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Love in the midst of tension


“God is the color of water.” That’s what James McBride’s Polish Orthodox Jewish mother told him when he was a child. He had questions. Questions that many of us have today. What does God say about the chaos going on in our world? What does He want us to do about it?

Put yourself in Ilia Calderon’s shoes. A respected, hardworking African-Latina reporter at the height of her career with Univision, travels to North Carolina and, in an interview, is insulted for the color of her skin—in 2017, not 1963.

Love can be an abstract, overstated word. We hear it in every sermon, in every religious meeting and definitely in every single chapel service, but do we know what it means? Or what it looks like?

“In Tulsa earlier this year, love was demonstrated by St. Xavier’s Catholic Church, when they had the Mexican consulate come two weekends in a row to help register Mexican Americans and help them get their papers and get their children, who were already citizens, papers and passports and stuff like that. That sounds like Jesus’ work to me,” said Dr. Sherri Tapp, a full professor in ORU’s Graduate Program and an alumni of Tuskegee University.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself” couldn’t ring louder today than it did over 2000 years ago. That means brushing the blunt pain of insult off your shoulders when someone mistreats you, even in gesture, because of the high dosage of melanin in your epidermal cells. While we’re called to brush off the pain, we are not called by God to condone it or ignore it, but to forgive it.

“The Enemy doesn’t want us to stand up as one, whether that’s in the context of marriage, the church or ORU. The reality of the situation is that, if we know who we are in Christ and that this is a spiritual battle, we understand the word of God concerning us. We ought to be a light that cannot be hidden. We are the salt of the earth, and that’s a mighty call,” said Dean Boyd, Vice President of Student Life. “At ORU, we are a living example of what Heaven looks like [in the number of students from different countries], so we must learn to love one another. We must learn to respect one another, then we have the opportunity to educate each other about who we are, and that we are one heart and we serve one God.”

We may not be able to join a peaceful, nonviolent protest, or create a flag, but we can write, we can sing and we can join community clubs for awareness and personal education, and of course, we can pray. After all, racial division and interpersonal hatred are signs of spiritual warfare and darkness in the hearts of men.

The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

Darkness can be split into two categories: darkness due to ignorance, and darkness due to the lack of light—the light of Christ. We are called to attend to both.

“If I don’t speak up, really for all people, because we are supposed to be our brother’s keeper, and the Bible doesn’t say to only be your Christian brother’s keeper. It says to look out for everybody. If you don’t stand up against what’s evil, then you are helping…you are complicit,” said Tapp.