Turn Out the Lights, The Party’s Over

Don MeredithNo set of announcers has lighted up ABC’s Monday Night Football like Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, and Don Meredith. Each man was a gifted football announcer and color commentator; however, the synergy of the three made them a Monday night spectacle – often more entertaining than the football game itself! Howard Cosell was the inveterate and irreverent intellect, Frank Gifford was the meticulous football strategist, and Don Meredith was the wit and charm of the threesome. Called “Dandy Don,” Meredith was an extraordinary gifted athlete who played quarterback at Southern Methodist University and, from 1960-68, he was the Pro Bowl quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Meredith was a good-natured, happy-go-lucky, country boy from Mount Vernon, Texas, who referred to himself deferentially as “Jeff and Hazel’s baby boy and Billy Jack’s little brother.” When asked why he was called “Dandy,” with a mischievous grin, he replied, “Because I am.”




The thing many of us remember the most about Meredith was his off key singing of Willie Nelson’s hit song, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.” At the end of a game, when it was obvious which team was the winner, “Dandy Don” would crank up with his rendition of Willie Nelson’s old classic. No matter how late the game ran, I stayed up to hear “Dandy Don” sing. Now, once again, “Dandy” Don Meredith sings, but not for the end of a football game. I dedicate this performance of “Turn out the lights, the party’s over” by “Dandy Don” to the EC Foundation (click the URL to hear the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtGxusvUT3k).

party-is-overOn Thursday and Friday (October 17 and 18) the Erskine College & Seminary board met on the Erskine campus in Due West, South Carolina. The most significant item of business was an action making it clear for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) there is NO RELATIONSHIP between Erskine College & Seminary and the EC Foundation. Just after the “Snow” Synod in March of 2010, the EC Foundation was founded in April by the “Olde Erskine” petite booboisie (see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/booboisie) of Sarah Wightman Brice, Andy Byrd, Nan Campbell, Robert Cunningham, Robert Galloway III, Jim Gettys, John and Betty Hunt, Bill Lesesne, Joe Lesesne, Lee Logan, Steve Southwell and others to provide tax-deductible financing for David Chesnut, Richard Taylor, and Parker Young’s legal actions against the ARP Church.

At that time, the shrill hue and cry of the “Olde Erskine” booboisie and the secular-leaning anti-ARP Church alums was Erskine College & Seminary was on the verge of losing SACS accreditation because of interference by the ARP Church. Indeed, in the past, this canard was used often by anti-ARP Church Erskine administrators to dissuade ARPs from investigating the faithless goings on at Erskine College & Seminary. We in the ARP Church were told to watch out because we were an outside influence and SACS would withdraw Erskine’s academic accreditation. Since the work of the Moderators’ Investigatory Commission on Erskine in 2009 and 2010, the canards of loss of accreditation and outside influence have lost their power to intimidate in the ARP Church. We found out the old canards were tales told of “things that go bump in the dark” to frighten children and ARP churchmen. We found out we were a LEGITIMATE INFLUENCE.

old-houseSince April of 2010, the directors of the EC Foundation have unsuccessfully sought recognition by and legitimization from the Erskine board. On its website, under “Our Values,” the EC Foundation’s mission is presented in these words: “The EC Foundation is dedicated to promoting Erskine College and Seminary. . . .” In truth, the EC Foundation is the effort of the “Olde Erskine” ineptocracy and the secular, anti-ARP Church alums to regain control over what was once their private fiefdom. Indeed, Erskine is like a beautiful old home left in the care of incompetent and faithless stewards who have allowed it to become dilapidated. Truly, the 40 plus years of the Erskine ineptocracy of those who despised the ARP Church and eschewed the evangelical Christian mission of Erskine has left the once beautiful Christian edifice of Erskine in shambles – in a near fatal condition.

Now it is clear for all to see: THE EC FOUNDATION IS AN INTERLOPER ORGANIZATION – something akin to a LEECH. After all, it raised its money by diverting contributions from Erskine. Therefore, since the EC Foundation is not a part of Erskine College & Seminary and has no share in Erskine’s governance, SACS has ruled the EC Foundation is an “outside influence” and a clear and present danger to Erskine’s accreditation by SACS – the most dangerous threat to Erskine’s accreditation in the last 50 years. In fact, the ambiguities of the relationship between the EC Foundation and Erskine College & Seminary are a major reason why SACS’ auditors placed Erskine on academic “warning” last year. In other words, the EC Foundation is a supposititious (see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/supposititious) illegitimacy which has nearly wrecked Erskine’s academic standing!

