For the past few years, I have served as the president of Model United Nations here at Eastern University. The club might be familiar to some of you who participated in high school, but in college, it is another experience entirely. Eastern University sends a team every year to the Harvard Model united Nations conference in Boston, MA. There, Eastern students will compete in mock committees to debate policy and have serious conversations about issues both past and present. However, I didn’t write this article as an advertisement. Instead I would like to share why I personally am motivated to be involved in politics, and why I think you should too.
The apostle Paul writes in Galatians 3 that in Christ, the typical boundaries that society puts up to separate people disappear in Christ. There is no more slave or free, male or female, Gentile or Jew. That ideal world described by Paul may seem far off, especially in the current geopolitical climate that we live in, but there are places in this world where one can see glimpses of what Paul is talking about.
One such place is the United Nations, and more specifically the Model United Nations conferences that happen all across the world. Teams of college students prep throughout the world to come together and debate problems and topics that have real world impacts through a series of committee sessions and out-of-committee discussions. Through these discussions and debates, the end goal is to figure out how the United Nations could handle these situations that affect very real people. Do these policies get put into place? No, we are college students after all. However, I would argue that the actual policies are the least important part of the trips. What is important is that college students are engaging in the political system of the world and are building bridges across cultures.
Before I go much further, I want to clear up one thing: You cannot be Christian and stay out of politics. Being a Christian, at its very core, is a political move. Our Lord and Savior’s crucifixion was a political move. Healing on the Sabbath, dining with prostitutes and tax collectors, even the cleansing of the Temple were all political moves in order to usher in the Kingdom of God and an attack against Roman and Temple rule. To stay out of politics, but also hold onto your Christian identity, is going against the entire tradition of Christianity.
I say this not to stir the pot, but to light a fire underneath us and to get us, as a generation who has seemingly turned a blind eye to the world of politics, invigorated and interested in the political life. If we claim to be Christ’s followers, then we should act like it. We may not all be called to martyrdom, but we are called to live like Christ and follow in His ways.
One of those things he did was to cross borders that society had put up. Be it gender, social class, or ethnicity, He crossed them all. Similarly, we have a chance to do that at these conferences. At the conferences we have attended in the past, we have encountered people from 50+ countries, in all corners and locations of the map. We have had discussions, conversations, shared stories and broken bread together. We laughed, we cried, and for those moments we saw each other not as American and Saudi Arabian, or white and black; we saw each other as simply human. So often we get caught up in a worldview centered on America, on people who look like us and talk like us.
Eastern University offers a variety of avenues for students to pursue justice outside of the classroom. If you feel that same call toward the political sphere I highly recommend joining us to gain some perspective on what that looks like outside the American media cycle.
Through these conferences and the experiences that we have, that worldview is shifted. No longer can you think about the world in purely American terms, but you are forced to shift the view to encompass everyone else. It is only through discussion, dialogue, and compassion that we can further the Kingdom. We are one people, on one planet.