The Seattle School was honored to partner with the Justice Conference as a simulcast site for the Seattle area on February 21-22. An annual event featuring prominent voices in the Christian conversation on social justice, The Justice Conference “educates, inspires and connects a generation of men and women around a shared concern for biblical and social justice, the vulnerable and oppressed.” The Seattle School was honored to partner with the Justice Conference as a simulcast site for the Seattle area on February 21-22. A gathering that “educates, inspires and connects a generation of men and women around a shared concern for biblical and social justice, the vulnerable and oppressed,” The Justice Conference is a prominent Christian voice
In tandem with the simulcast of The Justice Conference, The Seattle School hosted pre-conference workshops facilitated by Dr. Caprice D. Hollins, Dr. Ron Ruthruff, Rev. Dr. Liz Mosbo VerHage, and Richard Kim, MDiv. We connected with Richard, who also serves as The Seattle School’s Intercultural Credibility Coordinator, after the event to learn more about the conversations taking place during the conference and our role as a community and a city to carry on The Justice Conference’s message.
The Seattle School: What were some prominent conversations happening during the pre-conference workshops at The Seattle School? How do these conversations reflect/impact the Seattle community? The Seattle School community?
Richard Kim: Seattle has a vibrant and diverse justice community and my co-facilitator, Rev. Dr. Liz Mosbo VerHage, and I were able to meet a lot of amazing passionate people doing good work. Events like The Justice Conference create important opportunities to step back from the work of justice to think about the why, how, and consider for whom and by whom the work of justice is done. Each participant brought with them a unique experience, perspective and voice to the conversation.
People in Seattle are wrestling with the important issues locally and globally. An important conversation I recognized is the challenges arising from a rapidly changing culture. Whether it’s neighborhoods wrestling with changes from demographic shifts or considering technologies impact on justice work, people are becoming more aware of the impact of culture which reveals some of the inherent complexity of justice work.
In recognizing how culture shapes us and our perception of others, we are able to better engage others for the goodness of all. Seattle is a unique place with a culture all its own. Engaging in conversations like The Justice Conference Seattle, The Seattle School is able to lend a voice to a necessary conversation both as an institution that has something to say and one that recognizes the importance of listening well.
The Seattle School: What were your thoughts The Justice Conference itself? What were some of the main take-aways and how can The Seattle School participate in carrying on the message of The Justice Conference?
Richard: The Justice Conference provided many great opportunities to connect with local people who are passionate about justice. Justice is a complicated subject because it is one of those categories that calls us to critically engage ourselves and others. The conversation my co-facilitator, Rev. Dr. Liz Mosbo VerHage, and I hoped to facilitate was to speak to the complexity of justice work using the lens of culture and identity.
We often don’t realize just how much our identities and values are shaped by place. Without the ability to be critically aware of that fact, people risk simply living out of their own subjective sensibilities. The work of justice is based on mutuality for the common good. If we fail to do the work of critically engaging ourselves, we run the risk of simply casting our values on to others with dire consequences.
The Seattle School plays an important role as an institution that trains graduates to engage in the work of justice. We offer students the skills necessary to be attuned to others interpersonally and attentive to the impact of experiences through the lens of text, soul and culture. By being active in these conversations internally and with the surrounding community locally and globally, we become active participants with the ability to impact and be impacted.