At Seattle Pacific University, we have 205 full-time faculty who are experts in their respective fields. Each issue of etc magazine introduces you to one. This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2012 issue of etc.
Name and Title?
Kerry Dearborn, Professor of Theology
Spokane, Washington“the Lilac City.” Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers, and when they’re in bloom they remind me of my mother.
You collect crosses from all over the world. Why?
My collection of crosses reflects the reality that the core of the gospel is the same all over the world, but expressed in different contexts, in different ways. Globally there’s a deep passion for the gospel. God made us diverse, and our
differences are sources of enrichment.
You were instrumental in the creation of SPU's new reconciliation studies minor. What is that all about?
Reconciliation is the core of the gospel. God has reconciled us in Christ to God, to others, and to creation. God made us for communion, and our fractured relationships don’t honor God’s intent. The new minor helps students identify with people who are “other than” they are and communicate with them in ways that build bridges rather than walls. In all fields of study, this minor equips students to participate in the work of reconciliation.
Who are your heroes of the faith?
Mother Theresa, for her powerful vision of God’s strength made perfect in weakness; Julian of Norwich, because she was so in love with God’s goodness and grace that her life’s highest privilege was prayer; and George MacDonald, because of his absolute unbending trust in the Father’s love.
You've written books on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, Julian of Norwich, and the Trinity. What's next?
I’ve just finished a book proposal on the role of the Holy Spirit in the work of reconciliation. The working title is Drinking From the Wells of New Creation: The Holy Spirit and the Imagination in Reconciliation. The traditional focus has been, rightly, on Christ’s work with reconciliation, but there’s been a lack of emphasis on the Holy Spirit. We live out that reconciling work of Christ only by the power of the Holy Spirit. So that’s my book.
Why do you teach at SPU?
I teach at SPU because of the gift of walking with students as they explore the most important questions in life.