The Forum at The Seattle School launched its 2015 season with lectures by Peter Rollins, author of The Idolatry of God and Insurrection, and John Philip Newell, a scholar and author known for his studies of the history and theology of Celtic spirituality.

Rollins visited The Seattle School on January 7. His lecture, “God is Undead: Addressing Psychosis and Perversion in Religion,” challenged listeners to question their most fundamental assumptions about God in new, daring ways, urging the audience to listen to the deep and broken parts of themselves—even when it leads to frustration and doubt. “If you cannot speak your brokenness, your brokenness will speak for you,” he said.

On January 14, The Forum partnered with University Congregational United Church of Christ to present John Philip Newell’s lecture, “Celtic Consciousness: The Sacredness of the Earth.” Newell spoke about the necessity of recognizing the goodness of God in ourselves, each other, and the world around us. “Everything is a living utterance of the One—a vibration of the divine presence,” he said. “What has happened to the sacred instinct for oneness?”

Newell returned to The Seattle School on January 15 and 16 for a conference inspired by his newest book, The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings.

In some ways, the two guests could not be more different—the fiery, passionate Rollins with his “pyro-theology,” and the elegant, soothing Newell, who speaks of slowing down to listen for the heartbeat of God. On another level, both messages carry fundamentally similar themes: Ask questions. Learn to listen. Dare to sing a different tune.

“This work helps us to reveal what we have known but not been willing to articulate, what we have held too closely and must let go, and what we must rediscover within the story to be faithful in new contexts,” says Dr. Dwight Friesen, Associate Professor of Practical Theology. “Experiences like these are a part of what The Forum at The Seattle School exists to offer.”

Upcoming events include “Emotional Experience in Working with Personality Disorders” with Dr. Avedis Panajian, a “Redeeming Food & Body” seminar, and the Inhabit conference. Learn more here.