4. Baptist Identity  

4. What would it mean to you for Mercer to have a national Baptist identity?



CATEGORIES NUMBER OF COMMENTS CATEGORIES NUMBER OF COMMENTS

What Does It Mean To Be Baptist

54

Indifferent or Neutral

14

Opposition

51

Affiliations

13

Interfaith Relationships / Inclusion of Other Faiths

44

Attracting Baptist Scholars

12

Educate / Communicate the Baptist Heritage

43

Issue of Conservative

9

Academic Freedom / Freedom of Inquiry

28

Comparisons to Other Formerly-Religious Institutions

8

Academics Most Important

24

Funding

6

Educating the Whole Person / Ethics

21

Miscellaneous

26

General Positive

16

   

 

What Does It Mean To Be Baptist

54

Providing national leadership is the ongoing dialogue of what it means to be Baptist.

Admin.

We are charting new ground by continuing our Baptist identity without being affiliated with a Baptist organization. It is both scary as well as exciting

Admin.

It would be the best possible accomplishment. First, we must establish what a real Baptist is. It is easy to say what it is not, but difficult to establish in the public eye what one is.

Admin.

When faculty and staff first learn of Mercer's Baptist heritage, this question would follow: "What kind of Baptist?". This question would be answered with descriptions of what we do and don't do. I'm not sure that most people will understand the differences between a national and a southern Baptist. Many people view "Baptists" the same. Our identity may be more clearly conveyed and understood by what we do and we all should be able to talk about what Mercer does, why it is important, and how it is unique to Mercer.

Admin.

Would there be a special curriculum? Need to define what being Baptist means.

Emeriti

The loss of the GBC was a good thing. We need the ability to be ourselves.

Emeriti

How do you create an identity without over-institutionalizing it? Inflexibility, bureaucracy.

Emeriti

“Baptist” may be misunderstood

Emeriti

Who are we as Baptists? Go back to roots. Positives of who we are.

Ext. Const.

There's really nothing wrong with being a Baptist. We don't have to apologize

Ext. Const.

If there's no model, then there's an opportunity to establish an image.

Ext. Const.

What do you mean by being a national Baptist identity? What does Mercer think that means?

Ext. Const.

Identifying some of those core early traits would be important. Play to those things that are comfortable. Pick the most noble parts of that.

Ext. Const.

What does that mean? The President would like for the university to be known as Baptist, but not southern Baptist

Faculty

Being Baptist adds a level of integrity

Faculty

Mercer is also responding to an opportunity to redefine what it means to be Baptist

Faculty

We have an opportunity to affirm some things that are traditionally Baptist – separation of church & state, academic freedom

Faculty

“Baptist identity” is a vague statement; what is it? Why do we want it? What would it mean?

Faculty

Attempt to take back the identity from fundamentalists.

Faculty

Will this mean we market to student, beef up Christianity, require chapel or what?

Faculty

Assume we want to keep our Baptist image: How would this impact prayers during commencement exercises? How would this impact our international students? Would this image really attract more students?

Faculty

Could lead to a better understanding of "who" we are

Faculty

Not being a Baptist myself and knowing that many of my students here are not either, I'm unclear what a national Baptist identity even is. I think as long as Mercer is not pigeoned-holed by negative views of Baptists as right wing conservatives that this would be a positive thing. I liked the speeches the President gave at the beginning of the year contextualizing the University's and the Baptist faith's histories. I think it would be good to send those speeches out in literature about the University.

Faculty

Perhaps more clarification and definition are needed, but careful consideration should be taken before using this phrase as part of Mercer's vision. The initial reaction brought images of a fundamentalist, Bob Jones-like moniker.

Faculty

Define Baptist identity……

Faculty

Confusion in Baptist community about "What is Baptist?" -- "What do we agree on?"

Faculty

Our colleagues across the world do not understand Baptist because of the perception of the word “Baptist.”

Faculty

How can we fight the war with “Baptist” when it is so defined by the SBC?

Faculty

The first thing that comes to mind is the question, Which Baptist? Being Baptist carries about as much diversity of thought and faith as does the as does the notion of being Christian. As an academic institution we cannot simply define ourselves as Baptist and then pretend to be that. The notion of Baptist must be defined if it is to have meaning.

Faculty

I guess that depends on how Mercer decides it should establish a “national Baptist identity”. I am very comfortable with a school that represents high moral character, and religious and academic freedom, less comfortable with one that feels it has to remind everyone every time it speaks. As the famous coach once said “you are what you are”. I believe we must be who we are and not feel like everyone needs to be reminded. If we are to be recognized on a national stage, then I believe that it should be because of our accomplishments, not our rhetoric.

Faculty

It would mean that people who are not at this time "free inquiry Baptists" would understand that Mercer is not in league with the SBC or even the GBC, i.e. the fundamentalist or evangelical Christian right. It would mean that a new Baptist identity (or the awareness of this already-existing identity) would emerge on the national level, with Mercer University as a primary advocate and exemplar.

Faculty

Not being Baptist, I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer, but that never stopped a faculty member before! I think the key thing is for Mercer Baptists to figure out what it means to be a Baptist for them and then articulate it. Most of the emphasis in recent years has been on the notion of freedom. Is there anything else beyond that? Any theology? Any ethics? Any social responsibility? Any anthing else? Whatever it may be, settle on it (at least for the time being) and then articulate it in a way that faculty, prospective faculty, students and prospective students, and everyone else can understand. The more nebulous our definition of what it is to be a Mercer Baptist, the more diffuse our message will be to all around us.

Faculty

It could be that fragmentation of Mercer units is due to a sort of Baptist mindset (perhaps a stereotype) of splitting-off to form new autonomous "congregations" when the need is felt to start a "new church", i.e. a new program, add a new major or degree, or cover an additional geographic region. Autonomy is usually good AND, some agreed-upon focus or united vision can be very powerful. How can the various units of the university re-form ourselves to become a 21st century learning community.

Faculty

I have really enjoyed learning about the Baptist tradition but am still unclear about what a "Baptist identity" would be. Buddy Shurden's 4 Freedoms are most appealing but because all are essentially "freedoms", it's not clear that an "identity" is even possible. The four freedoms seem to construct a contentless creed. Being Baptist can mean anything except what someone else tells me it is! So I'm not even sure what a Baptist identity would be let alone what it might mean to have one. I would like to see Mercer pursue a course in which reconcilliation among all Baptists would be relentlessly pursued. It breaks my heart that schism continues to be the hallmark of Christianity in general and Baptists in particular. Just as forgiveness and reconciliation between races should be a priority, so should forgiveness and reconcilliation among Baptists. The early church attracted converts because people noticed that Christians from a wide variety of backgrounds loved one another. When Christians fight and villify one another, Christ is dishonored. Christ prayed that His disciples would be one, even as He was one with the Father so that the world would believe that He was sent by the Father. The so-called Baptist wars have created deep scars in many of the refugees from that war that we have at Mercer. I would hope that we can actively practice forgiveness and move towards unity rather than schism. Finally, I would hope that Mercer can be a place where scholarly research on sensitive topics like sexual behavior would be encouraged but where vulgar "art" pieces like the Vagina Monologues would not be sponsored.

