The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

Guest column: Response to ‘Prism: A space to feel known’

Editor’s note: The opinion section of the Clarion is intended to facilitate public dialogue on current issues and provide a place for responses to Clarion stories. This letter by Vice President of Student Experience Miranda Powers is in response to Prism: A space to feel known and Five LGBTQ+ affirming churches in the Twin Cities.

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to two recent articles that appeared in the May 14, 2024, Clarion: Prism a Place to Belong and 5 Affirming Churches. I appreciated that the article shared that Bethel holds a historical interpretation of Scripture that marriage is between one man and one woman. However, the content of your stories led students and external constituents to question if Bethel had changed its positions. Additionally, many were wondering if Prism is a group that affirms a different viewpoint of marriage than what the institution holds.

External readers and our students see the Clarion as an official voice for the university, even though it is fully a student-led and student-run publication. This past week, I have fielded meetings and questions from thoughtful students who are confused. Bethel’s position on marriage has not changed, and our policies and practices will continue to align with this position.

To all students and specifically those questioning their sexual identity, we want you to know that Bethel is a place you can belong and become. We commit to walking with you in a loving posture as you grow, wrestle, celebrate, grieve, and process.

In the recent article related to Prism, the writer defines it as a space where students can work out their identity. While love is discussed, what is missing is the importance of naming one’s identity as, first and foremost, a fully beloved Child of God. The identity we want all students to wrestle with is this identity, and Prism is one of many spaces where students do this.

Second, the article fails to delineate what Prism is not, and this creates confusion for our community. Prism does not hold an affirming stance on same-sex marriage. The goal of the group is belonging, identity formation as a beloved Child of God, and wrestling with who God is calling students to be. Like many other spaces at Bethel, Prism is a place where students are welcomed, valued, and encouraged to grow in becoming more like Christ.

Additionally, the article on 5 Affirming Churches, highlights churches that hold an affirming viewpoint of same-sex marriage. The content is misleading and confusing as it implies that these churches align with Bethel’s position. The article also missed an opportunity to report on a wider group of churches. This includes those within our Converge denomination, that do not hold an affirming viewpoint of same-sex marriage yet are welcoming, healthy, and God-honoring spaces for our students to worship regardless of their specific theological viewpoints or faith development stage.

As students graduate from Bethel, we want them to be known for their ability to handle differences in a peaceable and loving manner while holding true to their theological principles. This will allow them to become agents of hope, peace, and God’s love in a world that desperately needs them.

-Miranda Powers

Vice President of Student Experience

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