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W4 Exclusive: Quo vadis, oh Christian college?

Well-known Christian author Nancy Pearcey recently published this article. In the first paragraphs, she says,

A collegiate website advises young women how to have a “happy hook-up.” Get “clear consent and mutual agreement to engage in sexual acts,” the article recommends. Then “the whole hookup experience will be more positive for everyone involved.”

Glancing at the author’s bio, I was surprised to learn that she is a student at a conservative Christian college.

When even Christian young people are buying into the hook-up culture, it’s clear that traditional ways of teaching biblical morality are no longer effective. Young people don’t only need rules; they need reasons. They need to learn the worldview rationale that makes sense of biblical morality.

On her Facebook page, Pearcey drew special attention to this opening portion of her article. I immediately asked what "conservative Christian college" this was, but Pearcey apparently preferred not to say. (I strongly urged that she should inform the administration, as she apparently has spoken at the college and has connections with it, but I do not know if she did so.) A little googling by a helper turned up the article to which Nancy refers and the name of the student. (Well, a name of the student. More on that below.) The article Nancy mentions on having a "happy hookup" is here (at least right now; as you'll see, they sometime disappear), at a secular "collegiette" site called Her Campus, and the student author calls herself Ally Karsyn. The article is part of a four-part series; the series accepts the hook-up culture as a given and is mainly directed at advising women not to seduce men while the men are drunk or in other ways not really consenting. (One might well infer from her article discussed below, however, that it's just fine for women to seduce men who are sober and consenting.) As you can see, Karsyn's profile at Her Campus now says that she is a senior at a "small Iowa college." But on the screen capture I have of the page as it was visible as of August 6, her profile was rather different. It read:

Ally Karsyn is a senior at Dordt College pursuing an individual studies major and a journalism minor, graduating December 2011....Ally is the web editor of her college's student newspaper, the Diamond, in addition to being a regular staff writer/columnist. Her column is called "My Feminist Label," in which she writes about women's issues relating to pop culture and social trends.

To spare you the suspense (this post will get a bit long, and you'll hear more of the story later), "Ally Karsyn's" other name is Alyssa Hoogendoorn, and Alyssa Hoogendoorn is indeed a student at Dordt college. Here is the results page at Dordt for Alyssa Hoogendoorn. Here (Facebook member status seems to be required for access to the profile) is Karsyn/Hoogendoorn's Facebook profile, giving both names, the Dordt connection, and a number of profile pictures that are clearly of the same person whose picture appears next to Ally Karsyn's articles. Here is her Google+ profile, giving both names and the connection to Dordt College. Here is her LinkedIn profile, which does not give the Hoogendoorn name but does give extensive details of her past and present connections with Dordt college. These include (the resume says) present work for the Dordt College public relations department (!).

Karsyn is, according to her LinkedIn profile, the web editor and a columnist with the Dordt College student paper, the Dordt Diamond. LinkedIn says that she "maintain[s] social networking on Facebook" for the Diamond, which it seems safe to infer means that she is, or has been until very recently, a page administrator of the Diamond's Facebook page. More about the Diamond's Facebook page, below.

Nor is the name Ally Karsyn unknown at Dordt. Here are just two of the articles available on-line which she wrote for the Dordt Diamond under that name for her column with the newspaper, "My Feminist Label." (That column name is also given in the Her Campus profile.) Karsyn's picture appears next to the articles for the Diamond; it is the same picture that appears next to the Her Campus articles.

Needless to say, Karsyn's articles for Dordt's own college newspaper are considerably more tame than those for Her Campus, though they still might make one wonder and might at any time have sent someone to do a bit of further googling for other writings by the same author. For example, her article on the royal wedding said that her boyfriend is "amazing" because he "doesn't make [her] want to vomit" when she thinks of marriage. Her article on funding for Planned Parenthood shows an inclination to sympathy for Planned Parenthood. And in this piece she seemed to think it important to tell the Dordt community, with a feminist spin, about a new birth control gel that is presently only in clinical trials.

But there is a good deal more to the story.

If you thought that the Her Campus post that Nancy Pearcey mentions was eyebrow-raising, you may be surprised (or not surprised) to know that Karsyn/Hoogendoorn does not stop there. In an article entitled "Your End-of-Semester College Love Bucket List," posted at Her Campus on May 10, 2011 and publically available until very recently, she goes a good deal farther. (If you are wondering why there is no link here, read on.) This advice column tells college women what sorts of things they should have on their "love" list for the end of the semester. It is written in the perky, chatty style common to girls' and women's magazines, and the items on the list are in the imperative mood. Karsyn expressly encourages women to

--find and "bed" a former "hook-up buddy" in order to end the school year on a "high note."

--have sexual intercourse in public places; specific suggestions include a public bathroom, a theater, and an elevator.

--have sex to relieve stress at the end of the semester.

--attempt to sexualize one's relationship with a male fellow student with whom one has previously had only a Platonic friendship.

Yep, sex in a public bathroom is just exactly what love is all about, right?

These are not even the most outrageous items on the list, but this is at least a somewhat family-friendly site, and I'd like to keep it that way.

As of August 6, 2011, one could see that the Facebook page of the Dordt Diamond enthusiastically advertised a possible position as an "editor-in-chief" for a Dordt branch of the Her Campus site. The entry, put up by "The Dordt Diamond" (obviously, by a page administrator), emphasized that such a position with Her Campus would look good on a resume. The entry went up on July 27, 2011, but it has since disappeared. (See below.)

Dordt's own college handbook expressly states that students may be dismissed for "sexual misconduct," which includes advocating sexual immorality.

Dordt College has a good reputation as a conservative Christian school. Dordt states that it "welcomes all students who are interested in a biblical, Christ-centered education."

If "Ally Karsyn" wants entirely to reject Christian sexual morality and celebrate arrant promiscuity, it lies within her power to do so, though she will doubtless harm herself and others in the process. But to get her degree from an explicitly Christian college while working actively to undermine what it stands for--that's low.

It seemed to me extremely important that, if the administration was not already aware, it be made aware of these activities by a Dordt senior, a student leader who has a prominent position with their own student newspaper. Any readers who do not know what a "conservative Christian college" is supposed to be about will perhaps not understand, but others will: This is something akin to a crisis for Dordt. How has Karsyn/Hoogendorn gotten where she is while retaining this worldview? How has she written such things without being called to account by faculty? And what does her endorsement of the blatantly promiscuous hook-up culture say about the moral atmosphere and the progress of the hook-up culture even at Dordt itself? How does she represent the "biblical education" students are supposed to receive? What does Hoogendoorn's prominent position at Dordt, combined with her writings for Her Campus, say about the faculty with whom Hoogendoorn has worked most closely?

With these sorts of concerns in mind, I wrote on August 6 to President Carl Zylstra of Dordt College, with whom I had had no previous contact. (I carbon-copied the chairman of the Communications department, Charles Veenstra.) I explained the situation and provided links, all of which were at that time readily available. At that time I did not know that Karsyn's other name was Alyssa Hoogendorn, so I was able only to give President Zylstra the name "Ally Karsyn" and various statements of hers on the web that she is a student at Dordt.

President Zylstra responded personally and swiftly (on a weekend!) with a warm and concerned note that said that he would be personally investigating this matter. He indicated clearly that he and some unnamed faculty (I would guess Prof. Veenstra, who had been CCed) are very distressed by the material I had sent. However, he said that he had to tell me that no student by the name I had provided is a student at Dordt College. He even raised the possibility that some student was posing as a Dordt student, and he asked for any further information that might identify the person.

He received in return a link to Karsyn's LinkedIn page with its detailed information about her relationship with Dordt and links to several articles in Dordt's student newspaper under her name. The LinkedIn article particularly notes that Karsyn claims to be working closely with Prof. Jim Schaap in the English department at Dordt, and this fact was called to President Zylstra's attention. President Zylstra replied graciously and gratefully. I said that I quite understand the privacy issues he is facing but asked that at a minimum, if he were subsequently able to confirm that Karsyn is a Dordt student, he would let me know this.

At that time, I took page captures of the "happy hook-up" article and the even more outrageous "love bucket" article, with Karsyn's profile on the sidebar. I also got a page capture of the Diamond's Facebook page with the enthusiastic announcement of the Her Campus opportunity for a "branch" at Dordt.

About ten days later, I began once more checking the links, as I was considering writing another e-mail note containing them. The "love bucket" article (here is the link that used to go to it) now comes up as you see: "Access Denied." Karsyn's profile on Her Campus has been changed to eliminate the reference to Dordt College (though the reference to "My Feminist Label" and thirty seconds' googling turns up the Dordt connection anyway). And the Dordt Diamond's Facebook reference to Her Campus is gone.

Grateful to the little bird who advised me to get page captures, I did a bit more googling, whereby I turned up (not that it was really that hard) the evidence that Ally Karsyn is Alyssa Hoogendoorn, who is undeniably a Dordt student. Here is a picture of Hoogendoorn, obviously the same woman who appears in the picture beside the Her Campus columns, in her freshman year at Dordt. She appears with Prof. Schaap in the picture, and the article contains praise for her assistance to him. (Schaap is the professor to whom Ally Karsyn is an assistant, according to her LinkedIn profile.)

I don't want to be misunderstood: I'm not accusing President Zylstra of doing anything wrong. I'm not inclined to believe that he has done anything wrong. I positively encouraged him to make contact with faculty, such as the faculty advisors for the Diamond and such as Prof. Schaap, who might know more about this student. I would guess that it was one of these other people who passed on the information to Hoogendoorn that inquiries were being made. It is also possible that in looking into the matter President Zylstra was in touch with Hoogendoorn while not realizing the connection to Karsyn.

At this point, I made contact with President Zylstra again, telling him that I had identified the student. I suggested that it would not be contrary to privacy considerations for Dordt “simply to admit that it has been brought to the college's attention that a Dordt student has indeed published writings diametrically opposed to the college's position on sexual morality and that the college is investigating the matter further and deciding how to handle it.” I indicated an intention to go to press the next day and asked if there were any further statement that I should include.

President Zylstra replied, again kindly, saying that he hoped to get back to me later with a further statement but that he thought something along the lines I suggested would “not be out of line." He did not at this time explicitly confirm that the administration is aware that a real Dordt student has written such things, though I think it is safe to infer that they are. President Zylstra also indicated that Dordt officials are distressed if and when students do not live up to the Christian standards to which they are obligated at the school and that they are glad to have the opportunity to work with students to bring them into more “faithful discipleship” in such cases. He stressed that both he and other senior administrators and faculty are taking what I have communicated to them very seriously.

At the time of publication, I have not received a more official statement from President Zylstra.

I very much appreciate President Zylstra's work and patience. I do have some further specific suggestions.

--It would be a good thing if Dordt College would unequivocally acknowledge that a Dordt student has written material opposed to the college's position on sexual morality, though (understandably) without naming the student. This would be particularly useful given that a) a question was originally raised (due to the student's use of a quite transparent alias) as to whether this is, in fact, true, and b) people can easily find out that the student in question continues to maintain an official writing relationship with the highly questionable secular college web site at which the articles appeared and also that the majority of her articles (including the “happy hook-up” piece that kicked off the entire investigation) are still available.

(I understand that the school cannot reveal details of any private process involving a student.)

--Dordt should undertake a vigorous investigation to discover which, if any, faculty have known about Hoogendoorn's outrageous writings for Her Campus and have done nothing or even encouraged her. (I understand that the outside world might not know if this were taking place, but I suggest it as it seems important.)

--Dordt could set up a commission including administrators, faculty, and students (and maybe some trustees and alumni as well) who are fully and unambiguously committed to biblical moral standards to address the following questions: "How can we insure that we are upholding biblical moral standards of sexual conduct at Dordt and passing on these standards to students?" "What problems do we currently face at Dordt in maintaining and passing on biblical standards of sexual conduct, and how can we address these problems?"

These are, I would point out, the sorts of things that secular colleges do all the time in response to incidents (or even alleged incidents) of racism. It would do no harm for a Christian college to have a similar response in defense of its mission when an important facet of that mission has been called into question by a student's blatant and shocking writings.

If our Christian colleges do not work to maintain their biblical identity, they will lose it. This incident should be a wake-up call--and not only to Dordt College.

Note:

I have debated quite a bit about whether to make available the page captures of the "End-of-Semester College Love Bucket" piece (still listed in this Google cache, with its first few sentences, as one of Karsyn's articles at Her Campus). The piece is so inappropriate that I advise readers who are not in a need-to-know position not to go to it. Yet it should be available to parents of present or prospective students at Dordt as well as to Dordt faculty and administrators who might read this post and who had not previously known about it. I have therefore decided to put up page captures of this egregious article. They are, in order, here, here, and here. Again, readers who have no need to read the entire article are advised not to access it. Readers who do see the additional sexual items from the article that I intentionally left off the list above, please exercise discretion and do not bring them up in the comments.

Comments (155)

Welcome to our world. In some (thankfully, not all) Catholic colleges across the country, similar shenanigans are going on. It makes one wonder if the students come into the college already contaminated by incorrect notions of sexual relations or if they learn them while at there. It is a sad fact that (a guess, since I don't want to look too deeply into the matter) 85% of students are no longer virgins, but still unmarried, when they graduate from college. Obviously, college has not elevated them above the rank of animal on the "What it means to be human," scale.

Of course, contraception, easy divorce, idiotic expectations about marriage or even what constitutes a marriage means that most students are mired in sin long before they get to college. It is very hard to get them to understand why having sex before marriage is wrong because they no longer have a correct anthropological understanding of man to help them.

Can this be fixed? Not without getting rid of many temptations in society. Money is partially diving this. Planned Parenthood spends big dollars to make students sexually active. Society ridicules the virgin, where once it revered her. All of this is from a loss of what it means for there to be a God. Even in Christisn colleges, zgod is not understood as he ought to be.

Catholics have a devotion to the Holy Family. No, mor that ever, we need their prayers.

The Chicken

It makes one wonder if the students come into the college already contaminated by incorrect notions of sexual relations or if they learn them while at there.

Some of both, I'm sure. But my _guess_ would be mostly the former, especially for students who were not home schooled. In fact, I have a conjecture: I'm guessing that some time in the past decade and a half, the acceptability of promiscuity among Christian teenagers has taken a big uptick and that they have then brought the hook-up culture to the Christian colleges. In order to get a handle on this, the Christian colleges would have had to expel quite a lot of students, and at some level someone at various Christian colleges was not willing to do this or recommend this. That's my conjecture. I'm sure that it's closer to the truth at some schools and farther from the truth at other schools. A very new Christian school, established during this very period of time with high moral standards, is probably still maintaining them. But a school that this crept up on would have found it harder.

Living in a predominantly Dutch community, I have known of quite a few students who have gone to Dordt. Based on their time there I was aware that Dordt is a party school. That, in and of itself, is not so surprising since all schools, Christian and secular, have a poplulation of students whose drunken hi-jinks are well known. Of course the pods of partiers in Christian schools are fewer, but I was a little disappointed at what I had heard coming out of Dordt. This however is more than disappointing. This is disturbing and as far as I am concerned makes Dordt no better than your average state school where they are often rated in the press for their intensity of alchohol fueled sex activities.

I am happy that President Zylstra is concerned and has been polite with you, but I am not convinced that the administration is completely in the dark about this activity. If he is truly clueless, and anyone around him who would have had access to him on an advisory level was also clueless, then they have a lot of explaining to do to donors and the parents of those kids who chose Dordt looking for a Christian education.

In short, this information has irritated me and I will need to read it again. I have been of the opinion that many Christian schools, particularly those in Reformed circles, have become institutions that hold to a form of godliness (now defined by liberal causes such as environmentalism, etc.)while denying its power.

Good work Lydia.

I'm going to guess this, too: I think for many decades Christian colleges mainly had to deal with students who fell into sexual sin with someone they fully intended to marry and subsequently did marry. In that case, a lot of times the "answer" was for the school officials to scold the young couple, tell them to behave themselves, and then hold their breath hoping that the young couple would hurry up and get married without open scandal--pregnancy, for example.

By comparison to what young people now are "into," that sort of thing was (dare I say it) somewhat tame. I do not mean that it wasn't wrong. It was wrong. But what we have now descended to is, first, sex between "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" for whom marriage is, at most, on the very distant horizon, and second, blatant promiscuity with people with whom there is not even the pretense of any other relationship--the one-night-stand as the norm.

The very existence of the phrase "hook-up buddy," which occurs in more than one of Ally Karsyn's articles, is symptomatic. So is the fact that her "love" tips are, she says, good for "dating and single ladies alike"--the alternative to "single" is not "married" but "dating."

If Christian colleges are still working with a model in which students "fall into sin" and need to be "restored," while basically accepting the norms of Christian sexual behavior, they simply are not working with the right tools for understanding the situation that faces them--namely, young people who have *no notion at all* (at least, not at a level that means anything to them) of the exclusivity of sexual relations between a man and a woman committed to one another for life.

Gina, one of the things that has had me shaking my head as I've thought about this is the following thought: I have no doubt that Ally Karsyn thinks of her "feminist" approach to the hook-up culture as in some sense uplifting precisely because she is negative about the role of alcohol and discourages drunken hook-ups (as opposed to sober ones). The thing that matters to her most appears to be her own brand of feminism, and that brand of feminism includes an attempt to crack down on a "double standard" that insists on full consent from the female but not from the male. So perhaps she is against a party school and alcohol-fueled activities! But the sexual activities without alcohol--hey, that could be a happy experience.

How much of this is actually going on at her own school--that's conjecture. Naturally at Her Campus she is writing chiefly for a secular audience. But the fact that she writes about that aspect of the college scene with such full acceptance and familiarity is deeply disturbing.

Dordt's own college handbook expressly states that students may be dismissed for "sexual misconduct," which includes advocating sexual immorality.

Every now and then I see posts from a college student looking for advice on what to do about some dubious sexual practice on his campus that at least enjoys tacit support from the administration. I usually tell him to look through the handbook or otherwise find the sexual harassment policy and read it with a fine-toothed comb. Granted, most of these policies are the stillbirth of feminist political correctness from the eighties and nineties, but sometimes they can be turned to your advantage. Is the RA handing out free condoms to every dorm resident? Most sexual harassment policies have language that counts making suggestions with sexual paraphernalia as harassment. File a complaint quoting chapter and verse of the policy.

Oh, this policy looks like it has nothing to do with political correctness. It's a staunch, traditional sexual conduct policy. My fear, however, is that even blatant violations are being met with such a "discipleship" response that...well...nothing is really being done. If a student who writes these things has only to take down the _absolute worst_ article and tweak one on-line profile in order to avoid consequences--well, color me skeptical that this is going to make any impression on the student. Nor does it address any systemic questions that are raised--such as where her faculty mentors have been during this time and whether the brand of hard-edged, sexualized feminism to which she is committed is being taught by someone at the college.

Here is the relevant section:

Dordt College is committed to maintaining an environment where employees and students abide by biblical injunctions and admonitions regarding sexual activity, and refrain from sexual immorality. Although it is understood that a person’s desire for sexual intimacy is a natural and powerful characteristic in human nature, it is the College’s position, based on its biblical beliefs, that the only appropriate and permissible context in which sexual intimacy may be expressed as overt sexual activity is within the bonds of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. All members of the College community are expected to live in accord with this understanding of sexual activity.

The Bible encourages Christians to maintain a loving and supportive attitude toward each other and mutual respect for members of the opposite sex. It also encourages loving and supportive attitudes toward those who struggle with sexual issues. The College will strive to work in a counseling context with individuals who struggle with appropriate sexual conduct, relationships, and issues. The College may determine, however, that sexual activity outside of the marriage covenant, sexual activity with someone other than one’s spouse, sexual activity with someone of the same gender, promoting or advocating sexually immoral activity, or sexual harassment and other inappropriate conduct should result in an employee’s discharge or a student’s dismissal.

All students and employees are responsible to abide by the College’s Sexual Standards and Conduct Policy. If an individual questions his or her ability to do so, that person should speak to an appropriate college official to receive guidance and/or instruction. The Dean of Chapel, Counseling staff, and other staff members acting in the capacity of professional counselor are available to discuss any of these issues.

Prohibited Sexual Activity

Based upon its biblical beliefs, the College specifically prohibits the following types of sexual activity (These prohibitions do not restrict members of various academic disciplines, including students, faculty, and staff, from discussing or examining, in the educational context, such issues as they affect individuals, societies, or others):

Engaging in, promoting, or advocating sexually immoral activity.

Engaging in, promoting, or advocating extramarital sexual relations.

Engaging in, promoting, or advocating homosexual relations.

Students and/or employees found engaging in prohibited activity will be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Conduct code or the faculty and staff handbooks.


Are you crazy? Why does it matter to you that some girl a thousand miles away at a college that isn't even doctrinally affiliated with your church writes something you disagree with? This missive reads like a thousands words of cyber-stalking. And last time I checked, that was a crime. Writing about sex, even at a Christian college, isn't.

You had no right to out her. She chose to write pseudonymously for a reason. And while we're at it, where in your Christian doctrine does it say that character assassination of a college student is a Christian thing to do? You're no better than the Pharisees.

Shame on you. Shame.On.You.

Paul Dalen
Dordt College '92

Oh, look, a real-life troll. And a Dordt alumnus from 1992. That tells us a lot, doesn't it?

