NPTS Post-Election Statement

The faculty and staff of North Park Theological Seminary offer the following statement in response to our current national climate. Though we write primarily to our students, we hope to bless our larger community of faith as we all engage in dialogue, discernment, and action.


The United States has experienced a contentious election and post-election season marked by fear, polarization, and violence. The political climate reveals longstanding national sins of racism, elevation of whiteness, misogyny, nativism, and economic disparity. As faculty and staff members of North Park Theological Seminary who represent varying degrees of privilege and power, we join our voices with those who are most vulnerable.

We submit to the Lordship of Christ who humbled himself unto death. As members of his body, we strive to consider others above ourselves (Phil. 2:2–8) and to serve one another in humility (Matt. 20:26–28). As one body, if one member suffers, all suffer (1 Cor. 12:26); if one weeps, the body laments with them (Rom. 12:15).

A large part of our community is weeping. The fear of deportation is real. The anxiety of being assaulted is real. The fear of being forgotten or mistreated is real. Many people of color, women, and other marginalized groups feel increasingly alienated not only in the political context but in much of the white evangelical culture as well.

Regardless of where Christians stand politically, the gospel demands we recognize vulnerable populations among us who find themselves further marginalized in the wake of the recent election. The gospel also demands that Christians recognize ways we benefit from and participate in structural injustices. Ignoring policies that denigrate and even endanger vulnerable groups is not a faithful option, even if privilege allows some to do so. When we have power, we use it justly and for the good of all.

In the midst of real suffering within our community, we seek not only to love our neighbor but to know our neighbor (Lk. 10:29), through our conversations, classroom discussions, and times of prayer. We hope to embody a community in which walls of hostility are broken down (Eph. 2:14) and where love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

 

Deb Auger
James Bruckner
Mary Chase-Ziolek
Stephen Chester
Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom
Paul de Neui
Timothy L. Johnson
David Kersten
Ellen M. Kogstad
Max Lee
Alexandria Macias
Hauna Ondrey
Amy Oxendale-Imig
Luke Palmerlee
Deborah Penny
John E. Phelan, Jr.
Elizabeth Pierre
Soong-Chan Rah
Stephen Spencer
Al Tizon
Emily Wagner


Related material | “NPTS Faculty Statement on Race & the Justice System”

Wrap Up & Look Ahead

Our Aug/Nov 2015 Covenant Quarterly issue offered articles calling chaplains to incarnational presence (Hubbard) – and for this to be an active presence through the healthy use of self in ministry (Jueckstock & Vlach). Authors considered additionally how the church can minister to families experiencing mental illness (Simpson) as well as how chaplains and congregations can provide spiritual care to those suffering from delusions related to spirituality (Fretheim).

Forum contributors engaged with and supplemented this content, addressing the church’s ministry to those grieving during holidays (Pierre), interaction with Amy Simpson’s article from a mother and Covenant pastor also speaking out about the church’s role in mental health (Thompson), how the Covenant’s Five-fold Test might inform chaplaincy ministry (Brooks & Pate), how art can facilitate visual prayer that challenges “icons” of expectation and brings light to darkness (Lindholm-Johnson).

wrap up

Paintings (c) Kari Lindholm-Johnson; click on image to link to post.

Special thanks to the Covenant Chaplains Association – and to its chairperson, Jeff Saville – for organizing and providing content for this issue. We hope that the practical theology engaged here will continue to spur conversation and reflection and that resources shared will further equip those serving in related ministry capacities/settings.

UPCOMING

Our upcoming Quarterly issue (74:1, Feb 2016) engages congregational vitality in theory and in practice, with contributions from ECC director of Congregational Vitality, John Wenrich, as well as results from doctoral research on the impact of the Veritas workshop and the vitality pathway from Covenant pastors Ryan Eikenbary-Barber and Corey Johnsrud.

Be in touch to recommend Forum contributors on the theme of congregational vitality – or to contribute yourself. And don’t forget to subscribe to Forum to receive notification when corresponding posts begin.


 

Wrap up & look ahead

THAT’S A WRAP

This concludes our inaugural round of Forum posts. Many thanks to readers, contributors, and commenters for an engaging dialogue on intercultural biblical interpretation. Pointed questions have been raised and good dialogue modeled: a sign of good things to come. We encourage you to continue exploring, considering, questioning, practicing, and learning about intercultural biblical interpretation.

UPCOMING
  • How does the pastor or chaplain exercise the incarnational ministry of presence? How can pastors and congregations best minister to families experiencing mental illness?
  • What is the dividing line between delusions with religious content and authentic religious experiences? The neurology of experiencing Christ and believing oneself to be Christ?
  • How and under what circumstances did the ministry of chaplaincy begin in the Covenant?

Our authors tackle these questions and more in the next Covenant Quarterly issue (73:3-4, Aug/Nov 2015), scheduled for November publication. Be in touch to recommend Forum contributors on the themes of chaplaincy & mental health – or to contribute yourself. And don’t forget to subscribe to Forum to receive notification when corresponding posts begin.

See you back here in October.