Donna Downs | Contributor
Responding to Nicki Mortland's "Taylor needs to listen" story, I, too, am glad we strive to be an intentional community of Christ followers. From the first time a prospective student walks on campus, that teenager hopefully sees Taylor as a Spirit-abiding place where people care well for one another.
It's a place where we have difficult conversations while standing for Truth. And it's a place where we have an active Life Together Covenant, a set of core values and belief statement that clearly explain who we are and what we believe as a community even before anyone arrives on campus.
In today's society, truth seemingly means different things to different people, but Christians would likely agree that we see the Bible as the infallible Word of God on the truth of which Truth we stand firm. When we talk about "perceived norms of a community" developing, it stands to reason we would expect "heteronormative language, events and (peaceful) protests" to be a part of a who we are because of our foundational belief system. We might expect censorship of both female and male bodies in the name of modesty with the desire against objectifying ourselves before others.
If students, faculty or staff who are unwilling to accept Scripture as the revered Word of God feel a level of discomfort from words that align with Truth, we might, perhaps, begin to question whether or not this is the place for us. Sometimes we find ourselves in places or situations that do not fit our belief systems. If we've signed into a belief system, if we've put our name on the dotted line saying we stand firm for these foundational truths, however, why would we go against the norms of the community to which we've committed ourselves? Why would we remain here if we disagree with the very Truth on which this university was founded and has stood for more than 170 years?
Yes, differences are life-giving. Iron sharpens iron as we listen to, learn about and grow to love one another. That does not mean, however, that we tolerate a belief system that goes against Truth or that we moisten and knead the leaven and watch it rise. We listen; we learn; we love. We accept and invite diversity in accordance with Scripture. We stand with our brothers and sisters, no matter what culture or race. But, creed does matter. We can easily love, but we can't easily condone all behaviors in the name of tolerance. Our identity must be found only in Jesus.