Multnomah University: Separation Between School and Athletes

Multnomah University is a great school and is currently in a transitioning phase. We have added many sports and new athletes to our school. While this has helped us grow, many believe it is damaging the University. This article is for those who believe Multnomah athletes are hurting the school. I am not writing to you in any type of superiority or judgement, I am writing to you with compassion and conviction. I love Multnomah, and as a four year student-athlete, I have grown to love each and every one of my teammates. I am not trying to be an advocate for Multnomah University or its athletes; I don’t believe those two deserve to be separated. I am writing as an advocate for Multnomah University as a whole: everyone included.

At Multnomah, there are many people who support their athletes, but there is also a large number who seem to hold a grudge against them. I have heard many people say the athletes at Multnomah are not there for God, don’t follow the standards Multnomah has in place, and are hurting the school’s culture. It is one thing to humbly approach someone, develop a relationship with them, learn who they are and then make those claims. But to make those bold claims before getting to know someone can be summed up in one word: judgmental.

It amazes me how many Christians at Multnomah look at new athletes coming in and instantly put them in a box. They look at athletes and assume they are only there for sports and have no interest in God. Talk about discrimination! How can you say you love people when you only love those who are like you? We are saved by grace, yet preach a gospel of morality and judgement. How can we preach that we are united in diversity when we judge those who are different?

Have you ever taken the time to get to know an athlete? There may be some who are only at school for sports, but you can’t take one example and assume that represents all student-athletes. As I develop relationships with my teammates, I have been able to watch them grow. I have seen boys become men and have seen young men grow in their love for God. Much of this growth happens through sports. Rather than seeing sports as a way to advance the gospel, many look at it as a poison.

Just remember that Multnomah athletes are not some mythical creatures, they are human like you and I. They are not basketball players, they play basketball. They wake up every morning, eat, breathe and sleep just like everyone else. Just because they have the label as athlete does not give you the right to label them as inferior.

We say we want to see others grow in their relationship with God, yet our audio and video don’t match up. We verbalize our desire for people to grow, but live in a way where we hinder that growth. Multnomah should be a breeding ground for growth, yet it has become a place of judgement. This judgement comes from a place of self-righteousness, where we believe we are better than others because we are more righteous than they. As the school continues to change, we must realize that while the sports programs grow, what needs to grow even more is our hearts. We need to grow in our humility and love. If our hearts don’t change, we become the ones who negatively change the school with our self-righteous, selfish, judgmental and hardened hearts.

Change is inevitable, and Multnomah is changing. People don’t like change because it brings newness, and people like familiarity. More and more athletes are coming into the school. Sports have allowed the school to reach a much broader spectrum of students. How could we be so selfish that we aren’t on board with this type of change? Even though sports has enabled this school to reach more students, many are scared this will change Multnomah into a regular University. Bringing more athletes into this school has not made the school more secular, it has only exposed the secular mentality many students have to those who are not like them.

The change taking place makes many uncomfortable. Good! We grow most when we are put in uncomfortable situations. According to many, this change is creating a problem; the problem being that this school is becoming a normal University. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either reject both diversity and change, or embrace it and create a culture at Multnomah where we grow together.

Stop casting judgement on those who are different than you. Don’t claim to be a Christian with your words if your actions don’t show it. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We are all growing one degree at a time. Rather than pointing fingers at others, let’s look inwardly at ourselves and allow the gospel to penetrate our hearts so that we may reciprocate that same love. There is no separation between students and student athletes; we are all one. Until we embrace this, we will continue to be a school plagued by the disease of self-righteousness.

9 thoughts on “Multnomah University: Separation Between School and Athletes

  1. Multnomah is in danger of becoming a more secular school but not from the student athletes. Multnomah University used to be know as “Multnomah School of the Bible” our team mascot was know as the “Ambassadors”not the “Lions”. After every home and away game we would gather at center court and sing “Ambassadors for Christ”. It was my honor to be the Gospel team leader as a student athlete at Multnomah, our team traveled to Alaska to play basketball and preach the gospel during Christmas break.

    Maybe someone could tell me who made those changes? I know it was not the athletes!

