The Gathering: Biblically navigating conversations on race

Brandon McClaine, president of the CIU African American Student Association
November 03, 2020

By Josh Ford

CIU Student Writer 

Conversations on race have been a growing topic, especially this year. 

That’s why the African American Student Association (AASA) offered a dialogue on how to biblically navigate these conversations. After a time of worship through music, the president and vice president of the AASA, stimulated the discussion with a presentation titled “Altered Vison,” focusing on points for an open panel discussion. 

“We wanted to educate and the AASA is built upon bridging the gap,” said Brandon McClaine, President of the AASA. “We wanted to do this to help those who may not understand. Everyone says to go online to educate yourself, but sometimes it’s best to know from your peers how they’re affected.” 

The members of the panel were Donte’ Mackey - vice president of the AASA, Dr. Kevin McWilliams – a CIU in Bible Studies professor, Bri Garret – the communications director for the AASA and James McCall – director of CIU Christian Serving Learning

A common theme of the discussion was how to confront racial injustice and helping someone who is different than yourself. 

“There’s an aspect of lament we need to have when something tragic happens,” McCall said. “I think God calls us to be able to express the gambit of emotions.” 

“Love as He loved. The gospels show this love with things like sacrificial love,” said McWilliams. “One of the ways we can do that is to understand each other and taking the time to get to know one another, and the world desperately needs to see that. We have to work at it.” 

Mackey added to McWilliams’ point, saying, “The body of Christ needs to be the first to set the tone and the first to respond. If we set the tone and the pace, then the world … they’ll see this light and they can follow and model after it.” 

The panelists drew attention to various portions of Scripture. One that they emphasized is 1 Corinthians chapter 12 where the Apostle Paul describes the church as one body with different parts. 

“I think we need differences. When one part of the body suffers, the entire body suffers together with it,” Garret said. “I think in dealing with racism specifically in the body, it’s important that we are different but, even in the body, we need to make sure that when one part of the body suffers, we give it special attention.” 

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