside of our communities, so why inside? Why not say " you struggle with this- I'm not going to treat you any differently, but I am going to tell you about the truth in love. I am going to pray for you. I am going to let you be yourself & I'm going to let you make your own choice."
One of the most beautiful things about God is He doesn't force us to follow His rules- it's a choice. If these students were given a choice instead of legalism jeopardizing their stay at VU, I bet they all wouldn't be so turned off by Christianity.
God- speak to the hearts of these people. Let them know You are not legalistic. Let them know You love them as they are. Let them know You want them to be Your children- to come to you first & You will be the one who makes them clean, who will help them their struggles. Amen.