Theology of Racial & Ethnic Diversity

Our Vision

George Fox University is a Christ-centered university in the tradition of the Evangelical Friends, also known as the Quakers. As such, we believe that a diverse community is a gift of God and its flourishing is a theological imperative for the people of God. We denounce racism and systems of oppression, and proactively work with the Holy Spirit to eradicate those evils from our institution and society. The following is a theological vision for the George Fox community--a vision which emerges from our theological tradition and biblical foundations, and which calls our community to action.

Our Roots

A Friends theology of diversity is rooted in the words spoken by George Fox, founder of the Friends movement, “Walk cheerfully over the earth, answering that of God in everyone.” This premise, that the image of God, the imago dei, is present in each person, compels us as an institution to become a community where all people may flourish. We celebrate our Friends heritage which includes work to abolish slavery, free prisoners, promote human rights, and deal justly with neighbors. We lament that as Friends, and as Christians, we have fallen short of our high ideals and have participated in and perpetuated systemic injustices. As a Christian institution in the Friends tradition, desiring to pursue God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, we affirm the vision set forth by George Fox: Every person created by God has dignity, honor, and beauty.

God’s Creation

The Bible begins with the story of human beings created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). Every human equally originates in God. Human bodies are created from the earth and given life through the divine breath (Gen. 2:7). God calls human bodies and all creations “good.” Humans in their diverse bodily forms are good and beautiful. In the course of history, however, human actions have led to the destruction of other human beings. The Christian call is to participate in the process of restoring wholeness--shalom--in human relationships and in the earth.

God’s Character

Being created in the image of God calls us as human beings to imitate our creator. As the Trinity is diverse in social relationships within itself, human society reflects the diversity in the being of God. The God of the Bible is justly loving and lovingly just. God is perfect in love and justice and God works to restore creation to wholeness--shalom.

God With Us

The essential foundation of the Christian faith is that the creator of the world became an embodied human being in the form of a first century Jewish man named Jesus. The act of incarnation (Latin: incarnare, becoming flesh) embodies and perpetuates the restoration that God is bringing to creation. Jesus as God on earth established a community which grows and thrives by cultivating the diversity of human embodiment. As a living example of the perfect love of God, he repeatedly commanded and challenged his followers to love God and love their neighbors as themselves.

The Spirit’s Power

The event of Pentecost in Acts 2 enacted this unity founded in difference. At this festive celebration, God infused the community of Christians with divine breath, expressed in a unified community who literally spoke in diverse languages that indexed their varied and embodied life experiences and cultures. The Holy Spirit continues to fuel the spread of God’s love and justice 2 through Christian community and beyond, empowering Christians to participate in the transformational work of God.

Our Calling

An essential part of the thriving, holy community that develops out of relationship with the Incarnate Christ is a diversity of human experiences and contexts. This community is described in Revelation 7:9 as the great multitude “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” declaring the salvation of our God. In this picture of the day when all creation is restored, no ethnicity is excluded. Rather, this heavenly vision of humanity will be fulfilled only as it is composed of people from all experiences and contexts.

Our Commitment

As the George Fox community, we believe that all of God’s creation is good. We embrace a biblical perspective on the human person which answers “that of God in everyone.” We enter into the work of shalom, reconciliation with God and one another. In the call of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to a “beloved community,” we recognize the echo of Christ’s love commandment.

George Fox University exists to educate and inspire students to pursue God’s calling on their lives. In keeping with this purpose, we commit together to participate faithfully in the following essential practices of a beloved community as an expression of love for our God and obedience to our Lord:

  1. Repent

    We acknowledge that a central practice in this way of life together is repentance— being collectively certain of our sinfulness and propensity to do harm. Repentance includes acknowledging harms done individually and communally enacting restoration for specific harms.

  2. Engage

    In our diverse community, we choose to be proactive participants, conducting ourselves with humility and respect. As we pursue deeper understanding and a community that honors God, we will be committed to one another, sitting in discomfort with each other, extending honor, grace, and forgiveness, just as God has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32).

  3. Restore

    We aspire to honestly address and correct behaviors and institutional structures that denigrate others in order to restore shalom in our community. We commit to speak the truth in love to each other so that faithful correction leads to the creation of a loving community in Christ.

  4. Educate

    We commit to learn how to practice respect, mutual understanding, and reconciliation in the ever-changing, diverse world. We continue to equip administrators, faculty, staff, and students with fresh wisdom, creative dialogue and pedagogical skills, and cutting-edge institutional strategies that can promote the Christ-centered community of shalom and harmony in the classroom and campus-wide.

  5. Celebrate

    We foster a culture of celebration with festive events and vibrant talks around the topics of justice, diversity, and shalom where we can feel safe and liberated in candid, critical conversations and celebrate the meaningful work being done on the campus and the surrounding communities.