Our world is becoming more polarizing and divisize. The things that get easy attention are those that prompt strong emotions of anger and hate. We have seen that recently first hand in our Manhattan community.
Below are some thoughts from our campus director on what the Bible has to say about this and as a result, the kind of community we are striving to become.
IN THE BEGINNING
God creates humans in Genesis 1 and in doing so makes them unique from the rest of creation. Humans are “made in God’s image” and given authority to rule the world on his behalf, in his wisdom, at his side. They are to represent him in all they do as they give care, attention, and work to the world God has put in their care.
Being made in God’s image gives humans a unique job AND also a unique significance. The life of a human is precious in God’s sight (Genesis 9:6). They have value and meaning simply because God has made them to rule and represent him in the world. They are valued not because of their work, their ability to function, their skin color, gender, etc.. All human life is precious.
As C.S. Lewis wrote in his book Weight of Glory, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” All humans have inherent worth and dignity. Over history, we have seen the devastating collateral damage that happens when this is taken away. When worth is divided up, classified, or must be earned.
A NEW BEGINNING
Later on in the story of the Bible, after humans have perpetually failed over and over to accurately image God in the world, there is a major plot twist! The God of creation doesn’t abandon, withdraw, or condemn.
No. He draws near. He doubles down in his commitment to the world and shows just how serious he is about being faithful to his promises. God becomes man. Not as an image but as The Image.
He comes to show us who God really is as the Son of God and to show us who we were meant to be as the Son of Adam. And He comes as a dark skinned, long haired, beard growing, arabic/Hebrew/Greek speaking male. Far from a white skinned, blue eyed, brown haired person you may have seen in your children’s Bible growing up.
Think about this for a minute and let us feel a sense of uncomfortableness in the humanity of Jesus. He was nothing like us white folk… at all. And what does Jesus, the true representation of God, tell us God is like? And who are we to be?
BLESS YOUR ENEMY
He says in the sermon on the mount that God, “brings the sun up on the good and the evil, he brings the rain on the just and the unjust.”
Jesus heals all who come to him. And he tells us to not only love our friend, but our enemy. He demonstrates this himself by unjustly dying on the cross, and praying for those who persecute him.
Then, he commissions all who would call themselves his disciples OR christians, to love others in this same way.
As a community of students on campus, The Navigators want to know and represent our risen Jesus well. We want to embody and live out this radical call of love and self-sacrifice so that others would get a little bit better sense of who the God of the Bible is.
One way we can do this by being a welcoming and diverse community where anyone is welcome. This is who Jesus is and that is who we are striving to be like. Whoever you are, whatever your background, no matter what you look like… you are welcome here.
One thing that is not welcome is racism or anything resembling a white superiority mindset. This is antithetical to God, the gospel, humanity, and what it means to be a christian. Anyone who perpetuates that ideology is living in direct rebellion to the God of creation, the scriptures, and of humanity.
My longing and desire is that the presence, peace, and love of the true Creator God would be felt here in Manhattan and at K-State just a little bit more because our ministry is here.