Intersect 2008 - The Evangel and the Ethnopolis
Intersect 2008: Creating conversations for people to experience God in the intersection of cultures.
“An emphasis on diversity and intercultural understanding has become essential in today's society,” said Garth Clayborn, Program Coordinator of The David and Faith Kim School of Global Missions. Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary has responded to this need with Intersect, a week-long event which provides students, faculty and staff a platform for open dialogue about cultural interpretation. “It's an opportunity to celebrate our unity in Christ despite our cultural differences,” Clayborn noted.
Intersect is a campus experience which focuses on cultural diversity and understanding. This 4th annual event held November 3-7, 2008, at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, is sponsored by The David and Faith Kim School of Global Missions. This year's theme, The Evangel and the Ethnopolis, explored what it means to engage the culture of the world's increasingly diverse urban centers.
Many activities were experienced during the week including passionate worship, compelling presentations and interactive workshops. The conference incorporated three brown bag lunch dialogues, an election night coffee house, a flag procession with flags of all nations, a campus-wide cross-cultural lunch, and the exploration of cultural confusion and resolution through viewing and discussing the Academy Award-winning film Crash.
“Churches are struggling to adapt to the world around us, which is becoming more intercultural,” said guest speaker Eric Bryant, who oversees the leadership team at Mosaic Church in Los Angeles. Eric also teaches at the Seminary’s Southern California campus and is the author of Peppermint-Filled Piñatas: Breaking Through
Tolerance and Embracing Love.
During one of three Chapel services at which Bryant spoke, he told Seminary students that the Apostle Paul encourages us to spend time with people with whom we differ. “The cause of Christ creates community,” he noted, reminding his listeners that Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” which Bryant said was an invitation to change the world.
“Intersect’s purpose is to inspire and celebrate God’s creative activities, which honor
diversity and unity,” said Dr. Faith Kim, founder of Intersect and Chair of the Seminary’s Intercultural Education Department. “This year’s theme reminds us that cities gather scattered peoples, but only the gospel makes them one.”
The multi-ethnic conference offered several food-centric activities, including the popular cross-cultural lunch. Eight food stations representing eight various cultures provided students, staff and faculty with a delicious taste of popular ethnic dishes. Many of those serving the foods dressed in their national clothing. Shane Tanigawa, Student Services Residence Life Manager and coordinator of the luncheon, said, “I think of this as a multi-cultural Thanksgiving. Any time we break bread, there is going to be fellowship.” He noted that eating together is an opportunity to get to know people better.
Golden Gate Seminary, the tenth largest seminary in the U.S., currently has a student population composed of 54 percent non-Anglo and 46 percent Anglo. Focusing on understanding and embracing diversity, this annual event brings more awareness of the topic to our Seminary family.
"The Intersect Conference is like a Farmers Market for the Faith,” noted Dr. Rick Durst, Professor of Historical Theology, Director of the eCampus and MDIV/MTS Degree Programs. “We all look forward to it. And next year’s event should be the largest ever with Dr. Billy Kim, the world renowned Korean evangelist and Baptist leader, committed to speak on the theme ‘Crossing What Divides.’”