Mr. Dalen, I will answer you once. And once only. Let's try this from the beginning:

Hoogendoorn's original alias was paper-thin. Anyone who knew her had only to look at her photograph, cheerfully displayed in columns for both publications, to see who she was. She positively advertised, all over the Internet, that she was a student at Dordt, and she published _at Dordt_ under the same pseudonym. Her Facebook profile, which anyone among the many members of Facebook can view, gives both names and more of her pictures. Her Google+ profile, which gives both names, comes up (at the time of publication of this article this morning, anyway--I haven't checked this afternoon) on a simple Google search of her pseudonym. She flaunted the very _name of her column_ (and for that matter, still does) that she writes for her own college newspaper! This is by no means a serious attempt to hide her identity. Indeed, since she wanted to use her writings for Her Campus (and apparently still does) as part of her resume, she had no desire seriously to hide her identity.

Now, second: How very, very, very interesting that you should refer to encouraging women in the imperative mood to have sex in public bathrooms as "writing something I disagree with." Wow. That tells me what kind of Christian moral worldview _you_ have. Hmmm. Let's try it with "bedding a former hook-up buddy" to relieve stress during finals week? That's just "something I disagree with"? Fascinating.

Let's move on to "character assassination": You can't have it both ways, mister. If what she wrote wasn't such a bad thing, it isn't "character assassination" for me to point it out, now, is it? But you're the usual moral leftie, I see: It's okay for people to celebrate immorality and for people to celebrate the fact that people celebrate immorality, but the minute somebody comes along and _criticizes_ someone for celebrating sexual immorality, that's being mean. That's character assassination. Sorry, won't wash. What I have written is true, it's a matter of public record, and if what this author has done (in her public writings) is wrong and scandalous, whose problem is that? Hers.

Oh, and by the way: Last time I checked, "character assassination" involved the spreading of untruths or misleading information, which my post does not. Learn to use words properly. Criticizing someone for outrageous public writings isn't "character assassination."

I won't bother with "cyber stalking." I'll leave you to work that one out yourself as an exercise. (Hint: I have had no contact whatsoever with the author discussed in this post. I have simply googled information about her.)

Oh, I skipped "writing about sex." Um, yep: Telling people to go out and find hook-up buddies is just "writing about sex." You know, sort of like an academic discussion of moral difficulties. Or maybe a medical discussion. Or something.

Don't waste my time.

There is a difference between critizing the celebration of - what you think is - immoral sexuality and the denunciation of a young woman by writing a letter to the President of her college.
It's shocking that you can't see the difference.
She chose to write pseudonymously for a reason, even if her masquerade was rather thin.
You had no right to out her, Paul is clearly right about that.
Your rude answer only shows that you have no respect for other people outside your (very small) peer group.
By the way: the girl's incriminated posts are - in comparison - completely harmless and written with a somewhat ironic twist - your caring advice of not accessing them is just hilarious. In what kind of world are you living? (You will see that remark as a further sign of my advanced callousness as a moral leftie - I can stand that)

Lydia, I'm a troll? And my being an alum tells you a lot? What does it tell you?

You, ma'am, are the worst kind hypocrite out there. What kind of woman would actually spend her time pursuing this? You have no interest in what Dordt does or doesn't do. You're not even CR.

Since you're so worried about what goes on at colleges, while don't you return your husband's paychecks? He's a prof at a public university...aren't there enough windmills to tilt at in Kalamazoo?

(that was a reference to Don Quixote, BTW. I say that because you probably haven't read it...too many radical ideas in there).

I assume, Mr Dalen, that you label yourself a Christian. Have you actually read the Bible? Can you define the word, fornication? You do realize that when God (you know, God) made the Ten Commandments that he didn't suggest chastity, he commanded it?

What about these Scriptural passages:

1 Cor 6:9-20:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"--and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two shall become one flesh." But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. [Some texts have: flee fornication] Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Acts 15:19-20:

Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood.

Gal 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Mat 5:18-20

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man."

Shall I go on? That this woman supports "hook-ups" puts her soul in jeopardy; that she tells others that it is a good puts others in jeopardy [do you even understand what the sin of scandal is - when one's sin causes another to sin - Jesus said such people should have a millstone placed on their necks and be thrown in the sea]; that she is doing so in a Christian forum is doubly scandalous.

Indeed, Lydia is her sister in Christ. She has a counsel from the Apostles to rebuke her sister. Since the sin was public, the rebuke may be public. St. James said [Jam 5:19-20]:

My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Do you understand the concept of fraternal correction? One of the reasons this country is going to hell in a handbasket is because people do not fraternally correct others. Politicians get away with murder by approving laws aiding abortion and no one says anything.

She chose to write pseudonymously for a reason.

That reason was, what, that she knew the subject was wrong for her to write about and her stance was sinful? I write under a pseudonym because I find that I am much more charitable doing so. Is this woman being more charitable? By no means. She is encouraging others to sin. Such people need to be exposed to the light (private counsel is almost always best, but sometimes it is not possible, especially in public matters when the person almost certainly will not listen).

And while we're at it, where in your Christian doctrine does it say that character assassination of a college student is a Christian thing to do? You're no better than the Pharisees.

Oh, that thing? I don't think you understand the Pharisees. Indeed, Christ said (Matt 5:20, ff):

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven..."You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Indeed, we are called to be more virtuous than the Pharisees. They judged, but not themselves. We are all called to support one another so that they do not sin. Part of that process is getting the other person to recognize that they have sinned. Have you ever heard of the spiritual works of mercy? They are:

1. Instruct the uninformed
2. Counsel the doubtful;
3. Admonish sinners;
4. Bear wrongs patiently;
5. Forgive offenses willingly;
6. Comfort the afflicted;
7. Pray for the living, sick and the dead.

Lydia is admonishing a sinner. That, my friend, is a work of mercy. You are forty years old (about), if you graduated in 1992. Have you not studied the Gospel since those days? Perhaps it is time you tried to understand what is and what is not authentic Christianity, assuming you wish to know. If you have children, do you condone this sort of behavior? God, being a much better father than any of us, certainly does not. How many times does he have to say it?

I leave you to ponder this (1 Cor 10:8-9):

Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance." We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

I don't think you really have any comprehension of just how bad these sorts of sins are. In the Catholic Church, there is an apparition of the Blessed Virgin under the title of Our Lady of Fatima. She said that more people go to hell because of sexual sins than any other. Think about that and then apologize to Lydia.

The Chicken



No way will I apologize to a Tea Party fundamentalist nutjob like Lydia. She opened up a can of worms when she went after Alyssa, and is going to have to deal with it. She either backs down and leaves Alyssa alone, or the full court push back on Lydia will begin.

There is a difference between critizing the celebration of - what you think is - immoral sexuality and the denunciation of a young woman by writing a letter to the President of her college.

That is why this country is sliding into moral relativism: because no one does anything but say, "isn't it awful?" Lydia is bound, as a Christian, to do as she did:

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Ordinarily, fraternal correction is to be delivered privately, unless the sin is public and notorious, as this is. As the Catholic Encyclopedia puts it:

Of course the reproof is to be administered privately, i.e. directly to the delinquent and not in the presence of others. This is plainly the method appointed by Christ in the words just cited and only as a remedy for obduracy is any other contemplated by Him. Still there are occasions upon which one might lawfully proceed in a different way. For instance

* when the offence is a public one;
* when it makes for the prejudice of a third party or perhaps even the entire community;
* when it can only be condignly dealt with by the authority of a superior paternally exercised;
* when a public rebuke is necessary to preclude scandal: witness the withstanding of Peter by Paul mentioned in the Epistle to the Galatians (2:11-14);
* when the offender has already in advance relinquished whatever right he possessed to have his good name safeguarded, as is the custom in some religious bodies.

She chose to write pseudonymously for a reason, even if her masquerade was rather thin.
You had no right to out her, Paul is clearly right about that.

No, he is not. Jesus said to do your GOOD deeds in secret. He said nothing about doing sin in secret. Her writings are sinful.

By the way: the girl's incriminated posts are - in comparison - completely harmless and written with a somewhat ironic twist - your caring advice of not accessing them is just hilarious.

No, they are not. I cannot say it any stronger. No, they are not harmless. They are advice that will send someone to hell. I am sorry that you do not understand this. Some day, you will.

In what kind of world are you living?

Obviously, not the one Christ envisioned for his people. Should not a Christian college set the example?

The Chicken

Here's a copy of the email I sent to Lydia's pastor. Since Lydia has been in regular contact with the administration at Dordt College to push her agenda, I figure turnabout is fair play.

Father Cottle,

One of your parishioners is leading a witchhunt against a student at Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA. She has made numerous contacts with the college administration in an effort to silence the student simply because she doesn't agree with what the student is writing.

Lydia McGrew has a complete blog post about this at http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2011/08/w4_exclusive_dordt_college_quo.html.

I would appreciate it if you would remind her of the verse about removing the log from your own eye before reaching for the speck on someone elses.

Thank you,

Paul Dalen

No way will I apologize to a Tea Party fundamentalist nutjob like Lydia. She opened up a can of worms when she went after Alyssa, and is going to have to deal with it. She either backs down and leaves Alyssa alone, or the full court push back on Lydia will begin.

You seem to have a lot of growing up to do. You can't defend your position, so you resort to power posturing. That is Pharisaical. That is exactly why Jesus was put to death. The pharisees knew they were not living properly and chose to kill the messenger. If you call people who want to live the Christian life a nut job, then why did you even bother going to a Christian college? What exactly did they teach you about Christianity? I see nothing of it in your comments. If they taught you to live and let live, well, they taught you wrongly. You do know that the answer to the question, "Am I my brother's keeper," was supposed to be, "Yes." Now, correction must be done with prudence. Sometimes it is not prudent to correct others, but to tolerate the evil for a time in the hopes that they will change, given the freedom. This, however, is a public problem (which Lydia did not start, by the way - Nancy Pearcey started the ball rolling), which has the potential do do great spiritual harm to many others. To not say anything would have made Lydia complicit in the sin.

Don't you understand? There are nine ways in which a person may be an accomplice to the sin of another:

1. By counsel.
2. By command.
3. By consent.
4. By provocation.
5. By praise or flattery.
6. By concealment.
7. By partaking.
8. By silence.
9. By defense of the ill done

Number 8 is by silence. It's silence that is ruining this country and if Lydia had stayed silent, she would have been as guilty as the woman who wrote about how to have a successful, "hook-up."

The Chicken

Actually, I'm with Paul on this. Since you're so proficient at googling things, you should try googling "cyberstalking." I think the definitions you'll find describe your activities. It doesn't matter how easy the information was to gather; the fact that you gathered it and then used it to contact Alyssa's college in an attempt to have her expelled while also posting on your blog with links to all her personal social networking pages qualifies as harassment as it is causing Alyssa significant distress. Also, calling someone a troll simply because he disagrees with you is called an ad hominem argument. Google that, too. It's not a legitimate argumentative strategy, and you shouldn't do it if you want to come across as a mature, logical adult capable of supporting her ideas.

Now, let's get down to business. I know Alyssa personally. I've worked with her and worked on many of her articles. I'm sure you've already googled my name, so you probably have my entire life's story. Congratulations on that. Anyway, I know Alyssa's writing style almost as well as anyone, and I find that your accusations range from ridiculous to appalling.

To begin, I've read the one offending article that is still on Alyssa's blog, and I have to say that your interpretation of the article is embarrassingly far from the truth. If anyone actually took the time to read her post and bothered to understand Alyssa and her style, he would see that Alyssa is not promoting hooking up. What she is doing is suggesting that those who are hooking up should do so responsibly (or as responsibly as possible for that activity, anyway). Promoting careful consideration before hooking up is a far cry from your accusation that she is promoting hooking up.

Alyssa's second post is more incriminating I suppose, but hardly as bad as you make it out to be. In the section when she suggests de-stressing through sex, her language specifically tells the reader that she doesn't have experience with this. As with her other article, she's throwing the idea out there for those who participate in those sorts of activities anyway; still quite different from advocating and promoting. She's not writing for a Christian audience, so she's doing some research and putting it into her writing. Oh, and leaving the friend zone does NOT mean sex; you may consider learning the lingo before you misrepresent someone's ideas by assuming the worst. She's simply suggesting that a girl try forming a romantic relationship with someone who has only been a friend before; sex is entirely at the discretion of the reader as Alyssa doesn't suggest one way or another there.

No one else has bothered to look further into her writing because we understand what she's doing. The articles you mention from the Diamond are not remotely questionable; why you try to spin them as such is beyond me. Every one of those articles passed through the hands of my staff and myself personally. We thought that they made legitimate points worth considering at our school, and I stand by that decision still. If you find them offensives, I suggest that you a) find another publication to read or b) take time to really understand her articles and consider your own views in comparison to Alyssa's ideas.

What I see here is close-mindedness being directed on a pointless witch hunt-vendetta against a girl who has never even met you through an institution that you have no affiliation with or vested interest in. You haven't even bothered to contact the author for clarification or to take the time to truly understand her writing and her points. If my analysis offends you, I consider that a good thing. Maybe I can make you step back from your own views for a minute and consider what you're doing before you take it upon yourself to ruin a young woman's life for some vague moral "crusade". (You may also consider researching what actually went on during the Crusades before you decide to affiliate yourself with them; they're not exactly a crowning moment of love and goodness in Christian history.)

I'd also like you to consider that your post is threatening the college you claim to be helping. By leaving this here, you violate the confidentiality that Dordt tries to keep while also sullying its reputation by posting an article that says Dordt students are sexually immoral. Even after the situation is resolved, your article will stay online to damage Dordt's reputation any time someone views it. Also, what you're doing is, in all honesty, rather unprofessional. This is now a Dordt College matter. What you wrote should have stayed between you, the college, and Alyssa. Instead, you've broadcast it all over the Internet, making this private matter very public in a way that could easily harm Dordt's inquiry into the matter as your article is essentially forcing their hand. You should have left the matter alone. You'd emailed the college and had assurances that they were looking into it.

What you're doing now is nothing less than trying to bully the college into taking your side by making the matter public and getting others to cry "witch" for Alyssa's inquiry. You may consider taking this post down out of respect for the college and its processes. I'm sure that what you're doing here isn't helping Dordt any; if anything, your post is likely making a big mess for a lot of people at Dordt as you publicized a confidential, in-house matter. If you're truly worried about the college, you will take this post down and refrain from speaking of this matter online.

Mr. Galen,

I do not think that you really are mature enough to be engaging in this discussion as you do not seem to understand either your obligations as a Christian nor the Scripture you cite in defense of your actions. I am asking you, in Christian charity, to cease and desist.

One of your parishioners is leading a witchhunt against a student at Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA. She has made numerous contacts with the college administration in an effort to silence the student simply because she doesn't agree with what the student is writing.

Not for nothing is Christ called The Hound of Heaven. The poem by Francis Thompson starts:

I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter. 5 Up vistaed hopes I sped; And shot, precipitated, Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears, From those strong Feet that followed, followed after. But with unhurrying chase, 10 And unperturbèd pace, Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, They beat—and a Voice beat More instant than the Feet— ‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’ 15 I pleaded, outlaw-wise, By many a hearted casement, curtained red, Trellised with intertwining charities; (For, though I knew His love Who followèd, Yet was I sore adread 20 Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside). But, if one little casement parted wide, The gust of His approach would clash it to. Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue. Across the margent of the world I fled, 25 And troubled the gold gateways of the stars, Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars; Fretted to dulcet jars And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon. I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon; 30 With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over From this tremendous Lover— Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see! I tempted all His servitors, but to find My own betrayal in their constancy, 35 In faith to Him their fickleness to me, Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit. To all swift things for swiftness did I sue; Clung to the whistling mane of every wind. But whether they swept, smoothly fleet, 40 The long savannahs of the blue; Or whether, Thunder-driven, They clanged his chariot ’thwart a heaven, Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:— Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue. 45 Still with unhurrying chase, And unperturbèd pace, Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, Came on the following Feet, And a Voice above their beat— 50 ‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’

It is not Lydia who pursues the woman; it is not Lydia who does not agree with what the student is writing. It is Christ. Lydia just happens to be the pencil writing the words. Until you understand this, you really can make no proper contribution to this discussion. All you can do is get in the way. Please, desist. You are not fighting the good fight. Nay, you are supporting evil. Do you really think that Christ condones fornication? Do you? If you cannot stand before him and say yes, then you have no business saying that the woman writing the article is doing the Lord's work. She is at a Christian college. She should know the difference. If she does not, then someone has to tell her. Whom do you suggest? No one else, apparently, will.

If Lydia does go over the top in what she does or says about the woman, I or any other person who writes in this comment box regularly will surely let her know. That is my responsibility and theirs as her brother in Christ. Many of us have had a lot more experience in the area of admonishment, both public and private than you, so, perhaps you may take counsel from us that you have not been a good brother in Christ to Lydia nor the woman writing the article. I don't suspect you will see this anytime soon, but some day, you will, if only because you will have to give an accounting to Christ.

Make no mistake - this is not an issue of free speech. This is an issue of theology. The theology is not particularly difficult to understand: one may not counsel another to sin. The woman, by her article, is doing this. She is doing it in a public forum. Someone has to tell her to stop.

There are many other similar things going on in the world and the Internet. One reason that God is not better honored in this country is because so few people are willing to stand up for him. One more little slide into relativism; one little slip into sin. What does it matter? Is this the message you want to send to the world? Is this the message you want to send to your children? Sometimes, one must take a stand. It should be done in gentleness, but not in indifference. I hope you will understand that I have no ax to grind with the woman writing the article, personally, but if you knew as many horrible things as I do that can and have happened to both women and men because no one spoke up, especially in the sins of passion, then you will know why I write so strongly. I ask you forgiveness if I have overstepped my place, but I ask, again, in as fraternal a way as possible, that you not engage this issue, further. You are sidetracking the discussion into something it is not - a simple matter of freedom of speech. It is more. Much more than that.

The Chicken

Here's a copy of the email I sent to Lydia's pastor. Since Lydia has been in regular contact with the administration at Dordt College to push her agenda, I figure turnabout is fair play.

I guess "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" got missed by Mr. Dalen in Sunday school.

I would appreciate it if you would remind her of the verse about removing the log from your own eye before reaching for the speck on someone elses.

Wow, I didn't know that Lydia advocated hook-ups and other sexual sins for Christians.

Did you learn any scripture beyond reading a few phrases and obviously not understanding them?

Luke, one major problem with your argument seems to be that as Christians we can somehow just put aside what we believe based on who we are speaking to. If we are talking to people who hook-up, it's a Christian obligation to say it is harmful morally, spiritually, and often physically to the person. It's not acceptable if we just go ahead and talk like it is normal and expected.

One more thing and then I am finished. I have not read the articles by Alyssa, except for the original article, and I am not trying to get involved any more directly in this matter than I, perhaps, imprudently, already have. I have been trying to define the relevant theological background. In no Christian tradition of the past five-hundred years which has made a sincere effort to follow Christ of which I am aware, was it every deemed proper to give counsel of the form: well, if you are going to have sex outside of marriage...

That is not proper Christian counsel. It is a sign of the slide in spirituality in this country and the world, in general, that it could be taken as such. I believe you, Luke, when you say that Alyssa's article was written with the best of intentions. I really do, because I teach the young and I know where many are at.

Times change, but, even so, the moral law does not. I was young, once, and believe me Dordt College is the little leagues compared to where I went to school, but back then, none of my co-horts would have accepted this form of writing as being helpful. None of them would have written it. They understood sex in a different light. The reasons for this change in contemporary society would, probably, be a productive topic to discuss in this comment box - much more than the gathering clouds of legalese which, I suspect, will surely be following. I do not wish anyone be publicly harmed. Christian discussions like this should, all things being equal, be done in private. Perhaps, it would have been better for Lydia, in her concern, to contact Alyssa in private. It's a gray area because her publications are public. There is room for prudential judgment, here. I will simply commend this matter, on all sides, to the mercy of God and beg for the same mercy where I, big mouth that I am, have gone into sin.

I have said my peace. I will bow out, for now.

The Chicken

Chicken,

I'm not even sure I'm a Christian anymore...and I'm certainly not one by the definition that you seem to have for it. So please spare me your fundamentalist BS.

Let's talk turnabout. Lydia is a bully. She's bullying a college student and a college to which she has no connection. That pisses me off. I'm willing to match every tactic she employs to bully Dordt and Alyssa with a similar tactic.

Mrs. McGrew,

I will begin by saying that no arguing against your opinion on Alyssa/Ally's articles will be done here. Your opinion is just that, your point of view. Opinions are to be respected. I do, however, question the steps you took after finding one you deemed inappropriate.

Towards the beginning of your blog, you say this.

"I immediately asked what "conservative Christian college" this was, but Pearcey apparently preferred not to say."

May I ask if you considered why she preferred not to tell you?

I will not call you a hypocrite because I do not personally know you; I know only as much about you as possible from reading some of your articles. But, if I disagreed with one of your writings, here are the steps I would take: I would mull it over in my head for some time, discuss it with people that are close to me, and perhaps try to contact you.

Oh, and to the Masked Chicken. Perhaps another Bible verse is in order here.

"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." John 8:7b

I will use my real name, because I think people who are in a position to tell someone on a blog to apologize to someone else should also be in a position to let that first someone know who is telling them to do so.

Edit: While previewing I caught your last post before submitting mine.

"Perhaps, it would have been better for Lydia, in her concern, to contact Alyssa in private."

I agree, and not only in her concern, but everyone's.

