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The people order back

Affected groups lift their voices in response to recent executive motions.   |   Photo Courtesy of Biola Magazine

 

It is inevitable for the events of the world to influence those within the Biola community. In regard to the happenings of this January — President Donald Trump’s inauguration and recent executive orders — many students are anxious to see how different areas of campus will be affected. These are some competent voices from each corner of campus on how they believe the orders will influence Biola as well as the greater world in which everyone resides.

  1. Christian-Muslim Understanding

Hudson Tam, senior biblical studies major and member of the Christian-Muslim Understanding ministry, voiced his opinions about the influence the United States’ new president has had on their ministry.

How do you believe people should be responding to Muslim citizens in this time?

“Whatever people think about public policy or international affairs, I think our concerns with political opinions is second to the people we know personally who exemplify this…  A lot of Muslim refugees are understandably skeptical about us when they know that a lot of evangelical Christians are the ones who are the most loudly advocating for these kinds of restrictions on travel. We realize that that’s another barrier in trying to minister to them. Just knowing how to share our hope, seasoned with salt, and being the light to people that we know who are really hurting and really believe that evangelical Christians like us are those who are willing to scapegoat these people in the efforts to become more safe.”

Have you experienced any hindrances to your ministry because of recent actions?

“The job of believers now is to have to bridge that divide in a way that we haven’t had to before, to go the extra mile to reassure our Muslim friends we aren’t like every other people who say they are Christians, we aren’t like the people who try to demonize one quarter of the world’s population… We just have to work a lot harder to give them that reassurance and even if it isn’t for the sake of evangelism, we want to be friends with them. We want to be known as Jesus’ followers by the way in which we represent our people with self-sacrificial kindness through sharing the truth and gentleness and respect. It doesn’t mean that we hide what we believe in.”

  1. Tijuana Ministry Club

Nadia Lauren, junior intercultural studies major and president of the Tijuana Ministry club, feels deeply for the children in Mexico the club ministers to. She stresses her members are not to pity them by any means and their purpose is to mentor and build trust between them. As far as she is concerned, the club’s mission and goal has not changed, but the way in which they serve has been complicated.

How has your club been affected, if at all, by recent actions and president Trump’s campaign actions?

“We’ve definitely had to have a lot of hard conversations. Even before the inauguration. I remember having a conversation with an older boy [from the home]. He’s turning 17 in April. He was like, ‘When I go to college, I want to go to Biola… but if I came to the United States, would Americans think the things that he says about us when I come?’ I didn’t want to say no because I was thinking in my head that there’s a lot of people who would think that. And I would never want them to grow up in a world that thinks that just because of where they’re born, that dictates their character… It’s disheartening, because they think all Americans are this way, and I’m an American but there’s still this kind of tension because of what’s being said about them… The only thing that I can see happening is the emotional detachment, and trust.”

What would you say is the most important thing you emphasize during your visits to the kids?

“We’re coming there to build trust, to show the kids that they’re worthy, to show them that they belong. To show them that they’re also made in the image of God and there’s so many comments that are showing them the opposite. It’s really deteriorating their self-worth. They’re thinking, ‘I’m not worth it. I’m not of as much value as an American. I’m just part of poor little Mexico and I don’t have any important place in this world.’ So that’s going to be really difficult for us to have to combat against. Telling them, ‘Jesus loves you’ isn’t going to be enough. It’s going to be a little rough, but it’s even better to have consistent people minister to them. To us, the kids are worth it. They have value and they belong.”

  1. Sanctity of Life

Eddie Gallardo, senior political science major and president of the pro-life ministry club, approaches his ministry with intention and emphasized compassion. The executive order halting international funding to Planned Parenthood came as a blessing to Sanctity of Life, symbolizing a change in the nation in the direction of those in favor of preserving life at all stages.

How does Sanctity of Life handle issues of contention in conversations about abortion?

“Primarily, we want to educate students and even people who are outside of Biola just on related issues of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide. So beginning of life and end of life issues. The second tier of that is the practical aspect… We like to pride ourselves on open minds and open thought. We want to hear both sides of the aisle, that’s for sure. Just take that and boil it down to what different sides believe and the ability to debate over them.”

How have things changed within the club since all the campaign promises regarding the pro-life movement surfaced?

“It seems like there’ll be a lot more opportunities for discussion, so that’s just a check on us to be ready for it and know our stuff. With Trump’s inauguration, our club is of the position that it’s helped. I don’t know if it was day one or day two of his executive orders, he signed the Mexico City policy into place, which defunds Planned Parenthood’s international arms and just other international abortion providers. So they’re no longer getting taxpayer money from us. So that was a big deal. And right off the bat he said he wants to support life, so I hope he stays that way.”

  1. Dean of Intercultural Studies—Bulus Galadima

Galadima represents much to the Biola community—competency, loving kindness and diversity. As dean of intercultural studies, he speaks with authority and intentionality about the election as well as recent executive orders. Emphasizing compassion most of all, Galadima admits to the division in the country, but is careful to describe the appropriate Christian response.

What can we predict from recent actions of president Trump?

“I think one of things about this administration is that everyone is not sure of what will happen. So a lot of it is actually conjecture, and they seem to project some of their fears onto the other administration. So basically what I think what is happening right now is there are two sides. Definitely a polarized country, but there are people on both sides, and sometimes instead of talking to each other we are talking at each other, and we need to grant that… The two predominant attitudes about the election [are ones] of triumphalism or demonizing of the new administration. And I think these two polarizing positions took place during the election. I think they are not actually healthy.”

How do you believe Christians should respond?

We need to keep a certain distance from every administration, not just this administration, so that we keep our voice and when you see the way Jesus responded to politics in his day and even Paul. They kept a healthy distance, and even in the Old Testament, I like the prophet Nathan. Because when you see what Nathan did, even though he was friends with the king but he had this healthy distance where he could confront the president or the king at that time when he needed to. And I really think that’s the posture we need to have as Christians… As scripture tells us that God commanded his love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. So we weren’t even willing participants when Christ came to us and visited us. Now I think that really provides a model for us of engaging others — it’s painstaking. You have to be patient, you have to keep trying until you win trust. Then you begin to hear the truth.”

 

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