Honoring the Other

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Understanding the Other

An interview with Anna Medearis, daughter of international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations, Carl Medearis.

Love breaks boundaries

Honors Conference creates discussion about loving ‘the other’

Photo by Kara Hackett

Photo by Kara Hackett
Keynote speaker Miroslav Volf of Yale University tells students to study the works of writers who challenge Christian theology, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, in the Honors Conference closing address in Rediger Auditorium, “Honor Everyone: Respecting Those from Whom We Strongly Differ.” Volf emphasizes the need for love and understanding among people of conflicting beliefs.

By Kara Hackett

She will tell you about Christ, but she won’t tell you she’s a Christian.

“Jesus wasn’t a Christian, and he didn’t start Christianity,” said Anna Medearis, daughter of speaker and missionary Carl Medearis.

Today, Anna Medearis is a junior at Taylor University, but from 1992 to 2004, she lived with her family in Beirut, Lebanon, where Islam is the dominant faith, and Christianity is colored by American culture.

Her father, Carl Medearis, evangelizes by telling Muslims about Jesus Christ and the New Testament parables. His message about love that breaks boundaries set the tone for the second annual Honors Conference hosted by the Taylor University Honors Guild Saturday, March 31, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Speakers around campus and around the world built student discussion about the theme, “Restoration of the Other: Bridging the Gap between Us and Them.”

Although representatives from Calvin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Grace College and Heritage Christian University were in attendance, the message was specifically for Taylor students.

“We want to help students break down their desire to love the world into the image of Christ, God’s creation of everyone as humans and what that means for how we relate to one another,”said Director of Honors Programming Jennifer Moeschberger.

The conference helped students see how Christianity is misrepresented in modern society. Around the world, it is associated with war and American culture, so countries that call America a Christian nation mistake what is American for what is Christian.

“Now the meaning of Christianity has changed so much, it’s almost better to evangelize without saying you’re a Christian,” said Honors Guild sophomore David Chiu.

For Anna Medearis, the most effective evangelism focuses on Christ rather than Christianity because Christ is good news for everyone. This forces students to tread the fine line between honor and acceptance when confronted with conflicting beliefs.

“It’s like MiroslavVolf says, ‘You will always have to honor the other,’” Anna Medearis said. “That goes back to what Jesus said about loving your enemies—not just your neighbors.”

Kara Hackett can be reached at karahackett@gmail.com.

Photo by Kara Hackett
Honors Conference attendees mingle in the atrium of Rupp Communications Building at Taylor University and register with Honors Guild members sophomore David Chiu (right end of table), senior Holly Murphy (center of table) and senior Hannah Warstler (left end of table).

Photo By Kara Hackett
Taylor University Associate Professor of Psychology and Honors Guild Director Scott Moeschberger introduces keynote and breakout session speakers before the conference begins at 10 a.m.

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