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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Paradox on Steroids

Irony can be so thick a 2 year old can smell it.  Yesterday (Saturday) I decided to visit USF Tampa campus.  I arrived early and was surprised to find many cars already filling parking lots around the Marshall Center.  Seeing no visitor parking , I asked two people engaged in animated conversation (a white guy and a black guy) about visitor parking.  They turned and asked a young lady in full Islamic dress.  Soon I came to learn that there was a handful of spaces near by with a pay station—you simply use a credit card and enter your tag number and obtain a dashboard receipt for up to 8 hours.  I choose 3 hours for a total of about $5.

Now I headed for the center on foot and suddenly thought—What if the food court in the center is closed on the weekend?  I asked a young lady passing by that had in her face the epitome of optimism and joy.  She assured me that though the court was closed, an Einstein Bagel was tucked away on the side of the lobby. (I ended up getting a fantastic turkey sandwich and a classic Coke.) On my first entering the building, an Asian male also entering smiled and held the door open for me.  It was kind of like being in a little heaven.  Absolutely NO ONE I saw, met, or talked with while in the Marshall Center or nearby bookstore showed even a minuscule hint that a 74 year old senior citizen somewhat tackily dressed was in any way strange or vaguely to be found unwelcome.  Actually, the opposite occurred.  It was almost like everyone I met was family—and in a joyful celebration of being free together in the Promise Land. (Believe me NOTHING was free when it came to food prices.)  Yet, there proves to be  one exception on campus that I find replete with irony.

The university for many years has a spacious road along which are built buildings of faith.  There is an Episcopalian Center and so forth. One Center has special interest for me and was built when I was a student there in the the mid-60’s.  I was President of the Wesley Foundation and was complicit in one of those fraudulent photographs in which people that would in 5 seconds be pronounced dead if real construction work was being done pose with shovels in hand.  Today there is a large Welcome Sign by the building.  On the building itself is a mission indicator.  The following words appear:  COMMUNITY---MATURITY—IMPACT.

Now here is what I discovered on entering the building the other day for a first return visit to the building after all these many years.  I learned from the young female overseer that I was not welcome as senior citizen and was given five minutes or so to hurriedly reminisce and to then be summarily invited to the door.

Kind of weird—especially in comparison to the Christian love pervasive on the secular side of the university.  (I hasten to add that our local UMC church where Connie and I attend is a friendly and warm place.  Maybe it is indeed true as often accused that the Methodist Church is significantly secular.)

Following the two videos below please find some of the policies of The University of South Florida.  Remember as a State school there is a separation of church and state:

USF Commitment to Honor

The University of South Florida is committed to honor in student development, academic learning, scholarship and research.

As an ethical community, the University of South Florida is dedicated to the ideals of excellence in student development, academic learning, scholarship and research. By joining this community, each member is expected to accept and live these commitments.

I resolve to maintain the honor and integrity of the university community in pursuit of student development, academic learning, scholarship and research.

I resolve to respect the dignity and intrinsic value of all persons.

I resolve to contribute to the progress and greater good of the community.

I resolve to strive for excellence and discovery for myself, others, and the University.

Do I hear our Great Creator saying “Amen”!!!

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