"All people, let alone students you lead and serve, deserve to have a voice in the light"
Dear Dr. Westmoreland,
I would like to discuss the phrase that I have been told too many times to count and that has defined my past year as a student at your school. I have wrestled with this phrase and the underlying idea it represents for a while, though most critically since you announced your decision last month.
It’s just too polarizing.
I agree, it seems like almost every conversation, idea, and person was polarizing to someone in some aspect this year. From the 2016 election to the topic of LGBTQ+ rights on our campus, I am sure you have felt the pressure of this word as much as I have. I know you too have felt a strong need to make peace and bring people together; to ease the polarization present in our community and our society. Moreover, I approve and I agree with your desire to unite Samford students, faculty, administration, alumni, and trustees, and I understand why such intense polarization is difficult and daunting.
I reassure you, however, that the idea of polarization is nothing to be unsettled by. In fact, it is not only natural in a world ruled by sin, but exacerbated by a sinless Savior. The epitome of polarization is the distinction between this life and eternal life. It is what makes Him so, so good in the face of so much sin. To put it simply, Jesus Christ is the most polarizing figure in history, coming to die so we may pull further from temptation and separate ourselves from sin, and he is whom we model our lives after.
I am certain that this simple concept is not revelatory to you, yet I believe it is still important to call attention to. As disciples of the Lord we have the greatest example of how beautiful, redeeming, and graceful polarization is. Thus, I encourage you not to shy away, but to embrace the differences of opinion in our community. I ask you to run toward the tough conversations, the awkward moments, and the constructive disagreements.
I admit I cannot imagine the pressures you face in your position, however, as you told me months ago, “it is always worthwhile to do the right thing.” I believe you know what the right thing to do is. I believe you have the power and persistence to accomplish it. I ask and I urge you to reconsider your decision. All people, let alone students you lead and serve, deserve to have a voice in the light.
A Samford Student