Here in an interview that my seminary just posted introducing me as the visiting assistant professor of theology for this year.

It gives me a chance to say how much I loved being a student here and to tell a little bit of what I have been up to since I left and went to LA. Since I am not on Facebook or Twitter for another couple of months, please feel free to pass it on to anyone who might want to know what I have been up to …

This has been a fascinating year to be here! I have been able to watch the behind the scenes of:

  1. A name-change / re-branding
  2. creation of an entirely new curriculum
  3. job search for the permanent position

What an amazing opportunity – even if those three things had not been going on. When you add those three things, however, this had been a wild year to be a visitor to this school that has meant so much to me.

I am excited about the name change. As a contextual theologian, I appreciate the identification with place and know how important it is to locate oneself. Theology and ministry do not happen in a vacuum. They are not universal. They are particular and they are located.

The unfortunate part of the move to Portland Seminary is the loss of both ‘George Fox’ to signify the school’s Quaker ties, and ‘evangelical’ which is a hold-over from the original merger with Western Evangelical Seminary back in the day.

As you know, I am not a sentimental person nor do I feel compelled to privilege the past and attempt to hold on to things for historic/heritage reasons alone. This change, however, has really demonstrated to me that change and updating must be done with deep conviction. I have heard people’s hesitance and reservation about the change. So while I personally a big fan of updating and innovating, I respect the communal aspect of continuity and preservation.

In the end, I really believe in this name change and hope the best for Portland Seminary in the years to come! I am glad to be helping out during this year of transition and deeply believe that God loves the people of Portland, the spirit of Portland, and has great desires to see this city reached with the love of Christ.