In our newest “From the Field” episode of text.soul.culture, Shauna Gauthier (MA in Counseling Psychology, ‘10), Alumni Outreach Coordinator, talks with Jeremy Dew (MACP, ‘10), a therapist in private practice and the Facilitator of The Seattle School’s Texas Alumni Chapter. Shauna and Jeremy were in the same cohort as graduate students, and the rapport of their long-time friendship is evident in this conversation, which starts with Jeremy’s reflections on an uprooted childhood that required him to be a charismatic, often silly kid who made new friends easily and maintained a positive, happy persona. As the oldest of five children in a family that moved often, Jeremy felt his role was to be exemplary in his ability to hold everything together—a burden that left him struggling to identify who he was beneath the surface.
Shauna: “I’m most compelled by Jeremy’s full-spectrum capacity to dive deep into heartache—his own and others’—and to leap so high into all sorts of play, especially in his play with his own children.”
Jeremy went to college to become a youth pastor, but a couple of years into school he realized that he had significant questions that were being answered in ways that felt disappointing and cheap. The environment seemed increasingly isolated and self-absorbed; it was all too easy to focus on obscure passages of Scripture or dense theological questions that felt removed from the day-to-day realities of the rest of the world.
Jeremy: “It felt like many of the ways that we were answering questions of God further isolated us from the rest of the world.”
So Jeremy pursued other work—Starbucks, bronze casting, a microbrewery. He found himself longing for something more, but he knew it wouldn’t look like the pastoral education he’d seen before. Around this time he was exposed to work coming out of The Seattle School, and he was intrigued by its openness to the rest of the world, a willingness to learn about God in unexpected places. Jeremy had tried walking away from his faith, but “I couldn’t quite shake it.” He was drawn to The Seattle School as a place where he could learn and wrestle with truth without having to artificially surrender his questions.
Jeremy: “What has felt true of vocation, and even calling, is that somehow it’s felt like that has been written in the peaks and in the valleys of my story. Both the places where I have known of my goodness and been uniquely named and uniquely spoken into, and in the places where I’ve been most harmed and violated. Somehow my calling aligns those two.”
Shauna asks Jeremy what he has learned about vocation, calling, and sustainability, in the years since his time at The Seattle School. The conversation also touches on what Jeremy’s work with parents has revealed about his own parenting, on what surprises and grounds him in his work, and on his heartbreak about the ways that men have used and abused power. The #MeToo, #ChurchToo, and #TimesUp movements have highlighted the need for his to keep pursuing his own growth and to help other men and young boys address their violent reactions to fragility and harm.
Jeremy: “Vocational sustainability has be wrapped up in who I am as a father as well, and as a husband.”
Resources to Go Deeper
Jeremy shares that he’s had a “renewed energy for reading” lately. Here’s what he’s into these days:
Turning Inward: Essays on Finding God in Female Sexuality by Christine Marietta, over which Jeremy has cried with clients who feel validated in new ways by Christine’s words.
The Mermaid and the Minotaur by Dorothy Dinnerstein, a feminist psychoanalyst writing in the ‘70s.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes—most people read this as kids, but a client recommended it to Jeremy to better understand where she’s coming from.
The Scapegoat by Rene Girard—Jeremy heard about it in school and sometimes found himself using that language, so he decided to figure out what he meant by it.
For more from Jeremy, check out the video of his Symposia 2016 presentation, “Practical Parenting: When Good Enough Is Good Enough, Even for the Trained Professional as Parent.”