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  2. My daughter is an athlete at Multnomah University she is also a Christian and has been her entire life as her whole family has been. My daughter had many offers from many schools and picked Multnomah University.
    As a Christian father I was very happy that she picked a school that was Bible-based but now after reading this article I’m beginning to wonder if Multnomah is a Christian college. One of the first things you learned as a Christian is it is not our place to judge that is the Lord’s place to judge and it seems like there’s a lot of non-Christian people placing judgment on athletes and the sports program. I have one thing to say to those people who are placing judgment on these great athletes, good students and good Christians shame on you. As a father of an athlete at this school I will be watching this situation and I also will be praying for those that feel they are able to place judgment on others .

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    1. My hope in writing this article is not for anyone to question whether or not Multnomah is a Christian University. It is a Christian University. I have been going to Multnomah for four years as a student-athlete and there is no other place I would want to go. My point in this article is to give others perspective. It is not right to judge others, especially because they are different than you. My point isn’t to destroy the integrity of Multnomah as a Christian Univeristy, my point is to remind people that it is a Christian Univeristy and that our hearts need to reflect that in the way we look at others. I can assure you with full confidence that your daughter is at a great school. Just like any other Christian University, there will be very judgmental Christians. That is just part of the territory. Again, my hope in writing this article is to point out that judging others is not our job, it is God’s job. All that to say, your daughter is at an amazing University. It is a school that helps students grow in their knowledge and love for God.

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  3. I am not associated with multnomah university, but I know 3 kids and their families that go there they are wonderful people. The 3 boys I know are basketball players. With that being said this is not a multnomah university problem, this is just an issue with our society. This type of judgement, discrimination, segregation or what ever you want to label it from either side. I have a faith, and I think that most people of faith have a higher being that teaches us to love one another and accept each other. We are all different. I look at some situations in my life even at work day to day as a test from God. I don’t understand or believe in everything that people are or do, but I only judge people by there kindness, thoughtfulness , consderation for others. Even then I try to be nice to people that are not these things. I usually distance my self from these personalities. I could ramble on and on. I think we as a society focus on the negative because we feel better about ourselves when some else screws up, when we focus on all the good things going on we feel bad about ourselves. It is human nature to categorize,separate and judge.As for the university maybe sports are part of a plan to bring people to join in your faith? The kids (most of these people are still kids trying to discover themselves as adults without their parents influences ) We need to look at the positive side of things and this could be a test for you and your faith to embrace these students and encourage them. You can’t make people be something you want them to be ( another human nature is contrrol).

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  4. I played with Jordan Paris and I can tell you that he is an amazing person, teammate, and man of God. This has been a huge issue. I just get so mad about it. How are you going to say your a better Christian than someone else? They fail to understand, for some of these kids, this is the only chance they have to hear the gospel in a way that makes since. If they don’t take heed so what. At least they had the chance. I hate when they try to make Christianity a members only club. And I know. I came from Pbc and transferred to Multnomah University and didn’t look like a “Multnomah student”. Inner city black kid on the basketball team, I must be there for just basketball right? I could have played at any other school, but I wanted to go to a school where I was fed the word on a daily basis so I didn’t turn away from God in a secular college environment. I could never debate with Lubek, or argue fine points of the bible with Gurney. But I did learn how to become a better husband, father, and man of God from Multnomah and its leaders. And people are foolish if they think that anybody is there at Multnomah just for sports. If you don’t think God wants them there, your an idiot. And if you think that basketball players don’t hear the word, every practice, every game, is opened with scripture and prayer, and the basketball program has given me a foundation for my walk with God. Once I graduated from Multnomah and got married, coach bickley married me and my wife. Wake up.

    #20

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    1. Great words Hodges. I appreciate all you just said. I love what you wrote here: ” I could never debate with Lubek, or argue fine points of the bible with Gurney. But I did learn how to become a better husband, father, and man of God from Multnomah and its leaders.” Amen to that!

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  5. Thank you for this post I love the student athletes at Multnomah they are some best people I have met on campus since starting this fall. I have a huge heart for student athletes since I was one at my undergrad in Chicago at TIU. There was the same problems between the student body and athletes there. The solution is simple and complex at the same time. Deliberate relational conversations are a great place to start for both sides. Also I have never been turned away from the athletes “corner” in the cafeteria, in fact I have experienced the direct opposite hospitality.

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