Faculty

We should develop an international Baptist identity –national Baptist is setting the bar too low

Faculty

Mercer should be center of all the artistic and intellectual pursuits that were disallowed by Southern Baptist – goal of loving God with our mind

Faculty

Mercer's perception of the word Baptist is different and more generalized than most; to the point of being extremely misleading. When Bill Underwood is asked what it means for Mercer to have a Baptist identity, he has a wonderful answer mentioning faith and intellectual freedom. We think we have an influence on Baptist society and serve as the radical or liberal intellectuals helping to guide the future but we are actually giving ourselve entirely too much credit. We can play a stronger role in a larger community by removing the "in-between" word, Baptist. Contrary to common belief, we can keep our Baptist heritage and strong Baptist student body with the word Baptist explicitly in our "identity." Our identity should be a faith-based institution supporting spiritual growth for Judeo-Christian values, and Hindu, and Buddist. Just like our broad and diverse professional expertise with many schools and discplines has obvious worth, spiritual diversity would have unparalleled worth. We are sharing the common wisdom of the expected "Baptist" perspective when we show our fear of religious diversity. Isn't keeping our "Baptist identity" just fear of religious diversity.

Faculty

Since I am unable to define this term, I have no idea what it would mean.

Parent

I am not sure what having a "national Baptist identity" means. Hopefully it would mean that the Baptist community would support Mercer financially, as well as spiritually. It would help provide the resources necessary to make the leap to an elite university status. It would provide visibility to the university through its ministry, training and outreach programs.

Parent

I am not Baptist and am not sure how everything works with the SBC and others. I would be concerned if Mercer had a "national Baptist identity". Would that mean that someone other than the President and Board would govern Mercer? Could they give and take away funds? Could they inhibit liberal learning and intillectual freedom? I love the fact that Mercer is a faith founded and faith based University. I think it has the strength and history to stand on its own. I hope it has the support.

Parent

For me this would mean that Mercer would become accountable to an entity that overseas Baptist related institutions nationwide, though I honestly don't expect to see this happen, and I don't know that it would be a good idea.

Staff

Putting your values out there, controversy about what Baptist really means, not to change others, accept diversity

Staff

One of most faith-based institution, and always has to consider Baptist when planning programs. What role do we want to take and which Baptist

Staff

Who are we, and what do we want. Does Baptist mean expression of thought

Staff

Moderate Baptists that don't ascribe to SB or SBC, which is why we split, so which type Baptist are we?

Staff

I am Baptist. I like the fact that you have had that history. Does it concern me that you might no longer be a Baptist college? Hmmm! Please don't go New Age or find yourself sucked into the current movements that are threatening to choose a leader over biblical truths. I would rather see you as a University with NO religious affiliation than to see you choose one of the new founded associations. I would probably choose to leave Mercer if you joined a new founded association.

Student

What does national Baptist identity mean

Student

Don’t forget we do have a Baptist history, but history doesn’t have to dictate what school does

Student

What does national Baptist identity mean?

Student

Why emphasize the Baptist identity now?

Student

The University needs to consider what it means to be branded as Baptist.

Student

There is not a national Baptist identity in existence. Mercer would have to construct a national Baptist identity.

Student

A Baptist identity begins with two essential doctrines: Jesus Christ is Lord, and the Bible is the Word of God. It was upon these two doctrines that the first Baptists began to meet. They were separate from other Christians, because they believed that the other Christians were not honoring certain parts of the Bible. They believed that the Bible taught that it was authoritative and that each individual must read and learn from the Bible not only as a community but also on his own. Therefore the third most essential part of Baptist identity is the priesthood of the believer, but this third doctrine can never supersede the first two, because its validity rests upon the first two. No one can be Baptist without believing that Jesus Christ, the incarnate God, lived on this earth and died on this earth paying the penalty of the world's sins. Neither can anyone be Baptist and not believe that the Bible is God's written revelation to mankind. This is the foundation of the Baptist identity.

Student

I believe with Dr. Underwood that Mercer should not be afraid to define itself as Baptist. It would be helpful if we based our Baptist identity on what we ARE, however, not what we are not. To date, most people have a better idea of what "Mercer" Baptists ARE NOT rather than what we ARE. This may mean setting some parameters and definitions that we have been hesitant to do to date (perhaps in a non-binding confession of faith?). I will continue to be interested and involved in this search for a definition of identity; I have confidence that Mercer can achieve it. I would like to see the in-fighting among Baptists stop, and I believe Mercer should take the lead in that. While Mercer cannot control the actions of outside forces (i.e., "control-freaks" in the GBC), it can and should control its often virulent and equally non-Christian reactions to those forces. Two wrongs do not make a right.

Student

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Opposition

51

Nothing. In my opinion, it is a "negative effect."

Admin.

A Baptist slant on the courses and the curriculum offered might keep your students from exploring different philosophies and ways of life. A limited education does not prepare students to live comfortably with people of all religions and races.

Alum

Nothing, I'm Catholic

Alum

Nothing. I am not Baptist. In fact, Mercer has zero Baptist identity in my opinion. In my comparative religions class the instructor was convinced that Mercer was a Methodist institution. He himself was a Baptist. Hmmmmm, but as a non-Baptist, I am glad that there is a downplay of religious content.

Alum

It seems more feasible to ascend into the national spotlight through academics or sports than through a church/denominational affiliation.

Alum

I don't think that is important and I believe Mercer would be better off without it.

Alum

Some faculty candidates would not apply because of Baptist identity.

Emeriti

Very poor idea; you lose something when you talk about what you gain.

Emeriti

The other pitfall would be to be so eclectic that you didn’t have anything.

Emeriti

Negative perception that you have to be Baptist to come here.

Ext. Const.

There is bad publicity for Baptists - this skewed view is definitely a deterrent.

Ext. Const.

There was some hesitancy for some Senior University members (Jewish) to come to the Mercer campus initially because of the fact that it is a Baptist institution.

Ext. Const.

It’s not so bad that Mercer has split with the conservative Baptist church of dogma. I’m not so sure that achieving national prominence as a Baptist is something that you should pursue.

Ext. Const.

Large Baptist universities (e.g., Wake Forest, Furman) have non-affiliated and gone a secular route–can’t we be like them?

Faculty

If this is a university, we’re supposed to be about teaching people; how does all this help us teach the children?

Faculty

In some ways, it may limit more than attract individuals.

