2 Corinthians 5:20 “We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God.”
Normally we think of ambassadors being called out, to an external place or community, to represent the needs of their government. At times, ambassadors also act as hosts, inviting others in to experience the values, the hospitality, and the priorities of the ambassador’s home. Two exhibits in Trinity Lutheran Seminary this spring, coordinated by the Center for Faith and Learning, have invited Capital and Trinity community members, along with visitors, to consider the intersections of race, economics, and religion. In this way, these exhibits help us to act as Christ’s ambassadors in the wider community.
Undesign the Redline is an interactive exhibit that explores the history of structural racism caused by the 1938 redlining maps and how this inequality continues to impact our communities today. The exhibit invites participants to consider the ways in which we can come together to “undesign” these systems with intentionality. The Undesign the Redline exhibit travels nationally to cities, towns, and communities. It has been localized for Columbus by a committee of local experts and historians, and it will be on campus through May so that we can learn together, activate, and mobilize into a strong “we” capable of transformation.
Truth Be Told is a collection of pieces from fourteen polymer artists, who met for more than a year to discuss the realities of race. This installations puts the conversations of these 7 Black women and 7 white women put their conversations about systemic racism front and center. The exhibit, which is currently displayed in Gloria Dei Worship Center, is inspired by what these artists call The Gathering, a group of Black and white women artists from across the country who regularly meet over Zoom to discuss racial injustice.
We installed these pieces in public spaces where we gather, worship, and study as a means of intentionally considering what it is that God calls us to do in light of both personal and structural racism. What’s more, it’s provided us with a chance to welcome a number of visitors to campus, including the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the Urban Land Institute, Bexley City Schools, the Presbytery of the Scioto Valley, and more.
It's no accident that we installed these to straddle the seasons of Lent and Easter. These seasons hinge on the mystery of faith—death and resurrection as historical event and as promise for God’s people. That’s why I love the titles of these exhibits. We, as Christ’s ambassadors, are called to undesign the systems of political and economic oppression, trusting amidst the trials that the truth of resurrection will carry us all into eternal homes one day and ensure we all have safe and sacred homes today. We, as Christ’s ambassadors, are called to tell the truth, and as truth tellers, to carry God’s message of liberation into every sphere of life, even those that challenge our comfort. We invite you to come to campus and experience these installations either during business hours or by setting an appointment by emailing email@example.com.
Pastor Drew Tucker University Pastor and Director for the Center of Faith and Learning
Trinity Lutheran Seminary forms leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world.