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Autumn 2003 | Volume 26, Number 4 | Campus
Incoming Dean Promises a Cross-Cultural Perspective to Theological Education at SPU

new dean of the School of Theology never planned to enter the ministry. Raised primarily in Northern Ireland, Colin Greene wanted to be a long jumper, then a folk-rock musician. “The ministry was the last thing on my mind,” he says, especially after living in Belfast during Catholic/Protestant riots and bombings.

When he worked for a charity in England, however, Greene found that ministry meant not just preaching inside a church but also working for a more just and more compassionate society. Today, he says, he is convinced that “anything is possible if God is behind the vision and Christ is to be glorified in and through new initiatives of the Spirit.”

For years, Greene has been working as scholar and preacher on issues that mesh with SPU’s own vision for engaging the culture and changing the world. “How does one radically engage with the culture?” Greene has often asked in his writings and sermons. “What does it mean to take the Bible and the Christian faith into the public square?”

Vice President for Academic Affairs Les Steele says, “It’s Colin’s academic work in cultural engagement that made us feel he would fit right in at Seattle Pacific.”

Author of Christology in Cultural Perspective (Paternoster, 2003; Eerdmans, 2004), Greene’s main interest is to make theology work in the world. “I have a concern for a vital form of Christian discipleship and for the intellectual underpinning of one’s faith, so it’s not shabby faith,” he explains.

Greene arrived in August from the British and Foreign Bible Society, where he had been head of theology and public policy. Steele notes one example of Greene’s ability to “radically engage with the culture.” During Greene’s tenure, the Society was involved with a major animation feature-length film, “The Miracle Maker,” based on Luke’s gospel. The Society worked with Russian animators, a Welsh television company and internationally known actors. The film was telecast in the United States and opened in theatres throughout much of the rest of the world.

A confirmed globetrotter, Greene brings a cross-cultural perspective to Seattle Pacific. He plans to make future SPU graduate programs in theology interdisciplinary, incorporating theatre, history and other academic fields. For now, he wants to enliven communication between colleagues and students with “Irish humor” and old-fashioned conversation.

“In four years at a university, there’s an awful lot that can be brought into a person’s life through a generous, compassionate educational experience,” Greene says. “It’s not about drilling stuff into students but about opening them to tremendous riches. Those riches can be found not just in Western but also in multicultural traditions.”

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