In her letter to the editor, printed recently in the Rome News-Tribune, Betty Zane Morris called for the citizens of Rome to speak out on the issues that are engulfing Shorter. Her call was a wise one, as it was a collection of Roman citizens, Alfred Shorter chief among them,who stepped forward and provided the funding to support the Cherokee Baptist Female Seminary at a time when the Baptist Convention of Georgia refused to do so.
Save Our Shorter is gratified to find that those citizens are now willing to speak to the issues at hand. It is the historical memory of these individuals, as well as the historical memories of those who served on the Hill, whether faculty, staff, administration or trustee, that will help to illuminate the true heart of the issues that plague the institution.
One such reply follows. We encourage others to come forth and help us to shine Light and reveal Truth on Save Our Shorter. We may be reached through our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My father, Dr. Forrest Lanier, was Assistant to the President and Executive Vice-President of Shorter from 1975 to 1985. Earlier, he had been a trustee from 1952 to 1974, so our families roots with Shorter go back many years. I stand with each of the members of Save our Shorter, because I know that if my father were still alive his heart would have been broken due the developments of recent months, as would that of Dr. Minor. As a former Southern Baptist, I predicted many years ago that this “trickle down” of fundamentalism would eventually reach the pews of the churches, and the situation at Shorter is endemic of that. The takeover of the Convention was apparently planned at the “Cafe DuMonde” in New Orleans in 1967 with Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler discussing strategy over beignets and coffee, and now it has reached this. But the problem, in my opinion, is that all of this is too late. The trend in recent years is for denominations (especially evangelical ones) that increasingly shed or dis-associate themselves from the institutions of higher learning that their traditions helped to create, and this continues today. “Christian” institutions of “higher” learning as Shorter represents itself to the community and the world, is in fact already a dying breed. A newer, younger and less “religious” generation is arising which is more tolerant of homosexuality, premarital sex, and the moderate use of alcohol. The speaker of the North Carolina legislature said it well in response to the recent vote to ban gay marriage in his state: “This is a generational issue. This measure will be repealed in less than twenty years.” President Obama recently endorsed gay marriage, the first sitting President to do so. Attitudes and “traditions” itself are changing in American society in response to the more secular, more educated and more socially mobile individuals who are coming of age.
As for Don Dowless? I would not be surprised at one thing [he does]. If there are no teachers to teach, where will the students come from? And if there are no students, then where will the money come from? And if the money dries up, where will Shorter be at this point?
The “Taliban” of the Georgia Baptist Convention might not just hold him to the fire, he might himself be on it…
“For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.” (Heb. 13:11)
John L. Lanier
Thank you for your note John. I remember your father from my time on The Hill (’78 – ’82). He was a fine man, and I consider myself fortunate to have gotten to know him. The thing that troubles me most about the current situation at Shorter is that so many of the wonderful people who influenced me there would no longer be welcomed into the campus community. People like Randall Minor, Joe Baskins, Larry Burgess (Pastor at 5th Ave. Baptist during that period), Bess Beatty … all would be essentially “ex-communicated” from The Hill.
I’ve known Dr. Nelson Price for several years, as he served as interim pastor at my church some years ago. Until recently, I had held Dr. Price in the very highest regard … but I can not begin to understand why he has chosen to wreak havoc upon Shorter. I also can’t imagine that Christ is pleased by such mean-spirited divisiveness within His church. Now that the fundamentalist group has the courts on their side, I believe it will take a miracle from God Himself to restore a sense of sanity and fellowship to Shorter University.