Faculty

Can Mercer not maintain its foundational Judeo-Christian tradition and understanding without the use of this phrase?

Faculty

University models are Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, and Duke.

Faculty

The Baptist identity discourages many potential good students from seriously considering Mercer.

Faculty

Most students do not want a “Baptist Identity.”

Faculty

As a faculty member I almost did not come to Mercer because of its Baptist identity. Look at how well other institutions ( Wake Forest, Furman, Stetson, Richmond) have done after losing the Baptist identity.

Faculty

Not much. We will always have our traditions. Whether or not we are directly associated with the Baptist church is irrelevant.

Faculty

The Baptist identity is unimportant to me.

Faculty

not really important. Would follow the same course that Baylor has followed. Mercer can be distinguished on her own merits as a faith based institution of higher learning.

Faculty

I hate to say this but a national Baptist identity would not mean much to me. I am a person of strong faith, but don't necessarily tie my faith to the University. I think it is wonderful how Mercer openly discusses faith and faculty can freely discuss with students. The Chistrian roots of the University are more important to me than the Baptists roots. I still think of a University as a place primarily for Secular education.

Faculty

Fully appreciate the distinction between Mercer Baptists and Southern Baptists. If we speak of “Baptists” then most people think of Southern Baptists. The average person doesn’t know the difference. I can’t believe that we are going to educate the public about Baptists. I love the Mercer Baptist tradition. In a world of scarce resources, this is a waste of our resources. It’s not worth the effort to try to educate people. Is Mercer the right institution to do this? What most people think of as Baptist is not a university.

Faculty

Swimming upstream is a charitable way of putting this. I think it’s impossible. Why try to educate someone on such a subtle point?

Faculty

Is it our role as a university to fight the Baptist fight?

Faculty

Nothing.

Parent

It would mean nothing to me, my family is not Baptist. In fact, I think it might be less attractive to many prospective students. Emory is an excellent school, but people don't think of it as a Methodist school. Even my alma mater, Southern Methodist University, is not directly connected to the Methodist Church. I think if a school is true to its Christian principles, the reputation will grow and stregthen without a need for a denominational tie.

Parent

Concered that others will think we are not "open" if we are Baptist.

Staff

Prefer being independent.

Staff

In reality, nothing

Staff

I think that before Mercer concerns itself with a national Baptist identity, it should take a long, hard look at its Christian identity in general. I deal with dozens of student-athletes and alumni on an everyday basis. I also have friends and relatives who have graduated from Mercer. I myself was a Mercer student. My observation is this - Mercer is, by and large, not an institution that can realistically call itself Baptist or indeed even a Christian institution. I think Mercer needs to make a decision as to whether or not it should present itself to the public as a Baptist affiliated / Christian affiliated institution. I will try to explain my concerns below. Over the past half-dozen years, I have had several students come to me expressing a crisis of faith because of the teachings in the Old or New Testament classes. Other Christian students have expressed to me that they merely "endure" the teachings in these classes in order to graduate, but repudiate the lessons. I have also had one or two who have abandoned their faith in the wake of what they were taught. It is my understanding that the cornerstone of the Baptist faith is the idea that the Bible is the word of God, not just an interesting historical document to be picked apart and "discredited". I think that if we teach Bible classes in this way, then we are obviously distancing ourselves from a Baptist identity

Staff

Absolutely nothing, actually a negative.

Staff

Not at all important. Mercer stands on it's own.

Staff

Nothing at all, I am of a different faith and am not attending Mercer for its religion

Student

I am not Baptist, but the identity would assure me that the values promoted in the class and by the professors would not conflict with my own Christian beliefs. Unfortunately, I have not found that to be true.

Student

Nothing-I would rather graduate from a university know for high academic standards and great post graduate employment opportunities then one with a religious identity. Baptist heritage is great, especially for some alumni and those seeking a job in direct church service but I only care about academics. Think Harvard-Do you think of their great programs are their religious affiliations?

Student

Nothing.

Student

Nothing.

Student

National Baptist is a misnomer – Baptists are associated with Southeast – promoting both a Baptist identity and becoming a nationally recognized university don’t go together

Student

Baptist identity means nothing to me

Student

We are just clinging to Baptist identity. Didn’t come because Mercer is Baptist – have no reason to want to keep Baptist name

Student

I'm not sure what you mean by national Baptist identity. I came to Mercer to earn a credible degree in technical communication, and I feel that I am doing that. I would be very concerned, however, if Mercer started to emphasize its Baptist identity. If the vision is to become a nationally recognized research university, Mercer should emphasize plurality.

Student

ABA accreditation is the most important. National Baptist identity is not important.

Student

All the Baptist schools mentioned have histories of suppression. Does Mercer really want that type of identity?

Student

I would not have applied to Mercer if I'd known it was Baptist.

Student

The Baptist affiliation was not a factor in coming to Mercer. As a student, the Baptist affiliation is a non-factor.

Student

Baptists get a great deal of bad press. I was hesitant about coming, but have not had any problems since I've been here.

Student

There is a wariness among the faculty about being a Baptist.

Student

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Developing Interfaith Relationships / Inclusion of Other Faiths

44

We need to develop relationships with international faith leaders (not just Baptists and not just Christians)

Admin.

I do not view the afffiliation as a deficit since religious studies are based in the theology program. Over time we will have more international and culturally diverse students. You should poll potential students to see if the affiliation matters to students and their families.

Alum

Mercer has always had a Baptist identity. One caution I would say is that you don't alienate students who don't have the Baptist background. Alienation is an issue. Err on the side of caution. To truly be a University, you need diversity.

Alum

By expanding beyond the boundaries of Southern Baptist, it allows Mercer to be more inclusive.

Alum

I was happy when I heard that my children could go to the Catholic mass here on campus.

Alum

I never thought of Mercer as Baptist, but Protestant.

Alum

Do we want to just be tied to Baptist?

Alum

This University has an obligation to be a Baptist University. The underpinnings of this school cannot be changed, or should not be changed. Inclusive is very important. That’s what this school was built on.

Alum

Some would rather use “Christian” than Baptist.

Emeriti

Important for people to understand that there is room for non-Baptists to give input.

Ext. Const.

Mercer should value being "faith-based."

Ext. Const.

I think Mercer needs to be two-faced. IF you say that you’re a national Baptist identity, then it limits you with diversity. On the other hand, you have a huge group of Baptists who are alumni. Need to maintain those alumni.

Ext. Const.

Are we talking about the importance of Baptist heritage or faith-based heritage?

Ext. Const.

I would encourage us to keep faith and God as part of the institution. We have to be true to ourselves.

Ext. Const.

Will we recognize and support all faiths?

Faculty

Diversity at Mercer, whether it be religious, ethnic, or racial is an extremely important variable to retain as we move further into the 21st century. Consider the future; go beyond the now.

