Fear not the hard topics
Biolans must have the courage to talk about aspects of our campus that do not paint us in a good light. | Anna Warner/THE CHIMES
I have mixed feelings about the “Because of Biola, I have the courage to…” art installation next to the bell tower.
I am glad students have the courage to love, care and pursue holiness in their relationships and the workplace. Such things are part of the challenging call to Christ.
However, I often fear Biola students lack the courage to speak. At the very least, I fear they lack the courage to speak and risk being answered.
RISKING A CONVERSATION
Because of Biola, we should have the courage to talk about the fact that sexual assault happens, and has happened multiple times on this campus. Hurting men and women are ashamed to share a dark secret they think is their fault, when in reality the perpetrator, in some cases a fellow student, should hold all the guilt. We should discuss how the purity culture we were told would protect us from these things has actually left us more vulnerable than we anticipated.
Because of Biola, we should have the courage to talk about last year’s Black Lives Matter prayer vigil and the “Black Lives Matter” signs stolen from the site of the vigil more than once.
If you didn’t know, someone was not brave enough to tell you, or you were not brave enough to ask and risk a conversation.
We should talk about the minority students who quietly and consistently express their feelings of discomfort, exclusion and experiences of microaggression — ranging from rude comments from classmates to the looming mural of a white Jesus.
NOT DENYING THEIR EXISTENCE
Because of Biola, we should have the courage to talk about the students on campus who identify as LGBT. Ignoring their existence will not make them disappear. They have voices, beating hearts and a love for Jesus that demands answers from those they call their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Because of Biola, we should have the courage to talk about the students silently struggling with depression, eating disorders and a myriad of mental illnesses. We should have the courage to ask people about their lives, and not retreat when they tell stories of loss of family members and other difficult life situations.
Because of Biola, we should have the courage to talk and to engage with these issues that may not paint our campus in the best light. These things are difficult and embarrassing, but we cannot deny their existence.
BREAKING THE BUBBLE
You will frequently hear about the necessity of breaking out of the Biola bubble to experience the real world. Surprisingly, you do not need to leave Biola to find the world — the world’s problems are already here, creating sores that must be addressed. It is easier to drive to Skid Row, Mexico, Compton or anywhere with well-publicized brokenness than to turn to the person sitting next to you and see their decidedly unclean pain.
Have the courage to speak up and speak against things that happen on this campus that do not seem right, that offend you or the person next to you. Have the courage to disagree, listen and then speak again.
Please, ask yourself — If you do not have the courage to speak up in a crowd of like-minded people at an institution dedicated to pursuing Christ, how can you expect to speak up anywhere else?