Defining Intercultural Credibility
Cultivating intercultural credibility is an essential aspect of our work in an increasingly fragmented world, as we seek to train people to be competent in the study of text, soul, and culture in order to serve God and neighbor through transforming relationships.
Intercultural credibility refers to our continuing commitment to discourse, relationship, and growth as we join God in the work of redemption through community. For over two decades, since its early days, The Seattle School has embraced the concept of imago dei, the deep value and respect for how each person is created and embodied in God’s image. Our stories and identities are formed and transformed through dialogue and community. Through relationships and stories, we also recognize our individual and collective participation in systems of inequity. In this context, we continually pursue justice and equity while always wrestling with the factors of place that inform our diversity and the theological discourse that informs our understandings of inclusion. President Keith Anderson described intercultural credibility in 2012:
Rather than a set of competencies to achieve, intercultural credibility implies an ongoing dialogical reality in which we are dependent upon those we have or desire relationship to say, “I can believe what you say about yourself is true.” We will never “complete” the task of cultural credibility, check it off the list and move on to the next agenda du jours. But we will take steps together to grow as a place and people of intercultural credibility.
The Seattle School community has established the term “intercultural credibility” to reflect and represent our missional understanding of the complex practices of this discourse: while we will never master or arrive at competency in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, we will continually pursue loving curiosity, listening, and integrity in each relationship. Through these practices and convictions, we can speak into each other’s lives and be spoken into. As we learn together and add to our understanding in this ongoing and dynamic work, we will continually grow as a place and people of intercultural credibility.
Intercultural Credibility requires relationship and is an active commitment to becoming trustworthy through:
- The developing capacity to recognize the cultural contexts and biases that contribute to the formation of one’s sense of identity;
- Creating generous practices which engage others with courage, loving curiosity, and mutuality;
- Engaging robust theological discourse in light of Christian tradition(s) and relentlessly changing culture(s);
- Being faithfully present in the Way of Christ to expand communities and systems with an imagination for the biblical practice of Shalom.