Student Programming Introduces Chapel Series on “Gender, Faith, Culture”

Chapel programs encourages students to discuss different perspectives on gender

Nov. 4, 2015 By Angelene Wong

Biola’s Student Programming Department is hosting this semester’s educational programming week, which will feature various chapel sessions surrounding the theme “Gender, Faith, Culture.” The educational programming week will take place from Nov. 2 through Nov. 6 and aims to encourage students to examine their perspectives about gender and challenge awareness of gender norms, stereotypes and identity.


Derek Gutierrez, assistant director of Student Programming, said the theme was chosen based on a survey students filled out last year. Student Programming wants to focus on topics that are relevant to the student body and the surrounding Biola community.

“Beyond everything, we believe that Biola is a place where students are encouraged to learn and grow both inside and outside the classroom in a holistic manner,” Gutierrez said. “Giving opportunities to engage outside of the classroom, like with educational programming weeks, helps to achieve that goal.”

The week will feature speakers Kate Wallace, founder of The Junia Project, professors of Biblical and theological studies Ron Pierce and Dave Talley, Nate Pyle, pastor and author of “Man Enough”, and LaDawn Johnson, professor of sociology. Each will focus on different theological, psychological and sociological perspectives about gender.

Gutierrez hopes students will use this week to challenge their personal assumptions about gender and interact with different perspectives.

“Leaving our gendered lenses unexamined sets us up for failure in our ability to interact with others positively, and potentially makes us blind to damage that we may cause in the lives of others,” said Gutierrez. “On the flip side, being able to step into a space with a developed self awareness of your gender and how it affects both you and others makes you a more competent and culturally humble person.”

Each chapel session is organized so students can discuss different perspectives about gender, gender roles and gender identity. Gutierrez notes that this week is not built to teach one viewpoint of gender, but to instead value different perspectives about gender within the community.

“We are all called to care for one another whatever our cultural or gender lens may be,” said Gutierrez. “Engaging in critical dialogue about this topic is a main aspect of achieving that aim.”

Student Programming wants students to engage with different perspectives outside of this week, and encourages the community to continue conversations apart from the hosted events.

Various interactive stations will be set up around campus to promote dialogue, including a discussion wall by Fluor Fountain, an art display by Biola’s coffee shop Common Grounds, and a conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #GenderFaithCulture.

Student Programming has also provided a list of resources students can use to further engage in conversations about gender. Gutierrez encourages students to engage in the Biola Counseling Center, walk-in counseling at Student Development, Thrive Ministries, Institute for Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Counseling.

“We are aware that we aren't going to go as deep as we would want to with these short events, but we do encourage students to use these resources to continue in this conversation,” Gutierrez said.

Student Programming invites students to further dialogue about gender in classrooms, living spaces and student clubs and ministries. Gutierrez hopes that the educational programming week will spark a significant conversation that will last beyond the events.

Written by Angelene Wong. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, media relations specialist, at (562) 777-4061 or

[<Category: Student Life>]

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