COVID-19, Zoom fatigue, job loss, family obligations, and so much more. That’s enough for anyone’s plate, but last week we were reminded that the works of the evil one don’t stop. And let’s be clear, we will not either. But if we can be real for a second: we’re tired. You’re tired. We’re feeling the fatigue and grief of the events from the past few weeks. If you’ve been on social media, or have seen the news recently, you may be aware of the racial tensions that are facing our nation. Yet, this is nothing new as our country has struggled with racism for years. And while we grieve with those who grieve, and mourn with those who mourn, how do we find the strength to continue carrying the cause of Christ in the midst of the emotional fatigue, physical exhaustion and mental tiredness?
The Apostle John encourages us in 1 John 3:18 to love not in word or talk, but with actions and in truth. Love is an action word and the calling card of the believer (1 John 4:7-8). Our love is our witness to the world that we belong to Christ (John 13:34-35). And if we think that we are too tired, traumatized, or timid to love, we have the Holy Spirit who will produce the fruit of love through our lives (Galatians 5:23). Love matters and a hurting world (and church) that’s looking for answers needs to see the love of Christ through us today.
We could write a beautiful statement of why we do not tolerate racism and injustice, but that's not enough. We want to encourage you to live out the WORD in action in this season.
Students who want to do something but not sure where to start. We must first recognize that members of our own community are hurting/grieving. In general, we do not always sit well with others in grief. Allow those who are lamenting to have space for honest reflections. Please do not single out people of color asking them to teach you at this moment. Be respectful and correct those in your sphere who are not being gracious and listening. Sit in the emotional weight of their pain.
Pray and intercede for them and others. You don’t have to have the right answer or words to say. Just allow space to grieve in this moment. Moving forward, commit to living out the principles outlined in our Unity Amidst Diversity Statement. Not sure how to do this?
We will be holding workshops to engage you when you return to campus in the fall. In the meanwhile educate yourself, review the resources below.
Students who may disagree with all of this “diversity talk,” “talks about racism,” or feel like it’s just “pressure to make white people feel guilty.” We plead with you, please listen to the voices around you that you disagree with and you do not fully understand. Let us strive to be “...quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”(James 1:19). As you do, also use your spiritual lenses to discern what you should say and not say.
A little advice with love: While others are grieving and hurting, now is not the best time to bring up another topic (black on black crime, protestors, etc). Please allow this space to lament the life and lives hurt and impacted by the current tragedies.
“Then they [Job’s friends] sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” (Job 2:13). Remember that sometimes lament is a time for silence and just being with each other.
In the meanwhile, continue to try to understand the other perspective by listening to stories or review some of the resources below. Then pray again. Your perspective is valuable, but timing is everything.
Students who are hurting and grieving. We know it’s hard being in this community from time to time but you are a valuable part of the Body and you are loved. In light of all that is happening it’s okay not to be okay. Allow yourself to experience the range of grief (i.e. denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Re-establish boundaries for yourself such as unplugging after school work or summer classes (it’s hard for us too). Deactivate or turn off social media for a little while. Now is not the time to make your case or argue online.
Care for yourself first. Don’t feel guilty if friends are asking you to educate them, and you don’t have the emotional energy. Point them to some of the resources below. Take the time to read and practice self-reflection. Continually pray and know there are others praying for you.
We recognize many within this community may not fall within the categories above, and that this issue is more complex than just an article or a post. We have students who desire to talk about structural and systemic injustices, and we have students who are brand new to the conversation. Wherever you may be on this journey, let us learn, pray, and move forward together.
Read more about Biola's Institutional Diversity Strategic Plan. Below are some helpful resources you can read now, and revisit again and again.
- Online Video
- The Hate You Give
- Just Mercy
- 13th (Netflix)
- When They See Us (Netflix)
- Books (Non-Fiction)
- “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made For Whiteness” - Austin Channing Brown
- “Between the World and Me” - Ta-Nehisi Coates*
- “Insider/Outsider” - Bryan Loritts
- “The Warm of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” - Isabel Wilkerson*
- Diverse Theologians to Read (Thabiti Anyabwile)
- Readings in African-American History (Thabiti Anyabwile)
- Books (Fiction)
- “Their Eyes Were Watching God” - Zora Neale Hurston
- “Invisible Man” - Ralph Ellison*
- “Code Switch” - NPR*
- “Talks Society and Culture” - TED*
- “Hope & Hard Pills”
- Footnotes with Jemar Tisby
- Truth’s Table
- Think Biblically Podcast with Scott Rae and Tom Tarrants
- Think biblically Podcast with Scott Rae and Chris Brooks
(*The views of these authors are from non-Christian resources and may not fully reflect the views of Biola University.)
If you have any questions, please email the Diversity and Inclusion team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are available to process any questions you have or just listen to your story.
God be with you,
Division of Diversity and Inclusion
Lester Larios, Assistant Director, SEID
Meleca Consultado, Director, SEID
Walter Augustine, Director, IE and Research
Alicia Miller Andre, Director, IE and Assessment
Lavonue Scannell, Executive Assistant & Program Coordinator
Tamra Malone, Chief Diversity Officer