Maria Uzel | The Tartan
Dr. Frank Clark, a psychiatrist that lives and works in the New River Valley
presented a speech on “Faith” at Radford University on Wednesday, Feb. 17. This event was sponsored by the Center of Diversity and Inclusion and it was the third time that he had been there; any student was allowed to attend.
Dr. Clark is originally from Chicago and currently lives in Radford, VA. Clark went through a big change when he was younger because he originally lived in Chicago, which is a very urban area. He moved to Wisconsin at the age of 16. He moved there because he got accepted into a boarding school that would look good on his resume for college. This was a big culture shock for him because there were not many minorities and the area was so different from Chicago.
Clark went to church off and on as a kid but when he moved to Wisconsin. He moved away from his religious faith. When discussing this Clark stated, “Faith without action is meaningless”. He was involved in a few sports at his high school and one of them was cross country. One day his coach told him that there is an organization known as “fellowship of Christian athletes” and he invited him to come join their local bible study. This got him more involved with his faith and made him realize that was another missing piece of his lifestyle.
When Clark was in medical school, he was diagnosed with depression and experienced this all four years. After going through this, he realized that he could not be the best friend, husband, or doctor without his faith. When Clark first began his speech, he asked the students in the room, “How often does faith get talked about?”
One student, Sam, said, “not often” and another student, Megan, said, “it only really gets mentioned when religious preachers come to campus. Although, they don’t leave a good impression because they are very rude and say rude things such as certain races or women on campus are whores and that they are going to Hell.”
After their responses, he followed with another question and asked, “Why doesn’t it come up a lot?” Different students in the crowd said that it was because of controversy and many people have different views and it may be awkward. They said it was the same with other controversy topics such as race or politics.
Later on, he asked all students, “What do you all think about religion and why do think it isn’t mentioned a lot?”
A student here at Radford, Destiny replied with, “I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and I am afraid to tell my surrounding peers because many connect a negative stigma with this religion.”
Another student said that he has experienced culture shock before. He said that he went a synagogue once and he had never been to one before and he didn’t realize how different people express their faith.
When Clark asked if anyone had anyone had a question, one female student asked what his favorite scripture is; he said it is Jeremiah 29:11. This is from the Bible and says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
After everyone was done asking questions, Clark ended his speech with, “You shouldn’t be afraid to talk about faith and find a way to get out of your comfort zone. Even if it is a small dinner with friends, ask them what their religious beliefs are. Don’t be ashamed of your faith, skin color, or sexual orientation. Also, remember to let your light shine.”
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