Now, Mrs. McGrew, since you were able to state your opinion, I will state mine. I agree with Mr, Schut, I believe you were completely out of line to cyber-stalk Alyssa. If you do not believe you were stalking, let me read to you the first two definitions of "stalk(verb)" in the dictionary.

1. to follow or approach (game, prey, etc) stealthily and quietly

You followed Alyssa silently, she had no idea you were Googling her name and preparing to email Dordt's staff. And you approached her, bridging a 1000+ mile gap, by sending an email to her school.

2. to pursue persistently and, sometimes, attack (a person with whom one is obsessed, often a celebrity)

This one, I hope, is self-explanatory.

To put it in perspective, I have a serious problem with you calling a man a "real life troll". Normal forum trolls are easy to spot, of course (and leave posts quite different from the original one that Mr. Dalen left). However, calling someone a "real life" troll is downright an offensive comment. I can understand why he seemed upset in his later posts. What I will do about this is (remember?) mull it over, discuss it with some people that are close to me, and leave this post for you to see.

The most important thing in Alyssa's life right now is her college. I would assume the most important thing in your life is your family. I, on the other hand, am not going to submit an email to your family about how I thought calling someone a "real life troll" in a blog was offensive.

My opinion,
Austin Van Den Top

http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2009/05/antimuslim-bigotry-at-western-michigan-university.html

Wow. If my wife's activities began reflecting poorly on my ability to do my job I'd ask her to knock it off. Maybe she is the only racist in the family. Or maybe the head of the philosophy dept at Western Michigan is a racist as well?

Either way, it reflects poorly on the university.

Paul,
Sometimes to let evil go unremarked is to injure, not to protect, the persons and institutions involved. Alyssa has publicly implicated herself and her college in evil by advocating activities that (1) both Testaments, (2) all major denominations (including CR) and (3) her own college and denomination all denounce as immoral and unacceptable. By pointing out this hypocrisy to those responsible for guiding that institution, those who are responsible for maintaining its good name, reputation, and standards, Lydia has done a distinct service. She did right.

After spending the last two hours perusing the totality of Lydia's right-wing bullshit as well as her and her husband's pathetic attempt at using Baye's Theorem to establish a probability for the Resurrection, I've come to the conclusion that she's a smart, yet typical, Tea Partier.

You can't help stupid...I can't help Lydia. My last plan was to email her husband's colleagues, but the are apparently already aware she and he are fundamentalist crusaders with nothing to do but make sure college students don't have sex.

And Michael, Lydia didn't do right. She is a bully. She's picking on a college student for no other reason that to generate interest in her blog (which I am abetting, I'm ashamed to admit). Lydia is a [language edit] for attention and the very reason that I say that while I like Jesus...it's his followers I can't stand.

Mr. Dalen,

You write, in part:

... as well as her and her husband's pathetic attempt at using Baye's Theorem to establish a probability for the Resurrection ...

It would spare you some embarrassment if you would restrain your impulse to make derogatory offhand comments about things that you not only have not understood but also cannot even spell.

Paul,

Lydia is not a bully. She's a truth teller. She told the truth to those who could do something about it. That's as should be.

It's not telling the truth, however, to characterize either Lydia or her husband as stupid or as fundamentalists.

Perhaps, it would have been better for Lydia, in her concern, to contact Alyssa in private.

Actually, MC, if I had done that, especially if I had done it more than once and "unwantedly," someone _might_ have tried to get at me for "cyberstalking." Unwanted, harassing messages to the person, etc., etc.

This is fair comment on publically available information regarding a person who has published publically and with whom I have no contact whatsoever.

One small clarification: The really bad articles have been at a secular site--hence, as I said above, to a putatively secular audience. Which of course does not make them any less bad. I only put this here because in one of MC's comments (I'm catching up on the thread after being away for the evening), I got the impression that perhaps that had been missed. The articles in the Christian forum (that is, Dordt's own newspaper) were, as I mentioned in the post, considerably more tame. Just...let's say...odd. I don't consider those kinds of snippy backhanded feminist compliments to men ("My boyfriend is amazing. He makes me not actually want to vomit when I think of marriage"--that's a quotation from memory, so perhaps not word for word) to be exactly...what I would want in a publication at a Christian school.

The idea of a pushback against me by writing to my pastor is...amusing.

Let's talk turnabout. Lydia is a bully. She's bullying a college student and a college to which she has no connection.

Oh, heavens. Mr. Dalen, please be careful how you throw around descriptions of people, here at W4.

Reading Lydia's article, two things stands above all other aspects: first, she documents EVERY SINGLE claim. That's what all of the references were for - documentation. A person who writes articles for newspapers knows that they need to document every fact put into the piece. That's what Lydia was doing. She was doing investigative reporting, and doing a darn good job of it. Most of the time, newspaper reporters don't give us all the ground-work that went into their piece, they only give the results, but we trust that the editor made sure all the background checks were in place. At least, that's the way it's supposed to happen. In this case, Lydia didn't have to worry about the price of every word published, so she gave us all the legwork that went into the article. Doing careful investigation of your facts is NOT cyberstalking. It cannot be required activity for a newspaper reporter and stalking for Lydia. No double-standards, please.

The second thing that jumps off the screen in Lydia's article is that she is measured and temperate in all of her comments _about people_, (as opposed to about actions). It is screamingly obvious that she is not writing an attack piece about the student. She doesn't say ANYTHING personally nasty about Alyssa, in the standard attack sense. The absolute "meanest" think Lydia said (well, directly implied, to be careful) about Alyssa, if you can even call it "mean", is that Alyssa has "advocated sexual immorality." And she documented that claim quite thoroughly, so it's not like that implication is in the least unfounded. One doubts that Alyssa considers what she had done to be "advocating sexual immorality", but whether it is or isn't is dependent on what standards of morality are applicable, obviously. But using that phrase is not the sort of thing that is done in an attack piece, not at all: it is either a simple statement of fact (if the applicable standards of morality are as the Bible says), or a simple statement of error easily refutable if the applicable standards are not Biblical ones. Attack articles use all sorts of insults and personality profiling that are matters of personal opinion and unprovable no matter what facts are established.

Next, it is untrue to say that Lydia has no connection to this Christian college: she is a Christian, living in the same society that breathes its life into Dordt, and receives back from Dordt its graduates. Every Christian has a stake in the success of ALL of our Christian colleges turning out Christians. And of knowing when and to what extent they have failed publicly, miserably, catastrophically.

Mr. Dalen, and Mr. Van Den Top, I think that it is the sin of detraction that is the real ground under which you are accusing Lydia:

is the sin of revealing previously unknown faults or sins of another person to a third person;

This sin of detraction takes a matter of someone else private sinful acts, acts that were previously hidden from public view and holds them up for public view without any corresponding public rationale or public need. In this case, obviously, nothing Lydia has brought to light is a private act: published articles are by definition public acts. The only thing Lydia did following was to make explicit what was implicit: the actual person behind the pseudonym for the lead article. In no way did this change the fact that the act done was a public act. If a person doesn't want their name attached to a public act because it is evil, then they really hadn't better do that public act, now had they? And if it wasn't evil, then they can defend it. Now, it may have been the case that Lydia's release of the student's identity was not a public need, but there are scads and scads of similar events where no corrective action is taken because nobody bothers to establish the basic facts of who did what. That is, there is a prudential aspect to this, a matter for judgment about how far and in what manner the details need to be made open so that the whole thing is not brushed aside as mere "unproven" innuendo.

The most important thing in Alyssa's life right now is her college. I would assume the most important thing in your life is your family.

On the contrary, the most important thing in Alyssa's life right now is (or should be, anyway) her life in Christ, as is certainly true of Lydia. It well behooves anyone to be called to account with respect to that life if their public acts are wrongful.

One thing that all of the college defenders of Alyssa here don't seem to realize is that the COLLEGE may feel that they have lots and lots of time in which to make an investigation, determination of the critical facts, and a decision about how to deal with such a student. But parents, especially those parents of sweet Suzie that is going away from home for the first time, DON'T have such infinite time: the beginning of the semester is NOW. Newspaper reporters ALWAYS get pushed back for "just a little more time" before they release damaging information, and no matter how long they wait, it always seems like "we just need more time". We have now been living for 50 years in progressive, unchecked decline of social morality on Christian campuses, partly because there has been insufficient evidence available to parents about how those campuses actually operate. You may notice that of Lydia's suggestions, not one of them actually included a recommendation that the president expel Alyssa. She places the onus of that decision, instead, on Alyssa herself:

If "Ally Karsyn" wants entirely to reject Christian sexual morality and celebrate arrant promiscuity, it lies within her power to do so, though she will doubtless harm herself and others in the process. But to get her degree from an explicitly Christian college while working actively to undermine what it stands for--that's low.

The real issue before us is to see whether, and how, the college itself will right its ship. Will it fire professors who willingly led Alyssa down this path? Will it squash the newspaper's columns that have nothing to do with Christian living? Will it re-examine its own curricula to determine what classes and textbooks are damaging to Christian thought, principles, and sensibilities? Or, alternatively, will it paper over the true problems and appoint a commission to come up with a new required course on Christianity (ostensibly) whose real purpose is to pretend something is being done when nothing real is changing?

Luke Schut--no, I haven't googled you; this is the first time I've ever heard of you. I guess from your comments that you are affiliated with Dordt's student newspaper. If that inference is correct, I now have more information about people at Dordt affiliated with the newspaper. I don't know whether you are faculty or student.

That you would defend Ally Karsyn's articles in your own paper is not surprising, since it's your own paper. As I've said, they were a little strange and edgy (the ones I've seen), but if you have such a high tolerance and just really get deeply into that kind of "I'm so ironic, I'm such a clever feminist, isn't it cool?" stuff, I'm sure you loved them. And they weren't entirely crazy, over-the-top like the articles at Her Campus. _Why_ a Christian college needed a whole article about a new contraceptive gel currently in clinical trials...well...these things are perhaps beyond the realm of mortal comprehension. But at least she didn't outright advocate hooking up in that one. And what a cute little final line--that the woman can "always say no" if the man isn't being "responsible" about birth control. Glad to hear it, I suppose.

That you would defend the articles at Her Campus, including the one that contained stuff *so bad* that I won't have it on this blog (and actually, we have a certain amount of flex in the topics we discuss around here compared to some Christian sites), _is_ a bit surprising but tells me a lot. A huge amount.

Yes, she was advocating sexual immorality. Very clearly, very unequivocally, very shockingly. Only a corruption of the moral sense that runs very, very deep could lead anyone to deny that.

As for my "posting an article that says Dordt students are sexually immoral," actually, I didn't. You can see throughout that I have been quite careful about that, including in my comment to Gina above. What you need to understand, Luke Schut, is that for Ally Karsyn to write these kinds of things _raises naturally_ in the minds of mature people who have Christian moral values questions about the atmosphere in which she has ostensibly been being morally formed over the past three years or so. "What's up at that school, what goes on there, that she thinks and talks this way?" is going to occur to people, and that is a natural question to ask. *I do not know* how bad it is at her own school as opposed to secular schools. I honestly do not know, and I have made that clear, but what Ally has written is evidence that is pertinent to that question.

What you have written is also pertinent. That you would excuse those really outrageous articles speaks volumes of an atmosphere of "if they're gonna do it anyway," an atmosphere of excuse-making for flagrant moral licentiousness and using others as sexual objects, an atmosphere of being not only in the world but also of it. In other words, your remarks right here definitely make things _worse_ for Dordt's reputation.

And by the way--If you are a newspaper editor, it may someday be useful to you to know: The word is "closed-minded," not "close-minded."

Luke, one major problem with your argument seems to be that as Christians we can somehow just put aside what we believe based on who we are speaking to. If we are talking to people who hook-up, it's a Christian obligation to say it is harmful morally, spiritually, and often physically to the person. It's not acceptable if we just go ahead and talk like it is normal and expected.

Chris, excellent. Right-on.

'Scuse me, coming through. What's that, I stepped on Mr. Dalen by accident? Dear me, I mustn't have noticed. Ah well.

The Elephant

The dying of the light at Christian colleges should be a matter of concern for all Christians. Parents who are looking for a college to which to send their children and donors who wish to support schools with a distinctively Christian intellectual and moral atmosphere are stakeholders in these matters.

After reading the comments left here by Dordt students, I'm not so sure I'm as worried about their moral climate as much as I'm worried about the ability of their faculty to teach their students basic thinking and writing skills.

If you're truly worried about the college, you will take this post down and refrain from speaking of this matter online.

I'm worried about the college, but not in the "quick, let's cover this up so as not to cause embarrassment" sense.

And I'm even more worried about Christian people who are right now sending their children to college or who have high school seniors and who are trying desperately to get information that goes beyond official statements and lovely photographs and quotations on official web pages. "What sort of students will my child be influenced by?" "What sort of faculty will my child be influenced by?" These are the sorts of questions Christian parents rightly and naturally agonize over, especially when preparing to spend large sums of money or to encourage their child to go into debt when barely adult (!) in order to purchase an "immersion experience" in a particular college atmosphere. This is exactly the kind of information I would want to know, as a parent. This is the kind of information that should be available for parents.

Naturally, if I learn reliably that the school is doing the kinds of things Tony suggests, I will publish that, too. Because that, too, will be information.

Ah, now Jeff, that's hitting the nail on the head.

Paul, is Islam a race? I'm pretty sure it's not. The term "racist" is normally reserved for those who have racist beliefs.

Anguish? So? I'm sure sending a rapist to jail causes him a significant amount of 'anguish', but that really has nothing to do with the concept of just desert. But of course, this analogy is not about her deserving jail time (she doesn't), and it's not about her moral offense being as bad as rape (it isn't). This analogy serves to show that there is nothing explicitly wrong about anguish _as such_. In fact, anguish when properly deserved is entirely appropriate.

Paul, I suggest you watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHmvkRoEowc
And then: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiqkDm9UoKo

Meanwhile, I'd suggest that you dust off that old New Testament and reread Jesus' views on judgment and divine punishment. The Jesus you're talking about _doesn't exist_.

Moreover, I think the fallacy in your argument about everyone minding their own business is that you conceive of Alyssa's actions as nothing more than a self-regarding vice, and in fact, I'm not sure that you'd even call it a vice.

However, self-regarding vices _do not exist_. I'm sorry to break it to your liberal heart, but the idea of individual actions taking place inside of a vacuum is totally illusory. What you do and what you say in the public square is open to criticism, especially when you advocate ridiculousness. Deal with it. This isn't about shame, nor is it about compassion. Don't try and moralize this when you explicitly write that you don't believe in sin. So why judge? Aren't you judging? Aren't you casting a stone by calling people despicable? By the way, waxing psychologically about your opponents on the internet is just something I would expect from the people that love to drum up fantastical stories about conspiratorial plots to divest the world of diversity and usher in a new era of Theocracy.

Well done, Paul, well done.

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An interesting irony: Had the president not innocently raised the question as to whether this student was really a Dordt student, I might never have published her second name. Ally Karsyn _told the whole world_, at site after site, including Her Campus, that she was a Dordt student. Articles appeared under that very name at the Diamond. I was at first astonished that anyone would question whether this was a Dordt student.

Call me naive, but I found out that "Ally Karsyn" was an alias accidentally, when Googling "Ally Karsyn." It sounds like a real name. I probably wouldn't have come across the name "Alyssa Hoogendoorn" and very likely wouldn't have mentioned the fact that Ally Karsyn has another name had a question not been raised as to whether this was a Dordt student.

I would have published an article about what she had written, but the probability is that I would have simply spoken, in innocence, of this undeniable, undoubted, self-avowed Dordt student by the name "Ally Karsyn." Why not? My initial thought when told that no student by that name was at Dordt was that perhaps she had graduated a bit earlier than expected and hadn't updated her profile.

As Tony conjectures, the documentation of the alias arose from the need to document that this was a Dordt student (as she herself insisted in many on-line locations that she was), after this had been questioned and after I stumbled upon her real name.

My apologies for the one spelling error, Lydia. Unfortunately, Firefox doesn't have a full-featured spelling and grammar check, and that one slipped under the radar. I'll assume you're big enough to look over an error or two and won't bring them up in some bizarre and childish attempt to discredit me somehow.

And I'm sorry that you're still missing the point of Alyssa's Diamond articles. Contraceptives only serve as her springboard in that article, but I suppose that's not the point. I wouldn't say they're anywhere near beyond the realm of mortal comprehension based on my editors and readers, but I suppose you can hold your opinion of them and those that read, understand, and maybe even enjoy them.

I'm also sorry that you feel that way about Alyssa. She's really a sweet, intelligent girl to those that have met her, but you're also entitled to hold your opinion of her as immoral and degenerate. I'll stick to the opinions I've formed by knowing her for years.

Now some people are accusing me of saying that we can put aside our beliefs based on who we're speaking to. I wouldn't say that. However, I also don't think we'll get anywhere by simply beating people with a Jesus stick. How far do you actually think you're going to get if you come in swinging with condemnation? Correcting others is good and Biblical, but I think we have to look at whether we're correcting or condemning. Simply condemning people as sinners does little good except make us feel holier. Most people already know what we Christians think of their lifestyle choices, and coming with condemnation first instead of love doesn't do use any good.

Now, should Alyssa have put all those things in her Bucket List article? Probably not. I would agree that a couple of those suggestions are rather inappropriate. Maybe she shouldn't even have written about hooking up responsibly. (Aside: I would still prefer that people who are not Christians at least know how to do so a responsibly as possible. I don't see this as making excuses; I see it as making the best of a situation we cannot yet fix no matter how much evangelizing we do. We know that we cannot convert everyone; for those that we cannot convert, we can at least try to lead them to make better decisions and minimize the impact of sin in their lives. But this is not what we're discussing) However, all this is in the past. What's done is done. Now we need to consider how this should be handled, and I have to say that I feel it is being handled the wrong way here.

What bothers me most about this blog and the comments I see here is that no one has bothered to contact Alyssa or try to get her side. She hasn't been given any opportunity to explain her actions, apologize, or comment in any way. Instead, what I see here is blatant condemnation based on a few articles written by a young women no one here besides me has ever been in contact with. Lydia, you should be able to attest to the importance of context in analyzing and understanding a piece of writing. Without something more here, I simply don't understand how there can be such a vehement condemnation of Alyssa based on so little.

People are saying they worry about the moral climate of Christian colleges, but what do these comments say about the moral climate of Christians in general? Are we really going to condemn a woman without even bothering to talk to her? For being followers of an incarnated God who spent his time showing love and acceptance to thieves and prostitutes, we all seem awfully quick to condemn someone we've never met over one person's interpretation of one side of the story. There's no grace in this, no aspiration to teach and correct. Maybe the aspiration was in the original letter, but this continued spotlighting and publicizing turns any intent to correct into nothing more than continued persecution. Every person who reads this and then condemns Alyssa isn't helping to teach her anything. They're simply making her feel more ostracized and hated.

If you are truly interested in helping Alyssa, you'll let Dordt handle this privately. Let the administration and the chaplain do their jobs. Don't drag this in front of the world's eye so that they can all condemn her. As Mr. Van Den Top said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." We've all messed up at some point, and those who noticed did us the kindness of pointing it out in a way that didn't put us under the scrutiny of everyone to shame us (or at least they gave us a chance before doing so). How about we try a little grace and forgiveness instead of parading this around and judging? And maybe we could start acting more civilly towards each other too instead of provoking and taunting other Christians. It seems to me that we (and yes, I'm including myself in all these "we") could all use some lessons on forgiveness, grace, and brotherly love before we start telling other people why they're sinners and condemning them.

Mr. Schut,

I am not a writer, so I must say thank you for seconding my thoughts, and putting them in words in ways I cannot.

Mrs. McGrew

I am still interested in hearing the answer to my question, which you have not yet answered.

(copy and paste)

Towards the beginning of your blog, you say this.

"I immediately asked what "conservative Christian college" this was, but Pearcey apparently preferred not to say."

May I ask if you considered why she preferred not to tell you?

Luke, you write, "She's really a sweet, intelligent girl to those that have met her, but you're also entitled to hold your opinion of her as immoral and degenerate."

The majority of immoral and degenerate people I've met are also sweet and intelligent. (In fact, I'd say that in general, intelligent people are more likely to be immoral and degenerate.) Alyssa might be a wonderful person in so many ways, but hell will probably be full of similarly wonderful people (though hopefully not Alyssa). The fact of the matter is that she blatantly disregarded God's holy laws in writing what she did. And the idea that writing about "safe" hooking up is better than writing about hooking up in general is a little ridiculous -- it's never safe to defy a holy God. I mean, yeah, if you don't believe in God or in hell, I guess it's safer to hook up in a non-drunken state, but as Christians we tend to believe in God and hell -- I hope that isn't too fundamentalist for you.

I don't understand the desire to avoid labels such as "immoral" or "degenerate". Hell, I'm both of those things to an extent -- though of course I don't want to be. If someone were to approach me on the street and accuse me of being a wicked sinner, I just wouldn't be able to work up any indignation. It's a plain fact that everyone is filled with sin, so it really shouldn't be shocking when someone occasionally gets called a sinner. Will Alyssa feel condemned? Perhaps, but is this really a bad thing? I know that in myself such feelings are part of what motivates me to want to live a more Christian lifestyle. I think that it would be far worse to be able to sin without any unhappy feelings to warn me that I am in the wrong -- if I could sin with such impunity, I would wonder if that would be a sign that the Holy Spirit doesn't even care to warn me of the need for repentance anymore.

