As someone who just celebrated the "black lives" of six Cornerstone graduates, in the midst of preparing for the return of 135 "black lives" in the fall, I found the recent news from Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minneapolis particularly upsetting. While Cornerstone's students are out for the summer, I can envision the pain on their faces, and can almost hear the discussions they are surely having with their friends and family as each new video comes to light. This past week's news would have made for a lively and prayerful time at Cornerstone.
No doubt all of us feel a sense of unease over what is being described as a "racial tinder box" in America -- a tinder box that many believe has now been lit. With each new day, the dialogue on race seems to get more divisive and less informed.
And while it would be easy to get discouraged, I thank God every day, literally, for having placed me at Cornerstone for such a time as this. You see, there is no greater antidote to racism's poison than "knowing" -- knowing God's truth, knowing God's people and knowing God's plan.
Our students' grasp of God's truth allowed our six graduating seniors to be accepted into Yale, George Washington University, University of Maryland at College Park, Eastern Mennonite University, Marymount, Bowie State, Indiana Tech, Tuskegee and many other great colleges and universities. Rather than fitting some media driven negative and untrue stereotype, Cornerstone graduates have the tools to become leaders in their communities which will allow them to help shatter tired stereotypes and to make real and lasting change as they move from college to their vocations.
Our students' grasp of God's people is formed by their exposure to the vast human color pallet of our God. Through the diversity of our staff, through a partnership program that brings dozens of families into the school every quarter and through joint projects with suburban schools like Trinity Christian, Dominion Christian, Lorien Wood, Trinity at Meadowview and Providence Baptist Preschool (to name a few), our students are getting to meet and know people of many different races. Sprinkled on top of this are the hundreds of others who come through our school every year as volunteers and donors to share their love -- again, most from a different racial and economic profile than our students. Not only will our students benefit from the love they will remember for a lifetime, but those that visit will forever remember the friendship, hospitality and beauty of the children they meet in our hallways and classrooms.
Finally, our students' knowledge that God has a plan for their lives provides a peace that a greater power is at work. When fear or hopelessness arise, they know to call on God and to rest in His comfort and protection as they follow His perfect plan.
While our primary mission at Cornerstone is to provide a rigorous education and to prepare our students for a relationship with their Creator, I have often marveled at how God has allowed Cornerstone to be a place where so many people of different races come together with great love and where differences are explored and celebrated.
In many ways, Cornerstone and schools like it are essential to douse the flames of division and to begin the hard work of understanding. Your continued prayers, support and participation in events at Cornerstone are an invaluable, meaningful and tangible act to help heal our broken country.
A quick side note: Cornerstone has a long history and relationship with our police community, as we allow our Juniors and Seniors to participate in the Metropolitan Police Youth Advisory Counsel where they spend time with local officers and build relationships with "blue lives." May God use these relationships in a healing way.