round and round we go…

…where this thing stops, nobody knows.

Well, the Christian Chronicle is at it again.  As I’ve said before, the Chronicle just doesn’t know what to make of NI Churches of Christ.  Sometimes, it’s condescending; sometimes, it’s hostile.  You never know what you’re going to get.

So, I read with interest this month’s story (profile, really) which introduced the Chronicle’s readership to Florida College.  I have to hand it to them.  All in all this is a positive article.

And yet…

And yet…

They just couldn’t resist getting in a dig with the title of the article: “A Non-institutional Institution.”



2 responses to “round and round we go…

  1. Hi Chris,

    I came across your post because of the reference to the Christian Chronicle. I think you are probably right that we at the Chronicle have a lot to learn and still don’t know quite what to make of the NI churches. I’d say we’re probably equally weak in our coverage and understanding of the predominantly black congregations among Churches of Christ. We are trying to do better in those and other areas, but it’s an ongoing process.

    “Non-institutional institution” was my headline — which I’d characterize as more an attempt at being clever than an effort to get a dig in.

    Enjoyed reading your blog,
    Bobby Ross

  2. Hi Bobby,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    A few comments:

    First, it probably got lost in there somewhere, but I do want to be clear that I thought the article was a good one. I don’t want to downplay how far we’ve come when a favorable article about FC can be printed in a mainline organ.

    Secondly, your mention of African-American Churches of Christ reminds me of something. I’ve been listening recently to podcasts of Edward Robinson’s lectures at the ACU Lectureship from last year. In discussing Marshall Keeble, he quotes W.E.B. DuBois as saying (I’m paraphrasing here) that man’s greatest crime, his greatest injustice, is his failure to get to know his fellow man. Mainstream CofCs have treated all of the outlying/dissenting groups (NI, Non-Class, One Cup, etc.) in a way that could be described as, by turns, paternalistic, uninformed, fearful, or antagonistic. Largely, I think, this grows out of the fact that we don’t know one another very well.

    Third, on a related point, NIs are not monolithic (nor are any of the other subgroups, for that matter). From personal experience I can tell you that there is a fairly broad spectrum, the left wing of which does not begin where the right wing of the mainline ends (does that make sense?).

    I’m sure that I’m not telling you anything you don’t already to some extent know. How about giving one of your reporters the task of really studying and learning these subgroups? Your coverage of the mainline churches is commendably broad and sensitive to all sides (at least, so it seems to this outsider) of an increasingly fractured group of churches. I suspect you could probably bring that same sensitivity and depth to covering your separated brethen.


    Chris Cotten

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