Faculty

Its more important to have a Christian identity. A Christian Univeristy means having a marketplace of ideas/thought and views but having the Christian viewpoint held in the highest esteem. Meaning the Christian viewpoint is cherished as what we have found to be true and what we practice and live out. This means having a campus minister, having chapel, having many Christian faculty (not all), and making an effort to attract Christian students to let them know that Mercer is place where their Christian faith will be strengthened and encouraged.

Faculty

How will the black Baptists fit in with this New Baptist Covenant?

Faculty

Without a Baptist Church government affiliation I think our Baptist identity just means we have a lot of Baptists here. Our actions should define us. Mission work, educational requirements in Christianity, open discussions of faith and religion are important in defining our identity. Although, I’m not sure how those actions are different if we had Presbyterian or Methodist identity. Other religious-based institutions are affiliated with a Church and have religious requirements on the faculty and students. I don’t think we want to go that we direction. For me, a Christian identity is more important for Mercer University than a Baptist identity; I’m not certain how National Baptist identity would differ from a National Christian identity.

Faculty

I'm all for a university built upon the Baptist heritage of the Anabaptists. We just need to be careful about inclusive language so that students/faculty/staff of all backgrounds feel welcome.

Faculty

Students and faculty should feel open to discussion of faith issues in the classroom in other departments beside Christianity (Classes that don’t have old or new testament as a prerequisite)

Faculty

If we’re going to go forward in this Baptist tradition, then we need lots of interfaith dialogue.

Faculty

Maybe we can have an interfaith dialogue even if we don’t pursue being Baptist.

Faculty

I come from a Baptist background but have been Presbyterian for the past 14 years. I just want to know that Mercer upholds the Christian faith...I don't need it to be Baptist.

Parent

I think it is vitally important to maintain a Christian worldview in any and all development decisions. As a non- Baptist, the specific denominational affiliation is not that important. By the way, what kind of Baptist school is Mercer anyway? (Southern, American, National, Freewill, Missionary . . .?)

Parent

May be more important to be "faith-based" rather than Baptist.

Staff

Spirituality is a positive; Baptist is not.

Staff

Personally, I like that Mercer is a faith-based institution and I think it was a strong move to adopt "Faith-based" as opposed to "Baptist." I think that it promotes a more diverse culture at Mercer, based on similar principles.

Staff

In my opinion, being part of an Institution with religious affiliation founded in Judeo-Christian understandings sufficiently conveys Mercer’s guiding principles. Therefore, narrowing down further to a Baptist identity is not necessary, in my opinion, unless Mercer is seeking a distinct group of students. By narrowing focus to a Baptist identity, Mercer might deter students from applying, who would otherwise be interested in what Mercer has to offer. I believe an Institution based of Judeo-Christian principles is more appealing to a wider range of students, nationally. Some students, faculty, and staff might not care if Mercer has a religious affiliation, regardless of the extent, but others do and it is those "others" that will help Mercer grow nationally.

Staff

Even many churches today are avoiding denominational labeling, i.e., The Vineyard, The Way, etc., while still identifying themselves with protestant or Christian beliefs. Because of the diversity of beliefs under the "Baptist" flag, it would be almost impossible to have a national Baptist identity. As mentioned in today's meeting, being a faith based institution may be preferable to putting the emphasis on Baptist. (Incidentally, I am Baptist.)

Staff

Mercer would actively seek to hire well-qualified faculty of other religious viewpoints for the sake of cultivating meaningful discussion

Staff

Understands Baptist Heritage, but what are we saying to other religions; that we don't want them

Staff

As a staff member, it does not matter for recruiting, but it does matter to be a good employee. Staff didn’t necessarily come to Mercer to be a Baptist

Staff

Christian vs. Baptist, it encompasses all the Christian values, some non-Baptists have same ideals, and thus feel excluded. Christian is more inclusive.

Staff

Even if defined as such, there must be a sense of inclusion, inclusion is very important, and also respect, not a disconnect between our values and actions

Staff

Being known as a Christian based university would be more helpful to Mercer than it's Baptist affiliation. Claiming you are Baptist, but catering to morale diversity while ignoring the moral teachings you elude to sends mixed signals and demeans the teachings of Christ. You can uphold high morale standards and expect that behavior of others while around you on your campus while still being respectful of the other people and their national rights. Mercer tries to have it both ways and fails. Thus declining respect and enrollment.

Staff

I think it is important as we cannot forget where our foundation came from...but diversity and inclusiveness of all religions needs developed for the future. Look for common ground between religions and accent those qualities in some formal program/opportunities.

Staff

It is a plus for Mercer to be a Baptist institution, yet to also be welcoming and accepting to people of all faiths.

Staff

First and foremost... Faculty and staff need to learn more tolerance regarding the Baptist "stigma". After attending a Vision session, I was astounded at exactly how opinionated many Mercerians are regarding "Baptist". The range was from somewhat "holy-roller" (Mercer is absolutely no longer seen as a Christian institution, our office will not display flyers for "certain" activities that are adamantly non-Baptist), to that of a feel of silent, pleading tolerance for all Mercerians.

Staff

Any kind of Christian title needs to be more than a name

Student

Other respected universities have religious identities and flourish. Christian teachings should guide the university and other religious supporters of Mercer to be inclusive of the diverse students, staff, and faculty (who are not Baptist) but could contribute to Mercer's success. If I am not mistaken, Jesus showed much more mercy, tolerance and inclusively toward the "non-religious", than toward the hypocritical, merciless, ones (groups) who believed they had a national religious identity. Let us (Mercer) be on the right side of this mind-molding business of education. I am proud of Mercer's national Baptist identity, but aware that there is a fine line between a private institution's assertion of its standards and the exclusivity that arises from any religion's tolerance of the small-minded extremists.

Student

Not much. Mercer needs a Christian identity if one at all.

Student

not much.. i believe a Christian identity is better than a Baptist one.

Student

Will we still be inclusive?

Student

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Educate / Communicate the Baptist Heritage

43

We need to develop a prophetic voice in the area of community concerns that contributes to the national dialogue.

Admin.

We need to go back to the language of Jesse Mercer in order not to exclude people who do not understand what it means to be a Baptist

Admin.

We need to reclaim and articulate what it means to be a Baptist.

Admin.

Proclaiming the Baptist identity means we need to discuss our Baptist identity internally, then in our communities, then nationally.

Admin.

We need to involve staff as well as faculty and students in this dialogue.

Admin.

Communication within the university is very difficult

Admin.

We need more discussion about Baptist identity on all of our campuses

Admin.

The media should be calling Mercer on issues relating to religion.

Admin.

We need to model what it means to be a Baptist, e.g. Freedom and Respect for all faiths.

Admin.

We have the opportunity to be a model of what it means to be authentically Baptist.

Admin.

