At the end of every academic year, we host the Integrative Project symposium, in which The Seattle School’s alumni, current students, faculty, staff, and the Seattle community at large are invited to witness and celebrate the bold, thoughtful, and creative work of our graduating Master of Divinity and MA in Theology & Culture students.

For these students, the Integrative Project serves as a capstone of their time in graduate school—born out of years of study, countless conversations with peers and faculty, and each student’s distinctive embodiment of text, soul, and culture. Their work utilizes a blend of research methodology, personal exploration and engagement, and The Seattle School’s unique lens.

In this video, Steven Michael Denler (MATC) presents on his project, “Reframing Sin: Moving from a Paradigm of ‘Good and Bad’ to a Paradigm of ‘Life and Death’ through the Work of Saint Augustine.”

The way in which we understand sin determines how we understand redemption.

Steven argues that the common, dominant understandings of sin are primarily about ensuring a happy afterlife, with little effect on our current lives. But this life is more than an audition for the next life. “Sin isn’t simply some act that disqualifies us from the experience of life later, but is the very thing that moves us out of life now.”

Pulling from the New Testament and the work of St. Augustine, Steven invites us to consider sin as a movement or a posture, rather than singular acts, and as being positioned on a spectrum between life and death—which has significant implications on our understandings of faith, belief, trust, redemption, the life of Jesus, and our day-to-day lives. “If sin is the movement away from life, and life is found in the imaging of God by engaging vulnerable, loving relationship, then sin is that which moves us away from our created identity. And we can conclude that sin is ultimately mistrust of relationship.”

(Also, in case you missed it, be sure to check out “Transforming Death,” Steven’s address from The Seattle School’s 2016 Commencement.)