According to Lipscomb University, whiteness shapes spirituality and anti-racism is necessary for salvation. These were topics lectured to students in two mandatory small-group sessions – weekly occurrences called “Breakouts” – offered this past spring semester.
Lipscomb University requires students to select one Breakout at the beginning of the semester. Once a student chooses their Breakout, they must remain in that group for the entire semester.
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The first session, “Anti-Racism and the Cross,” tells students that true discipleship under Christ requires commitment to anti-racism.
“As Christians we are called to actively move from non-racist thinking to anti-racist actions. This Breakout is for beginners who want to engage anti-racist work with thoughtfulness, preparation, and a concrete action plan to live by our commitments,” reads the session description.
That Breakout was led virtually by intercultural development director Candace Williams and library administrator Brittany Mountford on Thursdays just before 11 a.m. The session was at max capacity, with 50 persons in attendance. That Breakout was one of eleven Breakouts to be at full capacity for the semester – the university offered a total of 63 Breakouts.
The other session, “Blinded by the Light: How Whiteness Shapes Our Spirituality,” focuses on how race is the lens through which people understand the Bible.
“We investigate how our individual and collective perspectives of the Bible have been shaped by our racial identities. This Breakout will be one in which you must commit to listening to understand and leaning into discomfort,” reads the session description.
That Breakout was led by adjunct English professor Bethy Butler and Antioch preaching minister Joshua Jackson – like the “Anti-Racism and the Cross” Breakout, it was held virtually on Thursdays just before 11 a.m.. Unlike the other Breakout, attendance wasn’t at full capacity.
This assertion contradicts the Bible’s teachings on identity. The New Testament asserts that superficial distinctions and associations like race don’t have meaning because all are one in Jesus Christ.
“For you are all sons [and daughters] of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ,” reads Galatians 3:26-28 (NKJV). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
As The Tennessee Star reported last Friday, the university will host “How to Be Antiracist” author Ibram Kendi as a featured guest speaker for their annual Christian Scholars Conference (CSC). Kendi will speak this Friday at 10:45 a.m. CST via a webinar session.
Originally, Lipscomb University offered free registration to Kendi’s session using a Google registration form. The free registration form was available on the event page under the “Register Here” button.
Following coverage from The Star, the link to the form was removed from the event page. Now, attendance comes at a cost: graduate students must pay either $140 for virtual or $170 for in-person attendance, and all other registrants must pay $195 for virtual or $220 for in-person attendance.
The Star recovered the free virtual attendance registration link, only to discover that the form is closed and no longer accepting responses.
Even though The Star registered to Kendi’s webinar on Wednesday, a link to attend the session was not received. It is unclear whether access will be granted as promised originally.
None of the Lipscomb University officials that The Star reached out to for more information about Kendi’s appearance have responded with comment as of press time Sunday.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Lipscomb University” by Lipscomb University.
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