Written by Emma Hayes
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou
Fellow students clap, cheer, gawk and giggle when it’s announced that our biggest, collective concerns are tastier food, more parking, more fair discipline … looks at “The Office” camera … You’ve got to be joking, right? I pinch myself; surely, my fellow peers know what’s wrong with this picture. We claim to be Christ-centered, to love God and love others. Our celebrations and silences speak for themselves.
We have an absurd number of students who feel they don’t belong — fellow human brothers and sisters that differ in language, sexuality, race, culture, family background, etc. We read of God’s unending embrace, yet there were echoes of boos at the mention of LGBTQ — true story. We sing of God’s joy, but only have the Black man sing when prospective Bisons fill the seats. We encourage God’s inclusivity but only have women on stage when they walk across in dresses at Homecoming. When Harding shows you who they are, believe them the first time. There is no room for hatred in the house of God, so are we heretics? Are our bodies not temples? Are we not in the house of God?
The Christian circle is excited about the Asbury Revival. Don’t count me in until “revival” means repenting of our attitude toward our neighbors. We don’t need loud songs and fallen knees. We need repentance. We need waters of life and truth to course through the classrooms and shatter our institution. The only way to truly know God and see the divine is to take up the cross of humility. When the living waters roar, the truth will roll on. And our actions will align with God’s. It will be then and only then that we will hear more about Black church theology, for it’s the Black man who knows oppression, the Black man who sees the cross and hears similar cries from his brother’s body, yet still chooses joy in the resurrection.
I want to hear the truth. We will look up and see women on the stage, taking up space and speaking during the devotional, for it is her who King David assaulted. I want to hear the story of Bathsheba from the woman’s perspective because it was she who ran to the tomb first, skipping and jumping that his body was no longer there.
With the waters rushing, we will look at the imprisoned, poor, addicted, downtrodden, betraying man, knowing he still dined with the divine. Breaking the bread as Christ’s body was broken by pharisaical oppression before it rose. The river will rush by, and there will be no stopping it. These are the streams that make the unloved feel held and provide belonging. These are the waters that demand salvation for the poor now. This is what the Son uses to wash the feet of all people. You have the opportunity to go down to the river and pray. It begins with the student body choosing to look like Christ’s body. May we have empathy and humility to let the holy waters bubble up. May we call what’s love, love, and what is truth, truth. Until then, don’t count me in. Harding, let down your heresy. You call it love, but I’m just calling it what it is: blasphemy. May it be so.