Mrs. McGrew,

I reread this thread and came up with another question for you that I missed the first time, if you would be so kind as to answer.

You stated:

"The idea of a pushback against me by writing to my pastor is...amusing."

My question is about a man who so vigorously defends a college-age woman (whose future career possibly potentially hangs in the balance because of this fiasco) that his tactics have become almost desperate. What about that is so amusing?

Thank you for your time.

I think the real scandal is that these Doort students/alums managed to make it through high school and beyond without ever thinking coherently about their faith.

Luke has a more conciliatory tone, and that's commendable: A good man's vocabulary in general ought to consist of polite words and, beyond that, hard knocks (but only if absolutely necessary).

Still, fellows, your Christian catechesis is profoundly wanting.

1. Fornication is sinful. Persistently and unrepentantly choosing it (or anything else) over Christ is an excellent way to go to hell. One cannot serve both God and mammon; neither can one serve both God and porneia.

2. It is not self-righteous for any mature Christian to point this out. Far from it; it is stating the obvious. Stating what is obvious is a thing that one ought to be able to do casually, in almost a bored tone. Lydia didn't come across as bored with her topic -- she's too good a writer -- but the measured style struck me as unruffled. That this bit of writing could be mistaken for the ranting of a pitchfork-waving firebrand indicates a disconnect. "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

Why so? I can't say for certain, but I suspect that Luke and Paul are so utterly unaccustomed to hearing Christ's commands on sexual matters asserted unapologetically that they mistook their own shock at what they were reading for a shocking tone by the author. If I'm not mistaken about this, then: Heads up, gentlemen: Lydia's post was fresh water. It felt foreign because you're accustomed to swimming in sewage.

3. We're all sinners: Of course! Yet we're commanded to exhort one another to righteousness. How can that be squared with not "judging?" ...for of course one cannot correct a sinner without first coming to the conclusion that they have sinned. Luke, your view on this suggests that you believe these commands are in conflict, and so you choose to disregard the ones which obligate you to admonish the sinner (perhaps because of the two groups, those are the ones most likely to make you unpopular?).

But they are not in conflict at all. A person can in fact "judge" in the sense of exercising discernment about the truth of the matter without "judging" in the sense of hypocritically or self-righteously asserting that a sinner is of no worth or inferior worth to oneself.

It is impossible, I think, for even the unfriendliest reader to interpret Lydia as having intended to convey her own superior value over Alyssa. That she is in fact less of a sinner in this area is of course quite probable, but I see no reason to suspect that Lydia thinks that God loves her more than He loves Alyssa. But Alyssa has objectively given scandal to the body of Christ and encouraged others towards sin. Any person who loves the Lord will seek to heal this scandal and to steer the misled away from sin. Lydia seems to be taking that approach. If Alyssa doesn't like hearing the objectively true information that she's in the wrong...well, what sinner does? David surely didn't like hearing Nathan say, "O king, you are that man!" ...but it doesn't make Nathan evil for having said it. Nathan would have been guilty of sin had he kept quiet.

Second, after a sin, one must repent, ask forgiveness, show contrition, make restitution, accept correction and punishment including penances where appropriate. This is what David did in response to Nathan; indeed, David's repentance was exemplary. We can only hope that Alyssa will follow David's example, and not the example of his predecessor Saul. (When Samuel confronted Saul with his sin, Saul responded by lying or trying to hide his wrongdoing.)

Third, people sin in different areas. My wife and I were virgins when we married -- and not for lack of temptation or opportunity. Surely it is not hypocritical for those of us who have been obedient to Jesus Christ (at least in this one area) to admonish others to do likewise? At the very least we serve as witnesses demonstrating that obedience is possible, an idea some seem to doubt in our era.

Fourth, grace and forgiveness toward a repentant sinner are Biblical. All the gentleness of a Father welcoming back a prodigal are the proper response to repentance. But there's the catch: Alyssa is a very sweet and intelligent young woman, apparently, but that she is sadly impaired in sexual matters is now a matter of record. What to do about it?

Well, if she were in tears, confessing her sins and resolving to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ, that would be one thing. At that point, forgiveness and gentleness are the fit response and anything else would be evil. Jesus' behavior toward the Samaritan woman at the well, or toward the woman caught in adultery, is normative.

But what about the unrepentant sinner? What about a girl who, instead of printing retractions of all her previously published sex "advice," trying to undo the damage by calling readers to disregard her former pieces and live lives of holiness and self respect, reacts evasively or obstinately?

In that case St. Paul's outcasting of the man who had sexual relations with his father's wife (1 Cor 5, if I remember correctly) would be normative.

Notice, please, that this is the grace-filled and loving thing to do. One does not "love" a person by tolerating egregious sin. It's not love to put up with a person (let alone encourage them) if by exhorting them to repentance there's any chance you can rescue them from hell. Exhortation from our fellow Christians is one of the avenues by which God is gracious to us. It is one of the ways that we are fed by the body of Christ.

Wordlessly allowing a person steer themselves and others into evil, by contrast, is a very comfortable and lazy way to hate them.

So I am grateful to Lydia that she has demonstrated Christian love towards this girl in this way. I grant that the girl and her advocates here do not see it that way. Well, with age comes perspective. "For those who have been trained by it, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful."

Anyhow, the important thing right now is to save Alyssa and her readers from fornication's temporal and eternal consequences. There is plenty of time in eternity for quibbling over the grammar of how best to do so. Quibbling about it so much now that one silences the voice of truth is like fretting so much about the color of the life-jacket that one forgets to throw it to the drowning man.

Luke, I find it so interesting that you have moved from pretty clearly defending the articles to trying to say, "Maybe they were wrong, but you've not been nice enough in your way of handling this."

Your own earlier comment is right in this thread. It's not like it's hard to find. Here is what you said:

To begin, I've read the one offending article that is still on Alyssa's blog, and I have to say that your interpretation of the article is embarrassingly far from the truth. If anyone actually took the time to read her post and bothered to understand Alyssa and her style, he would see that Alyssa is not promoting hooking up. What she is doing is suggesting that those who are hooking up should do so responsibly (or as responsibly as possible for that activity, anyway). Promoting careful consideration before hooking up is a far cry from your accusation that she is promoting hooking up.

Alyssa's second post is more incriminating I suppose, but hardly as bad as you make it out to be. In the section when she suggests de-stressing through sex, her language specifically tells the reader that she doesn't have experience with this. As with her other article, she's throwing the idea out there for those who participate in those sorts of activities anyway; still quite different from advocating and promoting. She's not writing for a Christian audience, so she's doing some research and putting it into her writing.

To anyone who has even read the articles with anything like a normal Christian moral sensibility, this is utterly ludicrous. And you are clearly defending these outrageous writings by implying that we rubes just simply "don't understand." Yep, that's right: Hoi polloi do find it rather difficult to understand the value of suggesting to young women that they have sex in public bathrooms. Just "throwing the idea out there" for a secular audience!

Now, in your latest longer comment you distract attention from your earlier defense with a wishy-washy not-quite-criticism:

Now, should Alyssa have put all those things in her Bucket List article? Probably not. I would agree that a couple of those suggestions are rather inappropriate. Maybe she shouldn't even have written about hooking up responsibly. (Aside: I would still prefer that people who are not Christians at least know how to do so a responsibly as possible. I don't see this as making excuses; I see it as making the best of a situation we cannot yet fix no matter how much evangelizing we do. We know that we cannot convert everyone; for those that we cannot convert, we can at least try to lead them to make better decisions and minimize the impact of sin in their lives. But this is not what we're discussing)

Wow, _there's_ a ringing endorsement of Christian morality. "Rather inappropriate." Wow.

And from there we're off into the never-never land of trying to be "grace-filled" and "forgive" and "not casting the first stone," and so forth.

In point of actual fact, Luke, your comments make it *absolutely clear* that all of that has nothing, actually, to do with coming anywhere close to trying to induce "Ally Karsyn" to see what was wrong with what she wrote. All of that talk is just a changing of the subject, after gasping out a "some of those were inappropriate," which itself came after a more outright defense: We all just don't understand. She's talking to a non-Christian audience anyway.

In other words, you just really don't know what all the fuss is about.

Your comments are incredibly instructive. Your open avowal in your earlier comment that you want to "offend" people whom you regard as closed-minded is typical, too.

Now, you think that you can just guilt-trip everyone by using a sweet tone and talking about giving people a chance to tell their side, etc.

You cannot imagine the extent to which, with the ordinary man for whose sake I chiefly wrote the post, you are _further harming_ the reputation of the college.

Do you really believe that no one who reads this has ever met anyone who talks like you? Do you not realize the extent to which this succession of ludicrous defense, extremely half-hearted criticism, and attempted smarmy guilt-tripping of those who dare to "condemn" is all-too-familiar among the new generation of evangelicals?

Your comments, coming from a recent graduate, cast a bright light on Dordt College. On the one hand we have the administrator and some (unknown) faculty who, we are told, are shocked by these articles. On the other hand, we have you--giving us the perspective from the student and recent graduate side. Which do you think is more pertinent to parents of prospective students?

It just won't wash. It won't work. And you are making things worse for your college. First rule of holes, Luke: Stop digging.

She's really a sweet, intelligent girl to those that have met her, but you're also entitled to hold your opinion of her as immoral and degenerate

For the record, in case anyone hasn't noticed, I've never said that. Rather, I say that this author advocates sexual immorality--of a particularly blatant sort, that of the hookup culture. As Tony has pointed out, that's the "nastiest" thing I have said about her. What she has written, she has written. You can't write and publish articles containing those kinds of things and not expect moral traditionalists to think and even to say that you are advocating sexual immorality! Not even if you are "sweet and intelligent."

About the only "other side of the story" that might be pertinent here would be, "Someone hacked my computer and wrote those articles. I didn't." Or, "Someone held a gun to my head and forced me to write those articles under duress and is now holding my dearest relative hostage with threats to kill him if I tell anyone about this."

Seriously, that's what we're looking at. There *are no excuses* for actually, deliberately writing these kinds of things. And once you have published them, they are fair game for fair comment and criticism. That's the way the publishing works.

Naturally, if Miss Hoogendoorn admits that she wrote these articles and is now sorry and really sees what was wrong with them, that would be a wonderful start in the right direction. The next step should be to make a public statement to that effect, to thank those who precipitated this change of heart, to rebuke one's friends who have abused such people, and to sever all ties with Her Campus and ask them to remove all her material. Another good step would be taking a hiatus from writing while deciding on a quite different direction for one's journalistic career. I suggest something _other_ than "women's popular culture."

But Luke's approach is an enabling one, an excuse-making one. He's the guy who tells the alcoholic that maybe it wasn't such a great idea to have that last drink, but after all, you really needed it, so it's sort of understandable, and all those nasty judgmental people who want you to go on the wagon aren't being Christ-like. (That is an analogy. I am not suggesting that Karsyn/Hoogendoorn is an alcoholic. For all I know she may be a teetotaler.)

Lydia, I'm just catching up on all of this. I know this is your post and comment thread, but as your colleague I am asking that you ban Mr. Dalen and delete at least one of his comments. If he were in the room he'd be knocked flat. It's outrageous to permit him any more space around here.

Lydia,

Brava! Excellent work. You may not know that another blogger was taken to task by Mark Young, President of Denver Seminary, for NOT contacting the seminary prior to publishing some embarrassing but publicly available information connecting the seminary with a local "Women's empowerment" center -- which center the school was promoting as a Christian ministry. I think it was very wise of you to do some due diligence in that regard thus heading off the same criticism. Some folks seem to think Matthew 18 applies to every criticism, period.

I do find myself wondering, however, if Mr. Dalen would have treated Woodward and Bernstein in a similar manner? Or Byron York for asking Michele Bachmann such a mean question last week --- or a thousand other examples of increasing relevance I could give --- is Mr Dalen utterly ignorant of the concept of investigative journalism? Your language, such as the phrase "go to press", makes it clear what your intention and approach was here.

Mr. Dalen might want to be a little more careful with his threats. As far as I can see, the only person guilty of anything remotely unsavory or criminal here is Miss Hoogendoorn for advocating publich indecency (you know, that little bit about having sex in a public place, right?). And the only person exhibiting stalking behaviour is Dalen - writing to your pastor and trying to make trouble with your husband's employer and threatening push-back?

illegitimi non carborundum. Never forget that, my sister!

Just caught this in the comments:

"She's really a sweet, intelligent girl to those that have met her"

Right. Uh hunh, okey dokey. Hitler was a vegetaria dog-lover, too you know.

And the most charming man I ever dated ended up being a twice-divored lying snake of a drug dealer, but man, he shore 'nuff was a charmer!

Trouble is, wolves wear sheepskins and even Satan himself an appear as an angel of light.

Wow.

These Dutch fellas "defending" Miss Hoogendoorn have certainly released more smoke pointing to a likely fire at Dordt.

Jeff, 'tis done. It became necessary last night, as he was spamming the thread with repeated bad language about everyone he could think of to use bad language about.

This brings me to one of Austin van den Trop's questions:

My question is about a man who so vigorously defends a college-age woman (whose future career possibly potentially hangs in the balance because of this fiasco) that his tactics have become almost desperate. What about that is so amusing?

Yes, I'm supposed to feel sorry for the poor, desperate good fellow who was so utterly abusive that he got himself banned almost faster than any other new commentator we have ever had.

These modern Christian feel-good folks certainly have a talent for blaming the victim, don't they? I don't know whether to call this passive aggression or if there is some other word for it, but what it seems to amount to is, "My friend lobs a bomb in your back yard, and he's the victim if you object."

Oh, and this "fiasco"--The fiasco is the articles themselves, the responsibility for which lies with the young woman who made them available for public consumption on the Internet months ago as part of self-conscious resume-building with Her Campus.

Jeff Culbreath, it's okay. I already stepped on him. Accident'lly on purpose, of course.

The Elephant

Seriously, that's what we're looking at. There *are no excuses* for actually, deliberately writing these kinds of things. And once you have published them, they are fair game for fair comment and criticism. That's the way the publishing works.

If Luke thinks you've been harsh, then someone here should take one for the team and try to make her a meme on 4chan.

Can you people please act in a slightly more mature, loving, and Christian manner? Chris is making potentially racist generalizations of Dutch people while R.C. is generalizing all Dordt people as bad Christians who have never thought about their faith. And Kamilla's is my favorite since she uses a logical fallacy to equate Alyssa to Hitler. I was hoping I could have a good conversation with some brothers and sisters in Christ, but instead of having that conversation or even being corrected in a loving manner, I am insulted and have my faith questioned. If you don't want me here, just say so. You don't have to be mean and insulting about it.

And Lydia, I'm conceding your points because, at this time, arguing doesn't matter. I'm not going to convince you that Alyssa's posts were okay, and I don't care anymore if you think they were. I simply want what's best for Alyssa now, and I'm hoping that I can talk you into dropping this matter and letting Dordt handle it the right way. The matter is not your problem anymore; you've alerted the proper authorities and been assured that they are taking action in response as per the student handbook and code of conduct. This matter doesn't concern you anymore; you've passed the correction and teaching onto others who are in a better position to see it through.

I'm just asking that you stop pushing the issue. Your post here isn't going to affect Dordt's decision, but you've taken your sister in Christ and shamed her before the entire world. Dordt hasn't even had time to finish their inquiry. Alyssa probably isn't done talking to the people there who are trying to help and guide her, but here you are condemning her in public when she hasn't even had a chance to learn and try to right whatever mistakes she made. What's going on here isn't going to help her learn; it's only going to condemn and ostracize her further. Everyone here is doing a very good job of trying to push Alyssa out of the faith through the lack of love they're showing. Love doesn't mean you can't correct your brothers and sisters, but it does change how you go about doing so. What I'm seeing here evidences little love and much judgement, and I hope you'll all reconsider before you keep posting like this.

Luke,

Before you keep defending her, do this quaint little search on Google:

cache:http://www.hercampus.com/love/your-end-semester-college-love-bucket-list

If you think she didn't cross the line in her writing into clear advocacy of fornication, you need help.

I say that with some concern (which most here would be surprised to see me saying)

I am bound as a Christian to act according to my conscience, but I am having some difficulty figuring out where it should properly lie, so, having a doubtful conscience, I am obliged to remove the doubt before acting. I need some clarification. First, some comments:

1. Luke: Oh, and to the Masked Chicken. Perhaps another Bible verse is in order here.

"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." John 8:7b

You have misinterpreted the verse. Let's put it in context:

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst [and] they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?" This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.

Notice, that Jesus is not arguing that she committed adultery. He accepts the statement of sin. What he is arguing about is what the consequences of the sin should be. The pharisees wanted to stone her. Jesus wanted to forgive her. The request that only those without sin be the first to throw a stone is not a request to deny her guilty.

I have never advocated stoning Alyssa or anything remotely like that in an academic sense. I have merely pointed out the sin and tried to explain why it is significant. You do, by the way, understand that sexual sins are so egregious that Scripture recommends the death penalty? Jesus, by virtue of his salvific act on the Cross, has won the right for a more merciful end - the sinner shall not die, if he repents and turns to Christ as the woman caught in adultery did.

So, one may condemn the sin, but not the sinner. I assume that is what you meant to say in a somewhat muddled way, but the accusation does not apply to me, since I, nowhere, condemned anyone.

2. Paul: I'm not even sure I'm a Christian anymore...and I'm certainly not one by the definition that you seem to have for it. So please spare me your fundamentalist BS.

I am sorry to hear that you are having problems in the Christian life. I am sure that the harshness of the discussion doesn't help. G. K. Chesterton said that while many people love the Church, they come to disbelieve it because of the contradiction in the witness in the loves of supposed Christians. You have got to understand that many people have been burned in this area [lust, sex] by not saying anything until considerable damage has been done. If more people had spoken up early on in the priest abuse scandal, if it had become public, many innocent lives might have been spared and aberrant priests brought back into the fold.

As for the fundamentalist "BS," what I reported has been universal Christian doctrine for two thousand years. Only recently, with the contamination of Christian theology by Modernism, has this doctrine been softened to the point of being a mere suggestion.

That you are concerned for the repercussions Lydia's actions might have on the student's future - well, it is a Christian college and actions do have consequences. What would you suggest that I do with a student I caught cheating? She should have known better. I suspect she is of the same mindset as many people who argue something like," Well, if you are going to have sex, use a condom so that you don't get AIDs." The problem is that it tacitly allows for the act, itself. That people are doing it is no reason to accept that this is the way things have to be. Did Joan of Arc accept that because the British were occupying Norther France that this is the way things should or have to be? No, she acted to correct the abuse by pleading, by prayer, and finally, by action. If Alyssa doesn't want college women to go to bed with college men who are drunk, she should also not want those same women to not go to bed with them until they are married to them. To say, "well, they are doing it," is to admit defeat from the start. The only logical type of journalism consistent with a Christian disposition is to write articles arguing why pre-marital sex is bad not only of the college woman, but any woman. Wendy Shalit, while a a philosophy major in college, did exactly that. The result is a deservedly famous book: A Return to Modesty, that takes 200 pages arguing the various reasons why the hook-up culture is a danger to women. She is Jewish and is doing something more noble than many Christians in this area.

I keep hearing the word, "opinion," being thrown around. This is a sad problem in contemporary college education: the relativization of the truth. Most colleges have been so permeated with Modernism - the idea that each individual makes his own truth - that anything like the idea that there might be an objective truth has a hard time getting a hearing. God does not like fornication. That is an objective truth of the Faith. It is not an opinion.

3. Austin: My question is about a man who so vigorously defends a college-age woman (whose future career possibly potentially hangs in the balance because of this fiasco) that his tactics have become almost desperate. What about that is so amusing?

No one wants Alyssa's life to be ruined by this anymore than one wants a student's life to be ruined by cheating. Would he be so desperate to defend someone caught cheating? Actually, this is what Alyssa did: she cheated the Christian message of its importance by allowing the possibility that just because some people are having "hook-up" sex, that it is a situation's whose impact should be minimized as opposed to argued against. There are saints who have died rather than be sullied by a man not their husband. There is no such thing as consensual sex until God gives the consent within marriage. Everything else is fornication. That is the Faith. It has been from the beginning. I am sorry that college has contaminated your thinking. It is a sad state of the modern academy.

3. All of that being said, now I come to my matter of conscience. I can defend each of the following points from a Christian perspective:

a. That Alyssa has committed objective sin by writing her article, although the subjective guilt is almost certainly lessened because of the college and youth culture as it exists, today.

b. The matter was brought to the public's attention by Nancy Pearcey, as is her right.

c. Lydia was so outraged that she decided to investigate further, eventually uncovering the author's real identity. This was her right as a person concerned for Alyssa's well-being.

d. She contacted the appropriate authorities for fraternal correction. I once had a student rat out, I mean, inform me about a student whom she saw cheating on an exam. She, properly, told me, rather than keeping the information to herself and thereby consenting to his cheating. It was up to me, as the competent authority, to deal with the matter. This, essentially, what Lydia has done and no one should fault her for that. The authorities have a right to know that this is going on.

e. That being said, there is a clear hierarchy of actions given by Scripture: first, talk to the person in private, secondly, take the matter before witnesses, thirdly, take the matter to the Church. It is in this area that I am having problems. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, but it would seem using this hierarchy, that the first thing Lydia might have done is contact Alyssa, directly, and try to reason with her. Sadly, Lydia may be correct that this might have been perceived as stalking (we live in an age of idiotic laws, poorly made from hard cases). Perhaps Alyssa might have just blown it away as a comment by another hardliner. It is hard to say what would have happened.