At the August meeting of the Erskine board, a motion was made and passed to send a letter to SACS stating the EC Foundation is NOT a part of Erskine College & Seminary. SACS officials responded by asking why the EC Foundation’s directors continue to use Erskine’s trademarks and continue to promote the foundation as an arm of Erskine College & Seminary on the EC Foundation’s website. At the October 17 and 18 meeting of the Erskine board, Chairman David Conner informed the trustees the EC Foundation would remove all Erskine trademarks from the EC Foundation’s website by November 15, 2013, and the directors of the EC Foundation would refrain from presenting the EC Foundation as a part of Erskine College & Seminary. Will the directors of the EC Foundation really do this heres-your-doorwithout a judge’s order? Chairman Conner also informed the Erskine trustees the EC Foundation is going to morph into an organization to promote funding for all church colleges in South Carolina. Yeah, right! I’m sure the “Olde Erskine” petite booboisie will now seek to bless colleges throughout the state! Nevertheless, the Due West fans of the EC Foundation can “turn out the lights, the party’s over”! To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, “Here’s your door!”

With their inestimable skills which have so benighted the light of Erskine, perhaps the directors of the EC Foundation can turn their efforts to the restoration and reopening of historic Cokesbury College near Due West. I am sure the directors of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History will be thrilled to hear that such an esteemed group of erstwhile educators are coming to their aid!

At this point, some of you are saying I am rubbing salt in the wound. Well, let me assure you, all the salt in all the oceans of the world is not sufficient for the rubbing! These are, after all, the people who sought to purloin an historic agency from the ARP Church and whose strategy of using SACS against the Church boomeranged on them! And in the memorable words of Walter Cronkite, “That’s the way it is . . . goodnight.”

There were other items of business at the October meeting of the board. Let me share some of the more significant items with you.

ONE, once again, Chairman David Conner was made to know he is no longer the Erskine Board Bishop of Due West who speaks ex cathedra. Presently, there is a clear majority of trustees on the board who are dedicated both to maintaining and to advancing the Erskine mission as an evangelical Christian college which is an agency of the ARP Church. This must gall Chairman Conner. He has certainly fought hard against Erskine College being recognized as an agency of the ARP Church. I wonder if the word “agency” makes him dyspeptic!

TWO, at the August meeting, the board voted to open the meetings of the Executive Committee to all members of the board. That is, all members of the board were given ear and voice. In the past, one of the ways board chairmen, Presidents, and administrators were able to control board meetings was by keeping the majority of the trustees in the dark as to the agenda and springing controversial items on the trustees at board meetings. At the October meeting, Chairman Conner attempted to put-out-the-lights of transparency by instituting closed executive meetings of the Executive Committee. The board saw through his ruse. His effort was soundly rejected.

THREE, the request by the Erskine Student Government Association that the board allow the Erskine campus to be “wet” was referred to the February meeting of the board. This request is DOA. None of the trustees want to be saddled with the legal problems or the negative publicity such an action entails. In the past, the reality was the Erskine campus was “damp.” The enforcement of the policy was often ignored by administrators.

FOUR, presently, there is a two-tiered level for electing trustees. First, there is the regular level of nominating, vetting, and election to a five year term by General Synod. Second, there is the ex officio level. The Moderator of General Synod, the Representative of the Women’s Ministry, and the President of the Alumni Association are ex officio members with voting rights but with varying terms of service. There are obvious conflicts. This matter would be easily resolved if not for the presence of the President of the Erskine Alumni Association.

The presence of the President of the Alumni Association on the board is problematic. The Alumni Association does not exist apart from Buddy Ferguson’s office as the alumni director. The Alumni Association is “an ancillary organization of the non-profit corporation known as Erskine College” (Erskine Alumni Association Constitution and By-laws). That is, the President of the Alumni Association as he sits on the board is a representative of the Erskine administration. At best, this is a conflict of interest.

There is also division in the ranks of the alums. The so-called Alumni Association claims to represent all Erskine alums. I assure you the Alumni Association does not represent me. I can also assure you the Alumni Association does not represent many other alums who hold Erskine’s evangelical Christian mission precious. We hold the Alumni Association an abomination and disdain it. We see the Alumni Association as a secularist organization opposing Erskine as the educational agency of the ARP Church. The Alumni Association does not support the evangelical Christian mission of Erskine.