It would mean that when someone mentions Baptist university, Mercer would be the school that first comes to the quasi-informed public's mind. Establishing a broad identity of a faith-based school, i.e., tranlating that identity into language the general public and prospective student/families understand. Establishing a faith-based identity not equated with that of schools such as Bob Jones or Libery, etc. Having an identity in some way distinct from other church-related institutions who have such local identities.

Admin.

probably a great niche for us if we can educate ourselves and others as to what that really means

Admin.

There is an opportunity to change the understanding of the image of Baptists.

Emeriti

Emphasize a national identity of a wonderful diverse university that is Baptist

Ext. Const.

Explain to people what it means to be Baptist

Ext. Const.

Make Christianity an important word in our heritage.

Ext. Const.

Many do not know that Mercer is a Baptist institution.

Ext. Const.

When I think as a Jewish person, what would it mean to send my child to a Baptist University? Take pause to think about how to promote that. Mercer can’t be all things to all people.

Ext. Const.

When you’re looking at fundraising, then you need to consider how you will craft this message to be inclusive.

Ext. Const.

Mercer is being faithful to its heritage

Faculty

We are embracing our heritage

Faculty

I hope the last year is an indication of what it means: the emphasis would be on developing partnerships with other Baptist organizations to *do* things, rather than on ensuring that there is a "critical mass" of Baptists in the university. In other words, the criteria for "identity" lie in what we do rather than in being "Baptist-identified" in outlook.

Faculty

At our very best moments, the definition of being a Baptist has driven people to take stands that have been courageous.

Faculty

If Mercer were to become a nationally recognized Baptist institution, would we try to help educate people about who Baptists are? Currently, Baptists have a negative image.

Faculty

Most folks in country do not know the difference between SBC and the National Baptist Identity. You would have to reeducate the entire nation.

Faculty

How do we market "National Baptist?"

Faculty

I would say that one of our challenges after we have solved the resource problem is that we are in a cultural context where being baptist means being conservative and intolerant of others. We need to continually educate people regarding our voice in the baptist community.

Faculty

Who are we marketing "Baptist" to?

Faculty

To me, having Mercer as a national Baptist identity would mean the necessity to behave as such. That means continuing to serve others and maintaing an image that is fitting to a Baptist entity.

Faculty

I would like to see all Christian voices (including evangelicals, who are often viewed with suspicion by the academy) have a voice in discussions about issues of faith and in mission oriented work of the university. I also think we need to find ways to clearly communicate to students (in all the schools) that we are a university that values spiritual (specifically Judeo-Christian) values.

Faculty

First year students need to read history of the Baptist faith– not Whisper of the River

Faculty

I’m excited about being at an institution that takes religious faith seriously. I’m glad to be here. I’m delighted that we no longer have the affiliation with the GBC. All of that said, it’s the leadership of the GBC has defined the word “Baptist.” It’s an anchor around us. If we could educate people about the historic view of the word “Baptist,” the Baptist that Buddy Shurden writes about, it would be wonderful, but I don’t see it.

Faculty

I’m afraid the word “Baptist” is lost. There are other words that are in danger of being lost. One of those may be “faith.” We talk about “faith-perspectives.” Let’s talk about “religious perspectives.” Let’s be extremely careful about the language we use.

Faculty

It would be good. Mercer has the type of Baptist views that I have and that my own Church has. Most people around the country think there is one kind of Baptist and that kind is probably not viewed in a very positive light. If Mercer had a national identity it might help people understand that there are other more tolerant Baptists.

Parent

It would mean a lot. I do not like people refering to Mercer as a psuedo-baptist university.

Parent

I think it would be wonderful to still maintain Mercer's baptist heritage. Ok, so we aren't a GA Baptist founded school any longer, we should still be able to embrace the baptist heritage brought to us by our founders.

Staff

It will give us an opportunity to educate others about what it means to be Baptist- but it will be an uphill battle

Staff

Make sure the kind of Baptist we are is really clear, qualify what we mean

Staff

Where do we do this, in a brochure

Staff

We have a history of inclusiveness.

Staff

It would mean very little if no one could even tell.

Staff

What do we do that is Baptist? Where is our Baptist heritage reflected?

Student

A national Baptist Identity? That is a good question. It seems Mercer has abandoned the idea that it is a Baptist university. I only took one religion class (Old Testament), and I have never heard of any lecture series being offered at the centers regarding the Baptist faith. I am a Baptist (not a Southern Baptist), and I like the fact that I go to a Baptist school, but it troubles me that it does not embrace its Baptist roots. As I have stated in the other sections, incorporate the regional centers into this, and the rest will follow. One night lectures on Baptist faith and traditions. The Baptists came out of the Reformation, and some think they did not go far enough. Let's use radical language, deeds, and harness that aspect of Mercer's Baptist identity.

Student

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Academic Freedom / Freedom of Inquiry

28

We need to develop non-threatening ways to link our Baptist identity with our academic efforts

Admin.

If it meant sacrificing freedoms such has having alternative student organizations and being able to freely express views without the fear of being condemned then its not worth it. Mercer University should not be a the mercy of the SBC. I am not baptist but my wife is. Mercer being affiliated or not affiliated with the SBC had no bearing on my decision to attend Mercer when I enrolled. If just entering school, I would be more open to attending Mercer now that it is not affiliated. The only downside is the reduced funding, meaning less scholarships.

Alum

Academic and religious freedom has been one of Mercer’s strengths. Mercer has been able to maintain that.

Alum

Religious identity is important, but distinct Baptist identity is not important. The professors that most impacted me were the professors in the Christianity Dept. Need to maintain academic freedom.

Alum

Hope that we regain the historic Baptist tradition, e.g. academic freedom

Emeriti

It is important to teach certain subjects to retain our culture.

Emeriti

How will this influence intellectual freedom, openness, diversity, etc.

Ext. Const.

Freedom of individual and service to others have been held up as part of that identity.

Ext. Const.

Strength of Mercer is that it is open to all ideas. If you go back to the roots, then I think it’s to the University’s credit and favor.

Ext. Const.

Brings up the current clarification of religious policies, which could impact absences from class.

Faculty

Good, if did not mean abandoning academic freedom.

Faculty

Maintaining academic freedom with freedom of faith.

Faculty

Potential faculty members ask with caution about research and if they will have the necessary freedom to conduct it while being a Baptist university.

Faculty

It matters that we can talk about “Freedom of Inquiry”

Faculty

We can share more fully with students about faith and intellectual freedom.

Faculty

Clearly, there is need for Baptists to redefine themselves. Not as a fundamentalist and intolerant protestant group, but as a historical group of like-minded believers who have for centuries insisted on their right to worship God in a no-frills manner with the maximum independence from external bureaucracy. The success of Mercer as a Baptist affiliated university depends upon its (our) ability to make welcome the brightest minds and scholars of all faiths and maintain the singleness of purpose from all faculty/ staff of the university to advance the common goal of academic excellence. In the spirit of academic freedom, all the faculty must always sense the clear encouragement for scientists and other scholars to search for truth and knowledge.

