“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”-Ephesians 4:15
Every year since my first at NCU, I have had the enormous privilege of being able to attend NCU Speaks. This annual event, put on by the FeMystique club, gives student the opportunity to speak and share their passions in an audience setting. Every year, I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, and I’ve learned so much about a variety of subjects that I knew little or nothing about before.
I came into NCU Speaks this year expecting what I always expect: a lineup of varied (but wonderful) topics spanning different themes and speaking to different emotions.
This year, however, something much different happened.
While the various speeches or topics weren’t identical by any means, we were all amazed to find that they spoke into similar themes and issues, and called the audience into action in similar ways.
Freshman Bri Reay spoke on the acceptance of heavy metal music in the church and the damage caused when people are rejected because they are considered “less holy.” Josh Higashi, a junior communication major, shared about the history of Hawaii, its forced colonization, and the price that high levels of tourism puts on it poverty, cost of living, and political system.
Senior Kristyn Dodge, a Christian ministry and history major, followed, speaking about her experience as a disabled person on a small college campus. She explained the laws pertaining to college campuses in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and how those requirements aren’t often fulfilled. Dodge also shared the isolation, shame, and difficulty that comes along with being a disabled student, and how others can assist in advocating respectfully.
Next up was sophomore Gianna Rains, who presented on her passion for whales. Rains, a communication major, spoke on how she came to love whales and how others can respect them, too. Senior Tierra Davis presented next, sharing her Native American heritage and the history of exploitation and violence towards Native Americans. Davis also explained how her own family works to fight injustice today. After Davis was sophomore Robert McGowen. McGowen, an English major, shared about his past, his struggle living with Asperger’s, and his process of overcoming social, academic, and personal challenges.
Finishing out the round of student speakers was sophomore psychology major Shivonne Robinson, who spoke on the importance of racial reconciliation as a gospel issue, not just a political one. Robinson shared not only her own personal experience, but also the relevance of racial issues to the modern Christian church.
Finally, the night ended with a moving presentation by Dr. Mary Ann Winter-Messiers, professor of psychology here at NCU. Dr. Winter-Messiers explained the epidemic of untested rape kits in the United States, and how lack of testing has harmed those affected by sexual assault.
It was an incredible night. I was deeply impacted and blessed by all the speeches, and I can say with certainty that the whole event put me through a roller coaster of emotions.
What amazed me the most, however, was the congruence and fluidity between seemingly disparaged topics that were presented by vastly different people. There was so much truth in what was said, and themes of shame, respect, reconciliation, and redemption were present in nearly all the speeches.
I can only conclude that what happened at NCU Speaks was somehow meant to be. I think God was present that night, and I know that many people were touched, convicted, and prompted to action by what they learned.
That, my friends, is the importance of truth spoken in love.