Failing that (and one is not required to fraternally correct if there is a danger to self), going to the administration was reasonable since Alyssa's publications are in the public forum. It then becomes the administrations responsibility to investigate and deal with the situation. At that point, Lydia has done due diligence and is no longer morally bound. She has done her duty and the rest is to be left in God's hands, from which the authority of the administrators proceed.

If the administration and Alyssa remained obstinate in refusing to address the issue, then Lydia would have, in my opinion, the right to take it to the wider Church and reveal the administrations actions or lack, thereof.

It has not come to that, however, yet. The administration has just been informed and the wheels are moving. One hopes that the administration will act in such a way so as to preserve Alyssa's dignity and rights as well as act in a paternal way. No one wants to see her scarred for life. The best resolution is that she understand the contradiction in her thinking between the authentic Christian understanding of sex and her publications. I would counsel no administrative action, even, but rather a good talking-to by the college pastor (assuming he, himself is properly disposed).

My problem of conscience is that (please, forgive me, Lydia - you know that I love you), Lydia has not allowed the middle step to work out before taking it to the Church (which is equivalent to publishing at WWWW4). I stand to be corrected on this, but I think it might have been prudent to let the administration deal with the matter privately for a while. People are entitled to a good reputation and if that reputation can be preserved while correction is being administered, this should be done. It is the sin of detraction to reveal previously unknown faults or sins of another person to a third person. I did not need to know of the identity of the person while the middle process of taking it before witnesses was on-going. As long as the administration is seeking to act in good-faith, it is not my right to know of the identity of the person. It is my right to know of the infraction itself, but as much as possible the identities both of the person and the college should have been kept secret until it became absolutely necessary to reveal them for the common good.

My conscience says that we are not at that point, but since I do not, necessarily, have all of the facts, I stand to be corrected. My conscience says that the publication of Alyssa's name at this time was unnecessary, given the facts as I know them. I can defend Lydia's actions in all of the point, above, except the publication of the names at this time on WWWW4. Since, without thinking it through, I may have defended the publication of Alyssa's name at WWWW4, I share in the blame.

This is my conscience at the moment given the information I have available. I certainly stand for clarification both as to the moral points and the actions.

It worries me that I posted without thinking things through. I stand by by theological analysis of Alyssa's actions in the abstract, but some of my comments were based on the licitness of revealing who she was because her publications were public knowledge. They were, true, but they were not so public so as to make them infamous in an even larger public forum. Now, if she used her real names freely and openly in her publications, then she is fair game since her name is attached to the article and if this is the case, then I have no problem. Did she only use the pseudonym while writing for a Christian publication? What I am concerned with is that things progress only as far as they must in terms of information available-at-large.

I need to be better informed about this because until it is better informed, my conscience says that I have participated in detraction. I really want what is best for Alyssa. Goodness knows, she can be a powerful voice for Christ, but she may need to understand a few things better. What I don;t want to have happen is to have her reputation damaged so close to graduation if it can be avoided. Maker her actions known to the administration is laudible, but in thinking and praying about the matter, I am having problems with the more public revelation here, at WWW4.

It is to the point where I am considering leaving the public commenting venue altogether if my analysis is so slow and my mouth is so fast.

Any charitable comments would be appreciated. Because of my uncertain conscience, I have had to avoid communion at Mass, today, and this situation is so rare as to be practically non-existent. I take my commenting seriously and I am very aware of the consequences of it.

To Austin:

I will use my real name, because I think people who are in a position to tell someone on a blog to apologize to someone else should also be in a position to let that first someone know who is telling them to do so.

I use my psuedonym (which I have done for many years on this site and others) because I have a tendency to be very abbrasive in my writing on blogs under my real name and the Masked Chicken alias helps me to remember the seriousness of what I do and to be more considering when I do post.

The Chicken

And for the record, in case anyone wants to lump me in with Lydia as a "cyberstalker," let's be clear on a few points:

1. I'm 28 and have seen quite a few girls like her. She is of no interest to me.
2. This is not hacking because they freely let Google index her page and Google cache is notorious for not respecting whatever access controls you later put up because you are embarrassed over your online scribblings.
3. I have no interest in pursuing this further, only contributing to the discussion by bring her published words back out into public scrutiny (in a legal manner) so that she is judged precisely for what she has written, not what anyone thinks she wrote. (You might say, I'm actually trying to give her an honest hearing)

And Lydia, I'm conceding your points because, at this time, arguing doesn't matter. I'm not going to convince you that Alyssa's posts were okay, and I don't care anymore if you think they were. I simply want what's best for Alyssa now, and I'm hoping that I can talk you into dropping this matter and letting Dordt handle it the right way.

That's pretty interesting. So, one might infer from this that I'm right and that even your half-hearted concession about "inappropriateness" wasn't really serious but just granting a point in order to move on to trying to play the violin. If you want what's best for Alyssa, that is _not_ the way to proceed. But the problem is, Luke, that your own moral sensibilities are seriously confused, so you don't know that what's best for her would be if she could be as shocked by those articles as I and others have been. You don't even get that.

you've alerted the proper authorities and been assured that they are taking action in response as per the student handbook and code of conduct.

Which you apparently think I should not have done but now, again, apparently for your own semi-manipulative purposes, you are treating as if it had been legitimate.

but you've taken your sister in Christ and shamed her before the entire world. Dordt hasn't even had time to finish their inquiry.

First, let's be honest: I've read quite a lot of Alyssa's articles now, even for Dordt's own newspaper, and the mere fact that she goes to Dordt is the _only_ reason I have for thinking that she is a "sister in Christ." There isn't a remotely Christian word in a single one of the articles of hers I've read. That's just in passing.

Second, if there is shame here it is from the articles _she wrote in public_ with her picture next to them and all sorts of details of who she is! This has been pointed out ad nauseum. This is _not a matter of revealing private sin_. It is a matter of fair comment on _public articles_. Shaming? How interesting. If there were nothing wrong with what she wrote, how could it be "shaming" to point out that she wrote it? And if there is something shameful, then her publishing it to the whole world _is_ what is shameful, not pointing out to some additional people with an interest in knowing _that_ she published this material to the whole world.

And, as I and Tony have both pointed out and I'm getting tired of repeating: Parents have a legitimate interest in knowing this information, esp. parents of prospective students. If I were a parent, I would want to know. Your own comments, Luke, provide such invaluable and disturbing information (though you cannot see this) about Dordt that writing and publishing this post has been worthwhile as an information-attracting act beyond the content of the post itself! If I were a parent of a Dordt student, I would be glad to have seen your comments and the light they cast on the "I can justify just about anything" intellectual "skills" that people are picking up there, along with the standard patter about how mean people are if they speak out against sin. Very, very useful.

MC,

Your thoughtful, irenic comments are always welcome.

Regarding point 3e, in the case at hand, the antecedent of Matthew 18:15 is not fulfilled. The offense was not one against Lydia personally; it was an open and quite flagrant flouting both of Christian moral standards and of Dordt's own (admirable) stated policy. The pathway that is appropriate for personal offenses is not necessarily the best or most reasonable one for public ones. A comparison with Paul's reaction to open immorality in the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:1-5) may help to put this in perspective.

I am now persuaded that the situation at Dordt is graver even than it first appeared. Schut's attempts to justify Karsyn's writings suggest that something is profoundly, systemically wrong with the campus culture there. One data point could be an outlier; two suggests a trend.

Mike T--it doesn't come up on Google cache anymore, but that's the article I have in page caps (with a warning to readers) at the end of my post and to which I refer in the main post. If you re-read Luke's comments, above, you will see that in his initial comment on that very post (amazing as this is) he said that it was not advocating or promoting! It's hard to believe, but there it is.

I found that article when, a bare ten days ago or so, it was still fully available on the Internet and had been since May. Nobody was ashamed of it or thought it "shaming" then. It was just out there as part of her on-line writings at Her Campus for anyone to read. The writings for Her Campus are things she promotes as part of her resume. That particular piece came down only after I made contact with the Dordt president and (I assume) word got back to her.

Chicken--I definitely do not believe that the Matthew 18 passage applies to this situation, for the reasons Tim has outlined. Moreover, "detraction" (as Tony carefully discussed above) concerns making known private sins. That is not what I have done, nor would I have done so. I am talking about publically published articles.

Third, I also discussed the matter of the name, but I'll try to explain this again: I did not suspect that "Ally Karsyn" was a pseudonym and might very well have gone to press in all innocence writing about a Dordt student named "Ally Karsyn" who was publishing these things. I stumbled across the fact that it was a pseudonym when a question had arisen as to whether she was actually a Dordt student and also when she scrubbed her on-line profile at the scandalous site Her Campus (while retaining a writing relationship with that site) to eliminate the explicit relationship to Dordt. There was still lots of evidence on-line that this was in fact a Dordt student--her own statements at her LinkedIn profile and her own writings under the name "Ally Karsyn" for the student newspaper at Dordt--but I did another Google search to gather a few more pieces of documentation. It was in the course of this that I came upon yet another profile in which she referred to herself expressly as a Dordt student. I clicked on it, and up popped the second name! I published that second name entirely because I wanted to write a post about the connection to Dordt and I didn't want any silly game-playing by any commentators pretending that this was not a Dordt student, despite the massive evidence that it is a Dordt student.

As I have pointed out already, Alyssa *put her photograph* by the articles published under the name "Ally Karsyn," including the most scandalous. And she published under that very name at the school where she is well-known. It was not a serious masking or alias.

As for making the matter public, the matter was already public through the publication of public articles. And as I have said before, I am not merely concerned with "helping" this one student (to the extent that anyone who knows her is actually going to help her--which I'm afraid Luke's comments make me doubt). If that happens, that will be great. But whether it happens or does not happen, the very serious worries about Dordt are *already in place*, and Luke's comments only increase those worries. Parents have a right to know about this. They have a right to know regardless of the resolution the school chooses to come to with Ally Karsyn.

I've already said that if I gain evidence of very serious reform (no pun intended) at the school and evidence that they are viewing this as a systemic issue (for example, in the Christian formation of students like Luke and Ally), not simply as a single aberration, I will publish that information. Meanwhile, I consider that I have done a service to prospective parents by making this information available about an institution to which they might entrust their children for an ostensibly Christian education at great expense.

I don't know how much clearer to make that. This is not just a private matter. This is not just a private matter between Dordt and one student. This is not a matter of a student's private sin. And this is not merely a matter of counseling a student.

Mike T--it doesn't come up on Google cache anymore,

Actually, it does. I just checked. Just drop this exact string in Google:

"cache:http://www.hercampus.com/love/your-end-semester-college-love-bucket-list"

Lydia: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stop. Your behavior and your recalcitrance in the face of even faithful friends' requests that you repent is nothing short of evil. May God judge your sin with the severity with which you use to heap judgement and revilement on others.

Rev. Joel Keen

Austin,

I think you are naive (charmingly and refreshingly naive, I am not criticizing you) to think that, in this day and age, advocating the swinger lifestyle on a public website hurts anyone's career prospects.

Unless you are suggesting that this young woman is pursuing a career in ministry. That seems doubtful--I'm sure she would feel like a hypocrite doing something like that. Besides, if she were applying for a church job her prospective employers deserve to know about that stuff.

Actually, it does. I just checked. Just drop this exact string in Google:

"cache:http://www.hercampus.com/love/your-end-semester-college-love-bucket-list"

It loses a lot of its formatting, but if you scroll down to the bottom, the article contents are still there.

That being said, her google cache may be different than your google cache.

May God judge your sin with the severity with which you use to heap judgement and revilement on others.

Never, ever, ever, ever asked God to do that of anyone. God is a good God, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. Wherever there has been sin in this whole mess, it is correct to intercede for mercy, not condemnation or judgment. In this life, there is hope for mercy. In the next life, there is only justice.

The Chicken

I have read Miss Alyssa's Bucket List and was particularly disturbed by the element of deceit she has advocated young women employ while attempting to turn a platonic relationship with a young man into a hook-up. That would have been the "Leave the Friend Zone" bullet point in her article.

All sex aside, can Christians really ignore the damage that can be done to a young man by manipulating his feelings and urges in this way? What if this platonic friend is an honorable young man and has harbored serious feelings for the woman and now is being toyed with for the sake of sex and sex alone?

Is this what feminism has brought us to? Are we now no better then the men who have done the same to women? I have seen this "turn about is fair play" in the feminist media for 40 years, but the fact that a Christian woman is subscribing to this deceit should sadden everyone in her circle of friends.

Rather than questioning the motives of Lydia McGrew, Alyssa's defenders should be questioning Alyssa's motives and commitment to Christ. The fact that Lydia's post has drawn so much incoming fire from Dordt students/alums says volumes about how easily consciences can become dulled and even seared.

There is no excuse for this encouragement to sin by any Christian. In this respect Lydia has done a merciful thing for Alyssa.

Looks like Todd is right. I get:

404. That’s an error. The requested URL /search?as_q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.hercampus.com%2Flove%2Fyour-end-semester-college-love-bucket- list&hl=en&num=10&btnG=Google+Search&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&lr=&as_ft=i&as_filetype=&as_qdr=all&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&as_occt=any&as_dt=i&as_sitesearch=&as_rights=&safe=images was not found on this server. That’s all we know.

But it's in the page caps _if_ someone needs to read it, which I don't encourage. As I say, it was out there just a little, little while ago.

Joel Keen, quit being so lame. That kind of self-righteous Christianese is almost certainly using the Lord's name in vain. Attempting to end the discussion with such a move is a clear sign that no one can show exactly what Lydia has done wrong (other than the vague charges of making a blogger possibly feel bad).

The Rev. Joel Steen's response is pretty interesting.

For those who may be of a Catholic persuasion and may be unaware, it's important to see this in light of the war that is going on right now for the soul of the evangelical Protestant churches in America. The Dordt commentators on this blog (with the exception of the egregious Paul Dalen, who does not self-identify as a Christian) and Rev. Steen represent one side of that war. That side is willing to be judgemental and harsh only with--and then very strongly with--those they perceive as judgemental and harsh. It's a well-known phenomenon. (Rob Bell has trouble even bringing himself to see "judgemental" Christians in heaven, I understand, though he doesn't believe in a literal hell after death!) This "you're so mean" script has all been played time and time and time again, though more often these days with respect to open and active homosexuality than with respect to the advocacy of heterosexual promiscuity.

Lydia,

Thanks for the clarification. I will wrestle with my conscience and see what happens. In any case, I hope we have not broken the bond that makes for Christian brother and sister.

I was aware of St. Paul's fiery condemnations. He, however, was in authority over the Corinthians. I will have to ponder whether and to what extent this is a public/private matter (Catholic theology is somewhat nuanced in this area). If she wrote under her own name, that suggests it is public and I would withdraw any objections, although I still have to be sad about the current state of moral training of the young and look for excuses to mitigate their culpability.

The Chicken

Your behavior and your recalcitrance in the face of even faithful friends' requests that you repent is nothing short of evil. May God judge your sin with the severity with which you use to heap judgement and revilement on others.

When was the last time you read Romans 2, Joel?

This "you're so mean" script has all been played time and time and time again, though more often these days with respect to open and active homosexuality than with respect to the advocacy of heterosexual promiscuity.

On Vox Day's blog, there was a link to an article about how a cabal of academics and activists are convening to start work on undoing the classification of pedophilia as a mental illness in the DSM. Want to start a countdown before these guys start pulling the same line of argument about pedophiles? One day, you'll get hit with the trifecta of "you're just a big meanie" when you tell a gay pedophile trying to marry 5 boys under the age of 10 that that isn't moral.

"The writings for Her Campus are things she promotes as part of her resume."

If that's true, she obviously doesn't think it will hurt her career.

I think you are naive (charmingly and refreshingly naive, I am not criticizing you) to think that, in this day and age, advocating the swinger lifestyle on a public website hurts anyone's career prospects.

Unless you are suggesting that this young woman is pursuing a career in ministry. That seems doubtful--I'm sure she would feel like a hypocrite doing something like that. Besides, if she were applying for a church job her prospective employers deserve to know about that stuff.

Good point, Steve P. And to the contrary, as I've mentioned: Ally Karsyn's relationship to Her Campus is something she regards as _helpful_ to her career prospects. It's something she positively _advertises_ on her resume. Her articles written for that site are supposed to be part of her resume-building. She even tried to induce other students at Dordt to get involved with the same site for their own resume building! That's how far we are from her thinking that it would harm her career. Now, apparently someone at Dordt has induced her to see that that _one particularly egregious article_ goes _so far_ that it would be better to take it down--this just in the last ten days or so. But previously, she was as far as we know as pleased with it as with all the others at Her Campus.

What we actually see here is a conflict between Dordt's stated code of conduct and the nitty-gritty of resume building for a young journalist whose area of specialty is "women's popular culture issues." It would be entirely cutting the connection with Her Campus and actually repenting and changing course that might be bad for Karsyn's career prospects! And that would be true even if I'd never heard of her.

Readers should know, too, that Karsyn's overall "oeuvre" as a writer is quite consistent--hard-edged, edgy, always self-consciously feminist, would-be-clever. She just writes more clearly outrageous things some times than other times. Here is just one of her tamer articles for Her Campus. The "am I ironic or am I not?" ending speaks for itself. Notice that the only question about "treating men as objects" is whether it makes one "sexist."

While I was in London I encountered many beautiful British and European men every day, as did the other girls. So when we passed by a group of guys in tailored suits sipping on pints of beer outside a pub, I said with a smile to my girlfriends, “I think viewing women as objects is wrong, but I have no problem objectifying men.”

We enjoyed the view, had a good laugh, and went on our way after making eyes with them.

Does that make us sexist, or can we get away with that?

http://www.hercampus.com/staff-blog/sexism-sacked-and-debated-what-can-we-get-away

All of this tells us a lot about journalism as a career and whether Christian young women should be encouraged to go into it, especially the area of "women's journalism." This sort of thing is what is apparently wanted.

If she wrote under her own name, that suggests it is public and I would withdraw any objections, although I still have to be sad about the current state of moral training of the young and look for excuses to mitigate their culpability.

I'm _gathering now_ that "Ally Karsyn" isn't her own name. It is, however, the name that she has used in writing for Dordt's own student paper. What I think should be clear is that before anyone (Nancy Pearcey or, more pertinently, me) criticized her writing the point was _entirely moot_. If we assume that "Ally Karsyn" is an alias, it was an entirely transparent one, used at both places (both at the school and at the secular site), beside a picture--the same picture for both sites--and numerous details about herself and her school, which was named. This means that she wasn't even taking trouble to hide this "alias" from people at her school itself!

“I think viewing women as objects is wrong, but I have no problem objectifying men.”

"I think black men trying to bed our women is wrong, but I have no problem bedding a black woman."

Any questions, class?

"women's popular culture issues"

Hey, you women who find that kind of thing titillating and enjoy reading it, but of course would never dream of practicing that lifestyle, don't you know that girls in their teens and twenties think it's real--think it's normal? Don't read it, don't support it, don't joke about it. You are seriously harming your younger sisters and your daughters!

Nobody has cited the only relevant scripture: 1 Corinthians 6.

St. Paul's point there is that Christians should work out their disputes in private, within their own community, so as not to create a scandal exposed to the general public. He then goes on to decry immorality, especially sexual immorality, because it would be better not to have disputes over these things in the first place, if people would simply conduct themselves honorably. Obviously they never do that perfectly, so in the case of a problem, it should be handled with all possible discretion. Nancy Pearcey unfortunately failed to do this. Perhaps she assumed that her own restraint would be a sufficient guide to all her readers. I hope she did at least communicate with the college herself, an action that was absolutely necessary for someone to do. What Lydia has done here is far more than an accountability measure. It is pure scandal mongering, and the comments that followed are a predictable race to the bottom, a hurtful tit for tat series of replies that shame all the participants.

No thought seems to be given to process and restraint so that the possibility of a restorative outcome is possible. A brief notice of the problem to the college administration is all that was appropriate. Lydia is not in any position of authority or affiliation relative to the college, so asking for some kind of followup on the issue is a bit of a stretch and heavy-handed. I suppose she could've asked kindly for some kind of response on what was being done, expressing a motive of interest in accountability and integrity for Christian schools in general. This type of request might even be welcomed a month or more down the line if restraint, patience and good intentions marked Lydia's writing rather than the sense that she seeks to arrogate to herself the power to compel the college to act immediately through the threat of exactly the kind of public exposure St. Paul warns against.

Whatever one thinks of colleges acting in loco parentis, it isn't expected that their administrators and faculty spend their time, especially during the summer, googling all their students. The repeated aspersions and speculations that the college administration, student body, faculty, and alumni are all basically in cahoots with a culture of free-wheeling fornication is ridiculous and irresponsible. I get the clear impression that such categorical demonizing is simply a way of assuaging guilty consciences. E.g., if we imagine a Christian college is really nothing of the sort, then we may slip further to thinking they are not really Christians or part of the true Christian community, and we may treat them however we wish as a form of discipline or warning to others. This is delusional and does suggest a need for pastoral counsel and discipline on the part of those engaging in such self-serving fantasy as defenders of a faith that is supposed to be marked and formed by love.