Faculty

The original Baptist commitment to free inquiry--to religious and intellectual freedom. President Underwood comes from Baylor in TX. I know a professor at another institution who recently applied for a teaching appointment at Baylor, but Baylor kept insisting that he pledge himself to their particular vision of being a Baptist Christian. He finally withdrew his application because he feared for having any intellectual freedom as a faculty if he taught at Baylor.

Faculty

At Mercer, we always have been radical Baptists who respect diversity of faith and intellectual freedoms -being intellectual does not prohibit faith but enhances spirituality

Faculty

Mercer would actively seek to hire well-qualified faculty who are Christians regardless of how doing so might look to accreditation committees

Staff

Is there an impact on academic freedom and/or reputation in regards to math and science

Staff

Trying to maintain Christianity and Triangle Symposium, will continue to be a struggle and create tension

Staff

Means we can have these open dialogues and not be afraid to speak freely; at other institutions this is not possible.

Staff

As a Christian Univ, we need a moral code, which is based on Christianity and should not impinge on academic freedom. A high moral code and academic freedom don't have to conflict. A lot of how you treat people

Staff

To make people aware of a University offering religious and academic freedom within the context of traditional Baptist principles.

Staff

Student appreciates going to a Christian college and being able to openly discuss religion

Student

Students like the religious diversity in class

Student

A lot of Mercer teachings go against Baptist teachings

Student

We need to choose between our Baptist identity and becoming an ivy league type school

Student

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Academics More Important

24

We cannot deny that some segments of the Mercer population (mostly undergraduate) were very attracted to Mercer's Christian identity. Some expect that identity to "show" in some ways. This identity is less important to students in the post-bac. professional programs. The academic program identity is most important.

Admin.

I would rather we have an identity based upon principles, integrity, and academic excellence. We have had leaders that talk about integrity and do not practice it in their personal lives. We have made some harsh judgments without data and lost outstanding individuals. I think enrollment would increase if we focussed on principles, excellence, and diversity.

Admin.

There are some issues where you have the identity, as to whether you have academic freedom. Baptist faith is aligned with conservatism. It’s important for the school to be first of all an academic institution that stimulates thought and debate.

Alum

You need to be an academic institution first. Mercer has always done a good job at being inclusive.

Alum

I truly believe that the focus should be the academics. The Baptist identity is who we are, but the focus should be on academics.

Alum

Quality is more important than being Baptist.

Ext. Const.

Wake Forest is known for its academia. Stay focused on the academia.

Ext. Const.

Keep focused on academics. Get your message out there more. Facilitate events and bring the community into the campus.

Ext. Const.

Wouldn't want it to be Mercer's main identity.

Faculty

Should ask employers whether students are being looked at as a Baptist or academic background.

Faculty

Like any good moderate Baptist, I'm going to straddle the fence on this issue. Some students will be turned off by the idea of a Christian college regardless of the denomination. Others will see Mercer as too liberal for their tastes. I hope that we will not ignore either of these groups as both of them will say things that we need to hear. However, I think we need to focus on those who are interested in a church-affiliated private school with a strong academic reputation. Truly this should be a university where sensitive issues can be discussed from all angles, religious and secular. I told someone recently that when I think of Notre Dame, I think first of a strong academic program with nationally-known athletics, and then I think, "Oh, yeah. And they're Catholic." I'm not sure potential students will think of us as Baptist first, but I hope they will be aware of our strengths regardless of their faiths.

Faculty

Should we be looking at other goals?

Faculty

I don’t want to give up the word “Baptist.” I don’t think it’s impossible to do both. Could pursue academics, but could also pursue Baptist ideal. Pursue this behind the scenes, but we should not throw resources at this.

Faculty

Mercer is a Baptist institution historically and continued recognition of this fact is fine. The moral value system of the institution is a benefit, it is secondary to the academic program. If the academic program is not strong, being baptist or having any religious affliation will not matter.

Parent

Decision for my son to attend Mercer was based on the quality of academic programming available and student support, Whether or not Mercer has a national Baptist identity was not an important factor for us, when selecting a college.

Parent

My family is not Baptist- I would rate being a top tier school over having a baptist affiliation

Parent

In regards to Mercer being marketed nationally with the goal to enroll students nationally (as opposed to regionally, as is currently the case), having a national Baptist identity is not necessarily as important as other factors students consider when applying to a University.

Staff

As long as curriculum and student organizations are not compromised or restricted, I do not object to Mercer having a Baptist identity. I think it is a positive move to have the American Baptist archives here simply from a research perspective.

Staff

Although I am a Baptist, that wasn't what attracted me to Mercer.

Student

What’s the motivation for students coming to school here? Large base in undergraduate schools were pushed by parents who pay the bills. Law students come here because of academics.

Student

If the academic program is strong enough, students will come regardless of religious affiliation.

Student

I went to University of the South for academics, not religious affiliations.

Student

I don't think Baptist in reliationship to Wake Forest. Focus on the academics.

Student

Is Mercer a Baptist school first or an academic institution?

Student

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Educating the Whole Person / Ethics / Tolerance

21

We need to maintain an institutional commitment to holistic education, service-learning, and character development.

Admin.

We need to expand service-learning, e.g. Mercer on Missions

Admin.

We need to help students find their inner voices and calling

Admin.

Taking this path (without affiliation with Baptist organization) gives us a wider base for service-learning

Admin.

As long as Mercer does not become subject to the dictates of any Baptist entity, national or otherwise, the identification of the University with the Baptist is an excellent idea that continues the proud traditions Jesse Mercer started.

Alum

In life you meet believers and non-believers. The reality is that we’re all free-thinkers. The Southern Baptist Convention has turned so many people off. The foot that we have to put forward is that we accept all believers. As a professional, we treat everyone equally.

Alum

How much tolerance do you have for ambiguity?

Ext. Const.

I think of it more as a Christian identity with a Baptist heritage, personally. The Christian identity could center on how each of us is gifted by God -- and that Mercer helps its students to develop those gifts to fulfill God's calling (as Frederick Buechner describes it, "Where the individual's deep gladness meets the world's infinite need").

Faculty

This question is tied to question #1 and #2; graduates are respected not only because of quality education, but core values taught as well.

Faculty

Will Mercer follow the Roger Williams’ model? He believed religion would not be dictated by the State, to be a Baptist meant freedom of thought and respect for people of other faiths. It is about respecting people and it is not about converting people to the Baptist faith.

