HBU is an institution of learning. However, learning without remembering and addressing history does little for being a part of God’s redemptive purpose. When we read a good history book about the last 100 years, much less the past 400 years, there is a great deal to be learned of how yesterday has led to situations of today, systems of how people are treated and how we experience opportunity, attitudes, economic status, and even Christian growth and formation. If we look to the ultimate source of knowledge and purpose, the Bible, we see that after the creation of a sinless world by our perfect God, humanity introduced sin into God’s unspoiled work. The effects of that sin resonate today and are reenacted in a world fractured by sickness, war, poverty, and racism.
The unjust death of George Floyd has, yet again, brought into our collective light part of the fall which is always present but somehow, for many, in the shadows. The sin of racism is still alive in this world and causing pain, injustice, and grief. The picture of God’s diverse and perfect creation is still marred by systems and individuals that perpetuate racism, hatred, bigotry, and violence. George Floyd’s senseless and horrific death is one of the more recent examples of the sin of racism, but it is hardly a new occurrence or an outlier of singular transgression. It is indicative of the largest problem, a fallen world that was never meant to be this way.
HBU is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in America. Our diversity brings an educational experience that allows for unique understanding, empathy, and Gospel-centric heart and world formation. Today, as much as ever, HBU is committed to honoring God’s perfect and diverse creation through educating, being in community with, supporting, and deeply loving our students no matter their background, class, culture, or ethnicity. We are further committed to identifying and addressing sin in all its forms including the painful and deadly sin of racism. We are committed to showing the better way by loving the Lord our God with all our strength, soul, and might, and loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). Because Jesus truly is Lord, we can educate and live in no other way.
To our African American students at this time in particular, we as an HBU community and HBU Student Life staff want to express our solidarity and support as painful memories of recent and past transgressions against you or loved ones have been inflamed by this and other senseless acts. We love you, each and every one. We mourn and grieve with you. We are here to listen and love. For some of us, we are still wrestling with how this could happen. For some of us, we are reliving and remembering experiences of unholy rejection, acts of violence against us or our loved ones simply because of skin color, and the feeling of not being safe even when fear should be unwarranted.
Today in our Student Life staff meeting, we reaffirmed our resolve to be a catalyst and ally of biblical justice and righteousness. We choose to walk with and support you, and all of our students, because of Whose we are. The conversation and education towards redemption and restoration of creation that can only be found in our Lord, Jesus Christ, will not stop after this email is sent. Whose we are defines who we are, and because we belong to the diverse body of Christ we must continue to constantly seek to live, lead, and love according to Micah 6:8, to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” In the coming days, HBU Student Life will send out opportunities for students to listen to, learn with, and love one another as we walk together.
May we listen to Him and one another, responding courageously and wisely in the grace of God through Jesus Christ and led by His Holy Spirit.
Your HBU Student Life Staff
Whit, Mon’Sher, Colette, Ashley, Josh, Saleim, Brenda, Alex, Gio, Jesika, Cassie, Stacey, Josie, Bryan, Christen, Nathan, Dorian, Justin, and Terry