The argument for retaining the President of the Alumni Association on the board is MONEY. Well, as it is, the alums beholden to the Alumni Association are not giving now. Besides, if the only way Erskine can be kept open is by the devil’s money, then Erskine needs to be closed!

At this point, Chairman David Conner muddied the waters. He introduced language from Synod’s Manual of Authorities and Duties (MAD) regarding trustees. I am amazed Chairman Conner would even acknowledge the existence of the MAD. The MAD clearly states Erskine College & Seminary is an AGENCY of the ARP Church. Finally, the matter was referred to the February meeting.

FIVE, it was reported on Friday morning, October 18, the Endowment stood at about $39,000,000 (college-$33,000,000 and seminary-$6,000,000). The board voted to allow a one-time withdrawal up to $2,000,000 for operating expenses this school year. Therefore, I suppose the Endowment now stands at about $37,000,000 today.

SIX, the report from the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) is SIMA, the organization engaged to find candidates for the PSC, presently seeks candidates.

SEVEN, acting President Brad Christie spoke glowingly of the exceptionally large number of athletes recruited for the baseball team. Only about 30 can actually make the team. Will the others stick around for next year? He also noted the large number of hopeful baseball players who have South Carolina Life Scholarships. Well, maintaining a high school B-average and getting the scholarship is one thing and maintaining a college B-average and keeping the scholarship is another. In spite of a Freshman class of over 200, the total number students this fall at Erskine is not that much different from last year. The attrition rate from Freshman year to Sophomore year is high. Will the attrition rate be high again this year?

EIGHT, a letter was received from the so-called Erskine Alumni Association expressing the concerns of their directors. One of trustees (an Erskine alum) noted: “I don’t know where they get off with calling these the alums’ concerns. I’m an alum. These are not my concerns.” Nevertheless, the Alumni Association was concerned with such things as diversity at Erskine. Diversity is good. It would be nice if more evangelical Christians were recruited by the higher educational agency of the ARP Church. The board voted to send the Alumni Association a nice letter. That is, for the alums who do not understand, the Alumni Association was patted on the head.

NINE, it was reported the discount rate this year is over 70%. Good heavens!!!

Finally, one wonders what is taking place at Erskine Seminary. From what I am able to ascertain, not much was said. However, it was reported there were loud moanings and groanings heard emanating from Bowie Divinity Hall.

These are my thoughts,

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Charles W. Wilson

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  1. Tim Phillips says:

    Chuck, I have a suggestion on how to resolve the problem with the EC Foundation. I am sure that I am overlooking something, but it seems to me that a lot of trouble could be avoided by two simply actions: the EC Foundation could donate all of its accumulated funds to Erskine College and Seminary and then dissolve itself. Erskine benefits, and no organization exists that would potentially be viewed by SACS as a conflict of interest. Win-win.

    Feel free to talk me down.

  2. Dear Mr. Tim Phillips,

    Thank you for you comments.

    What you are suggesting is much too reasonable for the petite booboisie of Olde Erskine’s ineptocracy. The likes of Sarah Wightman Brice, Andy Byrd, Nan Campbell, Robert Cunningham, Robert Galloway III, Jim Gettys, John and Betty Hunt, Bill Lesesne, Joe Lesesne, Lee Logan, Steve Southwell, David Chesnut, Richard Taylor, Parker Young, and others are not interested in supporting an Erskine College & Seminary faithful to her evangelical Christian mission and to the ARP Church. They hate even the mention of a faithful Erskine. Tim, this is not difficult to understand: the God you love and serve is not their God. Theirs is a transmogrified and suppositious idolatry of God. They will not enter the kingdom of heaven and they hinder those who would (Matt. 23.13). Therefore, don’t expect a gift from the EC Foundation to an Erskine attempting to be faithful.

    I don’t know what the EC Foundation is going to do. I don’t expect to see the foundation morph into something like Chairman Conner described to the board. Besides, Conner’s word is not dependable. These folks are not altruistic. Can you imagine the EC Foundation giving one cent to North Greenville University? I don’t think so! We can expect them to regroup. This party is over; however, they still have party favors enough to begin a new party.

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTalk

    • Tim Phillips says:

      Chuck, I hope you are wrong. Maybe I am hopelessly naive and/or optimistic, but my hope is that people — especially professing Christians — would do the right thing. Of the people you list, I cannot say much about them. I have only met one personally, and was treated very kindly by her. I want to be charitable to these folks, as best as I can. I am also counting on folks having the best interests of Erskine at heart. If that makes me a fool, it won’t be the first time I’ve earned that honorary title.

