Two baptists walk into a hotel room. (I realize that sounds like the beginning of a bad and highly inappropriate joke.) Since the hotel messed up their reservation the night before, they find waiting in the room a nice pile of goodies, including a bottle of wine. One of the two baptists is under contract with a school that does not allow the faculty to drink. The other baptist is under no such obligation. What do you do?
Now, I would hope that if you were the first baptist, you would refrain from drinking. Over the years I’ve known a few people who taught (or studied) at schools with requirements like this, and they felt perfectly free to violate the policy whenever they wanted because “It’s a stupid rule.” To be honest, I don’t really care if you think it’s a stupid rule. If you signed an agreement with a school in good faith, you have a responsibility to hold up your end of the bargain. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. (Having said that, I’ll also say that I really appreciate being a part of an institution with a very different ethos. Western Seminary does not ask its faculty to sign such policies, trusting us to understand what a biblical lifestyle should look like and to act accordingly.)
So, that takes care of the first guy. But, what if you’re the second guy? What do you do? Do you crack open the wine and drink away, preferably taunting your friend at every opportunity? Or, do you refrain and spend the evening grouchily reminding your friend that there are other schools around?
A truly challenging ethical dilemma indeed. This real-life situation transpired here at ETS this week. And, I have sad news to relate. The first baptist held true to his convictions and was prepared to give the bottle of wine away. The second baptist chose instead to drink said bottle of wine. The sad news is that the first baptist was planning on giving the wine to me! Stupid second baptist. He clearly failed the test and must proceed directly to ETS purgatory – attending yet another paper.