Today’s faculty highlight is Dr. Dwight J. Friesen, Professor of Practical Theology… who just celebrated twenty years with our learning community.

Dr. Friesen is passionate about reimagining how people imagine and practice following in the way of Jesus the Christ, personally and collectively. His scholarly work centers on how people convene together in local communities which fosters greater imagination, practices, postures, and narratives for experiencing G-d’s Shalom; the centering of G-d’s Shalom within real places with real neighbors subverts the values, practices, and narratives of classism, sexism, racism, naturism, and all systems that seek to oppress. Dwight describes his professional calling as: “searching for, learning with, and training leaders for the ‘church’ emerging after Western whiteness Christianity.”

Known for beginning his classes by sounding a singing bowl and lighting a peace candle, Dwight brings many years of contextual pastoral leadership experience to The Seattle School. Recently, he served as the part-time Pastor of Bellevue’s St Luke’s Lutheran Church. He was the community-curate of an Eastside emerging simple church for more than 11 years; he was ordained by the Christian & Missionary Alliance until surrendering those credentials in solidarity with women seeking ordination. He is a liturgical Anabaptist with progressive and emergent sensibilities, actively seeking to root his faith practice within place while linking globally with others who are seeking to live into their contexts. Dwight aims to free the apophatic and cataphatic theologies to dance together.

Dr. Friesen earned his Doctor of Ministry degree at George Fox University, where his dissertation research focused on the development of a relational hermeneutic toward connective leadership and ecclesial structures. He earned his master’s degree from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois where his thesis explored biblical images and metaphors of community, and his undergraduate degree from Ambrose University College in Calgary, Alberta.

In addition to his leadership development work at our seminary, Dwight is a consultant for local faith communities and missional organizations seeking an even more faithful presence within their contexts, and has a focus on helping neighborhood churches – from a wide array of traditions – flip the script on funding ministry through reimagining asset management. He is a co-founder of the Inhabit Conference, a founding board member of Parish Collective, and engages internationally with the Urban Shalom Society in service of United Nations-Habitat. His personal calling & realms of professional expertise make meaningful contact in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) eleven & sixteen…Cities & Peace. Dwight will be participating in UN-Habitat’s World Urban Forum 12 (WUF12) later this year in Egypt. He has served on the National Council of Churches’ “Faith & Order Commission,” and has served as an adjunct professor at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels at seminaries and Bible colleges in both Canada and the USA, and regularly speaks at conferences both nationally and internationally.

Dwight and his partner Lynette live in the Lake Hills neighborhood of Bellevue, Washington where they are adjusting to life as empty nesters. His personal blog is:

What are you currently reading?

Rest is Resistance, by Tricia Hersey
The Amen Effect, by Sharon Brous
Who Do We Choose to Be, by Meg Wheatley
Slow Productivity, Cal Newport

What have you been listening to lately?

An audio journal on faith and culture (audio journal)
Insight Timer (app)
The Witness (podcast)
Queerology (podcast)
Tara Brach (podcast)
Thelonious Monk (Jazz pianist)
Middle Kids (Band)

What research do you find yourself drawn to at the moment?

Two realms currently:

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would they be?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Rosa Parks; Michael Polanyi; Dirk Willems … Jesus would be great, but I think we already have a dinner on the books.

If you weren’t in your current profession you’d be…?

A designer, interior or landscape; maybe a poet.

Who is your literary or living hero?

Currently, Greta Thunburg.

Learn More about Dr. Dwight Friesen:

Through his work with The Seattle School, Parish Collective, the Urban Shalom Society, and UN-Habitat, Dwight has had opportunity to visit hundreds of parish expressions around the world and is especially attentive to groups who are seeking to form communities of whole-life disciples of Jesus by operationalizing the love of God as the love of neighbor through faithful presence.

Dwight listens for challenges facing institutional systems, local church economic realities, quests for liberation and equity, pandemic challenges, etc., curious to discover how emerging challenges might be a kind of invitation from the Spirit to discover new ways to love God by loving our neighbors and ourselves. Dwight’s personal and mystical encounter and ongoing relationship with the Triune G-d as seen in Jesus of Nazareth compels his service of Christ’s church in all its forms.

Dwight has authored, co-authored, or contributed to numerous books including: