Friday, July 9, 2010

A Christian Carol

Johnny "Abolseed" Blanchard is our "ghost of the past" hero! Jonathan Blanchard (1811–1892) was a pastor, educator, social reformer, abolitionist and the first president of Wheaton College, which was founded in 1860.Blanchard had previously been president of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and was a staunch abolitionist with ties to Oberlin College.  Jonathan Blanchard used the school as a platform for his abolitionist ideas and anti-Masonic advocacy, as well as for his national presidential campaign in 1884 on the Anti-Masonic Party ticket. He saw Wheaton College "as an 'arsenal' and 'drill camp' for the hosts of righteousness in the moral warfare of the world . . . a means of training social activists . . . training in removing slavery for coming milleniums."

In 1861, Jonathan Blanchard organized College Church in Wheaton. The church first met on the campus of Wheaton College as "The First Church of Christ in Wheaton." Blanchard wanted the church to be known for its opposition to slavery, secret societies, and alcohol use. Jonathan Blanchard's son, Charles A. Blanchard, succeeded him as college president in 1882 and served Wheaton in that capacity until his death in 1925. Wheaton's most recognizable and oldest building is Blanchard Hall, a limestone tower built as the Central College Building in 1853 and, subsequently, named in honor of the college's first two presidents.

In his final baccalaureate sermon, Jonathan Blanchard chose our motto as his theme - "For Christ and His Kingdom." He conceded that while "present prospects for Christ's reign here are discouraging...that mighty millennial movement, the fall of slavery showed that God still reigned. Finally, the child of God has but one thing to do, that is, to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness."

All hail Blanchard! The Abolitionist! Wheaties stand up and hail the fall of slavery!

We are proud that it was one of the Wheaton College founders who had the foresight to eliminate the practice of slavery and never let it return. Finally something we can be proud of.  The College had a part in wiping a social injustice off the face of the earth! Our worldview showed us that keeping people in bondage was wrong. Each time we walk into Blanchard Hall we can give ourselves a collective "pat on the back." We did it! We pulled it off!  As Wheaties we have a foundation of helping free our fellow man forever.

(the furniture shakes, the window blows open... and there before my eyes is the ghost of Christian past, Jonathan Blanchard!!!!)

The Ghost of Jonathan Blanchard: I've come to warn you that you need to do something about modern slavery in every country of the world.

Wheatie: What? Huh? No, your just kidding about that right? Isn't modern slavery illegal in every country on the globe?

The Ghost of Jonathan Blanchard: Beware young Wheaties. There are 27 million slaves living in bondage today. More than any other time in history.

Wheatie: You don't actually mean slavery, you just mean like low wage Nike and Apple factories in third world countries.

The Ghost of Jonathan Blanchard: No Wheatie, when I say slaves I mean a system in which people are the property of others. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand wages. They are held against their will with violence, drugs, or the threat of violence. This has all happened on your watch Wheatie. God isn't very happy about this.

Wheatie: I didn't realize. Nobody every talked modern slavery in any of our classes or even church services. Sure, I heard about IJM, but I thought they just did legal stuff. 27 million slaves, huh, are you sure?

The Ghost of Jonathan Blanchard: Most are debt slaves, largely in South Asia, who are under debt bondage incurred by lenders, some for generations. Human trafficking is mostly for prostituting women and children into the sex trade. It is described as "the largest slave trade in history", is the fastest growing organized crime industry and according to predictions is set to outgrow drug trafficking.

Wheatie: JB can't we talk about something else, this is suppose to be a non-offensive, satirical blog about the Christian subculture we live in.

The Ghost of Jonathan Blanchard: More like the Christian ghetto. Chicagoland is one of the major trafficking hubs. The CIA estimates that 50K people are trafficked into the United States each year. Wheatie there are slaves living not 20 miles from campus, yet you do nothing about them. Do you care about the women who are being sold on Craigslist theraputic services right in your own backyard?

Wheatie: JB, craigslist is one place I'm glad to say I don't frequent. I had no idea, we are a community of soccer moms not ICE investigators.

The Ghost of Jonathan Blanchard: Where was the Wheaton College sweat(shop)shirt you are wearing made? You don't you care as long you can buy it cheap from Wal-Mart?  Wheatie do you care about countries who have used children as soldiers for the last 10 years without anyone doing anything about it? Wheatie how does an issue get this large without Christian institutions noticing? I thought you guys were like the original super duper ONE Campaign campus? Wheatie, someday in Heaven you are gonna meet some of those slaves and they are going to ask you why were you too busy to come to their aid.

Wheatie: Well, its just not a hot topic like same sex marriage, evolution, catholicism, drinking or the new science building. Great, now I've got guilt for giving to the Wheaton Promise endowment when maybe I should have donated to help free 5-year-old kids from the sex trade in Asia. (yeah, give to both, I new you would say that) I can't even wrap my head around 27 million slaves - that's more than double the population of Illnois.

The Ghost of Jonathan Blanchard: A friendly warning Wheatie... the motto I left you isn't  "For Christ and His Burger King"

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