By Emily Berry

Staff reporter

What is truth?  That was the question during the 2018-2019 Smith-Wilson Lecture on Thursday Jan. 24.

The Smith-Wilson Lecture is a lecture of religious and moral education.  Southwestern had the privilege of being able to listen to guest speaker Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, who is the first woman and 16th President of Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan, New York.  Dr. Jones spoke about her new book, “Call is Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World,” that will be released later this year.

“The students here are the first generation of students who have had to live with the knowledge that our earth has become so toxic that it may, in large parts of it no longer be inhabitable in less than 100 years. Some parts already becoming uninhabitable” Jones said.

Students also agree with Dr. Jones that we are living in a fractured world. “I do agree that we live in a fractured world and it’s easy to tell just as it is easy to hide and it’s pretty obvious we live in a fractured world we just have to see not only our own lives but history and how the world in different parts people are suffering in different ways and are shown in different forms,” said Rebeca Dominguez, philosophy and religion sophomore.

The talking point of the lecture “What is Truth,” can be interpreted in different ways. “I thought she was going more into questions on what is truth, is there an absolute truth, and is everything relative. But she went into something that was more personal, so I wasn’t expecting that. She talked more about truth telling and how hard it is to be honest with ourselves and tell the truth about our past and things that we keep inside of us,” said Dominguez.

 “I honestly thought it would be a breakdown of justifications. Right now we are reading Plato’s Republic and what he does is he breaks down what he know is wrong or right. Then he just does what wrong for the benefit of him and his people. So I thought she was going to say the truth, which is truth for one person and not the entire body of mankind. She really told the truth for everybody” said Justin Criddle, psychology sophomore

 Dr. Jones told truth through stories and history. No matter how hard the truth is to tell it is better to tell it now than in the future when you might not be able to tell anybody and history will repeat itself.

“Grace is about how wonderful and good and loving we are as people. That sin is a reminder to us that all of us are equally capable of harm and brokenness.”

Emily Berry is a sophomore majoring in communication.  You may email her at