As a separate issue, perceptive readers of the young woman's hackneyed sex advice "journalism" will notice she never speaks of any personal, first-person experience. Her racy material is all lifted (as quotes) from other sources. The usual convention of sex advice columnists is to imply and evoke a sense of extensive and "authoritative" experience whose range and breadth titilates and attracts a prurient audience. Carstyn does not do this. Instead she writes like someone plagiarizing or paraphrasing the experiences and thoughts of others, leading me to wonder how far she has actually gone in word versus actual deed. So perhaps this is another reason to reserve judgment for those in a place and position to work towards one. A young person who is "trying on" or miming a voice and role may have other personal issues and spiritual needs than the ones that first jump into your mind.

Uhm, Luke. Try looking up "reductio ad absurdam", will you?

And Rev. Joel, "Faithful" "friends"? Seriously? The only people here who are actual friends of Lydia's (myself included) have encouraged her and commended her in this difficult work. And we continue to do so. Miss Hoogendoodle's attempt to cover her tracks is proof Lydia's criticism has hit the mark. Your off-base criticism confirms that too many men of the cloth have no stomach for the dirty work, you cowards leave it to the womenfolk.

And honestly, folks - even if Lydia were to grant your contentions that Karsyn/Hoogendoorn has done nothing violating Christian moral principles - aren't you in the least concerned about her adovcacy of criminal violations of the law? Public health concerns?

Right.

Kamilla

Greetings to all.

I have read this blog and followed the comments closely over the past 12 hours or so.

Before I make my comments, I need to make the following disclosure:
1) I am an alumnus of Dordt College
2) I am ordained in full time parish ministry.
3) Due to my circumstances, and considering the tenor of the content of this blog and its comments, I cannot elaborate any more about my background, for fear, yes fear, that my identity will be used in a way that will cause harm to my self, people I know and love, and to the community I serve.
4) While I hide behind an alias in the comments of a blog on the internet, I would not be ashamed to tell you face to face, with disclosure of who I am, anything that I will write in this response.

That out of the way, let me say this.

I am angered, disappointed, and mourn that both the blog post on this site and the material that it exposed was ever written.

I do not advocate, support, or any way endorse the articles the young woman wrote. The content, especially the one referred to extensively in this blog post, reflects a perspective on sexuality that is not representative of the Christian faith or Dordt College. I respect the motivation of friends or acquaintances who have tried to defend her. I am thankful that she has these friendships, and they should rally around her, not trying to rationalize her motives, but speaking to her with truth and grace. She will need her friends more than ever. She has made choices that can and probably will affect her relationships and her potential career choices.

I question the motives of the writer of the WWWW4 blog. I see mainly polemic, with no eye towards mercy. I have seen a relentless zealotry to be "right," but little if any desire to restore.

As I read the comments, I recognize that when we feel passionate about an issue, it causes us to write in anger or with an inflamed sense of righteousness (or self-righteousness). We forget our moorings, and begin to name-call and attack.

That said, we can make critical observations. We can name out loud what we believe to be right or wrong. Yet, our tone and our methods matter. I Corinthians 13 is much more than a wedding text.

I take the risk of putting these comments in front of you. I expect criticism and some will find fault with what I say, and perhaps, they might be right in some instance. I am not above critique or correction. However, if what I write is dissected and parts are found to be at fault, please don't lose sight of the whole. Our faith in Christ is worth fighting for, but we should not do so by killing our own.

The young woman who wrote these articles has been trying to make things right. She has attempted to remove the article in question. It is not available to the casual web surfer. In fact, I believe that only a very specific search can bring you to a cached/archived copy of what was written. I find it ironic that her attempts at correction only cause those who have the felt the greatest offense to search for it more vigorously. Unfortunately, as has been well proven on this blog, it is easy to post things on the internet, but terribly difficult to have them totally removed.

I also know that the college is dealing with internally. As much as our very public world feels more and more entitled to have all information revealed to them, I can say that it is the college's prerogative on what they choose to share. It is understood that the articles this young woman wrote were very public. However, it is a private college, and I assume their response will be held within the community, and particularly between the parties involved.

Finally, in all sincerity, can we pray to our Savior and Lord for His will to be done here? I pray that Christ will guide all of our thoughts and actions, in this instance specifically, and in our lives.

I humbly and with some fear submit this post. I don't have the time, nor the energy to follow up with any comments, but I will probably be reading them. I wish you all well.

"Instead she writes like someone plagiarizing or paraphrasing the experiences and thoughts of others, leading me to wonder how far she has actually gone in word versus actual deed."

I think I can guess. But she thinks that lifestyle and those values are normal and that virtually everyone but her and her classmates at Dordt are "doing it." There are reasons for that, not the least of which is that trashy TV shows and magazines are popular. Teenage girls observe the popular TV culture, think it is real and normal, and pretend they are part of the 90210 world even if their decadent values don't yet match their more normal behavior.

Her racy material is all lifted (as quotes) from other sources.

I have no idea what you are talking about. The "love bucket list" set of injunctions is not put in quotation marks. If it were, that would scarcely make it better to enjoin young women to do these things.

I Cor. 6 is about taking one another to civil court for damages. That's not something I'm doing, nor even close.

Always useful to skip over I Cor. 5. I notice that St. Paul does not criticize the messengers who have come to him from the church at Corinth about the man openly living with his father's wife. He points out *as a shocking thing* that this scandal is well-known among them and that yet they do not mourn and weep but are proud. This is exceedingly pertinent here, especially to people like Luke Schut, who certainly isn't doing any mourning or weeping.

Lydia is not in any position of authority or affiliation relative to the college, so asking for some kind of followup on the issue is a bit of a stretch and heavy-handed. I suppose she could've asked kindly for some kind of response on what was being done, expressing a motive of interest in accountability and integrity for Christian schools in general.

I specifically asked for follow-up because *it was questioned that this was a Dordt student*. Had that question not arisen, had the President made it clear that he knew this was a Dordt student, and given that I was told that the school would not be at liberty to reveal any details of their interactions with any student that might exist and might have violated their codes, I would not have expected any further followup. I will say however that asking if there were a public statement they would like published was intended (I'm sure, Publius, you do not understand this, but it is true) as an act of courtesy to the administration. They might have wished to have an official statement published in response to the situation. I even considered not asking a second time but was advised to do so in the interests of courtesy to the school, especially since the president had originally seemed so lacking in information about whether this was in fact a student.

By the way: I did not personally send the President the name "Alyssa Hoogendoorn" even after I found it. I simply told him I had identified the student and that it was indeed a Dordt student. I assume he found it for himself.

I'm amazed at the people that are posting drivel responses here. This isn't a matter of opinion. Christian mores for some two-thousand odd years have said sex outside of marriage is wrong. This isn't "bullying", this is calling something to account. I doubt some of you know what "bullying" is anymore.

The young woman who wrote these articles has been trying to make things right. She has attempted to remove the article in question.

She retains her relationship with the extremely objectionable site at which it appeared, and the article Nancy Pearcey originally referred to, which Luke Schut seems most inclined to defend, the article that advises on "how to have a happy hook-up" (by not doing it when either partner is drunk) remains available to the casual web surfer.

These two articles fit into an entire web of other articles which all convey the same picture of an attitude of complete acceptance of the world. The "happy hook-up" article is part of a four-part series on how it is wrong for the world to have a double standard whereby it is supposed to be okay for young women to seduce men while the men are drunk. This is absurd. This entire series takes *as a given* the background of the hookup culture. The only religion in evidence is feminism! Indeed, that appears to _be_ the only religion in all of Ally Karsyn's articles: Is this consistent with my feminism? Never, not once, is this consistent with my Christianity? The same attitude is evident in the article on objectifying men, from which I quoted above.

I can understand the temptation to take these articles out of their context in the author's entire work and to portray the disappearance of one of them as a sign of repentance. But that just is not plausible.

I make this comment only because this "trying to make things right" claim has come up, not because my chief interest here is in continuing to talk about, e.g., whether Ally Karsyn is repentant. Actually, I have very little interest in discussing that question, as my own comments will be conjectures since I do not know her and have no contact with her and as her repentance or lack thereof is now, as I'm being repeatedly reminded, in the hands of herself and other people much closer to her.

My chief interest here is in making available relevant information to parents of prospective college students. As I have said before, Luke Schut's comments are almost worth more than my entire article for that purpose.

(Now, look how "viciously" I've treated you, Mr. Dordwort. Your pointless fears are the result of the exaggerated and confused view you have of my whole purpose and approach. That exaggeration and confusion is itself, I suspect, the result of the fact that you move in a Christian milieu in which any "judgement" of wrong-doing, even public wrong-doing, is viewed as something akin to being a dangerous human being.)

DordtWort,

Just one question:

Where is the cry of mercy for the souls being led astray by Karsyn/Hoogendoorn's advocacy of immorality?

Kamilla

Nick:

This isn't "bullying", this is calling something to account. I doubt some of you know what "bullying" is anymore.

If it makes someone feel bad about anything, that means it's bullying, dontchaknow.

The young woman who wrote these articles has been trying to make things right. She has attempted to remove the article in question. It is not available to the casual web surfer. In fact, I believe that only a very specific search can bring you to a cached/archived copy of what was written. I find it ironic that her attempts at correction only cause those who have the felt the greatest offense to search for it more vigorously. Unfortunately, as has been well proven on this blog, it is easy to post things on the internet, but terribly difficult to have them totally removed.

Since you're basically talking about me here, I'll say that you are wrong. I do not take the greatest offense of any sort to it. I find her writing to be predictably banal as it is the sort of bovine excrement I've come to expect from quite a few women my age, Christian and non-Christian. They think dabbling in this sort of behavior is edgy, sassy and sexy whilst denouncing it from men. The reason I hunted down the cache for it was to bring it back into the public record so that instead of having people arguing about what they think she said, interested parties could actually read it and judge for themselves.

There is nothing ironic about my intentions here.

There is a sad irony that Dordt, an allegedly conservative Christian school, is raising up a young woman who is fit to be a writer for Jezebel.

Nobody has cited the only relevant scripture: 1 Corinthians 6.

Actually, I did, way up above on Aug 17, 6:49 pm.

Tony was wrong, however, in part about the scope of the sin of detraction. Detraction is not simply the revealing of private sins, it is (Catholic Encyclopedia):

the unjust damaging of another's good name by the revelation of some fault or crime of which that other is really guilty or at any rate is seriously believed to be guilty by the defamer.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:

- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

...

2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

As to the scope, the Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say:

There are times, nevertheless, when one may lawfully make known the offense of another even though as a consequence the trust hitherto reposed in him be rudely shaken or shattered. If a person's misdoing is public in the sense that sentence has been passed by the competent legal tribunal or that it is already notorious, for instance, in a city, then in the first case it may licitly be referred to in any place; in the second, within the limits of the town, or even elsewhere, unless in either instance the offender in the lapse of time should have entirely reformed or his delinquency been quite forgotten. When, however, knowledge of the happening is possessed only by the members of a particular community or society, such as a college or monastery and the like, it would not be lawful to publish the fact to others than those belonging to such a body. Finally, even when the sin is in no sense public, it may still be divulged without contravening the virtues of justice or charity whenever such a course is for the common weal or is esteemed to make for the good of the narrator, of his listeners, or even of the culprit. The right which the latter has to an assumed good name is extinguished in the presence of the benefit which may be conferred in this way.

The employment of this teaching, however, is limited by a twofold restriction.

The damage which one may soberly apprehend as emerging from the failure to reveal another's sin or vicious propensity must be a notable one as contrasted with the evil of defamation.
No more in the way of exposure should be done than is required, and even a fraternal admonition ought rather to be substituted if it can be discerned to adequately meet the needs of the situation.

Journalists are entirely within their rights in inveighing against the official shortcomings of public men. Likewise, they may lawfully present whatever information about the life or character of a candidate for public office is necessary to show his unfitness for the station he seeks. Historians have a still greater latitude in the performance of their task. This is not of course because the dead have lost their claim to have their good name respected. History must be something more than a mere calendar of dates and incidents; the causes and connection of events are a proper part of its province. This consideration, as well as that of the general utility in elevating and strengthening the public conscience, may justify the historian in telling many things hitherto unknown which are to the disgrace of those of whom they are related.

What makes me stop and think is:

When, however, knowledge of the happening is possessed only by the members of a particular community or society, such as a college or monastery and the like, it would not be lawful to publish the fact to others than those belonging to such a body.

Two points:

1. St. Paul could admonish the Corinthians: a) because he was the competent authority, and b) the sin was common knowledge within the community. It seems that St. Paul's example does not apply, here.

2. The article does go onto say, however:

Finally, even when the sin is in no sense public, it may still be divulged without contravening the virtues of justice or charity whenever such a course is for the common weal or is esteemed to make for the good of the narrator, of his listeners, or even of the culprit.

One could, reasonably argue, that knowledge of these goings on is in the interest of the common weal, since parents send their children to the college, but it really is a judgment call whether or not this is the overridding issue. Reasonable people can disagree as to the amount to be revealed, when, and where.

So, I still ponder about the morality.

The Chicken

DordtWort:

I am angered, disappointed, and mourn that both the blog post on this site and the material that it exposed was ever written.

Because feelings, especially yours, are the most important thing.

She has made choices that can and probably will affect her relationships and her potential career choices.

I was thinking maybe the main problem was the affect of her choices on her soul, and those of others her actions and writings have an affect on, and also the general environment of Dordt that parents send their kids to for Christian instruction. But never mind all that, her relationships and career choices are definitely paramount.

The young woman who wrote these articles has been trying to make things right. She has attempted to remove the article in question.

It's just coincidence that repentance looks exactly like CYA.

Yes, the love bucket list is the worst thing she wrote but it still does not indicate she is speaking from experience. I made that point only to suggest the value of assuming the best (St. Paul again) and not jumping to conclusions. The most you can reasonably infer from her writings is that she is recommending terrible behavior and ideas that violate the school's policy, not to mention basic sense and propriety to suit the standards of the "moral pagans," as they used to say.

1 Cor. 5 was previously mentioned. No one is skipping it. The point in chapter 6 is focused not on a narrow rule only applicable to things one could take to civil courts but on the overriding need to keep family disputes in the family and not public. It seems that the offending writings were not known in "the family" until Pearcey found them, and between the two of you, the issue has now been amplified to a considerably more public level. You have clearly violated the Pauline spirit and intention for how scandalous matters are to be handled in the Christian community.

I doubt college presidents are often the first point of contact for student conduct issues, and the fact that you got a confused and confusing response is not surprising. What are you sure I don't understand? That you made an offer to publish any public statement the college makes?

At this point, what is the benefit of keeping this an open discussion?

Publius,

I think it is obvious that the author of those articles almost certainly doesn't engage in the behavior that she's advocating, at least not to the extremes she's describing. There is nothing wrong with pointing that out but I bet most of the readers, bloggers and commentators here had already figured that out themselves. The author's personal private behavior is really not the point.

Yes, the love bucket list is the worst thing she wrote but it still does not indicate she is speaking from experience. I made that point only to suggest the value of assuming the best (St. Paul again) and not jumping to conclusions. The most you can reasonably infer from her writings is that she is recommending terrible behavior and ideas that violate the school's policy, not to mention basic sense and propriety to suit the standards of the "moral pagans," as they used to say.

I could be mistake, but the prophets, Jesus and apostles seemed to have an even dimmer viewer of people who teach immorality than those who merely practice it.

Actually, Publius, I Cor. 6 isn't about scandalous matters and keeping a lid on scandal. It's about injury and interpersonal dispute--about seeking redress for injury against a brother in Christ from the pagan courts. Paul emphasizes that it is these disputes that should be decided by fellow Christians, who are taken to be wise (the least among them being capable of "judging saints") rather than demanding civil redress from non-believers. This isn't about keeping scandal quiet.

What has occurred here is not a dispute at all. This is scandalous public conduct by a student leader.

Indeed, keeping scandal (such as immoral conduct) quiet was, to put it mildly, not really what Paul was "into," though I think we can infer from elsewhere in Scripture as well as from common sense that if the immoral action really is a _private_ act, there are different rules than if it is a public and flaunting action.

My point here has never been about the author's genuinely private acts, so I don't know why you keep bringing up what they probably are or probably are not. I agree with the Dordt handbook that advocating sexual immorality is itself misconduct, especially advocating it in a public forum. Cheerily and enthusiastically encouraging others to engage in sexual sin, as this author has done publically, is a very big deal indeed.

What I guessed you didn't understand was that my making contact with the president on more than one occasion and seeking followup was not a bullying act but rather an attempt to extend a courtesy to the college--to give them a chance to make some formal statement if they wished.

Chicken, with the dawning of the Internet we now face the highly interesting following situation: A person's flaunting public misconduct can be known to good-sized swathes of the _outside_ world while being known only to some small number of people within the enclosed community. It would be rather as if a monk were being allowed weekend passes by his abbot, going out and using his own photograph and details of his own background to identify him as he engaged in some open and scandalous behavior. Plenty of people _outside_ the monastery know, and some people within, who are in cahoots and are a bad influence on other monks, but the dear Fr. Abbot thinks the weekend passes are being used for quite a different purpose, and meanwhile more sincere young men who don't happen to have come across this person's activities outside are petitioning to enter that monastery where they will plausibly be influenced by this bad coterie.

A bit like that. The categories of "known only within a community" and "known to the outside world" are extremely topsy-turvy and by no means as clear as in the examples given in the catechism in the world we now live in.

Moreover, of all the injunctions there, the one about keeping things quiet that are known only within an enclosed community is the most shaky--as I'm sure you realize--when young people might be drawn into the community later and harmed or caused to stumble. Many of the scandals the Church has faced recently have concerned these sorts of situations, where keeping things "within the community" has proven to be quite a mistake. I realize that the Catechism allows for this. I suspect that "allowing for" should be even stronger.

Here's another way of looking at it: The aspirations that a Christian college, _especially_ a college with a reputation as "conservative Christian," has for itself and the "product" held out to parents and students are very demanding indeed. They are something like this:

If you will pay us a very large sum of money and send your child to live on our campus for several years, you can have a reasonable expectation of the following:

--Your child will live in a Christian atmosphere.

--Your child will be educated in a Christian worldview.

--Your child will be guided through the delicate transition from your care to full independence by wise Christian counselors who will apply the Christian worldview to moral and practical issues.

--Your child will meet members of the opposite sex who have a good chance of making a good spouse.

That sort of thing. That is what parents and good Christian young people coming out of high school are looking for, and that is what a college marketing itself to a conservative Christian base is, at least tacitly if not explicitly, advertising itself as being able to deliver. Not exactly promising, but having a strong enough chance of it as to be worth shelling out the dough and sending off the young person for those years to be immersed in that school.

I've talked to one young man recently about his college debts for a school that is not even _officially_ Christian, and he earnestly told me, "It's worth it." May it be so. But that's the attitude that colleges hope to foster in students, prospective students, and parents.

Now, myself, I'd be _terrified_ to run any institution that was trying to accomplish that. I think it would be terrifically hard actually to pull off anything like that in today's world. Nonetheless, that's the set of expectations and hopes that are in play here and that bring students to such schools.

With such lofty goals and intents in place, and with the tacit claim that these goals are being reasonably fulfilled to draw in new customers, it is inevitable that discipline will sometimes have to be carried out so that all of this doesn't just become a joke. And it is also inevitable that when things like this are done publically by current students, especially prominent students, and when other students defend it, parents will want to know and will have a claim to know.

I understand your point about the far reaches of the Internet vs. a monastery or college which can be either shielded or an epicenter.

One thing not in the detraction article is that, ordinarily, faults should be revealed only to those who have a right to know. Prospective Dordt matriculators do have a right to know if this is an isolated event or a systemic problem; so do the college administrators, but did I really have a reason to know? Standing on the street corner and denouncing Joe Smith to every passer-by would be detraction because they have no reason to know THAT THING about Joe. The Internet is not a selective audience of people who should have a reason to know. It is like a street corner. As I say, I applaud letting those who should know, know and perhaps this blog will be read by prospective Dordt students who have a right to answers, but I guess it is one of the risks of the Internet that one can learn things on it that one doesn't really need to know. I don't need to know the name if every student writing this sort of junk to know that it is being done. Ordinarily, one is to give everyone the benefit of a good name unless there is a prudential reason to know otherwise. If she had been one of my science students, I still would not really need to know about this aspect if her life. I am not in the direct damage path. If she were writing about cheating in the classroom, it would be different.

So, I'm willing to split the difference. This post has provided a service to some but a detriment to others. There are some problems that are just too hard for me to do the moral calculus about as regards my own personal responsibility. This is one such situation, so I will bow out of further discussion, if possible, since I am not morally experienced enough to deal with all of the issues that this post presents. Where I have sinned, I ask forgiveness. I need to know my limitations before wandering into a subject and posting. Perhaps this is one lesson I am to learn. In any case, may the Lord help us all to do his will.

The Chicken

"If you will pay us a very large sum of money and send your child to live on our campus for several years, you can have a reasonable expectation of the following:

--Your child will live in a Christian atmosphere.

--Your child will be educated in a Christian worldview.

--Your child will be guided through the delicate transition from your care to full independence by wise Christian counselors who will apply the Christian worldview to moral and practical issues.

--Your child will meet members of the opposite sex who have a good chance of making a good spouse."

I understand your point, but what happens, then, after your child has been taught/given all of these things, still chooses to think/say/do something totally contradictory to what they have been taught/given, and hurts themselves as well as others. Who is to blame? The college? Perhaps your child might have some responsibility in this? You can train your child in the way that they should go, but they still might choose to ignore that way.

