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. 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 consults with Rero:Fit to help local 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 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, his partner Lynette, their son Pascal, and their one-eyed dog Jack live in the Lake Hills neighborhood of Bellevue, Washington. His personal blog is: www.dwightfriesen.com.
What are you currently reading?
Stamped From the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi
On Decoloniality, by Walter Mignolo
Toward a Theology of Struggle, by Eleazar S. Fernadez
After Whiteness, by Willie James Jennings
Observations of the Moment, by Owen Bryan Jr.
The Universal Christ, by Richard Rohr
Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F. Saad
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)
Cloud Cult (band)
What research do you find yourself drawn to at the moment?
Two realms currently:
- Learning from church expressions finding new life through listening to, joining with, and reimagining their assets for the flourishing their neighbors and their neighborhood.
- 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, Colin Kapernick.
Learn More about Dr. Dwight Friesen:
Through his work with The Seattle School, Parish Collective, the Urban Shalom Society, and Retro:Fit 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 is uniquely aware of the challenges facing institutional systems, local church economic realities, and COVID-19 challenges, and is already observing signs of new post-Christendom ecclesial imagination emerging. Dwight’s love of the Triune God compels his service of Christ’s church… in all its forms.
Dwight has authored or co-authored numerous books including: 2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change; The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship, & Community; and Thy Kingdom Connected: What the Church can Learn from Facebook, the Internet & other Networks.