Response Magizine Online Logo : Seattle Pacific University

Response Autumn 2007

From the President



Books, Film, & Music



My Response

Letters to the Editor

From the Editor

Response onScreen



Response Home

Seattle Pacific University
Autumn 2007 | Volume 30, Number 2 | Features

Kim Segall

Love your neighbor as yourself

Kim Segall
Kim Segall has no problem articulating her responsibility as a global Christian. It is summed up, she says, in Jesus’ second great commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. “But ‘neighbor’ is a global term for me,” she says. “It’s all people of all countries. And ‘love’ in this context is not romanticized. It’s a hard word that means to give up, to reconcile, to overcome the bitterness that divides us.”

And it does not escape her notice that the first part of “responsibility” is “response.” “I can’t respond if I don’t see the need. I can’t see the need if I don’t somehow develop the empathy to respond.”

In order to nurture empathy, the associate professor of English teaches courses — such as an Autumn Quarter class on Middle Eastern fiction — that include diverse cultural texts which challenge stereotypes and reveal various authors’ experiences. And she takes students on study trips, such as one to South Africa next summer for cultural study, practical service, and reconciling theatre.

“We’ll visit museums and take in the history and culture,” explains Segall. “Then we’ll spend a week helping to build five houses with Habitat for Humanity in order to learn about the history of apartheid and the transititions after apartheid from the South Africans that we work with and become friends with. At a theatre festival, we’ll hear stories, listening to people work through the trauma, hurt, and desire for vengeance from their apartheid past. Finally, we’ll talk about what we’ve learned, and how we’ll work toward a larger shalom and healing.”

For Segall, who has lived, taught, and absorbed the human struggle in India, Iraq, and South Africa, her deepest desire is reconciliation for all of God’s people. She resists the divisions among people groups: “I believe in working toward hope, not despair.”

This summer, she wrote two more chapters for a book she’s titled Over My Dead Body, in which she explores trauma around the world and the ways in which poets and storytellers use art to work through pain.

“Reconciliation takes imagination,” she says. “My students learn about diverse cultures, and they also see areas we have in common, even when the authors are from a different religion or continent. I tell them that of all people, Christians understand what it means to be judged because of religion and to be misunderstood because of religious stereotypes. That’s empathy.”

—By Clint Kelly []
—Photo by Mike Siegel

Back to the top
Back to Features Home

Department Highlights

from the president
Going Global
President Philip Eaton asks the Seattle Pacific community to discuss what “global” means for SPU.

APA Accreditation
SPU’s doctoral program in psychology now in an elite group.

Street Vision
Hillary Prag '06 gives homeless teens a voice — through a camera lens and Seattle gallery showing.

books, film, & music
Behind the Faces
Four new films may help moviegoers learn to love and understand their global neighbors.

On the Fast Track
Jessica Pixler received numerous awards as a freshman, including an international gold.

my response
A Banquet of Languages
David Habecker ’93 says knowing multiple languages gave him a new perspective on life — and his faith.

Response art
Forbidden City
Professor Joanna Poznanska and her husband share “Forbidden City,” by a Chinese artist.