I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading and sharing my blog post from yesterday (Drive through it OSUMB). I have received innumerable comments (which I am still working to moderate and answer) – some in agreement and some that disagree with all or some that I have said. I want to thank those of you who have disagreed with me, but understand that this post was one person’s experiences and one person’s opinion. I’m sorry for those of you who cannot agree with me and yet judge me for what I have said.
I wrote this blog post as a response to negative media, that was labeling all OSUMB members (alumni included) as perverts, homophobes and ugly people. I wanted to remind my friends and readers that we are individuals, each with a story and opinion about an organization that we were a part of while in college. Naively, I assumed my friends, family and fellow band alumni would read it. I did not expect that in the first day, over 17,000 people would read it, and respond in force.
Because I did not expound on all of the experiences I stated in my blog post, some of you have chosen to think the worst of me and assume, for example, that while I chose to stay in the band, I did nothing to improve the climate of the band, speak up or that I must have agreed with everything that went on off the field, or when I experienced sexual harassment in the past, I did nothing to report it. I have to disagree with you and your assumptions, as do many of my classmates and bandmates who knew me then. As a Christian, I stood up and spoke up for what was right, even when it meant going against the flow. I chose to stay in the band to try to make it a better place for all. Every organization needs Christians in their midst. Just because I chose to stay and perform with the OSUMB did not mean I condoned everything that went on privately off the field. It’s the same to say that just because someone is my friend or family member and I love them, I must agree with everything they do or say. If I abandoned everyone at the first sign of disagreement, where would that put me? I’m also not saying that withdrawal from an organization is not warranted in some situations.
My second and third years in the band, I helped to lead a Bible study with a few other fellow band members during the marching season. I can tell you, I never would have had the platform of respect in others’ lives had I – 1) not been in the band, and 2) not stood up for what I believed while in the band. I can say for a fact that several who attended these Bible studies later accepted Christ and went on to be in ministry or missionaries, while others grew in their faith by seeing some strong Christian examples in the band.
I’m not one for cliché examples or quotes, but one comes to mind when I am being judged and told in comments that I should be ashamed of myself or that I am the one who has to live with my decisions. Jesus ate with the tax collectors (see story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 or Levi in Mark 2). Jesus was amongst sinners all his life, as a witness for the “better” life and repentance; the fulfilling life that only He can provide. I was, and still am, an advocate for change, but change doesn’t happen overnight; change can happen from within, one person at a time.
I agree that something must be done. I agree that mistakes have been made and no one is 100% innocent. I agree that change is inevitable and that change is a good thing when it protects people from harm. I just ask that you keep an open mind when listening to the media, because the media I read over the weekend, which was portrayed as truth, was lacking in truth from many angles. Even the report from the university misconstrued facts about people. I ask that you “do your homework”, as I continue to do mine, before condemning a man, a band and a university.