Faculty

It is extremely important and significant for Mercer to have a national Baptist identity. This is the essence that makes Mercer different and marketable. Students at Mercer should receive a total education that involves the “mind, the soul, and the body”. Our curriculum across all schools and colleges at Mercer should include courses in religion as well as physical education to assist students in maintaining their faith, health and physical well-being.

Faculty

I am a religious person, but a Catholic, so it is not meaningful to me for Mercer to have a national Baptist identiy. It is more important to me for Mercer to represent the morals/ethics of religious belief in general and not dogma particular to a religious group. It is important for Mercer to be faith-based without being faith-biased.

Parent

Not sure. I'm not Baptist. I actually went to a Catholic University. The Nuns kept us in line! So I know what that was like in the same context. I like the idea of there being the expectation of right and wrong, the encouragement to worship and be in community with their fellow students.I think those are great lessons. Also learning there is a big world out there and we need to make a positive impact on it. As a non Baptist, I have a bias that Baptists are conservative thinkers, think in black and white, and are non accepting of people that are different than themselves. In reality, my daughter has not experienced that at Mercer. But I would have been more leary of sending her there if the school had that kind of reputation.

Parent

I liked that Mercer was associated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Having a national Baptist identity would be good, along with stressing moral values.

Parent

A national Baptist identity would serve as a foundation for broader development

Staff

Mercer would actively seek to encourage students to integrate their faith and academic learning, such that a Christian voice in the public square will increasingly become understood to be the norm.

Staff

In some classes Baptist info on the wall (Community of Respect Statement)

Staff

Higher academic learning, means being faced with issues, may not agree with everything, but there must be respect. The tension is there. Confusion between Baptist and Christianity.

Staff

I do not think that diversity is something that can be achieved or promoted if stringent Baptists - whether they be faculty/staff/students - consistently display negativity, offer intolerance, and pass judgment on those who believe and live differently. Different (non-Baptist) people may be potential Mercerians because they assume that Mercer will offer acceptance (or forgiveness, and I use that term very loosely) to them; these people may think that Mercer "Christians" will provide some sense of peace, etc., but in actuality may offer exactly the opposite.

Staff

It would be good news for progressive Baptists - assuming that Mercer continues to support and fight for academic freedom and soul competency. I would like to see Mercer respect and celebrate it's Baptist Heritage. However, promoting itself as an evangelical Christian college would signal intolerance to our religiously diverse students, faculty and staff. Original Baptists fought for religious freedom for all. I hope we will continue in that noble work.

Staff

Some students and some parents want Mercer to be a Baptist institution. The undergraduate school embodies that environment of being able to discuss faith. Not as much of an issue at the Law School.

Student

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General Positive

16

I am happy as long as Mercer keeps a strong Christian foundation.

Admin.

A lot to me, but more for Mercer.

Alum

Mercer has roots as missionaries. It’s important to stay with those roots.

Alum

In this day in age, it is important for faith-based institutions to return to their roots and stress it and value it.

Ext. Const.

I hate to see Mercer lose part of that Baptist identity. The strongest institutions across this country were founded by the religious institutions. It’s part of Mercer’s fabric.

Ext. Const.

Mercer is a Baptist University. That’s a huge identity. In essence, that identity is already there. It’s there in the best possible way. It’s ingrained in generations of students.

Ext. Const.

Worhty goal, but it brings a lot of baggage and not all positive.

Faculty

As a more liberal Baptist, yes

Parent

significant

Parent

I think we should never be shy about our identity - especially one that is spiritually based.

Staff

To be recognized as one of the most prestigious institutions in the country with a baptist identity.

Staff

Mercer’s Christian identity should stay on the forefront

Student

It would be wonderful. I am very spiritual and love my Lord

Student

It would be great. I have no objections

Student

I think that would be great! I think the foundation in Baptist beliefs is what made Mercer great to begin with and I think it would help the university a great deal if we could get back to that.

Student

Religion is still strong here in the south

Student

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Indifferent or Neutral

14

I am indifferent, affiliation to such a specific branch of Christianity may shun some away. I am Christian

Alum

As a former undergraduate student and a current graduate student, I already have the highest respect for Mercer. I will maintain that respect regardless of whether Mercer has a Baptist identity or not.

Alum

right now this means very little to me. When I can't get the supplies or the personnel support I need to do my job effectively, I have little time to concern myself with Mercer's national identity.

Faculty

I'm not sure. That's partially why I'm participating in the faculty reading group this semester which is discussing that.

Faculty

Mixed opinion- the Atlanta population is so heterogenous that it might alienate potential students. However, if it means that monetary support would be increased to improve programs, facilities, etc. then it might make sense.

Faculty

It makes no difference to me. Mercer is an institution with good values and principles independent of any affiliations. I believe that we can stand alone without that affiliation. An affiliation like that speaks for our values and principles on its own. Without that affiliation we would have to communicate our values and priniciples in a different way than we have in the past.

Faculty

I have no opinion on this question.

Faculty

I am not sure that it would mean anything to me, unless if it would increase enrollment

Faculty

No difference.

Parent

From the view of a research institution, being a national Baptist school would be neutral impact.

Staff

I don't see it as a positive or negative at this time.

Staff

Not sure this would affect me

Staff

Neutral

Staff

I am quite indifferent as to this matter. Many say that we should go the way of Wake Forest and Emory and cease our relationship with the Baptists (granted Emory is affiliated, loosely, with the Methodists). If that will help us achieve the status of those schools, I am all for it. As a Catholic, I could care less whether Mercer is Baptist, Jewish, Catholic, or Zoroastrian.

Student

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Affiliations

13

I think separating from the GBC was a good thing.

Alum

Building coalitions will take time and effort -- multiple coalitions

Ext. Const.

Leading Mercer graduates in every community -- enlist that group of alumni. Great leaders in every profession in those communities

Ext. Const.

More likely to support Mercer without GBC.

Ext. Const.

People link Mercer name with Baptists already

Faculty

Don’t want us to do away with Baptist heritage

Faculty

Our Mercer Heritage is in agreement with the Baptist Covenant.

Faculty

We need to distinguish ourselves from the various types of Baptist identities

Faculty

Personally, I believe that the primary elements that will define us as a national academic Baptist institution are reflections of the paradoxes that flow from this joining. We must embrace the role of faith and the role of inquiry. We must respect freedom of thought while affirming our foundational beliefs. We must protect our independents even as we seek alliance with other groups.

Faculty

It has no meaning if Mercer doesn't have a Georgia Baptist identity -- fix the relationship with GA Baptists first.

Faculty

We would need to link with other moderate Baptist organizations in order to be successful at redefining what it means to be baptist

Staff

Students don’t think Mercer has changed since losing its affiliation with the Georgia Baptist Convention

Student

Better off without the GBC.

Student

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Attracting Baptist Scholars

12

Receiving the American Baptist Convention archives would allow Mercer University to create an international Center for Baptist Studies on the Atlanta Campus that would attract Baptist scholars and statesmen.

