“Practicing the Prophetic” 2019 Day of Common Learning


Densho as Prophecy: Announcing NEA Big Read, King County 

Kris GritterProfessor of Curriculum and Instruction
Guest Speakers: Lorraine Bannai and Tom Ikeda
Cremona 201

Densho is a Japanese word meaning “to pass on to the next generation.” This session will discuss history behind Executive Order 9066, which incarcerated thousands of Japanese Americans. In truth, no Japanese American was found guilty of spying on the United States. This event serves as a prophetic voice for the perils of a manufactured crisis, the resilience of a community affected by racism, and how place-based stories combat injustice.

The National Endowment of the Arts has granted SPU a Big Read Grant for our community to read and discuss When the Emperor Was Divine. Author Julie Otsuka will visit campus on March 9. Today a local context of Otsuka's book will be presented by Lorraine Bannai and Tom Ikeda. Professor Bannai is director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law and author of Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice. Tom Ikeda is executive director of Densho, a nonprofit group dedicated to documenting Japanese American experiences. Free copies of Otsuka’s and Bannai’s books will be distributed. Others can access Otsuka’s book using e-cards from the King County Library System.

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Envisioning a Dementia-Friendly Community

Julie PusztaiAssistant Professor of Nursing
Bomin ShimAssociate Professor of Nursing
Guest Speakers: Marigrace Becker, Dirk Howe, & Sandy Howe
Cremona 101

In a society where independence, productivity, control and intellect are in high regard, having dementia is often feared and stigmatized. It is disturbing to think of losing one’s memory or being forgotten by a loved one. But do our memory and thinking abilities define who we are as human beings? What does it mean to be in meaningful relationships, regardless of our cognitive abilities? Where can we discover growth and purpose in the midst of living with dementia? Two SPU nurse researchers, a UW Memory & Brain Wellness Center staff member, and a person living with dementia and their spouse offer perspectives on how to make our community “dementia-friendly.” How can the Gospel of Jesus Christ offer a Kingdom message that expands the notion of dementia held by mainstream society and medical science? Come join us to dialogue, envision, and hope.

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Gender, Faith, & Action:  Women in Mission   

Miriam AdeneyAssociate Professor of World Christian Studies
McKenna Hall 118

In 1800 in Boston, an invalid named Mary Webb challenged her friends to give one penny a week for global Christian mission to bless the women of the world. They began to send women to interior Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, especially to women who were cloistered in harems or zenanas. They offered to teach them to read in their local language, to treat sicknesses, and to share the gospel. In the next hundred years, Protestant American women would found, fund, and run 40 women’s agencies that set up hospitals, colleges, schools, and clinics, and supported 2,500 foreign witnesses, as well as 6,000 indigenous Bible women. Catholic women, too, served sacrificially, including Mother Joseph, who brought health care when Seattle needed it. Were these women witnesses perfect? Of course not. Come hear the stories.  

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Heavenly Finance Right Now?

Randy BeaversAssistant Professor of Accounting
McKenna Hall 117

Steen et al. (2006) provided a reformed Christian perspective on the field and practice of finance. Where are we today? This session will discuss implications from their work and look at what is happening in the world today, including the CEO Roundtable discussion in summer 2019, Brexit, and student debt forgiveness programs.

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His Strange Work: The Living Word in Isaiah, Girard, and Tolkien

Ben McFarlandProfessor of Biochemistry
Eaton Hall 112

Rene Girard and J.R.R. Tolkien lived and wrote in very different worlds, but some of their thoughts seem parallel: they both described how power structures form from desire and exclusion — and how those structures may be subverted and resisted — and they both had a high regard for the potential of words to create and to change in a broken world. These parallels occur because Scripture informed both authors, as in Isaiah 28, in which the prophet reveals the “strange work” God is doing in the world. The living Word of God has a creative and apocalyptic role, being at work both in the mechanisms of the ordinary and in the surprises of the extraordinary, against the destructive impulses of the current age. These parallels provide a foundation for engaging the public sphere like these three authors did, with faithful, creative, challenging, and surprising grace.

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Homeless and Human

Katie DouglassAssistant Professor of Educational Ministry and Practical Theology
Brittany TausenAssistant Professor of Psychology
Weter Memorial Hall 202

Highly stereotyped and marginalized populations, such as individuals who are homeless, are regularly dehumanized through the overt denial or subtle underestimation of mental processes such as their ability to experience complex human emotions or perform advanced cognitive functions. This session will explore the tendency to underestimate the humanity of individuals who are without housing and discuss how activities on campus (e.g., hosting TC3, attending free meals at Bethany Presbyterian Church) impact dehumanizing perceptions. Finally, we will consider how to scaffold activities that fully embrace individuals who are homeless as people to be loved rather than problems to be solved. 

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In the Public Eye: Art on the SPU campus

Katie KresserProfessor of Art
Demaray Hall 254

“Public art” — whether it’s art in public, or art funded with public money — has always been hotly contested. Sometimes public artworks are beloved (e.g. the Statue of Liberty). Other times, they are reviled (e.g. Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc). Because they stake a place in public, these artworks always send a broad and explicit message, regardless of the artist’s intent. They can feel like official statements of value on the part of nations, companies, churches, or schools. In fact, public art commissions are often awarded with that “messaging power” in mind. In this session, we will explore how public art functions on the SPU campus. And rather than sitting in a classroom, we’ll take a walking tour so we can see works “in the flesh.” Throughout, we’ll ask ourselves these questions: what kind of public message is SPU sending about its values, whether moral, aesthetic, or political? And how can the experience of public art on the SPU campus help us understand how public art functions in the wider world?

