You don’t have to read too far beyond the headlines to know that trauma, in different forms, is at the forefront of our national consciousness. 2017 was a watershed year in that regard—a year when division, hatred, and dominance over difference fueled much of the collective discourse, and when racism, sexism, and the trauma associated with any form of oppression came to light in new ways. (This was highlighted recently by the courageous voices of women at the Golden Globes, and by the marches across the country this past weekend—tens of thousands of people demanding a change to systems of violence and abuse.)
These realities are not new, of course, but the outcry of those who have been oppressed and traumatized—the righteous insistence that we acknowledge wounds—has risen to a volume and frequency that is increasingly difficult to ignore. It is clear that familiar answers and old solutions are no longer sufficient. “The status quo is not going to work,” says Dr. Angela Parker, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, in this video.
Dr. Parker challenges students to engage discomfort in the classroom so that they can rise up as prophets and agents of change outside the classroom.“A prophet will raise up a voice that speaks a truth to power in order to bring about change,” she says. “The Seattle School is committed to forming pastors, chaplains, and leaders to be prophets for the revolution.” (You can watch the full video here.)
“The Seattle School is committed to forming pastors, chaplains, and leaders to be prophets for the revolution.”
As our culture dips a toe into acknowledging systems of injustice that many have long hesitated to name, we are—all of us—faced with daunting questions: how do we move from lofty rhetoric to the kind of real, on-the-ground change that fosters healing? How do fan the flame of #metoo from a hashtag into a vibrant and lasting movement? How do we use our voices when the march has ended and society’s attention has moved on?
There may not be any easy or quick answers to those questions; the work of healing—individual, communal, or cultural—is long, difficult, and messy. But we are committed to that work, to equipping radical change-makers and truth-tellers, and to fostering the kind of dialogue that sparks thoughtfulness, integrity, and clarity of purpose. “The faculty of The Seattle School have been raising awareness regarding the pervasive nature of sexual abuse for two decades,” says Dr. Craig Detweiler, President. “We agree that time is definitely up. As these traumas are increasingly brought to light, we redouble our commitment to the healing process.”
That commitment has shaped and clarified The Seattle School’s ethos, ever since our founders gathered around a kitchen table to dream about an institute of higher education that might change the world from the ground up. It is at the very heart of our mission—training people to be competent in the study of text, soul, and culture to serve God and neighbor through transforming relationships—and informs everything we do.
Below is a snapshot of how that mission compels us across our organization. We invite you to dig deep and join us as we engage and further this conversation.
“Naming sexual harassment or even sexual violation is not enough. Our culture must come to name that sexual abuse—overt and criminal and subtle and socially ignored—is not a sad reality that an unfortunate few suffer but a common cultural experience that is as inevitable as the flu.”
-Dr. Dan Allender, writing about #metoo
- “Do You See This Woman? Disgust, Boundaries, and Your Brain” by Brittany Deininger
- “The Need for Lament in Troubled Times” with Dr. Soong-Chan-Rah
- “Leveling the Field” by Deb Montgomery
- “We Are Worldless Without One Another,” an interview with Judith Butler
Read more on the Intersections blog.
“The real dream is to continue to have the capacity to bring in different voices and not just listen to our favorite ones. We should constantly be asking: Who do we need to invite in? This dream costs a lot: we might be wrong; we might need to ask different questions; we might have to set down assumptions.”
-Dr. Chelle Stearns, in an episode on integration and dissonance
- The Why and How of Justice with Dr. Ron Ruthruff
- Ecological Homeless and Degradation with Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger
- Embodied Biblical Study with Dr. Angela Parker
- Equipping Students for Change with Dr. Caprice Hollins
Listen to text.soul.culture.
The Allender Center
“With what has been happening in the country and with the big T Trauma around white supremacy, there is greater complexity to the conversation. You can’t just take yourself out of it because you are not a white supremacist.”
-Abby Wong-Heffter, in an episode on Race and Trauma
- Race and Trauma podcast series
- Trauma and the Church podcast series
- “The Table at Which I Would Want to Sit” by Susan Kim
- “Half Chinese Wonder Woman” by Abby Wong-Heffter
- “Subverting Empire” by Dr. Dan Allender
Read more from The Allender Center blog.
The Other Journal
“Perhaps now more than ever, we desperately need a movement rooted in collective hope and a defiance to empire. To that end, we have a deep theological heritage to draw from, one that has a long and rich tradition of embracing its prophetic voice in the face of oppressive and hegemonic regimes.”
-a letter from the editors of The Other Journal
- “A Theological Aesthetic of Dissonance” by Dr. Chelle Stearns
- “The Spirit’s Witness,” an interview with Dr. Shelly Rambo
- Issue 25: Trauma
- Issue 27: Identity
Read more from The Other Journal.
“The times both invite and require the work of reflection. The pain is personal, and we must allow it to be personal and embodied, but it is also more complex than reacting and resisting,” says Dr. Derek McNeil, Senior Vice President of Academics. “We are called to reflect on where we have been and on those who have gone before us, so that we can extract the life that is needed for the task of birthing something new. There is no learning without reflection.”
There is much work ahead. The call to justice and transformation infuses our mission and identity, and we will remain steadfast in that labor no matter what systems arise to oppose it. We are grateful for those who have joined the conversation, and we are energized by the moments that it becomes so much more. May the movement of truth, goodness, and beauty never cease guiding our way forward.