From the founding of Whitefield Academy, one of the core values has been for our students to experience diversity that reflects the body of Christ.
We do not seek diversity as an isolated end goal; rather, our goal is a diversity vision that aims at unity in Christ. Such a goal enables Whitefield Academy to unite around our Christ-centered mission, which can be more fully and effectively realized within the context of a community where diversity is cultivated. In order to realize a diversity vision for unity in Christ that supports our overarching mission, we aspire to principles that promote the following choices among all students, staff, and families in the Whitefield community.
Each person, uniquely created in the image of God, is valued by Him, welcome to His unconditional love, and has inherent dignity and profound worth. We rejoice in the cultural, ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds found in people, as well as the many other types of diversity found among people, both male and female. Rather than dividing people over differences or seeking to box diverse, complex people into categories and assumptions about what they think or who they are, we seek to celebrate the beauty found in the wide diversity of people that God has created.
Because people are unique with a diversity of characteristics, and because we are imperfect and not all-knowing like God, each one of us has a somewhat veiled view of Him, others, and the world. Our varied “lenses” include blind spots to some realities and make us keenly aware of others. For greater clarity in our vision, we need others who see God, others, and this world from different perspectives, as we seek His truth. Cultivated in Christ, a diverse community provides an opportunity for people to experience together a more clear and holistic vision of what God intended.
One manifestation of humanity’s fallen state because of sin is broken relationships with God and with fellow image bearers of God. Further, human history continuously documents added tension in relationships along lines of difference with people prone to depart into segregated spaces. In contrast, a testimony of unity is found in Christ, who paints a wonderful picture of the Gospel’s ability to tear down walls and restore relationships. Those who put their faith in Him form a family, united in mission to love God, love others as themselves, and welcome others “from all nations” into that family. In this family, the body of Christ, uniformity in the non-essentials is not the goal. Rather, we aim for unity in Christ that transcends any other allegiance. Cultural, social, and political differences found within the body of Christ are embraced as they provide further testimony to the breadth of Christ’s lordship over all people.
Because of our universal sinfulness, all of us are capable of conceit and excessive pride in ourselves. Jesus Christ is the only way to overcome such traits and the pain that results from them in others. In God’s family, no one is better than anyone else as we all stand in desperate need of God’s undeserved grace. Through faith in Christ, we are provided that grace, which enables us to extend it to others and exhibit humility about ourselves and our own ethnic and cultural background. Not only does He provide a supernatural example of love, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness, but also He provides for us the power to do likewise. In Him, and only in Him, it is possible to love others ahead of ourselves, even when those people are very different from us, and to forgive others for wrongs, even when those wrongs directly impact us negatively. Though this diversity vision for unity in Christ will never be fully perfect or complete until He returns, our efforts toward this end make us more like Jesus, better prepare us for that Day, and enable us to catch glimpses into the ultimate experience of true community.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."Revelation 7:9-10