In the next week or so there are going to be two awesome events taking place at UCLA.
The first is Yuki Akaishi‘s Senior Recital in the Jan Popper Theatre of Schoenberg Hall on Saturday, April 21st starting at 8 PM. I have had the distinct pleasure of witnessing Yuki’s maturation as a musician firsthand over her/our four years here. I even got to play with her in my fellowship’s worship band during my sophomore year! She’s now the leader of Road to Damascus A Capella, has her own band, and is performing at UCLA’s prestigious Spring Sing in May, which has featured the likes of Sara Bareilles and members of Danville and Maroon 5. This event is free (given her rise, probably not going to happen again soon), so come one, come all!
The second is The Veritas Forum at UCLA. From their website:
Veritas Forums are university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. We seek to inspire the shapers of tomorrow’s culture to connect their hardest questions with the person and story of Jesus Christ.
I thought that the whole experience was very positive. When I was approached by the Bowdoin student members of Veritas about participating, I was initially dubious. The last thing I wanted was to find myself as part of a heavy-handed proselytizing operation. On the other hand, I am completely in favor of increasing the level of dialogue between secular and religious perspectives on life’s most important questions, and both the Veritas website and the student organizers at Bowdoin heavily emphasized their genuine interest in dialogue, in generating light rather than heat. So I agreed to be a part of it, and I’m very glad that I did. The event was run with precision and professionalism, and, true to the advertising, from beginning to end the focus was exploration and the search for truth, rather than advocacy or preaching. Needless to say, the deepest philosophical and religious issues were not definitively settled at the forum. However, the event did demonstrate that one can have completely civil discourse where points of agreement are acknowledged and developed, while points of disagreement are still hit head on, but without rancor and with a genuine attempt to understand the other’s position. In these polarized times, that is an extremely worthwhile lesson.