Students Gather at Q Commons to “Engage Our Divided Nation”

With the presidential election looming, the voice of Black Lives Matter resounding in the national media and a Church that has been known to steer clear of such weighty issues, students came together at Q Commons to “Engage Our Divided Nation.”

Three nationally broadcast Q Talks were punctuated by student-led talks. Esteemed Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias began the evening with a prescient Bible verse, Psalm 11:3: “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” With religious ideas losing social significance, no worldview being dominant and the sacred becoming private, Zacharias said, we must embrace eternity, morality, accountability and charity.

Jack Ricci ’17, Presidential Fellow for the Vice President of Student Life, took the stage as the first of three Gordon students speaking on the topic of the “Wounded Body” as it refers to the Church. Ricci defined Church division as the result of survival mechanisms and self-preservation tactics. “So we actually don’t have a language to discuss corporate issues like systemic sin, racism and sexism,” Ricci explained.

Sohenga Depestre ’17, Presidential Fellow for the Provost, tackled the present state of the Church with a relatable theme: Ubuntu, a South African word that means “I am because you are.” She argued that we are “intrinsically connected” with one another, but society has lost that foundation. “My reality is that I’m experiencing churches that are focused just on their own agenda,” she said. But “we also know that 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, ‘If one member is suffering, we all suffer. If one is honored, we all rejoice.’”

The Gordon audience then connected back with the national production, pivoting to a conversation about the election featuring Q Founder Gabe Lyons with political commentators Ross Douthat, a Catholic conservative (New York Times), and Kirsten Powers, a liberal-leaning Christian (Fox News, CNN).

Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae closed the national conversation in an interview with Lyons on the Black Lives Matter movement that grew out of the Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown, a young African-American man. The Grammy Award-winning artist listed himself as a victim of police brutality and discrimination, highlighting the varying perspectives that exist based off an individual’s experience with the law.

Antonio Vargas ’19 concluded the night with a talk on the future of the Church. Despite dividing ourselves into fragmented social identity groups, Vargas said, we as Christians can look to Christ as an example of how to bridge the divide. He mused, “Where is the bridge-builder between race, class and gender?”

This was the crux of the evening’s discussion. The Christian Church, the speakers suggest, must be the body within America that takes the first step to build a bridge that will both unite our divided nation and heal our wounded body.

By Dan Simonds ’17, communication arts