The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Published 5/29/13 | Log In
Panel of faculty deciphers words in SPU mission
By ALLISON NORTHROP, Assistant News Editor
Published: February 27, 2013
As part of the Inaugural Symposium, four Seattle Pacific faculty members reflected on what the mission statement, “engage the culture, change the world” meant to them.
Held at 1 p.m. in Upper Gwinn on Tuesday, each faculty member was asked to zero in on a specific, key word of the mission statement.
Dr. Kevin Neuhouser, professor of sociology, gave his thoughts on “the culture.”
“When we hear the phrase, ‘the culture,’ we think American culture,” Neuhouser said.
In his discussion, Neuhouser defined what he thought culture meant.
“Culture is everything we’ve learned how to survive and deal with in society,” Neuhouser said.
Neuhouser said if there were only one culture, people wouldn’t be aware of culture and that diversity in culture is a good thing.
“This multiplicity of culture is the only way we can engage,” he said.
Christians, Neuhouser said, are called to a different form of engagement.
“Not an engagement with ‘the other,’ but ‘someone’ …someone whose culture is just as beautiful and as flawed as mine,” Neuhouser said. “This should look a lot like loving your neighbor and even loving your enemy.”
Dr. Greg Fritzberg, professor of education, analyzed “the world” part of the mission statement.
Fritzberg emphasized the importance of awareness of other subcultures when engaging with the world.
Fritzberg said, however, that although culture is important, it’s only one aspect of life.
“However important culture is, it’s a layer … Deep down all of us bear the mark of creation,” Fritzberg said, adding that this statement was not to discount differences in people.
Dr. Denise Daniels, a professor of management, spoke about “engagement” as it relates to SPU’s mission statement.
Daniels said in her experience, sometimes Christians think they need to lead a life of example and set themselves apart from the world. She said this created an unhealthy, unobtainable standard for Christians.
“Jesus engaged not by setting himself apart … instead, he engaged in relationship,” Daniels said.
In her closing statements, Daniels suggested that Christians should be a blessing in any situation they find themselves in.
Dr. Kerry Dearborn, professor of theology, discussed “change.”
Dearborn said for Christians, the main agent of change is God. “People who want to be change agents can’t do it on their own,” Dearborn said.