Professor Marc Andreas is proud to be part of the Kuyper College community, where diversity is not just recognized but is celebrated.
“God has created incredible diversity within His creation, and it’s something we continually try to learn about and build upon,” he told students, staff, and friends of the College gathered in the Vos Chapel in mid-November for a panel on diversity and leadership as part of his business leadership class.
Andreas said he was excited to host the event, which provided the opportunity for attendees to hear and discuss unique perspectives on human diversity. It included a quartet of speakers – The Rev. Dr. Richelle White, Kuyper’s Professor of Youth Ministry and Director of Field Practicums; Dr. Anthony Bradley, Research Professor of Interdisciplinary and Theological Studies; Bing Goei, local business leader and former Kuyper board member; and President Patti Harris – followed by a question-and-answer time.
After Andreas’ introduction, Dr. White was the first to take the microphone. As the longtime teacher of a Kuyper course on the subject, she reminded her listeners that human diversity is a multifaceted and often difficult topic.
“Understanding diversity is about being culturally competent. You’re learning about yourself, gaining cross cultural awareness, and learning how to deal effectively with people in diverse situations,” she said. “But it can be costly. As future leaders, you need to ask yourselves what price you are willing to pay to promote diversity.”
Following Dr. White’s address was Dr. Bradley, who asked the audience to consider what it might look like to have more diversity in their relationships. That is an important question, he emphasized, because the image of God is not an individual concept, but a communal one.
“When we are in deep relationship together, regardless of gender or ethnicity or race, that’s when we bear God’s image. It’s not something we can do alone,” he said, excitedly.
Next up was Bing Goei, who reflected on his life as an Indonesian immigrant and long career as an entrepreneur, noting that many of the racial issues American society faces today are the same ones he encountered in his youth. He suggested that this is because we settle for shallow platitudes rather than pursuing a much deeper, more genuine commitment to diversity.
“Until we are willing to commit to knowing and valuing the history and culture of other groups, listen and submit ourselves to their teachings and share ours with them, and to acknowledge their pains, we will continue to have the same conversations we’ve been having for decades,” he told the audience.
President Harris was the event’s final speaker. She shared stories of both being a racial and geographic outsider and also reckoning with her own whiteness and privilege.
“My stories might pale in comparison to those that have profoundly, negatively affected many other people, and maybe even some of you,” she said. “But I share them because they have raised my awareness of those who have been excluded and help me consider how I can embrace them instead, regardless of race, age, ability, gender, or any other number of differences.”
The question-and-answer period that followed sparked a lively discussion on how the Kuyper community can best embody God’s image by celebrating and committing to diversity, both on and off campus, an idea that President Harris also articulated in her address.
“So,” she asked the audience, “How can we, together, make Kuyper a place where we can engage each other, learn, grow, worship and serve together, while giving God the glory because He has given us that as we share His image together?”