Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Communication Arts Department Statement on Hospitality and Cultural Engagement

The Communication Arts Department of Malone College encourages you, as part of our mission statement, and as one of our students to “act as agents of truth, reflection, transformation and reconciliation.” We recognize that one of the best opportunities that we have as story-builders and story-tellers to act as these kind of agents is by participating in the story-telling in our culture.

In theater, journalism, public relations and other media production roles, Christians will always feel the RUB of our story – the Gospel of God – against the other stories that people bring to these contexts. Our goal is not to silence those stories or triumph over them – instead, through patient listening and engagement – we want to engage Other’s stories as a means to embrace the wholeness of the gospel –joining in the Divine compassion for the human condition.

We want our classrooms, our films, our columns, our PSAs, and our theater productions to ENGAGE stories, sometimes even stories that challenge our assumptions and even undermine our core beliefs and values. We believe that a Christian college is the best place to examine such stories. In the hospitable context of a community of faith – we can dialogue and understand more deeply stories that both affirm our beliefs and those that challenge them.

We will try, whenever possible, to alert you to “controversial” ideas that may be a part of some of the stories we choose to engage. Sometimes we will even offer alternative experiences and allow you to “opt out” of the controversial media. But we encourage you in all cases to demonstrate the hospitality that Christ did when he encountered brokenness. When you feel defensive, try to seize that moment as an opportunity for growth and openness. Also, please come and talk to your instructor privately and express your feelings.