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In the World, but Not of It: Christians in the Roman Empire

Owen EwaldC. May Marston Associate Professor of Classical Languages and Civilizations
Demaray Hall 259

This session will describe how Christians engaged with public life in the Roman Empire and suggest some analogies with situations Christians find themselves in today. First, Christians faced persecution for their beliefs, but also depended on public infrastructure for evangelism. Next, Christians participated in some public practices, yet sought to end others that were incompatible with Christian ways of life. Finally, the Roman Empire, morphing into the Byzantine Empire, became officially Christian, but lost some of its capacity for prophetic critique.

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Practicing the Prophetic: Engaging Students in Championing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Antwinett LeeAssociate Dean, Undergraduate Nursing
Cremona 102

Community, population, and public health practice is a reflective practice that improves as we serve others. By championing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we each change as human beings to serve our communities locally and globally. This session will discuss how the SDGs were used as an assignment in a Community Health course to engage students in trying out some of the SDGs through a fun and interactive game of “Community Health Bingo.” Are you ready to “Practice the Prophetic” by engaging others in supporting sustainable life on earth for all?  https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

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A Prophet from Compton: The Prophetic Imagination of Kendrick Lamar

Jake CarlsonAssociate Director of Undergraduate Programs in SBGE
Otto Miller Hall 109

This session will consider the scholarly contributions of Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination and Nahum Ward-Lev’s The Liberating Journey of the Hebrew Prophets and apply them to the music and performances of Pulitzer prize-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar. We will look at how Lamar’s music is able to offer both prophetic criticism and prophetic energy for a world that so desperately needs both. This exploration will encourage participants to further consider the role of the artist in the prophetic task — including one’s own creative expressions.

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The Prophetic Voice in the Arts. Video Screening of the Short Film “Passages: A Fable in Six Cycles

Brian ChinProfessor of Music
Scott KolboProfessor of Art
Demaray Hall 150

This session will feature a screening of “Passages, A Fable In Six Cycles,” a short animated film and musical score. The work was created collaboratively by Brian Chin and Scott Kolbo, and comments on contemporary anxieties about security and immigration through six circular loops of imagery and sound, with a heavy emphasis on slapstick humor and absurdity. The piece also tells an inspiring story about resilience and hope in the face of historical tragedy and ecological crisis. After the screening the faculty will lead a discussion about how the arts can function in a “prophetic” way in this divisive moment of history.

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Reading Jamie Smith: What Do I Really Want?

Bill Woodward, Professor of History

McKenna Hall 113

Romans 12:2 calls Christ-followers to resist cultural pressures that “squeeze us into its own mold.”  James K.A. Smith has long engaged in the project of devising prophetic tools for engaged escape from the prisons of our time and place. This session will first summarize several Smith books: How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor; You Are What You Love; Desiring the Kingdom.  Some insights from Scripture and history follow.  Then, for open discussion, these questions are put: How does Smith’s focus on ancient Christian liturgies and practices aid Christian discipleship? And what other “guerilla tactics” — participatory, not isolationist — against the machine of contemporary culture should be considered?


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The Significance of Art in Expressing the Prophetic: The Need for Christian Creativity

Christopher HansonAssistant Professor of Music Education
Cremona 202

In this session, you will be engaged in a dialogue on the significance of art to express the prophetic. Biblical and contemporary examples of Christian art and creative expression reveal the earnest need to teach and practice creativity within Christian faith, as well as a broader social and cultural context to fully realize the generative power of imagination and the transformative power of the arts. 

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Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land

Robert BaahProfessor of Spanish and Latin American Studies
Demaray Hall 261

Understanding Psalm 137:3–4 as a call to engagement and Don Quixote’s obsession with the imaginary as a quest for beauty and the good life, this session invites participants to consider how we can become enduring healing agents at SPU and elsewhere while we await the King. We have been called out and dispositionally re/formed through worship to sing the Lord’s song wherever we may be. What does it mean to sing the “Lord’s song” in our context, and who is our audience? Could the “strange land” refer to the good but broken world in which we live? Taking a cue from Don Quixote, what do we do with the brokenness that surrounds us? How can imaginativity guide us from ugliness to beauty? Given the rival liturgies that compete for our loves, what shall we do to ensure that our engagement endures?

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Technology and Hope

Mike Langford, Associate Professor of Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry
Michael Paulus, University Librarian; Assistant Provost for Educational Technology
John Robertson, Digital Education Librarian
Catalina Vlad-OrtizInstructor of Nutrition, Registered Dietitian
Library Seminar Room

In our present moment of profound and rapid technological change, the clash of utopian hopes with dystopian fears is a matter of daily experience. The Demaray Tower on SPU’s campus points to a greater hope for technology. Beneath the clock on the south side, images of technology situated within the human journey through history and life suggest that human artificial creations may participate in God’s new creation. This session will explore how we can think critically about the transformative role of technology in education and our broader lives as we cultivate and realize faith for the future.

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What's Up, Danger? Movies About the Risky Business of Answering God's Call

Jeffrey OverstreetAssistant Professor of English and Writing
Weter Memorial Hall 201

Art is what occurs when we encounter something mysterious and then make something out of that experience. But those encounters with mystery require vulnerability and courage, and we have no promise of “safety.” When we open our radar dish of our imagination to receive inspiration, we will be changed. Can adventures in the arts — for artists and for audiences — endanger the soul? What are audiences risking when we suspend our disbelief and dive into a disturbing novel, listen to troubling music, watch a scary movie? What do artists risk when they commit to painting or writing things that unsettle others with their strangeness or darkness? What do we risk when we pull back from these invitations to change? Professor Jeffrey Overstreet offers brief encounters with a variety of movies, and testimonies from a variety of artists, in order to inspire us to be cautious and courageous in the uncertain world of the arts. 

Practicing the Prophetic: Engaging Students in Championing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Practicing the Prophetic: Engaging Students in Championing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)