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During CultureFest address, Cha stresses importance of Christian unity

Peter Cha, of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, speaks in chapel March 11. (Photo by Beth Spain)
Peter Cha, of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, speaks in chapel March 11. (Photo by Beth Spain)

JACKSON, Tenn.March 15, 2011 – In a culturally diverse society, Christians should be willing to embrace Christians from other cultures and backgrounds, Peter Cha told Union University students March 11.

“Are they merely traveling companions, or do you relate to them as your brothers and sisters in Christ because you worship the same God, and because you’re claimed by the same God?” Cha asked.

Cha, associate professor of pastoral theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, was the guest speaker in chapel as part of Union’s second annual CultureFest, an event designed to promote cross-cultural communication and to celebrate cultural diversity.

Cha is an expert in Asian-American Christianity and in the cross-cultural implications of the gospel. While he encouraged the Union community to be one of racial and cultural unity, he also warned against cultural “blind spots” and underestimating each culture’s ability to create certain idols and sinful practices.

He referenced Jesus’ prayer in John 17 that God would unify his people, so those outside the faith would see their unity and know that Jesus was sent by God.

“If this truth was critical and significant throughout church history, I think it is particularly significant today,” Cha said.

In addition to Cha’s chapel address, CultureFest included several displays in the main hallway of the Student Union Building from students, faculty and staff representing different cultures and regions of the world. Using artwork, artifacts, clothing, music and food samples, the displays offered glimpses and tastes to the cultural diversity that exists in the Union community, with 44 states and 30 countries represented.

“I think CultureFest exceeded our expectations,” said John Netland, Union University English professor. “The student displays were exceptional. There was a palpable excitement in the hallway of the SUB, and it was such a joy to see students take such interest in the many cultures represented.”

The day concluded with an “open mic” night in Barefoots Joe, with students singing and reciting culturally diverse music and literature.

The event was planned by several campus groups, including the Intercultural Community Council, MOSAIC, International Students and Mu Kappa.

Audio of Cha’s chapel address is available at www.uu.edu/audio/detail.cfm?ID=531.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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