Dan Allender: Helping Heal the Wounded Heart

Well, good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. This is your beloved host, himself. Did I attribute that to myself? Whether you think I’m beloved or not, somebody just said I was, so it must be true. Hey, glad to be with you.
Q. One of the things that we’re doing on the show these days is a series of-of
journeys, features where we talk to people who are making a difference in American life and culture, and often within the Christian community. And our next guest is-is one such person. He is the author of The Wounded Heart, The Healing Path, Intimate Allies. He is a popular speaker. He’s a workshop leader. He’s the President and Professor of Counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, Washington, one of the best-kept secrets in Seattle. He is Dr. Dan Allendar. And we’re going to get a chance to get acquainted with him. You’re going to learn a lot of important and interesting stuff over the next few minutes. And Dan, it’s great to have you with us.
A. Oh beloved, it’s good to be with you.
Q. You know, we went out to-to dinner after the last time we were together, and-
and when I heard your conversion story I thought I was in an episode of Monty Python. I-I went home and I kind of shook my head a little bit and asked myself, Is what he told me actually what I think I heard? And by the way, parenthetically, right after that you went over and had a near-death experience.
A. I did. And that’s one of the reasons I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be back
with you.
Q. What happened?
A. I hit a deer.
Q. On your motorcycle.
A. I ride a nice motorcycle and…
Q. What kind of motorcycle?
A. Oh, a lovely BMW.
Q. Wow.
A. And probably just in the radiance of-of my time with you –driving home, coming down a little hill, this thing – it was a Satanic deer. I could see it in its eyes –And it assaulted me.
Q. It leapt up and it did battle with you.
A. It knew that I had been with the beloved.
Q. Well, you know… Yeah, exactly. Well you know, when a deer hits a windshield… There was a story in Norway a few weeks ago about a deer that flew out of the sky and landed on a windshield of a car. Do you remember that story? A 600-pounder. And it-it actually had fallen off of a-a kind of an overpass protrusion or something, and so there was a deer flying towards these people. But it’s-it’s almost, you know, it’s almost fatal, and sometimes is, for cars. I can’t imagine what happens on a motorcycle.
A. Well, after-after we had-had a good dinner together –I called my wife and she said, You have a sailing magazine at home. And I
was so excited at-at the thought that I was going to get home and read my magazine. And I remember as I hit the ground, I hit the deer, hit the ground, my first thought was, If I’m dead, I can’t-I can’t look at the magazine.
Q. Seriously.
A. Oh, seriously. And then-then as I’m…
Q. But you’re supposed to have like really spiritual thoughts when something
like this happens.
A. Oh, not at all. Not at all.
Q. Like, Oh, Lord, please spare me so I can do more work for your kingdom.
A. Well…
Q. And you were, Lord, there’s sailing to be done.
A. Or one’s boring life comes in front of you. No, it was my sailing magazine. I
wasn’t going to see what was in the issue.
Q. I’m going to fight quick for my life here because there’s something important
at stake. A sailing magazine that awaits me at home. So-so anyway, were you seriously injured?
A. No. My bike was terribly damaged but…
Q. You were able to repair it, you didn’t have to replace it.
A. No, no, it was damaged but…
Q. Well, let’s see if we can do more tonight. We’ll see if we can get an elephant
out on the road or something, something that can actually… Well, anyway. Meanwhile, back at the lovely French restaurant which you introduced me to and I found… What’s the name of that place?
A. Compagnes.
Q. Compagnes. Oh man, what a meal. That was just sumptuous. You told me
about your conversion story. And-and if I followed it right, you actually ended up going to Westminster Seminary before actually making a profession of faith, which I did not know was even a possibility. Talk about your kind of upbringing, and the religious home environment you were raised in, or lack thereof, and how you actually made your way towards the kingdom.
A. Well, I had no background. I don’t even know… The only background I had
was Flippo the Clown that every now and then at 5:00 on channel 4 in Columbus, Ohio occasionally mentioned something about God. And I remember asking my mom, What’s this thing he’s talking about, God? And she’d say, You don’t need to know. You don’t need to know. It’ll only-it’ll only screw you up, you know. So I mean, that was my religious background, Flippo.
Q. Your family had no religious heritage or tradition?
A. Not that I’m aware of.
Q. Okay.
A. But that’s too long, that’s too long a story other than to say that when I was 13
years of age I met a gentleman who changed my life. And that was the co-author of many of the books that we’ve written, Tremper Longman III.
Q. Right. And that’s in Columbus, Ohio.
A. And he had a family that had faith. And I stepped into their family and was
really invited to have a sense of what a mother or father or what siblings are like. And it was a glorious place for me to kind of gain that first entry. But I was a drug dealer, I was a car stealer, I broke and entered, I-I was just a bad egg for many, many, many years.