Admin.

Taking this path (without affiliation with Baptist organization) gives us a wider recruiting base for students

Admin.

As an undergraduate, my parents and I chose Mercer because of its Baptist religious affiliation. I feel that a national Baptist identity would draw even more candidates to Mercer University in the future.

Alum

Further development of the Atlanta Campus. Many people have never heard of Macon. Student body in Atlanta is more diverse. Multi-culture understanding

Ext. Const.

Mercer may be the hope for all Baptists.

Ext. Const.

Maintaining our Baptist identity says something about our integrity & excellence and could do a lot to attract traditional students

Faculty

Some of our students are attracted to Mercer because we are historically Baptist

Faculty

Once our Baptist image is clearly defined, it may help recruit Baptist students from the Southeast and nationally.

Faculty

My Baptist heritage is the basis for who I am. I can't separate my faith from my profession; so Mercer's heritage was a key factor in my coming here to be a part of the outstanding history that I believe she will continue to make. Having been previously a faculty member at state supported institutions of higher learning, I greatly appreciate the difference between them and Mercer--when it comes to sharing the multi-faceted features of my makeup with students and well as others. Few universities are blessed with the liberty that we have at Mercer, to share our faith in Jesus Christ, and thus bolster without diluting one whit-- the excellence of the academic training that we provide our students.

Faculty

Among U.S. college students, "Baptist" is the second most frequently reported religious affiliation (after "Catholic"). There are certain nationally known schools that nearly every Catholic high school student planning to apply to college at least considers as an option. If Mercer University had a national Baptist identity, we should see the same thing... nearly every Baptist high school student at least considers applying to Mercer University. While we're likely to hear much talk about the "Baptist" part of that equation, we really should be focusing on the "national" part. We already have a Baptist identity, and while we'll need to work to keep/refine that identity, we'll have to work much harder to make it a national identity.

Faculty

Student appreciates going to a Christian college and being able to openly discuss religion

Student

The Baptist identity is why I came here

Student

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Issue of Conservative

9

Mercer has never really felt like a religious institution. The Baptist image has been an added identity that was never really promoted. If we kept a conservative Baptist image, some may perceive Mercer to be a safer place to be in comparison to other universities, like UGA.

Faculty

Evangelical Christian faculty seem to be uneasy that there is no direct Biblical reference.

Faculty

I think that if we do this, we should be careful not to be categorized with the more conservative sects. So many people (even in the South) frown upon the Baptist faith because they think it means hellfire and damnation-- sin and so forth.

Faculty

I think Mercer made a great move to distance itself away from the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC). As a Methodist, I am not as aware as I should be of the national Baptist beliefs, but I do understand their beliefs are more moderate. After reading exerpts from Dr. Godsey's delightful book, I feel that the GBC has "gone off the deep end". I think Dr. Godsey's explanation of true Baptist beliefs seems to be much more moderate than the writings and actions of the GBC.

Parent

The word "Baptist" connotes consevative.

Staff

Expected a real Christian atmosphere, but others say we are becoming less Christian. Some leave because we are atheist. Some want a very Christian college. At some schools must believe in God.

Staff

Can't have a Christian/Baptist University and have certain flyers that some want to post [Vagina Monologues]. If Baptist Univ, monitor flyers and activities

Staff

Student has a friend who hates Mercer because the university is too liberal

Student

Moderate Baptist identity would be a plus for those Baptist who think Southern Baptist convention is too conservative

Student

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Comparisons to Other Formerly-Religious Institutions

8

You can go to the other end of the spectrum on that. Emory is not identified as being Methodist. Mercer has done a good job of being in the middle, of being a Baptist institution. I like where Mercer has been with that.

Alum

One would expect the president of Notre Dame to be Catholic, but would not expect the president of Emory to be Methodist…is this the direction Mercer would like to go?

Ext. Const.

How is Mercer different from Baylor University (more or less conservative)? Would Mercer like to model Baylor?

Ext. Const.

Wake Forest survived.

Ext. Const.

It’s how you handle that heritage. Notre Dame and Wesleyans have done it.

Ext. Const.

Baylor & Wake Forest more nationally known than Mercer University

Faculty

Mercer will take a different path than Furman, Wake, U of Richmond

Faculty

There are parallels between Mercer University and Wake Forest. How does Wake Forest balance being Baptist?

Student

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Funding

6

Taking this path (without affiliation with Baptist organization) gives us a greater opportunity in raising money.

Admin.

When you look at those considered “Moderate Baptists,” you also have to look at the financial resources being more limited.

Emeriti

Some Baptists will likely be greater financial contributors.

Faculty

What resources would have to go into it

Staff

Doesn’t know how serious Mercer is about Baptist identity – is it just to get money?

Student

Biggest concern was losing scholarships when the separation came with the GBC--that didn't happen.

Student

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Miscellaneous

26

Have we restated our vision and mission?

Alum

Dare I say "football team."

Ext. Const.

Currenty, no place to "be quiet" (i.e., Chapel)

Ext. Const.

Is it more important for Mercer to be known for quality and then Baptist, or the other way around?

Ext. Const.

Keep in mind that you have a Theology School.

Ext. Const.

Mentioned Baptist 4 fragile freedoms (Shurden text)

Faculty

What is the potential? How far can you go as a Baptist institution/image?

Faculty

It would help the Theology school and their image.

Faculty

Continue to ask students, why did they choose Mercer? (faith-based institution, academic excellence, etc.)

Faculty

Michael Cass' article makes the point very eloquently

Faculty

Being successful with a National Baptist Identity will take a lot of very careful consideration and planning.

Faculty

Many of our recent hires have come from moderate Baptists.

Faculty

The new Baptist Covenant offers promises.

Faculty

I assumed it did.

Faculty

Steven Beko—I Write What I Like – Not enough people in the United States to reclaim “Baptist” as Beko did for blacks in South Africa.

Faculty

Not a national university. We’re a regional university.

Faculty

Missed a recruitment opportunity when we initially separated from Georgia Baptist Convention – could have used for national exposure

Staff

The question implies that there is a national Baptist organization with oversight – there isn’t

Staff

Whether impact will be positive, neutral, or negative depends on person and parents and will vary in accordance with academic program

Staff

Will it affect Mercer’s ability to hire quality faculty and staff

Staff

I'm not a Baptist.

Staff

I want Mercer to get off the fence. Either embrace Christianity or let go of it. Don't court the favor of Baptists only to spend their money on politically correct projects. Don't pretend to be a Christian affiliate if that is not the case.

Staff

How can you have a national Baptist identity when you're a regional school?

Student

What's the purpose in wanting to be faith-based?

Student

Thought it was already a national Baptist university.

Student

Enrollment increase or decrease?

Student

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