Today’s Faculty Friday interview is with Dr. Ron Ruthruff, Associate Professor of Theology & Culture. Dr. Ruthruff has served homeless and street-involved youth and their families for the past 30 years. He has provided case management services, designed programs, and educated the community on the issues that impact this vulnerable population. Ron’s career goal is to empower persons to live lives of significance; to equip the church to love and serve their neighbors; and to engage communities in cross-cultural and global conversations.

Ron’s education is an eclectic blend of social work, counseling, and theological studies. Ron holds a Doctorate of Ministry in Complex Urban Settings from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston. His dissertation title, Welcoming Kids to the Table of Community: New Horizons Ministries as a Model of Service to Homeless Runaway Adolescents, addresses the psychosocial and spiritual issues surrounding homeless adolescents and describes a relationally based and theologically supported service delivery strategy to serve these marginalized young people.

Ron is an associate with the Center for Transforming Mission, providing training and support for grassroots urban leaders serving youth and families in hard places around the world. Closer to home, Ron is on a regular preaching schedule at several local churches. He lives in the Rainier Valley, a multicultural neighborhood in the south end of Seattle with his wife, Linda, with whom he has served for nearly 30 years. Their two adult sons, Ben and Clayton, live close by.

Ron teaches courses focused on practical theology, such as “Being the Word on the Street,” “Engaging Global Partnerships,” and “Care of the Soul and the Call to Sacred Activism.”

What are you currently reading?

I am reading  lots of Angela Davis lately, as she has traveled this path a bit longer than me. Also The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

What have you been listening to lately?

My musical taste gets more nostalgic the older I get, so Margo Price, Chris Stapleton, and I just saw a great band called Sarah Shook and the Disarmers.

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

As I am working on a third book, I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on whiteness and identity.

Any exciting summer plans?

Speaking at Wild Goose this summer, which should be fun, and heading to Kenya in the summer term with a few students. I am also always trying to be a more proficient motorcycle rider!

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

No question: Johnny Cash.

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

I would love to own a tavern/BBQ joint that played blues and Americana music. I would also love to be a prison chaplain.

Who is your literary or living hero?

Arnold Spirit, in The Absolutely True Biography of a Part-time Indian. Also, the young men that build furniture at 118 Designs here in Seattle.