Conference promotes love in political matters
Five speakers discussed hot button issues within a considerate context, seeking to love others. | Marika Adamopoulos/THE CHIMES
Despite midterms season and spring break on the horizon, students gathered in Calvary Chapel to hear experts address issues like LGBTQ rights, capital punishment and other politically relevant topics.
Loving the Contrary
The Love No Matter What conference, hosted by the Center of Marriage and Relationships and the Center for Christian Thought, was held on the evening of March 23. This event was timely, according to Evan Rosa, Center for Christian Thought communications coordinator, in the midst of one of the most intense presidential races in America’s history.
Experts including Caleb Kaltenbach, Christena Cleveland author of “Disunity in Christ,” Sister Helen Prejean, Stanley Hauerwas author of “Resident Aliens,” and President Barry Corey addressed several politically controversial topics from a standpoint that teaches to love those with a contrary view.
“We want to invite thoughtful Christians to engage the most relevant big questions of the day,” Rosa said. “Questions about how do we love, what is it to be humble, how do we respond to suffering in a way that promotes flourishing...We want to invite thoughtful Christians to consider those things and in light of those what the way of Jesus is in handling those big questions.”
Receptivity & Willingness
Corey expanded on the topics of his recent book release “Love Kindness,” detailing the meaning of kindness and addressed what it means to be receptive and willing to learn from those different from us.
“Kindness means we have a deep sense of what we believe in and a moral compass and a deep sense of value, and even though they’re different from somebody else's we don't throw that in the face of somebody else,” Corey said. “But we build bridges and we’re present and we invite to our tables and these are the things I’ve sensed that kindness has the power to reconcile relationships to build people up and not tear them down and even to bring nations together.”
The event was originally planned to take place in the gym, but was moved to Calvary Chapel with overflow in Sutherland auditorium. After the conference, the attendees had the option to attend one of three breakout sessions hosted by the speakers.
Kaltenbach, author of “Messy Grace,” grew up immersed in the LGBTQ community sheltering hate towards Christianity. He referred to Matthew 5:44, claiming Christians have no excuse to not show love to their enemies.
“I think that Jesus came to produce a church that says love has no exception clause because whatever you believe theologically is what you believe theologically, but your theological convictions must never be accountable to devalue people, treat people as less [or] marginalize people,” Kaltenbach said during the event.
Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking,” told her story of “waking up” from her privileged childhood as a white female with a catholic private-school education, to a deeper understanding of the surrounding social inequalities. She expressed the importance of Christians being woken up by God to the injustices of the world.
“I think of grace as God waking us up because we can't wake ourselves up. We can put ourselves in situations, but when you really get it and you’re enlightened and your life takes a different turn, you know it's grace,” Prejean said.