A terrifying task indeed--for anyone who takes responsibility for the training of our children. (James 3)

I haven't found any place--college, church, or family--that has been able to find the cure for total depravity outside of Christ. Romans 3 is still in full effect.

I understand your concern about a college perceived to be "conservative" but then has a student (who has some influence on the public persona of the college) do something totally at odds with the stated goals and values the school promotes. Yet, if your child (I am making assumptions here) in spite of how you have trained, taught, raised them, still chooses to live a life contradictory to those values--is it *always* the parent's fault? When does the child have to take the responsibility?

Prospective Dordt matriculators do have a right to know if this is an isolated event or a systemic problem; so do the college administrators, but did I really have a reason to know?

MC, truly, If I had a way magically to reach prospective parents and students and advisors of students, etc., without telling others for whom the information is really totally irrelevant, I would do that. Obviously, I don't, and nobody mortal ever does in these kinds of situations. Making it public in the written forum of opinion and ideas to which I have access is the only possible way. This is really a case where double effect does apply.

I apologize for being too dense to figure out the HTML tags to quote Masked Chicken.

However, I do want to thank him for being able to write and to parse out a difficult situation at which people from both sides of the issue can seem to find at least some common ground.

Pax

Yet, if your child (I am making assumptions here) in spite of how you have trained, taught, raised them, still chooses to live a life contradictory to those values--is it *always* the parent's fault? When does the child have to take the responsibility?

Of course not, DW. But then again, I'm not suggesting to other people that they pay me to raise their children! If I were, that event _while that person was still under my authority_ would attract understandable attention. It makes a difference. This is a matter of advertising.

Naturally, we would all very much like to believe, and we hope, that this is a data point, an outlier, rather than a trend.

There are, I'm sorry, but reasons to think that is not the case. First of all there is the complete cheerfulness and shamelessness with which the articles were originally put up with identifying information about the student (such as a photo and details of her interaction with Dordt and the same name used to publish for Dordt). No indication there of any notion that the school would disapprove.

Second of all, there are numerous indications in Luke Schut's comments: Not only Luke's own attitude and opinions about the Her Campus articles but also his ardent defense of the oddball articles that he is proud to say he was instrumental in publishing in the Dordt Diamond. Also Luke's Emergent/po-mo approach to these issues and to attempting alternatively to pressure, overbear by alleged expertise, and bargain with/guilt-trip moral traditionalists. All too familiar, I'm afraid, and very likely to be learned at a liberal Christian college from professors and fellow students. The patter is absolutely characteristic.

There is the presence of a _named column_ called "My Feminist Label" in the Dordt Diamond. (That should strike anyone as odd.) There are the interviews Alyssa herself did with Dordt students where she found students opposed to cutting funding for Planned Parenthood.

There is the fact that Ally Karsyn is retaining her position with Her Campus.

There are the other Dordt-associated people besides Schut in this thread defending what she did.

I could name more data points, but that is enough, I think, to give reason to suspect quite gravely that this is _not_ just a single person going "off the rails."

Lydia,

Then, very simply, if (I recognize that is a BIG "if") there is a time that one of your children considers Dordt College as place to receive their undergraduate education, I welcome and encourage you to visit the college campus, speak to the faculty and staff, get a feel for the campus, and find out for yourself.

You have listed many "data points" but all of them stem from online sources. It seems to me that using internet sources alone can be helpful, but also can provide one with a skewed perception.

Perhaps it would do one well to also use the internet to find potentially good examples from students or faculty at Dordt.

In the end, perhaps Dordt won't meet your muster. Your "buyer beware" to potential students will be justified as you see it.

There will be another college somewhere more than happy to cash your check.

My own opinion is that a Christian student who lives at home and picks his way with good advice through some hard-headed major at a local secular college may well be better off, because he will not think of the professors and fellow students as forming a Christian community, than a student who goes too trustingly into the wrong Christian environment and immerses himself in it. This is especially true if the secular college student can avoid freshman orientation, which is, by accounts I've heard of various secular freshmen orienations at various schools, often insane and deliberately morally perverse. But in this economy, as you say, I imagine that whatever they may say officially, many secular colleges will cash your check even if your kid skips freshman orientation.

And nowadays, more and more on-line opportunities abound for college study, even if just for some classes which then transfer in.

Oh, look. Our troll is back. I mustn't have squashed him hard enough. Darn.

The Elephant

Oh, never mind, he was unpublished, again.

The Elephant

DW, I'm quite aware, by the way, of the way that institutions can be balkanized so that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. If a particular department or area of endeavor at a Christian college has become a sort of coterie of this sort of thing, one is _more_ likely to find that out electronically and on-line than by a campus tour. I haven't the slightest doubt that there are plenty of wonderful people, sweet kids, and good professors at Dordt.

I'd be fascinated to know who the faculty advisors are for the student newspaper...I honestly don't know. Who has been specially mentoring Mr. Schut? It's the kind of question a parent should be asking.

Lydia, if I Cor. 6 isn't partly about scandalous matters and keeping a lid on scandal, then why does Paul express such exasperation about believers taking each other to court--"and that before unbelievers!" Can you honestly say his outrage only applies to civil lawsuits and not other things that bring scandal to the Christian community? Again you want to apply a very narrow interpretation and not extract a principle or ethos from scripture--while also claiming that you think it's important for people to learn to think Christianly in these colleges. Is thinking Christianly about the narrowest possible literal interpretation of a passage like this, in order to justify ones own behavior, to put the Word under one's own authority rather than to be challenged and regulated by it?

Suppose we grant that St. Paul had only one point: "don't sue each other in court over interpersonal disputes because it makes us look bad--feel free to air anything else that makes us look bad." Well you are now conducting a public suit by making accusations against the college and various members of it. You created this dispute! You could have waited some period of time for more private handling of the issue before publishing your "w4 exclusive." Instead you titled this blog post salaciously, in the manner of tabloid journalism.

I never said immoral acts are private and deserve some kind of protection from public scrutiny because of that. You made the issue quite public within the college leadership and evidently much of the rest of the community. It is probably "public" information there now. That is certainly sufficient exposure to put the proper corrective processes in motion. A "w4 exclusive" was not necessary. You say you did it for the purpose of warning parents, and you are now speculating freely that a few defensive commenters indicates the college is a place of moral relativism and libertine behavior. The opposite could not be more true. Christians monitoring and judging others is pretty standard behavior in Sioux County.

I have brought up the state of mind and life of the student because it is responsible to think of her. Do you think you are helping or inhibiting the best possible outcome for her? Do you have any concern at all for how young people may respond to public shame and humiliation, especially in a conservative community?

I never said anything about "bullying," but I did suggest that your contact with the president might have taken on an overtone of blackmail. Did you bloviate for five plus pages and make insulting innuendoes, or did you simply bring the matter to his attention in what should only have taken a paragraph or two? Did you post your "exclusive" first? Did you mention your blog to him? Any of those actions suggest bad personal motives at work, much like many of your arrogant remarks here. You see yourself as "giving them a chance" to respond (before you slander the school?) and "extending them a courtesy" by doing this. You seem to have an inflated perception of yourself as the primary watchdog and protector of Christian virtue, but even if you were that, you still have a responsibility to think of the effect of your behavior on the ability of others to correct sin and scandal, and to recover from it.

Did I post my exclusive first? Say what? I gave the entire history of this over a period of a couple of weeks. That's just an incoherent question. I posted _nothing_ on here before making contact with the president. Yes, of course, I told him that I was a blogger and was planning to post on the subject. That was only fair. The main thing I think he could have done to be clearer was to make it clear once he knew that a student really was involved. Other than that, my suggestions are in the main post. You can read them yourself.

What an insulting snarker you're becoming, Publius, in the way you ask about the length of my initial e-mail! Amazing. Five pages? Seriously? He'd never heard from me before, and I gave him, succinctly, enough info. to show that the matter was serious, with links. A few paragraphs is just about right, if it's any of your business.

My post title is salacious? I suggest you get acquainted with a dictionary! Also with the origin of the Latin phrase in the title post. I don't think the word "salacious" means what you think it means.

I've already said a number of things about the state of mind of the student. I prefer not to say more about my opinion on that topic, though I cannot help having such an opinion. I'll only say that, to anyone who has read many of her articles, the "poor little victim" shtick from her defenders is getting a little hackneyed by this time. Yes, I've thought about the student. I wish her very well. I doubt, however, that I would agree with you and her other defenders about what is in her best interests.

She chose to write pseudonymously for a reason.

Dude, she posted this garbage and her connections to it on the INTERNET. 'Nuff said. Dordt must not be failing only in its Christian mission, but perhaps its educational one as well.

I've already said a number of things about the state of mind of the student. I prefer not to say more about my opinion on that topic, though I cannot help having such an opinion. I'll only say that, to anyone who has read many of her articles, the "poor little victim" shtick from her defenders is getting a little hackneyed by this time. Yes, I've thought about the student. I wish her very well. I doubt, however, that I would agree with you and her other defenders about what is in her best interests.

Several times I started to post about the references to poor Ms. Karsyn and her delicate emotional state at being "outed" in such an unChristian way and then stopped, but I can't take it anymore. This woman has enough of an ego to post that "Bucket List" as if she were Candace Bushnell from Sex and the City and as a mother of 3 adult women and 2 adult men, I know a wanna be when I see one.

In my opinion Ms. Karsyn's writing reflects the worldview of the characters in a TV show advocating promiscuous sexual activity and bears no resemblance to anything that I assume is being taught at Dordt in the name of Christ. It's not as if she had a momentary slip of her moral resolve and found herself in a compromising position for which she would later feel regret. She is most deliberately posting thoughts consistent with her worldview and that would be just fine if she were an independent adult, but she very publicly stated that she was associated with Dordt and there is where the trouble lies.

I for one do not believe that Ms. Karsyn's career will be harmed by this incident or that she is concerned about that at all. If she plays her cards right she'll end up at the Huffington Post, editorializing right alongside Franky Schaeffer, another victim of conservative Christians.

Absolutely right, Gina!

Miss Hoopendoodle is no victim, she is a perpetrator, and an agent provocateur. She is a snake and a wolf - and should very well have been publicly pilloried. That Lydia approached the administration first is a courtesy only, not a requirement.

We sbould be worried about her reputation, her delicate emotional constitution? Her future career prospects? Bull.

Public teaching requires public rebuke, plain and simple. And this gal has a public platform, right? Lydia does so, I do so to warn the sheep. When you've got a wolf in the grazing pasture, you don't go over and talk quietly to the beast and ask it nicely to repent of being a wolf, do you?

The response here from Dordt students is proof Lydia's warning likely aleady comes too late. Too many have been led astray by our culture and cultural leaders like Miss Hoopendoodle, something it doesn't look like the Dordt administration has done anything to prevent. Doesn't the student newspaper, from which enough of this information could be culled to cause concern, have a faculty advisor? Apparetly not one worthy of the label.

Kamilla

By the way has anyone here stopped to think about this chick's profile picture?

[Kamilla, I had to edit this. See below. LM] Rarely have I seen a more provacatively in your face public profile photo.

She's a (professional?) internet journalist and her work can reasonably be expected to be treated like the work of other journalists. It will be analyzed, criticized, and attacked by people who try to think critically. It doesn't matter that she is a "girl" or that she is a college student. She is an adult, isn't she? She at least pretends to have the worldly sophistication one would find in a hardened middle-aged libertine.

Why a young woman would want to adopt the persona of a hardened old libertine is beyond me. Men who have done that to themselves are pathetic, women downright repulsive.

[content deleted as inappropriate--LM. Frieda, no, I won't allow that]

I completely concur that "Ally Karsyn" has tried to portray herself as tough, savvy, even provocative, etc. That is the persona on which she has begun to build her career, including writing for another women's magazine called, of all things, "Beauty and the Dirt." (I haven't seen any of her articles for that publication, but the title alone...) Moreover, she was setting herself up as advice-giver to others and definitely presents herself as, at a minimum, something of a pundit (pundette?) for women, a leader among her peers.

The turnabout here in which she's been turned into a poor victim simply in virtue of being a college student and being under, what?, twenty-five years of age, despite all her efforts to be perceived as a tough-as-nails feminist is rather amazing. That it's worked sufficiently well as seriously to worry one of our best commentators is a testimony to the natural protective instinct most of us who are _over_ thirty have toward anyone we perceive as "young," even when that person is plausibly harming _other_ people who are at least as young. It's also a testimony to what I discussed above in response to, of all things, the attempt to turn the abusive Paul Dalen into a victim: The incredible penchant of the left, including the Christian left, for unerringly picking the aggressor, the bad boy, the attacker of Christian values, with whom to sympathize and to portray as a victim, worthy of a whole violin section, no matter how outrageous that person's behavior.


On the other hand, I would ask that we tone down comments about the picture, etc.

I'm often struck when I read history and historical novels by how relatively young people have been in times past when they have been either the heroes or the villains of major historical events. Our own ideas of youth have become quite exaggerated, and the period of "too young to be criticized no matter what you do or how public the scandal" has expanded even in my own lifetime.

Duly noted, Lydia.

I hadn't seen it until your last comment - but it all seems so clear now. This is exactly what I described in my column about the Byron York/Michele Bachmann kerfuffle of last week.

It illustrates the American public's love-hate relationship with feminism and feminists. We want our daughters, in particular, to be tough as a boy so thay can make their own way in the world. But the minute someone actually treats them as they would treat a boy - whoa, nellie! Witness the chorus of Boos for York's perfectly legitimate question arising out of Bachmann's own record.

As I said in my column on that - we may think we're all feminists now but the old rule still applies: Never hit a girl.

I think you certainly have a point, Kamilla, and Luke's use of the word "sweet" repeatedly bears it out. OTOH, the left does it with men, too. Look at Frankie Schaeffer and Rob Bell! Poor, poor guys, criticized by those nasty fundies. If I may say so, _without_ allowing any sub-thread on this foreign affairs topic, it's very much like the left's love affair with a certain group of people in the Middle East who are _constantly_, _literally_ lobbing rockets onto their neighbors and sending suicide bombers to blow up their neighbors yet are _always_ portrayed as the victims no matter what. In fact, the worse they behave the more the left sobs over them. And that includes males and females alike.

It's almost an obsession. Certain persons and groups are designated mascots and can behave in whatever way they please. In the Christian realm, the mascot groups are whichever groups and individuals are attacking orthodox Christian doctrine (like Bell, for example) or Christian morals (like homosexuals trying to force the church to accept them, for example).

Hi Lydia!
I always thought that girl was a little strange. Her advice column in the Diamon was perhaps a bit silly, but I didn't expect this sort of thing from her.
Still, interesting.

Hmm, bravo Luke. Reading your first comment really helped me to put this controversy into perspective. Teaches me to not jump before I look. :)

Jesse, I'm not quite sure how to take your comments--whether at face value or not. I assume you are a Dordt student. All I will say is, I don't think, given what she has written, that this is a person to be taking advice from.

Luke's defense of what she has written reflects very badly on Luke's judgement (which means he is also not a person to be taking advice from). The written material speaks for itself, and the worldview that material represents is very dangerous indeed.

Lydia, you should really stop talking. The more of your posts I read... It's just sickening, is my point. That's what I'm trying to say here. And it's not even that I agree with Alyssa's writings. She shouldn't have written some of those articles, and she definitely shouldn't have done so while identifying herself as a representative of Dordt College. But that hardly justifies anything that you've done.

What exactly is the purpose of this damn blog? (No, that wasn't profanity. It applies) What do you think you're trying to accomplish? You seem to be hiding behind some notion that this will help someone...

Who?

Alyssa? Dordt? Future prospective students? You'll have to forgive me, I fail to see how posting rapidly-made and poorly-researched conclusions where anyone can see them so that you and a bunch of your followers, most of whom hide behind fake names, can scoff and mock and sit in condemnation is supposed to help anyone. Especially when what you claim to be doing in the name of Christianity stands in stark opposition to what Christ himself instructed us to do in times like these: First, go to the person who is in the wrong and resolve the conflict with them. Then, if they don't listen to you, bring one or two more. After that is the only time you should be going to governing authorities over them, such as their church or in this case their administration, and only after they have refused to listen to the authorities do you shun them (Matt 18:15-17).

But instead of doing that, you skipped the first and second steps, went right to the third step while simultaneously making up your own step (i.e. sit in judgement over her, the people responsible for her and anyone who dares to question your judgement or your methods) and followed immediately to the fourth step without even giving the accused a chance to respond. Classy.

What Alyssa did in writing those articles is bad for the Church. It helped serve the notion that promiscuous sex is okay, and there is simply no justifying it.

What you have done in this blog is far worse.

Thadd (is that YOUR real name?),

I must ask - have you gone to Lydia privately to correct her? To remonstrate with her to see the errors of her ways? If she refused, who did you take with you to visit with her a second time? Failing that, did you go to Lydia's governing authorities BEFORE publicly judging her here?

Color me cynical but I'm guessing you didn't.

Kamilla
(who can prove she was named afte her great, great aunt if you reallly want the Norwegian emigration records)

Luke:

I call your attention to the fact that my criticism of Doort students (apart from Alyssa herself) was limited to "these" "fellows" in clear reference to earlier posters in this comment thread.

As far as I know, only Paul and yourself fit that description.

So while I was (I think justifiably) critical of the lack of depth in your and Paul's understanding of the Christian faith, it is certainly not true that "R.C. is generalizing all Dordt people as bad Christians who have never thought about their faith." I did not generalize at all; I limited the observation to those two about whom evidence for such a judgment was available.

And even then, I did not generalize even about you and Paul; I made a point of noting that your style of argument was far more conciliatory than his.

Having dispensed with that misunderstanding...,

Have you considered whether the substance of my comments is correct or not? Have you any refutation to my actual arguments?

Thadd,

I am glad that you see, more clearly than some of your Dordt peers, that the material in the columns referred to was completely unjustifiable and damaging to the Church (and to Dordt). Good for you.

On the other hand, you're completely wrong about the meaning of Matthew 18; it does not and could not apply here, since the issue is not one of a personal offense. This issue has already been thoroughly discussed in the comments. It serves no useful purpose for you to bolster your critique with bad hermeneutics. And I'm afraid that there is no other justification for your critique.

Beyond that, your suggestion that the opening post was poorly researched is quite insupportable.

May I ask for a general clarification about some matters I think relevant?

1. Is Alyssa actually CURRENTLY a professing Christian?

(From her articles I -- naturally enough -- presumed not; I guessed that she was perhaps an agnostic or atheist who was attending a conservative Christian college only because her parents wanted her to go there, or because she had a scholarship, or because she was a Christian in high school but fell away after arriving at college, or some such thing.)

2. If she is a Christian, does she ACTUALLY HOLD the tenets of orthodox Christian sexual morality as it has been understood by the vast majority of Christians, especially those with saintly lives in teaching positions, over the last 2,000 years? Or does she dissent from Christian sexual morality, adopting instead a modernist anything-consensual-goes position?

(I presume she is unorthodox; I can't imagine how a person could write what she wrote and hold the orthodox position; such cognitive dissonance would be intolerable.)

3. Her writings were (of course) sinful, treating what is sin as not-sin, and encouraging sinful lives in others. And I suspect she did this with an eye towards the excitement of getting away with being naughty, the enjoyment of seeing one's words published, and possibly as an avenue towards future financial gain.

If she is a Christian and holds the orthodox view, then clearly she must know this was sinful on her part: But has she repented?

Let me repeat the question:

Has she repented?

This makes all the difference in the world.

For of course one ought not to "pile on" to someone who confesses his/her wrongdoing, submits to just correction with a pliant heart, and attempts to make restitution.

But is there any evidence she has a contrite attitude?

Yes, she has taken down a couple of the articles which caused the furor. But that is evidence which can be interpreted in at least two ways.

Sure, she might be doing so because she is genuinely ashamed of what she has done, and is intending when possible to write a retraction of her former views in hopes of changing the minds of anyone who agreed with what she wrote before.

But she might also be removing the earlier articles because she's afraid of getting kicked out of school, or of losing career opportunities, or of her parents' disapproval. There is a big difference between being sorry you did it, and being sorry you got caught. Is she aghast at her own behavior, or merely angry and hurt by the uproar, and wishing these Christians would just get off her back and quit making a fuss?

In short, is she more like King David with Nathan, or like King Saul with Samuel?

I have been dismayed by some of what looked like very immature faith formation being spouted by her defenders here, including (a bit astonishingly) a person who used the title "Reverend."

But perhaps I have misunderstood the situation. If Alyssa is a Christian, who acknowledges the correctness of the Christian sexual moral code, and who has repented thoroughly and wholeheartedly and is in the process of making restitution? Why then...her defenders would be quite right to ask Lydia, me, and everyone else to go easy on her!

In defense of Lydia, me, and everyone else, though, there hasn't been any strong reason to believe this.

Her defenders certainly never asserted that she was genuinely repentant, contrite, and in the process of making restitution. I think it likely that they would have done so, were it true. (After all, pointing it that she was genuinely repentant would serve as a strong, valid defense of her character. By contrast, the things they actually said in her defense were so weak or irrelevant that a thinking person would only use them if he had nothing better to offer.)

But maybe I'm wrong? Maybe she is -- really and truly -- repentant after all, and her defenders have failed to mention it for some other reason?

I'd like to know.

Criticism of a publicized piece of journalism is done publically, not "in private." Why would Lydia criticize Karsyn's work in a private correspondence with Karsyn herself? She would have a hostile readership numbering one, and that person would have no interest in her opinion anyway, and might consider unsolicited personal correspondence to be harrassment.

