Spring 2002
Cover Story: We don't Shhhh anymore
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TCU Magazine "Letters"

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Remembering Joseph Addison Clark

As a descendent of Joseph Addison Clark, I was very pleased to read your recent article in The TCU Magazine, "Muddle in the Middle: The 'C' in TCU." I cannot recall having seen in print anyone mentioning that my great great grandfather had anything to do with the founding of TCU. My grandmother, Modena Frank Rogers Spitler, was always saddened by this.

Family lore (our line, of course) has it that one of the reasons that J.A. Clark was not mentioned as one of the founding fathers in Colby Hall's book or Joseph Lynn Clark's book, Thank God We Made It, has to do with the split in the Christian Church/Church of Christ denominations over the musical instrument issue. I can well remember my grandmother telling me about the Sunday that they were gathered in the little town of Thorp Spring for worship, and a piano was brought in. She told that her grandfather quietly took her hand and walked out of the church, never to return. His sons, Addison and Randolph, remained in their pews. Because my grandmother loved music so much and played both the piano and violin, she came back to the Christian Church with her parents. This whole issue caused a very painful rift in the family for years to come.

Both my older brother (a TCU and Brite graduate) and I were very pleased to see that the cornerstone from old Thorp Spring had been placed underneath the statues of Addison and Randolph with our great great grandfather's name also listed as a founder.

Rev. Joseph Campbell Spitler '67
Columbus, Texas

Questioning Islam

I was puzzled by Professor Sodiq's defense of Islam in the Winter 2000 issue of the TCU Magazine. In the article he states "Islam is a religion of peace, mercy, and love that should not be associated with any act of violence." Defenders of Islam these days are often heard to denounce any connection between Islam and violence, but to paraphrase Hamlet, "it seems perhaps they protesteth too much."

A glance at history shows that Islam has not always been so nonviolent as he claims. Muhammed himself -- the penultimate prophet of Allah and the revealer of God's will on Earth -- commanded armies in bloody battles and attacked and plundered peaceful trade caravans as part of an economic war. He slew enemies and dispensed capital punishment with his own hands. The "Apostolic Age" of Islam was dominated by the spread of their beliefs through an almost unbroken series of violent military conflicts -- waged not in self-defense, but in conquest to acquire a vast empire -- all in the name of Allah.

Christianity, of course, has had its own share of violence such as the Crusades, Inquisitions, and violent conquests (lest you blame religion alone for such violence, non-religious movements have their own violent histories -- Nazis, Nationalists, and the proudly-atheist Communists have spilled plenty of innocent blood). Both Christian and Islamic scriptures can (and have) been used to justify violence as well as peace.

But for the first three centuries of Christianity, starting with Jesus himself, Christians not only talked peace, they also lived it. For the most part, the first generations of Christians lived out the teachings of their faith by harming no one. Consequently, modern Christians can and do legitimately reject violence in the name of Christ as perversions of the original teachings of Jesus and his followers. Muslims do not have this luxury.

I sincerely hope that the vast majority of Muslims today are only interested in "peace, mercy and love" as Professor Sodiq says. The religion of Islam is many things, but please do not tell us that it "should not be associated with any act of violence." Its founder and early adherents demolished that myth long ago.

Mark Matney, Ph.D. '85
Houston, TX

A wedding to remember

I just received the Winter 2001 issue of The TCU Magazine today. It does take a long time to get out here in the middle of the "big pond". The memories were stimulated when I saw Ken Jones, cheerleader on page 15. Ken and Betty Rollings were the first couple to be married in Robert Carr Chapel, August 21, 1954. I remember the date because I was the second groom of that wonderful place August 28, 1954. I was the chair of a steering committee to organize a new-church-start in Lubbock called Westmont Christian Church and we called Ken as our founding pastor. Ken has been gone too many years now but the memory of him linger on.

Charles Whitson, '55
Hilo, Hawaii

Journalism at its best

I always enjoy reading The TCU Magazine, but the Winter 2001 issue was unusually fine. The thorough discussion of the "C" in TCU; responses to 9-11, especially Anisa Dhanani's account of her experience in Pakistan; the short piece about the "Lost Boys of Sudan" -- these represent journalism at its best. I even enjoyed the irate letters in response to Jennifer Klein's delightful reporting of her student experience in London!

Marie Whitwell Laine '71
Fort Worth

Save the Frog

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the story about the history of the Horned Frog as the mascot in your last issue. The pictures were especially good. As the story pointed out, this lizard has had a very dramatic decline over the years and continues to puzzle scientists who investigate this trend. Other than the obvious loss to nature, there would also be a great blow to the pride of alums everywhere if Phrynosoma were to completely disappear. Like any animal in Texas, the majority of horned lizards still around live on privately owned land. This is why it is essential to educate not only the public in general but particularly those with a specific interest in the horned lizard.

However, the accompanying story "Baptism by Frog" was a bit disconcerting because of the supposed love these women have for the school and their little friends. Obviously they have never heard of the concept of federal protection of an endangered species. Essentially this means you can look but not touch the Texas horned lizards they each have clinging to their shirts in the picture. That story was the equivalent of someone writing about how they played with a nest full of cute little fluffy bald eaglets or peregrine falcons back when they were at the height of their threatened states. These creatures (horned lizards) are surely fascinating and they are definitely disappearing at an alarming rate.

What concerned citizens and ESPECIALLY concerned friends of TCU should do is educate themselves regarding appropriate interaction with these animals. That is the best way to enjoy them and also the best way to preserve them for as long as possible.

John R. Meyer '91

About that "C"

Your most recent issue reminded me of an editorial I wrote for the Skiff 25 years ago titled "What happened to the 'C' in TCU?"

