For the second year in a row, Point University students, faculty, staff and coaches gathered around tables to have unifying discussion about topics that usually divide people in America, in local communities and even sometimes in churches.
On October 26, 2017, Point was one of twenty universities across the country that participated in Q Union, a two-hour live event hosted by Q Ideas, “aimed at educating students on how they can bring hope and leadership to their campuses in a critical cultural moment.” Students gathered to address practical ways Christians can live out the peace of Christ in a contentious culture, specifically in how Christian brothers and sisters relate to one another on a university campus.
The evening included three nationally broadcast speakers, David Brooks, Kara Powell and Propaganda, discussing a range of issues from technology to race relations. Additionally, at each university location, three students spoke live about issues that they face in their own community.
At Point, senior preaching and Biblical studies majors Isaiah Ross, Abigail Contreras and Colby Freeman spoke passionately about ways the Point family could come together to bridge the divisions in their community.
In Isaiah Ross’ speech, he challenged the audience to see past stereotypes to befriend an “unlikely neighbor.” By pointing out prejudices he had to overcome as an African-American male, and acknowledging the prejudices other people face, Isaiah called God’s people to be people of hope. “We can be the thread of God’s restoration in the world,” Isaiah said. “The body of Christ treating others as though the Kingdom of God has already fully come.” He reminded them that Christians’ identity is not found in stereotypes placed upon them, but in Christ.
Abigail Contreras questioned culture’s view on what people are perceived as valuable. While culture honors and shames people based on their possessions, position, connections and appearance, the church should view others as Christ did. In his life and death, “Christ gave [the poor, outcast and sick] dignity when no one else would.” The church must work to restore human dignity to everyone, both friend and enemy, in order bridge divisions created by society’s value system.
In the final presentation of the night, Colby Freeman dared the church to take responsibility for the divisions in our community and take a stand for unity. He opened quoting the 1947 sermon by Hawley Lynn, “Who Lynched Willie Earle?”—a sermon that challenged a church in a divisive, racist culture to stop being silent and to act upon the social injustices in their community. “We can begin the healing process in our divided nation by having these difficult conversations and by pleading for forgiveness even when we were not directly at fault.”
Point’s prayer, and the prayer of the members of the Point family who joined together that evening, was that through productive, humble and Christ-centered dialogue, the Point community could begin to heal the divisions that plague culture.
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