The Integrative Project serves as a capstone for students in our theological programs as they look back on their training while discerning what it will look like for them to serve God and neighbor in their post-graduate contexts.
The Integrative Project is a capstone research project for students in our theology programs (Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology & Culture) and is completed in their final year of the program. Students work with a faculty advisor to form a project that integrates the student’s passions and calling with the student’s unique embodiment of text, soul, and culture. Students draw from the fullness of their experience at The Seattle School and a robust research methodology to create a major project or paper.
The presentations below synthesize the project thesis along with the student’s experience and research in creating their final project. Final drafts of each Integrative Project are available in The Seattle School’s library.
When you watch these presentations, said Dr. Dwight Friesen, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, you are “bearing witness to the student’s best work to date—to what God is doing in them and through them.”
Look for session five soon.
View session one »
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Learn more about our unique theology programs »
“Behold, I Tell You a Mystery: Reclaiming Liturgy and Sacrament in in Evangelicalism Through the Voice of the Artist,” Evan Wilson, MATC: Interdisciplinary Studies
The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century gave rise to the modern Evangelical church that mistrusts many historic and formal expressions of Christian worship. The Evangelical church today has largely jettisoned the wider church’s emphasis of liturgy and sacrament in favor of an intellectual, individual, and immaterial form of worship that lacks a robust and holistic doxological framework.
This Integrative Project argues that the Evangelical Church must reclaim the importance of liturgy and sacrament in her worship. First, a brief sketch of evangelicalism’s history traces the evolution of this tradition’s relationship toward liturgy and sacrament. Then, an argument is put forth for a renewed emphasis in evangelical worship that tells God’s story through liturgy, experiences God’s mystery through the sacraments, and how the pastoral voice of the artist can shape the framework of liturgy and sacrament in evangelical worship.
“The Centered Community: Identity and Belonging in the Age of Individualism,” David Jaeger, MDiv
Individualism and consumerism have compromised the nature of identity, freedom, and community in the dominant North American culture. Identity and freedom are thought of in terms of individual autonomy, and belonging is a matter of consumer choice. The North American church has fed into and succumbed to this impoverished way of life by offering community and identity based on the same consumer-driven methods as society at large. The result of such an emphasis on individualism are communities whose identities are based on exclusion rather than centered on relationship.
The Biblical witness offers a different take on belonging, telling us that in Christ, all belong. God’s extravagant welcome to us is one that has enough space to comfortably exist with difference. What’s more, in contrast to a culture that tells us that belonging, community, and freedom are based on individual preferences and lifestyles, a proper understanding of Christian community is informed primarily by belonging in Christ and manifests itself in an open, hospitable and prayerful community. The Christian community is not one based on exclusion and individual preference, but on the person of Jesus Christ.
This paper will explore the nature of freedom and identity as described by the book of Ephesians and authors Miroslav Volf, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Richard Rohr. It will then describe hospitality and community as described primarily by Christian thinkers such as Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier. True hospitality reveals the gifts of both the host and hosted, dissolving the distinction between the two. This sort of hospitality comes from the God who welcomes us first.
“Caesura: Pastoring in the Imaginative Space,” Brian Lake, MDiv
A caesura is an unmetered, intentional pause in a piece of music or poetry. It is the gap, the space between what has been and what will come. The caesura is a potent space, where the story that has been told or the notes that have been played give glimpses of what is coming, forming the minds of those experiencing the piece to anticipate and even imagine what is next. This is the driving metaphor behind a pastoral theology that views the work of the pastor as similar to that of the artist—crafting and curating works that invite participants to engage with and be inspired by, in order to imagine how they might then move out into the world.
Pastoral work has been marked by controlling authority for too long; this project aims to present something new, a way of inviting people into the freedom to engage and respond in ways that make sense to them. This pastoral theology—the pastor as artist and curator—aims to spark the imagination in order to draw forth the prophetic community that is the Church, a community made up of people of all vocations and means of participating in the redemptive work of God.
This project explores the conflict of modern and postmodern thought, as well as the gaps that conflict has left; the direction that is drawn out is that of storied spirituality. The project then lays out a prophetic ecclesiology that speaks of a Church that both proclaims and lives into the Kingdom of God, prophetically imagining how that Kingdom is coming about. Lastly, this project explores various tools available to pastors as artists—music, visual art, liturgy, aesthetics, and spiritual practices, all meant to facilitate this consistent narration of the story of God and God’s people, and to locate the stories of people in Church within that story.