As many of you know, I am a devoted alumnus of Baylor University. From a safe distance, on an independent and non-competitive hill outside the orbit of Baylor, I have watched the recent trials and tribulations of my beloved alma mater. From what I know presently, I am pleased to report that the current state of the institution seems healthy and positive and upbeat. My hope is that Baylor has survived the recent civil war.

Last month, the controversial former president of Baylor and lightning rod for Vision 2012, Robert Sloan, whom a diverse coalition of opponents pushed out in 2005, accepted the presidency of Houston Baptist University. The move, I Believe, is a good one for Sloan and Baylor.

Many Baylor faculty and staff, so thoroughly convinced over time that he was pure evil, could not feel safe as long as Sloan loomed within striking distance. Before he took the HBU post, he was serving as Chancellor, which was an honorary face-saving post. But in the minds of too many, he was lurking in the corridors, most likely scheming to wrest back power from the heroes of the recent Revolution. For a whole host of reasons, Sloan and Baylor very much needed a clean break.

Two summers ago, during one of the peaks of Baylor unpleasantness, I penned an op-ed piece, in which I offered my sincere admiration for then-President Sloan as a compassionate and motivating teacher and his bold vision for improving Baylor. But I conceded that his window for effective leadership at the university had closed, and I argued that the circumstances demanded that he step aside.

Notwithstanding, the still vigorous Sloan has much to offer to the world; it would be a shame to waste his energy. His unfortunate experience at Baylor does not necessarily preclude him from succeeding grandly at another institution. I sincerely wish him and HBU a success-filled future.

Some thoughts on the post-Sloan years and the Cross of Baylor:

A Caution: The Right to Revolution is a dangerous principle. A faculty-run university is a recipe for disaster. Wise administrators will watch their backs carefully until this generation of faculty dies off. The succeeding presidents of Baylor University must be cunning and resourceful in exercising power in order to reassert the proper balance of executive authority.

But the real cross of Baylor is vendetta. Take the example of Bill Underwood, who served as interim president between Sloan and John Mark Lilley. In his late-forties and an anchor at the Law School, Underwood allowed himself to be put forward as a voice of moderation and competence to ease the raging crisis of leadership in 2005. Taking to the task of president with an array of social skills and untold talents for administration, Underwood surprised all observers, and perhaps even himself, with his near-perfect pitch as CEO.

But the wave of destruction unleashed in the revolt against Sloan came back around to destroy the candidacy of Underwood as permanent president, depriving the university of an uncommonly adroit and home-grown leader. Given the pettiness of the opposition, a return to the Law School would have been exceedingly awkward; as a result, the university community lost a master teacher and key player in its success. Baylor's loss was Mercer University's gain, as they moved quickly to hire Underwood as their president.

As the faithful celebrated the exit of Sloan last month, I felt a tinge of melancholy at the loss of an excellent teacher and committed Christian educator. As a number of Baylorites happily chattered about the next to go, I thought about the ones already gone. Baptists are especially protective of our right to wander off into our own personal wilderness and find our own way. We call it the "priesthood of the believer" and "soul competency," but it is often a license to fracture. Baptists are free to go their own way, but I wish they were more inclined to stay within their communities and work together. The spirit of forgiveness and grace would serve the Baylor family much better than resentment and vindictiveness.

My guess is that HBU and Mercer will be better for having acquired Robert Sloan and Bill Underwood, and, in significant ways, Baylor will feel the losses.