Despite not having attended there (I was already a college graduate when Cascade first opened for business in August 1994) I have several memories of the place. The summer before my senior year of college I interned as a youth minister with the church of Christ in Richland, WA. I took the kids in the youth group to GNEW (Great Northwest Evangelism Workshop). Over the course of the week I got to meet a bunch of people who were going to be involved in the opening of Cascade. They seemed so excited about what they were engaged in. I was so envious of them. I remember thinking, “What a once-in-a-lifetime experience, to help build a college from the ground up.”
A few years later, during my tenure as a youth minister in Portland, OR (where Cascade is located) I got to know more faculty and staff from the school; people that I was pleased to count as friends. I am sorry for them and the students.
So this leaves our fellowship with Rochester College, Pepperdine University, and Ohio Valley University as our only schools outside of the Bible belt. I wonder how they are staying afloat. I suppose that Pepperdine’s approach is to be super-expensive, but what about the others?
I think that Christian colleges can be a good thing, a real boon to the kingdom. I do have my quibbles with how they do things, but that doesn’t mean that I would throw the baby out with the bath water. I don’t like the hypocrisy of the rules. I am more than a little uncomfortable with some of our schools’ readiness to hop in bed with a certain political party. And I detest the recruitment rhetoric that administrators and admissions counselors use to try and guilt our teenagers into attending these schools. I once heard a Christian college president say that “Every college student in the church should be attending a Christian college.” Screw you, state school campus ministries! Who needs you? [Ron Clark, a church-planter in Portland, has an interesting take on this]
I have often wondered why our fellowship is so provincial. Why can’t we get a meaningful foothold anywhere outside of Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas? What do you readers think?