CREATING THEOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
- Infrastructure exists when you can connect two things and are served by those connections. Airports connect cities for travel. Phones connect persons for conversation. Power lines connect homes for energy to run its electricity-dependent-systems. Roads allow for commerce, getting to work and friends, and shopping for what we need. Think for a moment about all the systems that you depend on that are part of a larger infrastructure. We are embedded in an interconnected world. When the systems are there and working, all functions well. When the lights go out we are greatly impacted.
- Theological Infrastructure is the connecting of relationships between God, God’s people the Church, the institutions that train and equip leaders, and the facilitating of every person to be known, loved, and served by God and God’s people. As People are being served, they are invited into a life of meaningful care for God’s creation and all people.
- Notice what is missing, build to meet the need – If people are not being educated, meaningfully engaged, invited to make a contribution to the neighborhood or humanity in general, something is missing in the infrastructure.
- God exists in relationship as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All God does is for the purpose of relationships. This includes reconciling them back to God, to one another, and to the stranger in the land. This includes caring for all those in need, bringing wisdom to families and community leaders to live a loving wisdom. Stewardship of our resources and the good of creation are part of God’s active concern. Theological infrastructure is a collaboration with God as God’s people in a particular location to facilitate meaningful relationships that further the flourishing of the neighborhood in knowing, loving, and serving.
- The Dean’s Forums
In the region, there are separated schools, not aware of each other and the activities that are offered. The schools and their activities are largely hidden from the broader population as well. By gathering as Deans we are building a collaboration to become VISIBLE to better reveal what is already going on.
We are also moving towards facilitating collaborative conferences, training, preparing for the future if education, and facilitating schools working together in the region as a COLLABORATION that reflects the Kingdom of God. Deans are the touchpoint in moving towards this vision of cooperation.
In a cultural climate of innovation that attempts to meet the changing needs of the world, we believe that the theological schools, and the church, need CREATIVITY to be nurtured through meeting together and laying the infrastructure to engage the challenges and opportunities of the future. Deans are the practitioners who need to share ideas and envision such an endeavor.
There are now Dean’s Forums in Greater Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Spokane, and Boise. Together, we have a greater impact in doing the task of theological education and impacting the regions of BC, WA, OR, ID. This Cascadia region has the potential to be a destination for theological education like the UK, or the East Coast are at this point. We gather Deans to become friends and collaborators who connect and dream.
The Dean’s forum is the personal foundation of this whole venture. The Northwest Theological Collaboration is the practical initiative to facilitate the visible, collaborative, creative infrastructure in the region. We will eventually facilitate whatever kinds of gatherings, publications, and agreements that will connect schools, churches, and organizations to serve the Kingdom of God.
- DEAN’S FORUM SCHEDULE
Vancouver February 17 at Vancouver School of TheologySpokane February 24 at Moody SpokanePortland March 3 at Northwest Christian College EugeneBoise March 10 at The Biblical Studies CenterSeattle March 17 at Fuller Northwest
- There are many denominations and traditions who have yet to find the mutual support that would build the region and the presence of the church as a matrix of diverse participants in the work of the Kingdom of God.
BETWEEN CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS
- This is a long-standing vision, to have more of an operating connection where the churches provide the questions that are needed for the academy to investigate and the academy serves the developing needs of the churches and serves the life of Kingdom people and the world.
- The Pacific Northwest, Cascadia, or whatever you call these western states and provinces, are geographically challenged by mountains and miles. And yet they stand in a region marked as the None Zone, meaning a majority identify themselves as having none of the traditional institutional religious connections that are found elsewhere.
- There are fairly large metropolitan areas that form hubs of populations and educational centers. We focus on the hubs as part of the infrastructure, but with the intent of networking to the smallest towns. In a sense, theological infrastructure is not complete until each person has access and easily available engagement with the Kingdom of God, whether in education, the arts, community service, or whatever form is deemed wise to be the presence of the Kingdom of God.
- The states/provinces that form the region are
- WASHINGTON – 7,384,721 people
- OREGON – 4,144,527 people
- IDAHO – 1,695,178 people
- BRITISH COLUMBIA – 4,400,057
- MONTANA is close by and invitations are extended to them
- The hub cities are:
- Vancouver, BC – 2,463,431 in greater Vancouver area
- Seattle – 3,733,580 in greater Seattle area
- Portland – 2,637,944 in greater Portland area
- Spokane – 547,824 in greater Spokane area
- Boise/Nampa – 676,909 in greater Boise/Nampa area
- Most of the persons in the schools in the region have little time, not the opportunity to meet with others to dream
- The term siloed refers to the separation of professors, schools, pastors, and those in other ministries from each other and missing the value of connection.
- A long-term goal is to gather persons of similar interests and to envision the development of their disciplines and tasks in the region in such a way that they become world leaders.
WITH THE PEOPLE OF THE CITIES