  3. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Mr. Tim Phillips,

    Thanks for the comments.

    SunSetHere’s some BREAKING NEWS. It looks as though the directors of the EC Foundation are changing the look of the homepage of the foundation’s website. The Erskine towers and references to Erskine are gone. Here’s their new logo – the setting sun:

    Isn’t it appropriate they have chosen a sunset? A sunset! Indeed, a sunset for the end of the day. A sunset for the end of their silly banality! They can now convene at the Due West Renaissance Retirement Center for banana pudding.

    I also looked at the other pages on the site. There is still much work to be done. I’m sure these capable people will get the changes necessary incorporated before November 15.

    The $21,825.88 contribution to Erskine College & Seminary from the 514 donors of the EC Foundation is HILARIOUS. HILARIOUS!!! In nearly three years of existence, is $21,825.88 all these faithful, Erskine-loving alums and ex-faculty and ex-administrators been able to raise and give to Erskine? $21,825.88!!! That’s as helpful as more water to a drowning man! Before he retired, wasn’t Lee Logan’s job to raise money for Erskine? What happened to his vaunted money raising ability? When I was on the board, I was informed no one could do the job as well as Lee. Good grief! I would go hide for shame! These people are indeed the “Olde Erskine” petite booboisie!

    Are you asking me to be charitable to people who have the best interest of Erskine at heart? Well, Tim, can you show me where to find these people? Certainly, you’re not suggesting they inhabit the ranks of the EC Foundation!?! Not the people of the EC Foundation! Aren’t these the people who helped fund Richard Taylor’s legal actions against the ARP Church after the “Snow” Synod? Aren’t these the people who willfully and doggedly opposed the will of the General Synod of the ARP Church for the past 40 years? Aren’t these the people who have made a career and an art out of subverting both the mission of Erskine and the will of the ARP Church for Erskine as the evangelical Christian educational institution of the ARP Church? Aren’t these the people who have deconstructed the word “Christian” and deposited a monstrous idolatry for “Christian”? Aren’t these the people who have poopooed the need to evangelize students at Erskine? Aren’t these the people who ridiculed Christian world-view and lifestyle with secularism at a Christian college? Aren’t these the people who defended the antics of Bill Crenshaw?

    Tim, why should we be nice to these scoundrels? They are an insult!

    Finally, no, you’re not a fool. You’re a kind man. My kind tank is empty.

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTalk

    • Tim Phillips says:

      “My kind tank is empty.”

      I doubt that, Chuck. Heed the words of the Apostle: “Love is patient, love is kind …”

      Kind regards. :)

      • Dear Mr. Tim Phillips,

        Thanks for the short comment.

        Indeed, my kind tank is empty. Is 40 years of patience and kindness enough? Besides, the “kind” the permissive ARPs, the Olde Erskine petite booboisie of the EC Foundation, and the lobotomized secular alums are wont to revel in is a supercilious, sanctimonious, indulgent, and decadent attitude toward malicious unbelief in the halls of academia – particularly – and especially – in the undermining of a Christian college. Thank you very much, but I want none of this.

        You also speak of love. Love is not indulgence. Love is not a turning of the eye on profligate behavior – especially on those in authority over college students. Love rebukes sin, warns of the judgment of God, calls for repentance, and pleads for a return to faith and obedience in Christ.

        So, let us love the members and fellow travelers of the EC Foundation. Directors of the EC Foundation, you stand in peril of the judgment of God. You did not use your positions at Erskine to call young men and women to faith in Jesus. You did not use your positions at Erskine to rebuke sins in the lives of students. You did not use your positions at Erskine to rebuke unbelief in the lives of your students. You did not use your positions at Erskine to promote the evangelical Christian mission of Erskine. You did not use your positions at Erskine to challenge and stop heretical teaching by your colleagues. Your have actively attempted to subvert the mission of Erskine. You have despised the ARP Church by supporting those who attacked the ARP Church after the “Snow” Synod. You have knowingly and willfully misrepresented the EC Foundation as a part of Erskine. You have acted as those who have no part of Jesus Christ. Woe to you. Repent of your arrogance. Repent of your sins. Humble yourself before the church and ask for forgiveness. Ask for God’s forgiveness. Believe on Jesus and walk before in faithfulness.

        And if they will not do these things, we should pray and ask God to turn them over to Satan for his work. Perhaps that will bring repentance.

        Tim, if we love these people, something like the above is what we should be doing. Thank you for calling us to love.

        Regards,

        Chuck Wilson
        ARPTalk

  4. Larry Jones says:

    To the prestigious and honorable Directors of the EC Foundation, to those “saviors” of their beloved and secularized version of Erskine, who sued the Church, hijacked her mission and corrupted the culture of the Christian Liberal Arts tradition: We salute you and forever remember you with this portrait, which perfectly captures the essence of the EC Foundation, once and for all:

    • Dear Mr. Larry Jones,

      Thank you for your comments. It seems your disgust level for the EC Foundation runneth over.

      You have chosen a photograph of beautiful horses. I like horses. As a kid, I had the opportunity to be around horses and mules. If I may be so bold, I think you have insulted horses by identifying them with the EC Foundation. What comes out of the backside of a horse makes things grow. What comes out of the EC Foundation is nuclear waste, and it kills.

      Larry, I see you are new to ARPTalk. Would you be so kind as to tell us a little about yourself? I always ask this of folks who are new to ARPTalk.

      By the way, are you any kin to Neil Jones? I hope you are not hiding behind a false identity. I like you.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

      • Rev. Ed Fleagle says:

        The present situation with the EC foundation reminds me of the event in Acts 8:20-24. The money they have acquired needs to “perish with them; as they think money can buy power and prestige. Chuck your call for their godly repentance is God’s pronouncement upon them. Even Simon had the sense to cry out that none of the imprecations Peter pronounced would not come upon him. “Pray to the Lord for me” he said. Would that all those who have sniped and condemned the court of Synod for doing God’s work would repent and cry out for us to pray for them. I have not heard of any person that opposed the Snow Synod confess that they were in error in their opposition. None that I know of have truthfully asked forgiveness of those godly men whose names were smeared and held in open contempt. Indeed the Lord has vindicated the Snow Synod. Now men of honesty and virtue would humbly repent. Every minister and elder who supported those men that dragged this denomination through the stink of civil court would publicly confess their sin against God and His Church as loudly and publicly as when they attacked and ridiculed us. Peter said to Simon “take your money and go to hell.” That is the message Erskine college needs to say to the EC Foundation. They “have neither part or portion in the matter,for their hearts are not right in the sight of God.’ Thank God for His good grace that falls upon us and saves us from ungodly and unjust men. Thank you Chuck for keeping the light on the darkness. You are correct. Love is demonstrated in calling the fallen to repentance. Only that will bring health back to our denomination. Ed Fleagle

        • Mr. Ed Fleagle,

          Thanks for the comments.

          It’s good to hear from you again, old friend. I hope retirement in sunny Florida is going well for you and MA. When y’all make your way north again, come by Seneca and have coffee and cake with us. We’re only 14 miles off I-85.

          Your words are spot on! Thanks for the encouragement.

          Regards,

          Chuck Wilson
          ARPTalk

  5. Ralph T. Bowling, III says:

    Chuck,
    It is time for you to stop! Your blogs are mean. You are hurting people. Moreover, you are poisoning the well of good will.

    Please Stop!
    Ralph T. Bowling, III

  6. Walter Bonner says:

    Please add my name to your roster of booboisies. I know the majority of these people. I am confident they are people of good will and know they have been good supporters of the college over the years. They do not act as haughtily and meanly as those who purport to represent the Synod in speaking of people as they do. I will soon take a granddaughter to visit the college. I hope she will encounter people who acted like those who led the school in my day. Walter Bonner, EC ’51

    • Dear Mr. Walter Bonner,

      Thanks for the comments.

      I am delighted to add your name to the roster of the booboisies. I will also add your name to the list of the lobotomized BOIs.

      So, you love Erskine, do you? Well, the good people of whom you are so fond are the people who have brought down on Erskine SACS’ “warning.” They represent the most dangerous threat to Erskine’s academic accreditation in 50 years. (Walter, I didn’t make this up!) Good heavens, with more folks like you, Walter, the doors of Erskine may be closed for the want of academic accreditation by SACS. Is that what you want? Do you really want to join these “people of good will” in their efforts?!?

      Hooray for you! You’re introducing your granddaughter to Erskine. Did you learn from reading ARPTalk the discount rate is over 70%?

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

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