"The words we exchanged a few moments ago grieve me," said the tall, older gentleman, as we stood in the parking lot of Pat Neff Hall.
He is a retired professor who had befriended me as a newcomer to campus several years ago. Through his gentle attention, we had forged a mutual respect and admiration for one another, and it is a relationship I believe both of us cherish.
A man of great integrity, he is respected by all who know him, and he is deeply and genuinely concerned about the future of Baylor. He had followed me out of the building as I left for an appointment.
"What grieves you about them?" I asked, referring to our brief exchange a few moments before when we had passed each other in the hallway.
"Well," he said, his face sad and troubled, "it seems we're at opposite ends of this thing, and I don't want it to harm our friendship."
There, in a nutshell, is where too many people who love Baylor find themselves these days. There is much to disagree about on this campus -- some of it legitimate, some of it not, it seems to me. But whatever the individual convictions, the great majority who hold them are people in relationship with one another -- some for decades -- and who, as Christians, believe they will be in relationship through eternity. Yet, here we are, as my friend said, "at opposite ends."
"Maybe not," I said to this dear man. "Life is all a continuum, isn't it? An infinite line? So there are no end points. Maybe what seem to be points that are far apart are not if one can only find the larger perspective."
He looked down at me, the two of us standing in the shadow of the courthouse-like rotunda of Pat Neff. With eyes still sad and troubled, he gently put his hand upon my shoulder.
"You're still smiling, still positive," he said to me.
"Well, I don't like the alternative."
And so, we went our separate ways. Nothing resolved, except a mutual resolve to remain friends. But then, that can be quite a lot.
Putting this resolve to the test among friends across campus are several issues: the faculty referendum on Robert B. Sloan Jr.'s presidency, an ongoing debate about academic and religious freedom and perhaps the biggest question of all: Is Baylor in the midst of a religious identity crisis? Read more about each here: