Saturday, January 21, 2006
Catholic convert fired from Wheaton
I guess this happened sometime last year, but the Wall Street Journal just had an article about Wheaton Philosophy Professor Joshua Hochschild who converted to Catholicism and was subsequently fired from Wheaton College. You can read the text of that article at this blog. Apparently Hochschild was hired to teach Medieval Catholic Philosophy (e.g. Thomas Aquinas), and must have gotten a little too close to his subject matter. (I guess it's okay to learn from Catholics as long as we don't agree with them too much?)

Given what I know about the attitudes and past actions of the Wheaton administration, I can't that I'm surprised, though it does sadden and frustrate me. One of the richest aspects of my own Wheaton experience was the ability to learn from other Christians from all different faith backgrounds and denominational traditions. It's disappointing to me that the administration at Wheaton feels it necessary to define themselves in such a way as to exclude the possibility of learning from Catholics. It's sad that some evangelicals feel that welcoming Catholics as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is still out of bounds.

One part of this story that connects with me most personally is the fact that Dr. Hochschild told President Litfin that he was still completely willing to affirm the College's Statement of Faith. As it turned out, there were a whole set of unwritten requirements that were expected of him as well, that apparently (according to Litfin) he couldn't live up to as a Roman Catholic. This hits home since the same thing happened to me at our former church. I was in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith at Evangel, but as it turned out, there were expectations for agreement on lots of unspoken areas of belief as well. What makes the College's actions in this whole thing even more irritating is that rather than having the integrity to abide by their official requirements, instead Litfin suggested that maybe they should just rewrite their Statement of Faith to be even more specific in its exclusion of Catholics. I just don't understand why he thinks that what the church really needs in this day and age is more division, more exclusivity, more "us vs. them" behavior.

Well, anyway, I wish Dr. Hochschild the best as he moves on to greener pastures, and I guess it's just one more reason for me not to contribute to the College's alumni fund.


posted by Mike Clawson at 11:07 PM | Permalink |


At 1/23/2006 09:45:00 AM, Blogger Matt Cav

thats complete bull


At 1/23/2006 08:14:00 PM, Blogger Dan H.

My son had his heart set on attending Wheaton. We attended a college fair in Indianapolis last year and approached the Wheaton table. The lady asked what his SAT score was adn if he was valedictorian of his class... after he answered she said there was really no reason for him to even apply because he would never get in to Wheaton. She said he needed to be perfect. He was crushed. Even if he couldn't get in, there is a better way of breaking it to someone.

I wrote the school and they assured me that was not the case - they had had an alumnus working that college fair, rather than a school employee. Nice try... but if that's the kind of alumni Wheaton has... no thanks.

Glad to see not all of them think they are better than the rest of the world. :)


At 1/23/2006 11:16:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

I'm sorry your son had that experience. Frankly, one of the things that I didn't like about Wheaton is that they (students and faculty/administration/alumni) tend to take themselves way too seriously. I don't know how many times as a Freshman I was reminded that I was one of the "best of the best" among Christian college students just by virtue of being at Wheaton College. They really do have this superiority complex. Wheaton likes to refer to itself as the "Harvard of Christian Colleges"; but I can guarantee that people at Harvard are not referring to themselves as the "Wheaton of Secular Colleges". :) Frankly, outside of conservative Christian circles, most people have never heard of Wheaton and couldn't care less how bright the students might be.

So where did your son end up going?


At 1/24/2006 06:03:00 AM, Blogger Dan H.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


At 1/24/2006 06:12:00 AM, Blogger Dan H.


My son is still a senior in HS, but I think he's going to attend Anderson University in Anderson, IN. He's pretty into guitar and they have a boatload of musicians there. Thanks for asking. My daughter is a junior at Huntington University. Nice, but small.


At 1/24/2006 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Cool, both of those are good schools. My sister is actually a sophomore at Huntington right now as well. I think she's studying Communications.


At 1/24/2006 11:45:00 AM, Blogger Dan H.

Small world. My daughter is studying Public Relations - which might be the same thing, or at least involved with - the communications dept. at HU. Is your sister's name Clawson too?


At 1/24/2006 04:22:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Yeah, my sister's name is Julie Clawson. PR sounds familiar, I don't know exactly what she's in. I know she's done some of the Journalism stuff, and got to do some of the campus TV newscasts last year.

It'd be funny if they knew each other.


At 1/25/2006 10:47:00 AM, Anonymous Jason

So there's two Julie Clawsons out there? Silly!

On another note, what the hell, wheaton. Tonight, as an act of civil disobedience, I will go pee on the registrar's office.


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