This week, on the second season finale of text.soul.culture, Dr. Derek McNeil, Senior Vice President of Academics, continues his discussion with Dr. Craig Detweiler, President of The Seattle School. In the first part of this conversation, Craig shared about his personal formation and the journey that led him to The Seattle School. Now, he and Derek look back on the last six months, talk about what it means to make a home in a new city, and dream together about what the future might hold—for Craig and his family, and for the entire Seattle School community.
Craig: “We have the ability to export our education and training in very robust ways. So this isn’t a small thing, it’s actually a very significant thing. We’re trying to be very deep and very personal, at a time when the needs are growing nationally, internationally—the hunger for peace, the hunger for wholeness, the hunger for healing is off the charts.”
Craig shares about his motivation to understand not just The Seattle School and the people in this building, but also our neighborhood and surrounding city—the broader context in which our mission unfolds. He has spent a lot of time out and about going to concerts, museums, lunches, “trying to catch the flavor, the taste of what’s going on.”
Craig: “We’re living in an accelerated age in Seattle. The city itself has grown faster and more than any other city over the last decade in the United States. That creates profound possibilities and profound anxieties. […] Finding home in all that, finding space—it’s tricky. It’s not easy, it’s not quick.”
Derek shares how Craig has brought with him new ways of thinking about the future that are “both disruptive and promising.” It’s a profound time for those new perspectives, as The Seattle School is approaching its 21st birthday—a milestone of identity and maturation. “It’s fascinating to arrive as The Seattle School is graduating a class in their 20th year here and turning toward the 21st year,” says Craig. “Most schools would celebrate their 20th anniversary, but we’re not most schools. I think we’re maybe more interested in celebrating the 21st, because it’s closer to a human rite of passage, moving toward adulthood.”
“I hope in the 21st year, in looking back, we can look at hard things, and we can look at beautiful things, and we can dance together again.”
In the midst of all the change, Derek and Craig also reflect on that which remains true about The Seattle School’s ethos: the annual and seasonal rhythms, the weekly communion, the nine.noon.three bells that chime every three hours as an invitation to re-orient and re-settle. These core shared values—part of what Derek calls “adaptive resilience”—are what ground us, personally and collectively, as we respond to change and dream about the future.
Derek: “You need that looking back to look forward, to recognize in some sense the continuity of us. […] We’re a very hopeful institution, and I think we are coming into this notion of what we are called to be.”
Craig: “We reorient ourselves, at a time of massive confusion, to say ‘these things we know to be true.’ […] Can we lean into that ongoing hope that does not change, at a time when, on any given day, we all feel like we may be about to get swamped? […] Let’s learn from where we’ve been, learn from mistakes we made, acknowledge aches, pains, growing pains, hunger, guilt, longing—and yet here we are, ready to continue.”
As always, thank you for listening to text.soul.culture. You can catch up on every episode from our first two seasons here, and we’ll see you in the fall as we continue the conversation.