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    Leadership Conference: From Bubble to Bridge

    Sarah Shady & Marion Larson of Bethel University, Minnesota

    At John Knox Christian School, over 100 school board members and leaders joined us for a rich day of learning and networking in early November 2022.

    We gathered to hear keynote speakers Drs. Sara Shady and Marion Larson address us on the theme of “From Bubble to Bridge.” They began the day by reminding us, as Diana Eck says, that “diversity is a fact; pluralism is an achievement.”

    This theme of bridge building is timely as we witness increasing diversity and conflict in our society. We were reminded that Christians, and organizations that bear the name of Christ, do not always navigate diversity well.

    We were encouraged to resist models of isolation, discern models of conformity, and embrace models of inclusion. According to Miroslav Volf, inclusion resembles a mutual embrace where “none remains the same because each enriches the other, yet both remain true to their genuine self.” The story of John Lewis reminded us that building bridges can be risky, requiring courage and insight, recognizing that it may invoke conflict and require sacrifice. Bridge building is best achieved when we engage the other with receptive humility, reflective commitment, and imaginative empathy.

    Participants were privileged to hear three unique “bridge-building” stories from Christian school alumni and leaders. We were challenged to envision bridges our Christian schools can build in our local communities.

    —Ed Noot