Today’s faculty highlight is Dr. Dwight J. Friesen, Associate Professor of Practical Theology. Dr. Friesen brings many years of contextual pastoral experience to The Seattle School. Currently he is serving 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.
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 church leadership and ecclesial structure. He earned his master’s degree from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois and his undergraduate degree from Ambrose University College in Calgary, Alberta.
Dwight joined The Seattle School in 2004. He is passionate about discovering, learning from, and training locally grounded leaders for Christ’s church emerging after Christendom. In addition to his leadership development work at the seminary, Dwight is a consultant for churches and missional organizations seeking a more faith ministry within their contexts, and has a focus on helping churches flip the script on funding ministry through reimagining asset management. He was a co-founder of the Inhabit Conference, a founding board member of Parish Collective, and he engages internationally with the Urban Shalom Society in service of United Nations-Habitat.
He has served on the National Council of Churches’ “Faith & Order Commission” and regularly consults, coaches, and speaks to leaders, local churches, regional denominational groups, and independent alternative parish expressions from a wide array of Christian traditions. Dwight 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: www.dwightfriesen.com.
What are you currently reading?
The Rhythm of Being: The Unbroken Trinity, by Raimon Panikkar
Spiritual Care in an Age of #BlackLivesMatter: Examining the Spiritual and Prophetic Needs of African Americans in a Violent America, edited by Danielle J. Buhuro
Women Out of Order: Risking Change and Creating Care in a Multicultural World, edited by Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner & Teresa Snorton
Activist Theology, by Robyn Henderson-Espinoza
Injustice and the Care of Souls: Taking Oppression Seriously in Pastoral Care, edited by Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook & Karen Montagno
What have you been listening to lately?
An audio journal on faith and culture (audio journal)
Insight Timer (app)
The Witness (podcast)
Tara Brach (podcast)
Thelonious Monk (Jazz pianist)
What research do you find yourself drawn to at the moment?
Two realms currently:
- Learning from church expressions who are finding new life by listening to, joining with, and reimagining their assets for the flourishing of their neighbors and their neighborhoods.
- Having grown increasingly concerned about the neo-colonial outworking of “missional” theology, and apparent theological overreach of “incarnational” ministry, I am researching possible alternative narratives and language from Scripture and Christian tradition to better describe the telos of life in the Way of Jesus.
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 love of the Triune God compels his service of Christ’s church… in all its forms.
Dwight has authored, co-authored, or contributed to numerous books including: