Emmett Dulaney: Christians strive for higher standards

Mon, 2012-07-23 09:03 -- univcomm
July 23, 2012

I must confess that I lack a complete understanding of what it means to be a Christian. For the longest time, I thought it involved believing in a particular religious individual, but I am routinely reminded that I am missing something by adhering just to that limited definition.

I have had any number of students over the years claim that I can’t be a Christian because I will allow them to flunk a course if they don’t take the exams, or don’t adequately prepare for assignments. Their words are intended to cut me to the quick since I work at a university of “Christian Discovery,” though accusing me of not being worthy of ACBSP-accreditation would actually cut me a bit deeper. One student even insinuated that I was the opposite of a Christian because I would not fudge enough on grades to allow him to transfer in to Purdue with honors (it wasn’t Mitch Daniels, sadly).

Apparently, from these interactions I am supposed to assume that being a Christian means not expecting as much as others would, having lower standards and being willing to bend the system more.

Contradicting this, however, are the ads found in the Christian Blue Pages — the directories often placed in the entry areas of grocery stores, restaurants and the like. Advertisers in these publications profess to be Christian businesses wanting to do business for customers with the same religious views. A few years back, I contacted a painter who advertises in there occasionally and he refused to agree that he operates with lower standards. In fact, he went so far as to insist that he abides by much higher standards than any of his competition — the exact opposite of what students would lead me to believe. Interestingly enough, however, he couldn’t explain how Christian painting manifests itself — he doesn’t use more coats of paint, doesn’t apply the paint to the wall with his hair and doesn’t appear to charge less as that just wouldn’t be a good business practice.

Incidentally, most of what I actually know about good business practices I learned at a young age from a store my father owned. I am sad to say it was a package liquor store and my mention of this usually brings up another set of can’t-be-Christian beliefs. It appears that there is a nebulous line which exists that I have not been able to locate. On one side of the line, you can own grocery stores and restaurants that sell alcohol in high volume and be considered a good Christian. On the other side of the line, though, owning a low volume store that specializes in spirits in a one-horse town somehow prevents one from being the same. Perhaps it is the stocking of the Blue Pages in the entryway that makes all the difference.

There is so much I have yet to learn and much wiser souls than I have put forth the model of salt-and-light as a guide, which will be touched upon next week.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology. The Falls School of Business is one of Anderson University’s largest academic departments offering eight undergraduate majors as well as MBA and DBA programs. The school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and is a member of the Christian Business Faculty Association (CBFA).

Columns from Anderson University’s Falls School of Business are published Tuesdays in The Herald Bulletin. Tuesday’s columnist is Emmett Dulaney, who teaches marketing and entrepreneurship.