Students explore race, history and biblical concepts
By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
Guest speaker Rev. Adam Thomason invited Grand Canyon University students Thursday night to join in a conversation about race and the division of society based on color.
Associated Students of GCU sponsored the Diversity Speaks event — “Rated R: Let’s Talk about Race.” Thomason, who has spoken in more than 12 countries conveying the peace of Jesus, urged the students, as Christians, to have hope in their convictions, and he reminded them that the historical scheme of Satan led to a grand societal division.
Thomason led the conversation with a single question: “Do you believe that our destinies are tied to one another?”
He discussed how, when we stand confidently on God’s word, we understand that we “are all part of one family.” He explained how culture, family and history perpetuate individual attitudes about race.
“God didn’t make decisions based on segregation, He chose people for a blessing,” Thomason said. “When we put God in the middle of this problem of race, we see each other differently.”
Thomason cited Genesis 11:1 to demonstrate how initially “the whole world had a common language and a common vocabulary.”
Thomason also explained how today’s horrors are somehow correlated to our national past and urged students to unearth the background narrative to find common ground.
“Unless you have empathy for one another’s stories, you will keep bumping heads and reduce yourself to the goodness of God manifested in culture,” he said. “I’ve seen empathy break barriers.
“So my challenge to you is that when you talk to one another don’t make it about right or wrong — make it about compassion.”
After the lecture, students submitted questions for Thomason. One student asked how to guard against the fear of being called racist as it pertains to fear about having raced-based conversation. Another asked if there was one book that Thomason felt would make the biggest impact in opening this generation’s eyes about race.
The panel was moderated by Brittany Paschall, director of diversity awareness for the Associated Students of GCU. She told the students before the discussion, “Race is not something you can understand in one night or one day, but I hope it inspires you to think differently.”
Afterward, she said, “I feel that this discussion was beneficial in light of what is happening around us, especially integrating how history affects our present and future. There is so much pain that is often overlooked, and we have to always understand that.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.