For the past several months Calvin College, my home institution, has been very intentionally planning for a visit from the SoulForce “Equality Riders”–a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christian students who, in the spirit of the civil rights “Freedom Riders,” planned a road trip to visit Christian college campuses and raise awareness about the challenges faced by gay Christians. Some thought that Calvin’s administration was over-preparing for this visit, and making a mountain out of a molehill. However, a blog post from an Equality Rider this morning seems to make all that labor worthwhile: Rider “Matt” described their Calvin visit as a “true Christian welcome” and the “most welcoming stop on the Equality Ride.” While there was not necessarily agreement, there was nonetheless a charity that trumped disagreement. And that, it seems to me, is witness to a tiny little in-breaking of the Kingdom.
It was precisely because it went so well that there seemed to be so little news coverage of the visit! Whereas their visit to Cornerstone University yesterday, where they were barred from campus, led to arrests and–you guessed it!–news coverage on every local station.
Kudos to the college administration who worked so hard on this, particularly Shirley Hoogstra (VP of Student Life) and Dale Cooper (Chaplain), along with many others, who modeled thoughtful and intentional compassion.