SCORR encourages students to embrace diversity
Biola held the 15th annual Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation Conference last weekend, showcasing what it looks like to live out Matthew 6:10 by bringing a little of God’s kingdom to earth. Biola invited other schools across the nation to come and participate in the ongoing discussion of God’s plan for reconciliation and diversity.
Bryan Loritts gave a keynote address on Friday evening to kick off the conference. Loritts explained that as Christians, attendees should practice maximum congruence in what attendees learn at the conference and what is actually enacted to combat any problems with diversity on their campuses.
“We need to move from indifference to intentionality,” Loritts said.
Conference promotes wholesome and peaceful living
The conference boasted workshops in which attendees could ask questions and learn together about diversity and reconciliation. Conference workshops, such as Building a Community and An Exploration of African Dance Form, displayed the variety of topics covered.
All of the workshops discussed some part of diversity and the nuances of discrimination. One of the workshops, Exploring Shalom Theology, focused on the concept of shalom, or peace, describing how to get past discrimination and live a wholesome, peaceful life. In this workshop, Terry McGonigal explained shalom by giving relevant scriptural evidence for this. McGonigal said that the concept of shalom was best described by Cornelius Plantinga, president of Calvin Theological Seminary. He wrote that shalom is “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as the Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights.”
“Shalom virtually encompasses all creation,” McGonigal said.
Beginning with the story of creation, McGonigal explained in detail where shalom is found in the Bible and how important it is for Christians to live it out. He also explained how much shalom shows up in the Bible, as well as how shalom was translated in the original Greek and Hebrew texts.
“Shalom is just as important as love,” McGonigal said.
SCORR offers insight into diverse cultures
Kristen Base, a sophomore from Fresno Pacific University who traveled to Biola specifically for the SCORR conference, said she found the workshops challenging and thought-provoking.
“Everybody knows about race and discrimination, but it’s hard to put a stop to that in your life,” Base said.
On the first night, an ice cream social held in the upper SUB allowed attendees to connect over diverse flavors. On Saturday morning, a controversial drama performance named “Faces of America” demonstrated diverse cultures by displaying small vignettes of different cultures that were acted out by one woman.
Biola freshman Lydia Mena said she enjoyed the performance because it presented more than just blacks and whites.
“I like that they included all cultures because it’s usually a black-white thing,” Mena said. “They even included white culture and they gave reasons as to how they can contribute to the unity.”
Ashleigh Colin, a sophomore from Fresno Pacific University, said she enjoyed socializing the most.
“I liked meeting new people, and sharing similar experiences with everyone else,” Colin said.
Putting knowledge into practice
The conference ended with a keynote address from Adam Edgerly and a Taiko Drum Fest. Edgerly reminded attendees that they are now responsible to carry out the knowledge they received.
“It’s about what you do when you leave,” Edgerly said.
Edgerly also spoke about how God works through cross-cultural relationships. He brought common biblical stories to life, by explaining the cultural context and lives of many Old Testament figures.
Biola freshman Breanna Patterson said her experience at the conference was insightful.
“I just like how everything was showcased in a way where diversity is seen as beautiful,” Patterson said.