Prof. John Stackhouse sitting atop his endowed perch as Regent College’s Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, has declared me unfit to teach in the academy:
You certainly make it clear when dialogue is a waste of time. Your rage and bitterness simply render conversation impossible. I’m frankly glad you’re not in the academy where you can influence people. I hope you’re good at making people money as the “righteous investor” you advertise yourself to be, but I think we’re done listening to you on this subject.
I don’t really think that I’m filled with rage and bitterness. That is just Prof. Stackhouse’s opinion. While I’ve not taught here in North America since 1998, I’ve taught as visiting professor in francophone Africa, and my courses have been largely appreciated, both here and there, especially by the best students. I was trained at Regent College and had the immense privilege of working as a TA for the formidable New Testament scholar, Prof. Gordon D. Fee. So I guess I am a little irked that once again that I am on another blacklist because I’ve spoken against the exploitation of adjunct labor. But at this point I have no ambition, so if I am fighting a battle for young PhD’s who are treated unjustly, it is because I believe that it is indeed an injustice and because I am not afraid of retribution. Stackhouse’s backlash therefore doesn’t really damage me because “Cabri mort n’a pas peur de couteau” (“a dead kid doesn’t fear a knife”). But the young adjunct who is mistreated by a school, particularly an evangelical school, dare not speak up because he will be blacklisted just as I was. Stackhouse’s judgment upon me is an attempt also to marginalize an Asian, albeit only half Korean. But it belies completely the idea that he is seeking diversity. He’s not seeking diversity but monolithic, multi-colored/gendered sameness, as Elderj commented:
The point was that ethnic and “gender” diversity often occurs without any meaningful ideological diversity in which case it doesn’t really broaden the conversation at all. If the goal or aim is to have more voices in the conversation, what good is it if those voices are saying the same thing as what is already present? One could say that certain denominations are doing very well at bringing those voices into the conversation, and yet theologically speaking, they are fairly consistently liberal. Their liberality is not the issue, but rather the stunning lack of diversity of though[t] that is masked by the external seeming diversity of skin color.
Thus, Prof. Stackhouse couldn’t control the conversation. Elderj who is a campus missionary with a black pentecostal background, and me a half Korean, were undermining his attempt at monolithic diversity. So Stackhouse accused Elderj of being unintelligible: what remarkable condescension to tell a black man he is unintelligible just because you don’t like what he is saying! He accused me, an Asian of being full of rage and bitterness. So ok: here is how liberal diversity works: We want to put diversity at the table, but you better damn well say what we tell you to say, or you will become a victim of the politics of personal destruction. Here is what Elderj said when I praised his contribution to the discussion at Stackhouse’s blog:
Yes, I was more than a little disappointed by [Stackhouse’s] acerbic responses. I’ve come to expect a bit of hubris and condescension from academic types, but was quite surprised to see it in such full on display from someone teaching at a Christian seminary. It seems he is much more interested in agreement than actual discussion, which is troubling. It is extraordinarily illiberal of him. I thought his comments towards you uncharitable in the extreme, given that he knows you not at all and I believe you were simply trying to highlight a different facet of the conversation / issue. Also his unwillingness to engage the substance of either your or my concern was unfortunate.
Seeing that this treatment of two people of diversity could potentially embarrass the esteemed Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, I asked him if he would kindly remove what he said about me: ad hominem comments about my psychological state, my aptness to teach, and my blog, the Righteous Investor. I offered twice to let him remove all or a part of my awful and offensive comments from his blog. I told him he could be as insulting as he like about my ideas, as long as he removed the ad hominem remarks, or at least permit me to respond (it seems cowardly to make such an attack and then cut me off from defending myself)., He said no, they were his opinions, while blunt they were not libelous, and so he just changed it to make it clear it was his opinion (2nd edition, emphasis mine):
You certainly make it clear when dialogue is a waste of time. In my opinion, your rage and bitterness is rendering conversation impossible. I’m frankly glad you’re not in the academy where you can influence people. I hope you’re good at making people money as the “righteous investor” you advertise yourself to be, but I think we’re done listening to you on this subject.
After he refused to removes these remarks, I wrote back to Prof. Stackhouse:
I recognize that they are your opinions. In fact, I welcome your bluntness, but I don’t understand why you would wish to create a public spectacle. I am a speck of dust, a dung beetle in the scholarly and academic world compared to you. You are an international speaker, an esteemed professor at Regent College, and writer of seven books. I’m nobody. What could you possibly have to gain from this?’
Well, there you have it. Prof. Stackhouse has publicly offended a black man and a half Korean, two minorities, two diverse voices, that weren’t saying what he wanted them to say. Is that the kind of diversity that Regent College is looking for? Perhaps in the future Prof. Stackhouse’s reasons for insisting upon his public ad hominem attack upon me will be made known, but for now, I am just a little mystified. In a way, it is quite amusing because the esteemed professor accused Elderj and me of not living up to the standards of the Oxford Union–yet a personal attack is a well-known debate fallacy. No one should wonder that a student uses ad hominem when his teacher resorts to the same fallacious forms of argumentation. But Stackhouse shows himself to lack care as a scholar : “I hope you’re good at making people money as the ‘righteous investor’ you advertise yourself to be.” Actually, I am not an investment adviser nor financial planner. I am a DIY investor; I invest my own money. I am not a professional investor and I have a day job. I do not claim to be the Righteous Investor but strive thereto. It is important, for the record, to clarify this. But Stackhouse refused even to correct this error.
Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part One
Hath not a half Korean eyes? II Social justice for me but not for thee
Hath not a half Korean eyes? III A dead lamb doesn’t fear a knife
Hath not a half Korean eyes? IV Conservatism is a mental illness
Hath not a half Korean eyes? V Principled meritocracy