by Alexey Bulokhov
First thing in the morning we had students come up to us and apologize for the graffiti on our bus. A group of students offered to clean it up and later came by our hotel to do so. The act of defacing our bus was a symbolic gesture by some Cleveland residents. So was the act of others volunteering to clean it up. This is the kind of local dialogue we want to foster. These issues are woven into the fabric of each community and need to be addressed. It is unfortunate that it usually takes a publicized hate crime to open communication.
More dialogue occurred. I spoke with a lesbian student who claimed to be out on campus and chose to be celibate and single during her time at Lee. She said she knew the policies when she enrolled and consciously decided to abide by them. I asked her what if she met someone and fell in love. She agreed that since it takes two to tango, she would have to consider her partner’s stand on celibacy and secrecy. It could be a choice between family and education. She hoped she could get through college without meeting someone special. I have deep respect for her tough choices, but feel sad that she had to make these choices to begin with since college is a place where most people kinda hope to meet someone special. Books and lectures alone aren’t enough to ensure successful development of a person. Interpersonal relationships of varying intimacy levels, ranging from trusting friendships to faithful love, are equally as important. Gay students on Christian campuses too often become emotionally and spiritually crippled when such an essential part of their life is missing.
The prayer vigil held in front of the president’s office was a powerful way to formally conclude our visit to Lee, but it felt a bit chaotic and rushed. Lee officials and representatives from other schools crowded around our group listening to what was being said to make sure it didn’t turn into "a speech." A few Lee students joined us, but most watched from a distance. I’m not sure if they genuinely did not want to part-take or felt intimidated or, perhaps, we failed to communicate the action instructions clearly. When we broke bread and wanted to share it with everyone, many people accepted, but some rejected our offer. When half of us departed, the other half stayed on campus to continue talking to students. Ultimately, group consensus is that Lee has been a great stop on our itinerary.
At night we went to the movies and saw V for Vendetta. This is not a movie review, but the film struck close to home. A pseudo-faith-based and fear-fueled corporatocracy is a nightmarish vision of the future many of us dread. I believe that active seeking of justice and freedom for all is a vital process by which humanity separates itself from the animal kingdom. And yes, it can be oh so very very fun!