July 8, 2022
A culture of healing sees beyond the smile: I’ve come across many in churches who hide in shame, behind smiles, hard work, even behind ministry. E.g., In this blog post, I wrote about Jack, my former housemate who was known for his smile. Unfortunately, his shame led to suicide, a surprise to his church and his family. We need cultures and churches that see beyond these modern-day fig leaves. In this letter, I want to highlight building cultures of healing on both the seminary and local church level.
The Gospel makes space for holistic healing. This aspect of our vision is baked into everything we teach, train, and write. For example, I spoke to a visiting class of Marriage Family Therapists (MFT) and Master of Divinity (MDiv) students from Fresno Pacific University (FPU) just last week (picture from 2018's class). Former board member Sarah Akutagawa who twice taught the class for KR summarized it this way:
“We put together a presentation that thoughtfully explored the integration of ethnicity, theology, and city ministry. In particular, (we) found that the students resonated deeply with themes of embodiment, presence, vulnerability, and identity.”
We believe this interdisciplinary approach brings greater relevance, concreteness, sensitivity, and holism. Another perk of partnering with FPU: our teaching often draws from their theology department because one of their profs (Mark Baker) co-authored the first ever biblical narrative on honor-shame. Through the years, we’ve loved developing relationships with their professors and instructors with this holistic vision in mind.