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USA News

Race-oriented ministry shuts down due to internal tension over race

by Premier Journalist

The Lenses Institute, a Cru-owned ministry focused on encouraging Christian leadership concerning race and ethnicity, has shut down.

The Lenses Group and its operation known as the Lenses Institution is a subdivision of the college campus ministry Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ). The organization's mission is to "equip the people of God to fight for oneness by influencing the way Christian leaders see, understand, and act in our ethnically and culturally diverse world." This includes expanding religious leaders' understanding of racial and ethnic identity alongside other training programs. Lenses operate several operations across the United States, including Atlanta GA, Dayton OH, New York NY, and Orlando FL.

On July 29, the Lens Twitter account announced that it would be shutting its doors. In a statement posted to Twitter, Lenses states that: "The climate within Cru, affected by forces inside and outside of the organization, has become cautious, unclear and in some places even toxic." The leadership claims that these forces have created a climate of "suspicion, mischaracterization and in some cases direct intimidation." These forces argued that the vision presented at Cru and Lenses are misaligned and has lead to a drift in the college campus ministry's mission. As such, the organization has decided to close.

The decision to close Lenses is one made independent of the Cru leadership. On July 30, Cru tweeted out that "The decision to close Lenses and the subsequent announcement was made independently, apart from Cru Leadership." The organization acknowledges the "very real hurt and disappointment experienced by those who released the statement." 

The forces mentioned by the Lenses executive team are referencing a 171-page report published in November 2020 and went online in May 2021. The report was signed by 60+ members of Cru and became a highly controversial subject upon the report's leak. In the report, Lenses was one of the organizations specifically focused on by the authors. According to the report's authors, Lenses was a "dangerous and divisive" organization that promoted authors and scholars who are advocates for critical race theory. These include Robin Diangelo, Ibram X. Kendi, Jemar Tisby, and several others. The report's authors claim that Lenses was pushing their attendees away from "Proclaiming Christ" and toward a fixation on "The fight for justice."

The Lenses Institute's website is still up and shows little change in its decision to shut down. 

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