Lydia is a journalist. She wants many people to read her writings, not just a single individual who wouldn't want to hear what she has to say and would pay it no mind.

Ally Karsyn is also a journalist. Presumably she would be engaged in a different profession if she didnt want many people to read her writings and react to them, and sometimes even publish their reactions. If she couldnt handle criticism she would distribute her writings to a few close friends rather than publishing them in a blog that anyone can read.

Thad,

You say that Lydia posted "rapidly-made and poorly-researched conclusions where anyone can see them." But Lydia's conclusions were reactions to Karsyn's rapidly-made and poorly-researched conclusions also posted where anyone can see them. Things published in this blog and in Karsyn's blog are SUPPOSED TO BE seen and publicly discussed by "anybody." These are public blogs, not private mailing lists.

Talking about private correction is just absurd in this situation. It is like a newspaper publisher giving its subscribers individualized editions with most of the news stories blacked out because they "just arent any of this subscriber's business."

Aside from Luke, I don't know if anybody else here is qualified to speak about who Ally really is. All we know about her is the few things she has written on blog posts, but we know little more. Even though what she wrote is inconsistent with the writings of a Christian, I don't think it's right to make a claim that she is not a Christian.

Perhaps Ally is a new Christian who chose to go to Dordt because she heard it was a great atmosphere, yet she's still trying to work out some of her non-Christian mentalities? Perhaps Ally is a "progressive" Christian who truly thinks sex outside of marriage is ok. Perhaps this, perhaps that - what do any of us truly know? I doubt any of us have actually asked her, and I have not seen her post here, so I'll reserve what I believe about who she is as a person, and comment *only* on what she has written on the blogs. Commenting on her as a person is not just.

I also don't like the way many are speaking about Dordt. Has anybody actually been there, or had a conversation about what the college believes, or does anybody know what's truly being talked about between Ally and the institution? Perhaps Dordt was unaware of this blog post (it's quite difficult to monitor all student's activities online in every site they visit, and would waste quite a bit of the students' time and money). We don't really know. What we *do* know is that now they are talking about the situation, and that the site has been taken down. The only thing we can infer from this is that it goes against Dordt's policies, and perhaps because of this, it was taken down. I would think that this is a positive note for Dordt, not a negative one. It shows that when an issue is brought to their attention, they take not and take action. They don't let the issue sit and fester, they try to remove all impurity so as to be like Christ. That's how I see the situation.

Coming from an objective standpoint, it appears that people are typically arguing two different things. The author of this blog and her supporters are arguing that a Christian should not write these things. The opponents (Luke, Paul at the beginning, Thadd, etc) are arguing that the method of correction was wrong. Nobody is getting anywhere in the discussion because we are arguing two completely different things. To me, it sounds like this:
"You should have approached Ally first, and then taken steps to note the authorities if nothing changed"
-but what she did was unchristian, and we needed to do something about it!
The first person was not saying that the writings were justified or correct, they were only saying that the methods of correction should have been different. The second person is restating the original claim, to which the first person agreed. Then it just seems to be an argument for argument's sake.

Jason, the people here supporting the publishing of this original post are NOT ignoring the defenders of Dordt's argument that this was not the right way to deal with the problem. You are reading to carelessly.

Claim 1. This "fraternal correction" should have been done in private. But this article was not written principally as fraternal correction to begin with, it was written to expose a situation that may be indicative of serious systemic problems with the Christianity being handed on at Dordt. Information to all interested parties, including fellow Christians, and especially potential students and their parents.

Claim 2. It "exposes" a person to public shame. But the articles Alyssa herself wrote are what expose her to shame - they are shameful. The proper response to a public act that is shameful in itself is to give it negative attention.

Claim 3. It should be a private matter between Dordt and Alyssa. But the "it" that is private between them is still private: whatever Dordt does with Alyssa (or doesn't) they can decide behind closed doors all they want. What is public is the body of articles themselves. Those are not hidden behind closed doors. Whatever the college decides to do with Alyssa does not determine in toto what parents and students ought to think about Dordt: a public problem requires also a public response. People should be asking Dordt to find out whether any faculty were responsible for Alyssa's brand of morality. And so on. That's not a private matter between Dordt and Alyssa.

What we *do* know is that now they are talking about the situation, and that the site has been taken down. The only thing we can infer from this is that it goes against Dordt's policies, and perhaps because of this, it was taken down.

Sorry, that conclusion is not "the only thing we can infer," not at all. What we know is that the material was removed. It may have been removed for many reasons, one of which was that Dordt disapproves of the material. Others include Dordt being embarrassed by the content, getting negative attention. And there may be many other reasons besides.

I also don't like the way many are speaking about Dordt. Has anybody actually been there, or had a conversation about what the college believes, or does anybody know what's truly being talked about between Ally and the institution? Perhaps Dordt was unaware of this blog post (it's quite difficult to monitor all student's activities online in every site they visit, and would waste quite a bit of the students' time and money). We don't really know. What we *do* know is that now they are talking about the situation, and that the site has been taken down. The only thing we can infer from this is that it goes against Dordt's policies, and perhaps because of this, it was taken down.

Jason, Tony has done an excellent job of summarizing many of the things that show that, actually, I _have_ answered the positions against this post and have not simply talked past them.

But let me address this, too (which I've also done above). The "site" was not taken down. *One article*, which was only the worst, though not the only objectionable one, was taken down. That's _all_. Ironically, the "happy hook-up advice" article which kicked off the entire thing was not the _absolute worst_ of the articles, and it has _not_ been taken down. As I've noted, oh, about three or four times in this thread, it is not only still up but is part of a four-part series (!) that takes hooking up for granted and only suggests that it not be done while the male is drunk! The "happy hook-up" article that kicked off this entire investigation is _definitely_ objectionable.

Also (as I've again noted elsewhere) the student continues to maintain her status writing for a _highly_ objectionable secular site that published these articles! It appears that the _worst_ article came down at about the same time that she altered her profile with that very site to eliminate the reference to Dordt. Now this brings us to "the Deuce's" very shrewd facetious comment that it's such a coincidence that "repentance" looks like covering one's posterior! Please note: That altering of the profile appears to mean that she *intends to maintain a relationship* with this highly questionable site.

In my opinion, this doesn't reflect all that well on those who are advising her. It looks like something _extremely minimal_ is being asked of the student rather than anything like a real repudiation (nor even much appearance of a repudiation) of the worldview reflected in the still-up "happy hook-up" article. Just take down the worst of the articles and distance yourself from Dordt in your profile! Think about the implication of that latter: If there were nothing objectionable about anything that remains at that site under her name nor anything she intends to write there later, nor about her association with the site, why would she _need_ to take out the reference to Dordt in the profile at that site?

I'm _quite sure_ that the President of Dordt and some faculty were unaware these articles. I got that distinct impression in my correspondence with him. I'm far, far more skeptical that _all_ faculty were unaware. I would note too that one of the student's defenders in this very thread, Luke Schut, has actually _defended_ her articles for Her Campus! He doesn't appear to have been faculty but rather a fellow student and, now, a recent graduate. But I would think it likely that there were those who worked with the Dordt student newspaper--students and plausibly faculty--who did know that their co-worker wrote for Her Campus, because she *never troubled to hide that*. She advertised it everywhere on her resumes and wrote under the same name for both publications. Who had read the particular _worst_ articles, I don't know for sure. But it doesn't seem to me implausible that some faculty had done so.

Moreover, as I've _also_ pointed out before, even her writings for the Dordt student newspaper have an odd and distinctly non-Christian sound. (There's a reason for this: Most of them were cross-published at Her Campus!!) I think that probably _should_ have led to some quick googling by a faculty advisor for the student newspaper.

My own picture now of Dordt is of a place with a lot of great people and a clump of self-styled "progressives" who disagree with the moral code of the school and see themselves as working for "change." I think it _highly_ likely that this coterie contains at least one probably popular faculty member (that would fit with my experience of college and university trends), and I think Dordt should be trying to find out who that is and what's going on.

I have no idea what Thad could possibly mean by "poorly-researched." No idea at all.

Aside from Luke, I don't know if anybody else here is qualified to speak about who Ally really is. All we know about her is the few things she has written on blog posts, but we know little more. Even though what she wrote is inconsistent with the writings of a Christian, I don't think it's right to make a claim that she is not a Christian.

Has she ever publicly professed to being one?

On the assumption that Jesse, who posted above, is a Dordt student, I think her (?) interaction with Luke is very instructive. Notice how she first was put off (naturally) by what Karsyn had written but then felt that Luke had taught her not to jump to conclusions. That is the kind of influence that is being exercised on students. Luke's specious defenses make people think that they've somehow just "missed something" and that it isn't as bad as it seems. But actually, there is *no defense* and *no excuse* for the outrageous writings. We're talking about urging people toward complete promiscuity, including sex in public places! It's utterly inexcusable. The only thing Luke eventually found to say was that some of those things were "rather inappropriate," though he goes on defending the article that is still up. But what is really influential is his faux air of reasonableness and expertise. That impressed Jesse and made her think that _somehow_ she was jumping to conclusions in being shocked. Wow.

This is bad influence in action before our very eyes. Parents, administrators: Take note. This is why people might hesitate to put new students in touch with such influences, influences that are trusted because they purport to be Christian.

Ms. McGrew -- why not post your letter if it is such a fair, charitable, selfless, and brief bit of fraternal correction?

I would like to examine Matthew 18:15-17 in more detail, since there is a subtle point that is often misunderstood. The passage reads:

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

On the surface, this passage seems to be speaking only to personal sins between two believers (or people, in general), but this is not quite the end of it. In 1Cor 12:26-27, we read:

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

and in Matthew 25:40:

And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'

Taken together, these two passages imply that any insult against one of the least of Christ's brethren is an insult against Christ, himself, and since we are the body of Christ, the insult is also against us. In this sense, there is no such thing as a purely personal sin - any sin affects the body of Christ. Likewise, there is no such thing as a detached public sin. Every public sin affects the individual members, some more than others.

This relationship between public and personal sin, by the way, is where the Supreme Court blew it in Roe v. Wade, because there is no such thing as a right to privacy where sin is concerned because even private personal sin can never be isolated from the larger body of Christ. Since all sexual sins, even done in private, are personal sins against the two people involved, they are also public sins, no matter how well hidden.

Thus, Matthew 18:15 applies even in public cases, since even public sins affect not just the public-at-large, but also each individual within the public by virtue of the relationship between Christ and his Church. In a real sense, the distinction between personal and public sins is an artificial distinction for legal purposes. The quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia I gave, above, says:

No more in the way of exposure should be done than is required, and even a fraternal admonition ought rather to be substituted if it can be discerned to adequately meet the needs of the situation.

In other words, since all sins are both personal and public, there is a tension that exists as to how the sin should be dealt with. In the best of all possible cases, both personal and public sins should be dealt with starting from step one of Matthew 18:15, but the Church recognizes that for reasons of the Common Weal or the good of the individual, one may skip to step three and deal with the matter in public.

That being said, because of the very complex nature of this situation, where both a public institution and a private individual are involved, it may be a matter of prudential judgment as to which step one must start at. I am not competent to make that decision and the compleity of this situation has given me much to think about. My purpose is not to give a definitive answer as to what should have been done. Many different approaches are possible from the purely private to the indirect to the direct. It might, for instance, have been possible to frame the matter within a more general discussion of students at Christian colleges behaving in unChristian ways. Dordt could have been included as one example (there are many examples that could be found at many Christian schools, I am reasonably certain). Parents could have been put on the alert in a general sense and been admonished to do their homework before accepting the college brochure. It might have been deemed necessary, however, to make the case of Dordt more specifically known since it is a lapse of a specific rule of the college.

I am not competent to make these decisions. I only wanted to put the matter of Matthew 18:15 into context. I will go back to my thinking and bow out, again.

The Chicken


Mr. Chicken, you can't see the prudential forest through the trees of Lydia's casuistry. Too bad you aren't taking her advice on the value of coming to clear and decisive judgments. Lydia and this entire web-page have become self-condemning by their amplification and addition of sins to the mix, without any prospect of a constructive outcome. Her rancorous tone and quick draw on speculation and condemnation is all you need to detect the source of the foul odors here. Setting the whole thing up as an "exclusive" gotcha! with sex-sex-sex in the lead paragraph tells you all you need to know about the purity of motives and character at work.

Jason is right people are arguing past each other here, but it is not due to any lack of awareness. Ms. McGrew picks and chooses what she will reply to or answer, and she spins anyone she deems a non-supporter as a "defender" of the young woman and the excrement she put into writing. These things are conflated, the school itself is added to the mix, and it becomes a game of trolling and slander. McGrew's agenda is clearly to witch-hunt for libertines and liberals -- and to fabricate them out of whole cloth by speculating freely and repeatedly about people and a place she has absolutely no connection to. She has convinced herself by this method that there is a cabal of students flocking around a faculty member who wish to overthrow the sexual mores and behavioral standards of their college and community. This is absurd, dishonest, and scandalous, sinful accusation.

Did someone suggest McGrew should have contacted the young woman first? Jason said this happened, but I don't recall it. McGrew contacted school admninistrators directly and privately first; who has objected to that? I think the only objections have been that McGrew should have left the issue alone after making this contact, as long as the school was handling it. Given that it was not during the regular school year, it would be fair to leave it for several months before revisiting it and only then perhaps after consulting with the administrators, peers, possibly Ms. Pearcey as well. That would be the behavior of a person concerned for and connected with a community they were poised to impact.

Dobbs: Conscience. What a thing. If you believe you got a conscience it'll pester you to death. But if you don't believe you got one, what could it do t'ya? Makes me sick, all this talking and fussing about nonsense.

I'm afraid I do disagree, MC. The idea has unfortunately taken hold in the contemporary evangelical church that if someone writes, say, a book advocating heresy, another person utterly unacquainted with the book's author literally should not write and publish a critical review of the book unless the would-be reviewer has gone through "the steps in Matthew 18." I could not disagree more strongly with this. I take the example of heresy, because it is a real example I know of, and because it is less fraught with tension than the present case. The present case involves a young female individual for whom many here have personal sympathies. But it is absurd to say that the Rev. Big-Church can write a book advocating some heresy and that I cannot write a blog post saying, "The Rev. Big-Church is advocating a dangerous heresy in his book" without first trying to get in touch with him personally, then taking it to "two or three witnesses," etc. That's just _obviously_ not what Jesus is talking about.

If someone who is not even a personal friend of mine writes something in public, it is completely legitimate and indeed important to _answer_ it in public. It makes no sense to say that someone can do injury to the Body of Christ by public writings but that if there is some pretext for thinking that the person may be a believer he cannot be replied to in public.

I even just recently saw a completely silly sermon in which a pastor was talking about a pro-homosexual on-line petition that was gotten up by people who presumably *are not Christians at all* and for whom there is not the slightest pretext to think that they are Christians. He literally cited Matthew 18 in declaring his intention to try to meet with them! This is crazy.

It emasculates the church. We must be able to answer falsehood, incitement to sin, heresy, and attacks on the church that are made in public by public reply. Nothing in the Bible remotely prevents this and, indeed, much encourages it. As in, "Preach the Word. Be instant in season and out of season."

The problem contributing to the agony over how one should or should not respond to Ms. Karsyn's publications is the technology of the public square. Imagine, in times past, if a group of Christians were standing around in a real town square and one of them suddenly blurted out the kind of advice that we are discussing here(relative to times past),for all to hear.

Would those Christians simply ignore the commentary from that person, or would most, if not all, have taken issue with the immorality of what was said? Would it have not spurred discussion and even heated debate and in some cases a scolding of the commentor. I can't imagine everyone retreating to their homes without comment to decide how to approach the person from whom the immoral advice had come.

Fargo, I don't know what you're talking about. I haven't sent anyone "fraternal correction." My post tells all the contacts I made with anyone. I wasn't fraternally correcting the President of Dordt!

Gladys, so far from picking and choosing what I will answer, I have been nearly obsessive-compulsive about answering commentator after commentator--in detail and often by repeating myself. Not even sure why I bother. But please note: If you are abusive, as has happened with one commentator here, you will be banned. So be advised. As far as I can see there is no content worth answering in your particular comment, but there are lots of detailed replies to other people's comments throughout the thread, and if you care about these issues, you will read them. As I've said before, I think Luke Schut's comments are the most instructively representative, especially his defenses and outrageously weak dissents from these outrageous writings.

Dordt could have been included as one example (there are many examples that could be found at many Christian schools, I am reasonably certain). Parents could have been put on the alert in a general sense and been admonished to do their homework before accepting the college brochure. It might have been deemed necessary, however, to make the case of Dordt more specifically known since it is a lapse of a specific rule of the college.

Chicken, let me be very honest with you: My initial instinct in this, and my first preference, would have been to write a post identifying Karsyn by the name "Karsyn" (since I knew no other name for her and assumed it was her real name) and linking her posts (with a suitable warning for the reader). Had I never contacted the President, and had he never innocently said that there was "no student by that name at Dordt," that is what I would have done.

That might have seemed less "sensational" in the sense that there would have been no revelation of an alias involved. I wouldn't even have known that there _was_ an alias.

And the material would have been readily available, because none of it would have been scrubbed. So it would have been easier for me.

As far as examples about other colleges, I would have used them if they'd happened to come to my attention at about the same time. Nothing this egregious had. You can also understand that I am most interested in colleges that have a special reputation of being _conservative_, not merely a nominal standing of being "Christian," because the former are more likely to attract innocent students and parents.

I made contact with the President on receiving advice to do so, as a courtesy to him to give him a chance to make a statement before going to press; he was confused about the fact that this was a Dordt student, and we were off to the races. I'm not going to repeat all that I've said above about how that worked out and how the alias came into it.

It's important in making such reports not just to make vague allusions to "doing one's homework." If one has important, specific information for parents, it should be made clear what that information is. Had I reported it in the way I first wanted to, no alias would have been revealed, but then I would have been criticized for not getting in touch with the administration first (I'll bet), and I can well imagine questions being raised as to whether what I was reporting was true, given that an alias was being used without my knowing it.

I'm restraining myself from wishing that I had just reported immediately, because I know these things. The people we're up against here (Karsyn's defenders), there's no way of satisfying them. You criticize sin and call it out, you're bad and mean.

Don't let yourself be manipulated. I'm afraid that has to be a major watchword.

Gladys,

"Did someone suggest McGrew should have contacted the young woman first?"

The young woman contacted McGrew first, in a published article. She also contacted you and me and, well, everyone (everyone who has internet access). I think you may not understand that what is being discussed is a periodic column, authored by Karsyn, and PUBLISHED on the internet in a free ad-supported publication.

I understand that for those of us who did not grow up in the internet age, it's still difficult to grasp this. Let me help you by an analogy. Let's say that you were reading your newspaper and I pointed out to you an op-ed column advocating legalized abortion. Would you tell me that it was unchristian of me not to contact the author of the column first, to fraternally correct him, and only point out the column to you after getting a response from the author of the column? Would you say that I should have "left it" for several months before revisiting it (making sure that you did not put your newspaper in the recycling bin that day and saving that day's edition but not telling you why) and only then perhaps after consulting with various people, pointing the op-ed column out to you?

You would not do that. It would be absurd of you to do such a thing, and I bet you can see that it would be absurd. But, you see, the only essential difference between Karsyn's internet op-ed column and the op-ed columns in your physical paper newspaper is the publishing medium. One is paper the other is electronic.

Does that help make things clearer?

In fact that's a great idea for an experiment. There seem to be many new readers of this blog who are students at Dordt. You are all young, bright curious people, who love to learn. Why don't you try this? I'll bet all of you have had the experience where you are reading a newspaper and a friend looks over your shoulder and points out an interesting article or column to you, so you don't miss it. Next time that happens, chide that person for not contacting the author of the article first before pointing it out to you. Say that he is being unchristian by not following the steps outlined in Matthew 18 for fraternal correction. Carefully note what your friend's response is, then relate that to what happened with Alyssa Karsyn. Reflect on it. Maybe you could write a paper about the experience for one of your classes. Remember, what Alyssa Karsyn did was write a column in the electronic equivalent of a newspaper and what this blog did to you is point at the article over your metaphorical shoulder. I know it made some of you sick but is that really the fault of the person who pointed the article out to you, especially since you seemed to have invited her to do so by searching out this blog?

It seems to me that the bigger question - bigger than fraternal correction - is whether there are legitimate reasons for violating the anonymity or semi-anonymity, now afforded by modern technology, of those who are responsible for creating public scandal. It can't be that anonymity affords a special protection for such people.

Steve P., you're doing an excellent job.

I've had to unpublish a couple more unpleasant, personally nasty, and pretty much contentless comments from the Dordt contingent. (Interesting, that.)

I'm afraid that, in view of the time-wasting nature of their childish behavior, I'm going to decide to close the comments thread on this post.

"The young woman contacted McGrew first, in a published article. She also contacted you and me and, well, everyone (everyone who has internet access)."

Simply brilliant!

Kamilla

Yes, Jeff, and moreover: When one publishes one's articles next to one's photograph, the *very same photograph one uses for publishing with one's own college newspaper under the very same name*, and along with multiple details about what one does for that college, the "anonymity" is very "semi-" indeed. As in--she appears to have taken no care whatsoever before this as to whether her college friends knew the name "Ally Karsyn" and "Ally Karsyn's" identity.