I came to TCU in spite of its middle name, but I soon learned its true meaning through the Christ-like love of some special people. They demonstrated biblical Christianity to me in a way I had never seen before, and it changed me.

That's what TCU had become for me.

By the time I got to be a senior and the editor of the Skiff, I had grown disappointed with the way TCU failed to live up to its name, at least at an institutional level.

The "C" certainly could stand for "community" or "conservative" or "church-related" (fine sentiments all), but regrettably the "Christian" it portrayed was a watered-down version I wasn't comfortable with.

But I guess that was the point of your article.

The "C" isn't a part of the classrooms or offices or dorms. They merely house it.

It's not even the administration or faculty or staff. They simply encourage it.

Whatever "C" there is in TCU is brought there, nurtured, and passed on by the students who pass through. I was fortunate enough to be a part of a great fellowship.

My hope is that those fellowships continue for many students and for many years.

Al Sibello
Class of '76

After reading the Winter 2001 TCU magazine, I agree with most of the contributors that "Christian" should be dropped from Texas Christian University. However, I do not propose this name change for the same reasons brought forth.

It appears that most fear the word "Christian" offends or turns off potential students and other financial contributors. While that may be true, I agree to a name change because, as a Christian, I object to my religious beliefs tied to a college name that few, including the Chancellor, are proud to acknowledge.

Christians are those that believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. I had understood that TCU was financially supported by a group of Christians and that Christian values were promoted. So, why not have an auction and sell the college name to the highest bidder? Perhaps we could be called Coca-Cola University or Microsoft College? At least then, there would be no doubt what our name means.

Geoff Gordon '82
Canton, Ohio

We always hope that our actions will back up our words. In his "The 'C' in TCU" in the winter issue, William E. Tucker attempts to give meaning to the "Christian" part of Texas Christian University. Tucker quotes former TCU president Waits: "TCU's supreme task is to furnish Christian leadership, and to inculcate Christian idealism based upon ╔ the kingship and lordship of Jesus Christ."

That's a good start. However, I recall Tucker, himself, in opposite action. I refer to a Brite/TCU luncheon held a few years ago in connection with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly. Apartheid was still the policy of South Africa, and corporations, institutions, individuals were strongly encouraged to divest themselves of any stocks they held in South African companies as an act of solidarity and support with those who were suffering under apartheid.

What we got at that luncheon however was a blast from Tucker that individuals and congregations had no right to attempt to tell TCU what to do! In fact, Tucker made a threat that if forced to, TCU might go the way of Butler University. (Butler, in Indianapolis, had been a Disciple connected school. It is now private.)

I recall looking around at other Frogs at our table and noticed that they were either shaking their head in a negative manner or simply looking at the floor.

Later that year, I was in a meeting where William Sloan Coffin, former chaplain at Yale University, was speaking. He was asked about TCU's unwillingness to divest their stocks. His response: "Goodness, I thought the 'C' in that school stood for Christian!"

From a theological perspective, one would call Tucker's speech at that luncheon as supporting institutional sin. Yet, a major part of the Christian faith is forgiveness. Maybe Tucker can incorporate that aspect into his next article on the "C" in TCU.

William W. McDermet III '60
Sunrise Beach, Mo.

Do not take the word "Christian" out of Texas Christian University. Instead remove idolatry and worldly lust for gain out of TCU. Why don't we treat people with love and compassion as true Christians do rather than accepting practices which are contrary to Christ's principles. There is a difference: either be in the world or of the world. We should not be embarrassed of Christ but, we should fear Him being embarrassed of us. Maybe some get bored having the same old identity but please TCU, uphold the name of Christians by what we are on the inside, not by altering the title of what others see on the outside. To improve for the good all of us need to first fix what's within. Thank you.

Robert Berndt '86 (MBA)
Kokomo, Ind.

Thank you for this article on what I feel to be the core identity of my alma mater -- Christian. Without that designation, we could be just another faceless university, of which there are so many, in the state of Texas.

As a freshman, I was somewhat taken aback at the "liberal" way the University presented this "Christianity" in its religion courses (coming as I did from a small town dominated by those who believed in a literal translation of the Bible). But my own faith journey has forever after been enhanced by the broader interpretation of Christianity I first glimpsed in Dr. Ambrose Eden's classroom.

As I have followed the development of the University over the past 46 years, through the alumni magazine, visits to the campus, and my son's attendance there, I have seen Christianity in the most basic sense of the word, to quote the Webster's definition offered by Dr. Tucker, "commendably decent or generous," at the root of its every endeavor.

How favorably impressed I was when I first read the current mission statement and found the words "ethical" and "responsible!" How proud I have been at TCU athletic events that can be opened unabashedly with a spoken prayer. What a lump comes in my throat during the singing of the school song at the words "Light of faith, follow through╔.,," again showing what an integral part of our university is the belief in a higher power and what that belief means to the living of life.

Most of us alums would be outraged at the idea of changing the name of the university, especially to keep from losing "a number of bright potential students every year who do not even consider coming here because of their false perception of us as a Bible college."

My observation of enrollment trends through the years indicates that as long as the Horned Frog football team is successful (note the current increase in applications since LaDanian Tomlinson and company made national headlines -- thankfully this year's team is keeping up the tradition), prospective students, who might otherwise be thrown off by the word "Christian," will investigate TCU as a place to receive their higher educations. Of course, I realize that the breadth and depth of its academic offerings, plus the quality of life on campus, is really what lures most applicants.

Nowadays, with the Internet and a plethora of information on universities available to students and their parents, it doesn't take much research to see that Texas Christian University is not a narrow, church-related school for just the pious and dedicated, but a major, comprehensive university open to all.

Janice Boardman Rosson-Bond '56
Big Spring