Like I mentioned in my last blog, every semester we host an evening of learning about a relevant topic in our society. It's four hours of teaching/learning devoted to going deeper on a specific topic. This month we did race. This pizza theology was a little different than others, because the goal wasn't to bring opinions or teach if someone is right or wrong on their view of race and racism in America. Rather, it was about learning about one another and what God says about race. Two of our staff members, Peter and Sirak, did an EXCELLENT job teaching on the topic. I highly recommend listening to the Pizza Theology audio on our website https://anyfocus.org/resources/media-page/
If you listen to the audio, you will also get to hear what we call Voices from our Community. Students and alumni shared about their experiences with racism. I can't tell you how helpful it was to hear about their experiences, because as a white middle class woman I do not have these same experiences. Here is a sample of what was shared at Pizza Theology.
"The people I bonded the most with were Latinos because they
were my neighbors. Their culture reflected mine more than the kids that looked like me.
In school I wasn’t black enough for the black kids, not African enough for the Africans,
and obviously not white enough for the white kids. Latinos were kind of my safe place. I
was almost enough around them, at least until middle school. My lack of enoughness
was not always communicated blatantly. It was subtle. Often through added disclaimers
“...like for a black girl” and “... but you’re African”. Insider language was used to make it
clear that I was an outsider."
One of my dearest and closest friends shared this part of her story with us. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to ask people about their experiences with race. We need to practice listening in our culture, more than correction or rejection. If we are to live and love like Jesus, then I believe we are to do that with all races and ethnic groups. But it starts with listening.
|The students who attended Pizza Theology!|
Austin Gage and I had the opportunity to tackle the topic of dating at our UTA campus. Every year we spend a few hours discussing dating because of how relevant it is to their stage of life. While Austin and I are not experts on dating, we wanted to give our students some things to think about in dating. Mainly, why would we pursue Christ and want to be like Him in all areas of our life but make our own decisions and focus on ourself while dating? Dating in scripture isn't mentioned per se, but how we treat one another is. Many times. So we presented our students with scriptures and biblical principles on how to treat one another. It's a big deal to God how we treat one another and how we serve one another. While talking about how we treat one another, we challenged students to ask God what is important to find in a significant other. The world is training us to seek out what makes us feel good, what looks good, and to date quickly. While as disciples we need to be trained by God in selflessness and wisdom. These sermons have struck up great conversations on our campus that are getting our students to think deeply about how they treat one another, what they are looking for in a mate, how they spend their time, and what they talk about. We want our students to have happy marriages (someday and if it is God's will) and we discuss this topic to set them up for success. Our prayer is that our students would seek God first and love one another above themselves.
One of our students, Hallie, is featured this month on our student testimony from the website! Hallie also shared part of her story at Pizza Theology. God is working in her to bless many and she is gifted in service. I love Hallie and feel blessed to know her and see her grow!
One last thing...
One of our students, Caitlin, got baptized this month!! We love Caitlin and see God working in her life. I'm so excited she made this commitment to follow Jesus and I definitely see her living like him on campus. Please pray for Caitlin!