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.