"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


meanwhile, back at the ranch

There's a random report out there that David Garland, dean of Truett Seminary, will be named interim president of Baylor in a news conference later this morning. Garland denies that he's been interviewed for the position. As of now, there's not a story in the DMN, but here's the overview of the rumors from the Waco Trib.

If it's true, that would be great news for Baylor. It would also be very surprising. I guess we'll see.

UPDATE: It's official. This is great news for Baylor, and a hopeful sign that the regents will be sensible in their choice of a new president. David Garland is a trustworthy, outstanding individual, and he will do a great job at managing yet another messy period in Baylor's history.


Blogger Michael said...


I can't remember if you are a baylor alumn or not, but you seem to care about Baylor.

Baylor is the world's largest baptist university. I myself went to Hardin-Simmons (another Baptist university) The admin at HSU always tried to model our school after Baylor. However, many of the students and some of the faculty didn't see Baylor as a "real" Christian school (elitist I know). I think what they meant was the Baylor was more obsessed with beautifying and expanding the campus, expanding its influence, and becoming more academically-recognized than it was about producing solid, Godly graduates in their respected fields. So, what was Baylor really like? Was there a huge influence on Christ or was it more of a state university experience with private school costs?

I'm not meaning to offend, nor do I think HSU was perfect. I'm just curious about what the focus of the campus is/was.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 11:06:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Hey, Michael, I am a Baylor alum, but the university has changed considerably in the eight years since I graduated. I would say that when I was there it was definintely a Baptist school (you had to go to chapel and take two religion classes), but it wasn't a place where, for example, discussions about faith were going to permeate your average intro level political science class. Since I left, the 2012 vision has guided the school, and that's an effort to make Baylor bigger, better, and more Christian. Part of the problem is the fight over what it means to be "more Christian." (The rest of the problem is that Robert Sloan alienated half the faculty and alumni in the way he implemented 2012.) I think what Baylor is trying to do is be a place like Notre Dame - well-respected and funded, but with a definite religious emphasis.

As for me, I had a great experience at Baylor. My professors knew my name and took a personal interest in my growth as a scholar and a person. They didn't have to start class with a prayer for me to know that they were Christians, and their lives were the models I needed. I hated a lot of the social aspects of Baylor, where conformity to a very narrow, specific vision of what it means to be a Christian was expected. I found great friends who were also serious about their faith, just not serious about melding their faith to market-based capitalism and the Republican party.

Hope that answers your question. And it wasn't in the least bit offensive. I think HSU and Baylor are very different campuses, and that's a good thing. Texas Baptists deserve to have good schools that appeal to different constituencies and that pursue different means of education.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 12:27:00 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

I, too, am now a Baylor alum and current Baylor doctoral student. Too often "more Christian" has really meant "more evangelical" here at Baylor. The phrase "faith and learning" has become code for a certain type of creedal orthodoxy. On the East Coast, you'll find Baptists who are becoming increasingly involved in interfaith & ecumenical projects (Baptist-Jewish dialogue, Baptist-Muslim dialogue). You won't find much of that on the campus of Baylor University. However, you will find a faculty that is starting to look more Northern Evangelical/Catholic than traditional Baptist. The situation at Baylor is complicated.

I have had a great experience here though. It is nice to take history and poli sci courses which place a heavy emphasis on the intersection of religion, politics and society. I didn't get much of that at the University of Georgia. Most of my professors just didn't GET RELIGION. However, at UGA, I did get to take classes from Jews and Muslims. Still, I'm curious how they mix the faith with the learning in some areas like Math.


I too think this is great news. Too bad Garland is not in the hunt to be the permanent Prez. We'll have to see how this plays out.

As an aside regarding our recent anti-SBC rhetoric discussion. Based on some very recent experiences in Texas, I've come to the realization that my perspective probably differs from yours based on geography. It just seems that "moderates" on the East Coast (who I identify with) have done a better job of finding a new identity and moving on than some here in Texas. BDW Sr. will tell you that the recent TBC meeting in Dallas was an eye-opener and felt like a flash-to-the-past. The discussions and continued fights still going on here in Texas were discussions and fights that were ended for most moderates in East Coast states almost a decade ago. The phrase "Moderate Baptist" has really become meaningless especially here in Texas. I guess I'll just stick with "Young Baptist." The way that adjective is used today, I can probably wear it proudly until I'm at least half-way to 80!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 3:46:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Michael, BDW's comment about Baylor becoming more "northern evanglical" is dead-on.

Aaron, that's a good point. There's just so much bitterness still in Texas, and sad as it is to say, I don't think that will go away for quite some time.

Maybe we should try to talk Alexis into renaming the TBYPN "Forever Young." :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 10:22:00 PM

Blogger Alexis said...

well, i'm not so involved in the naming anymore- i think its actually been renamed to Young Baptists United, and I don't know what activity there has been since the renaming... I know we're going to try for a gathering of young baptists here in Waco in October. I think it is apropos with all of the talk lately about what young baptists really believe/want, etc. I personally have been frustrated by the phrase 'young leaders' applying, it seems, almost exclusively to pastors. Which to me is not very baptist, given our tradition of lay leadership...

Thursday, August 21, 2008 2:49:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Yeah, I definitely share that frustration. But I think it's a bias that isn't limited to the young. They hold meetings and assemblies in the middle of the week (the only time pastors can attend), which makes it hard for those who have real jobs, and, honestly, most of us don't think about being Baptist full time unless we're being paid to do so.

When are you going to come visit us again, A? Hope all's well there!

Thursday, August 21, 2008 3:02:00 PM

Blogger Alexis said...

BDW and I will be in on the 30th for the engagement party. we're thinking about coming down sometime early in the day. I think BDW was hoping for some Texas-style tailgating even though we won't make it to the game... :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2008 4:21:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Argh. I'm going to be at APSA in Boston, so I'm missing out on the weekend. Come down to our tailgate for another game soon!

Thursday, August 21, 2008 5:38:00 PM


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