In my life, one of the greatest challenges has been living out James 1:19 - My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak... Too many times, I've spoken without listening first. We at CSF want to be people who prayerfully listen first - especially to our black friends, students, alumni and leaders. We desire to be quick to listen, to take a posture of learning and understanding before adding our voices.
When speaking, we want to be sure that our speaking won’t reflect a cultural moment of popular opinion, but true words mixed with sustained action. That our understanding won’t end with words but as James 3:13 says, will lead to a “good life." One or even a series of posts aren’t enough. Individual and systemic racism are long standing, deep seated issues in our nation and culture - impacting it in deep and terrible ways. While the news and other media outlets at times illuminate this, our conversations with black students on campus have long imprinted this in our minds.
Theologically, the conflict between this historic and current reality of racism and a Christian ethic for ministry is significant. We don’t believe that we point students to just any god, but to the God of the Old and New Testament. The God who Genesis 1:27 says, “...created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” The God who John 3:16 says "so loved the world” that He sent His Son to die for them. We simply must identify and address racism in our midst in order to help ensure that each student that connects with CSF clearly hears and experiences these truths of scripture.
That’s easier said than done. I’m grateful for the voices of friends, neighbors, coworkers, community members and national leaders that have already been providing insight into this. We’re listening to these. We’re also leaning into a few previous commitments: to pray for solutions, to teach on this issue, to bring it up in discipleship relationships and to always strive to make things better in this area.
But I want to be clear: we aren’t interested in taking this journey only while it’s on everyone’s minds. Hopefully George Floyd’s death is a watershed moment in our nation’s history and hearts. But even if not, God’s passion and love for His people doesn’t wane based on culture, social media, news coverage, or any other factors. So we want to be diligent to pray, learn, grow and ultimately live with this same love. We’re praying for His grace to do so and ask that you’d pray for us in CSF to as well.
-David and the CSF Staff
Christian Student Fellowship
is a place for students at the University of Illinois Springfield who are on a spiritual journey. Whether you're just starting out or you've been headed this way for awhile, we want to help you find your way back to God!