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THREE PURSUITS

Neighborhood Seminary brings the love of God to the home, school, neighborhood, workplace, and world. ​

  • Our vision is for God’s liberating, reconciling, forgiving, and healing love to become flesh and blood and move into the neighborhood through the church. 

  • Our method reflects a new, holistic vision of theological education in which all God’s people learn together through both online and contextual in-person engagement and are called to participate in God's mission in the neighborhood. 

  • Our curriculum moves from imago dei (the image of God) to missio dei (the mission of God) and returns repeatedly to God’s loving work in and for the neighborhoods of our world. 

  • Our goal is to seamlessly integrate theological, spiritual, and missional formation for head, heart, and hands and to partner with God in the way of making all things new in the neighborhoods we call home. 

 

Neighborhood is that essential space where we “live, move, and have our being.” We believe that God intends for neighborhoods to flourish and become beloved communities in which all people thrive. We are convinced that a seminary should be a place of theological reflection, spiritual formation, and missional engagement. Each of these critical elements shapes and is shaped by the others holistically. We seek both to explore and to embody the central features of life lived in and for God, including our common quest for peace, justice, and equity in our world. Three pursuits, in particular, support the culture and curriculum of Neighborhood Seminary: nurturing community, embodying good news, and cultivating shalom. 

Kids Playing Tug of War

Nurturing Community

Guiding Scripture: God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature” (Gen 1:26 MSG).

Key Theological Concepts: The Triune God is community – a matrix of relationships. God creates community. We image God by nurturing communities that help neighborhoods to flourish. In these neighborhoods God distributes gifts to help the community develop and grow in love. God is already in the neighborhood, wherever people and systems are contributing to human and environmental flourishing. 

Key Missional Practices: We nurture loving and honorable relationships with God, others, self, and creation, thereby fostering community in the neighborhood. We emphasize and steward neighborhood strengths rather than perceived deficits (asset-based community development), all of which requires cultural humility and respect. 

Key Spiritual Practices: We nurture our relationship with the Triune God through lectio divina (sacred reading). The practice of lectio liberatio (liberative reading) re-centers our lives on the revolutionary path of freedom and healing we pursue with Jesus and our neighbors. These practices enable our relationship with God to grow and elicit God’s gifts as neighbors share and steward their strengths.

Embodying Good News

Guiding Scripture: The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood (John 1:14 MSG).

Key Theological Concepts: God becomes flesh and blood and moves into the neighborhood. Jesus demonstrates how neighbors are called to live together in peace, with justice and love. The Spirit brings God’s people to life, sending them into the world as ambassadors of reconciliation and translating their faith into action. 

Key Missional Practices: We seek to follow the way of Jesus by embodying the good news of God’s love for everyone in the neighborhood. This means that we see, hear, love, and respect neighbors and neighborhoods, thereby engaging all our neighbors in ways that foster holistic flourishing. 

Key Spiritual Practices: The Ignatian prayer of Examen enables us to recognize the divine presence in our daily lives. Embodied prayer helps us embrace God with our bodies as well as our souls. These practices nurture a contemplative stance which includes showing up, paying attention, cooperating with God, and releasing the outcome with our whole selves and not just one part of who we are.

Kids Running
Women Holding Hands

Cultivating Shalom

Guiding Scripture:  “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood . . . Look! I’m making everything new” (Rev 21:3, 5 MSG)!

Key Theological Concepts: God is for and with all people and is at work at all times as the ultimate source of reconciliation and healing. God invites all God’s children to partner in this sacred calling, to bring life from death and to breathe new life into the old through the Spirit. God in Christ is making all things new.

Key Missional Practices: We partner with God as co-creators in the work of healing, liberating, and transforming neighborhoods and celebrating God’s rule in the beloved community. We cultivate shalom by seeking to dismantle racism, sexism, classism, and all other sinful attitudes, behaviors, and systems that create barriers to peace, justice, and the wellbeing of all people. 

Key Spiritual Practices: Lectio creatio (creative reading) opens our lives to the goodness, beauty, and love that surrounds us at all times. Visio divina (sacred seeing) opens our hearts and imaginations to what God might have to say to us today. These practices cultivate a heart of peace and enable us to celebrate the inbreaking of the new, filling us with wonder, love, and praise. 

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