Q. Wow.
A. But this family graciously received me into their world. And during that
period of time, as I continued to be involved in illicit pharmaceutical sales and just a life that was very, very harmful, the gospel continued to come into my life to a point where I knew the Bible, I knew the Bible fairly well, as an unbeliever. I remember one time having the opportunity to share the gospel with an unbeliever who was thinking about killing herself that night.
Q. You shared the gospel with her though you yourself hadn’t made a personal
claim of faith.
A. Oh no, no. I mean, I just figured, you know, that the other-the other paths she
had tried hadn’t worked, she might as well try Jesus. So I remember the moment where I asked her if she wanted to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior, had taken her through Romans 3:23, 6:23, Ephesians 2:8 and 9…
Q. This is when you were in high school?
A. No, this is college at this point.
Q. College.
A. And I said, Do you want to receive the Lord? And she said, Yes. So I said,
Well, close your eyes and pray this prayer after me. And I prayed the prayer –
Q. Because you had heard it through going to church with Tremper and all that
stuff?
A. No, I had never gone to church, but I’d been in groups where I’d heard this
happen before. And so I remember when she opened her eyes and she looked at me. And I’m telling you, they were different eyes.
Q. Wow.
A. Unquestionably different eyes. And she said, I never knew you were a
Christian. And I said, I’m not. In fact, You can’t do drugs, you can’t hang out with me anymore. I’m going to take you to some friends and they’re going to help you, but you can’t be messing around with me anymore. So that was-that was the context of saying that the gospel came to me late.
Q. Out of season, I believe is a Biblical phrase. So most people make their
decision to follow Jesus before they start leading other people to Jesus. But anyway, that’s another story. Where did you go to college?
A. Well, I went to a place called Ohio Wesleyan in Deleware, Ohio.
Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. And…
Q. Is that where Tremper went?
A. Yes. We went because we tried to divide our Doors albums, and it was one of
the second worst fights we ever got in. And he said, Why don’t you just come to college with me. And it was like, Okay. So I went to college with him.
Q. This is true.
A. Absolutely.
Q. You-you had a collection of albums that the two of you shared –
A. Right. A couple hundred.
Q. – in high school.
A. Right.
Q. And-and he was going to leave for college and he wanted to take them.
A. Well, just the Doors albums.
Q. Yeah.
A. And that ticked me off because I really liked Jim. So I said, Absolutely not.
Well anyway, the fight was awful. He said, Why don’t you come to college. And it was like, Okay, why not?
Q. So-so ladies and gentlemen, so far, this young man sitting in front of me,
Dr. Dan Allendar, has led someone to Christ without actually making the decision himself, has chosen a college based on that was where the-the library of Doors albums was going to be housed, so he had to follow the Doors albums wherever it might lead him.
A. Right.
Q. He’s still selling pharmaceuticals, though advising other people that it’s not a
good thing to be involved with me, if you’re going to follow Jesus you got to go hang out with these other people. And you see why I said this is like an episode of Monty Python.
We’re going to pick up there when we come back. Dr. Dan Allendar is
our guest. You can read his books, The Wounded Heart, The Healing Path, Intimate Allies. You can learn more about Mars Hill Graduate School.
Q. What’s the web site for Mars Hill?
A. mhgs, Mars Hill Grad School, .net.
mhgs.net. And you can learn more about the seminars through a web site
that we’ll give you when we come back right after this. Don’t go away. You’re listening to Seattle’s Christian talk, AM-820.
(Break.)
Well, this is Dick Staub back with you.
Q. Dan Allendar was the salt of the earth before he actually, himself, had been salted, which is-is a phenomenal story. It reminds me of Mark Driscoll, who started leading Bible studies at Washington State University after the Simpsons because they noticed that there were Bible references there and-and they wanted to know what the Bible had to say. And his girlfriend had given him a Bible before he left for college thinking it might help. So Mark Driscoll got out a Bible and started leading a Bible study.
A. After the Simpsons.
Q. Yeah, after the Simpsons, and before he, himself, was a-a follower of Jesus.
Look, you know, if you think God isn’t at work, you-you can’t be listening and watching. And if you think God isn’t at work in the Northwest, you can’t be paying attention to some of the outlandish people that God has brought here to do the work of his kingdom. There you are at college, you went there because of your Doors collection, which you did not want to split up, and-and now, did you during college make your decision or not? I mean…
A. Well, a third of a decision.
Q. A third of a decision.
A. Well, probably the decision that there might be a god.
Q. So you became a theist.
A. Well, at least… I didn’t know the word, but bottom line, I knew there had to
be something other than me. At least if there weren’t, there wasn’t any point to be me. And so –
Q. Wow.
A. – at that point that came in the context of the cartel that I worked with putting
out a contract on a DEA agent. And all of a sudden I went from being a middle-class drug dealer to being in the big time. And I knew that either I was going to jail or I was going to die. And I remember at that point in time saying to Tremper, I want to go to church.
Q. Really, really.
A. I want to go with you. And there was sort of a move in my own heart to say,
All right God, if you’re true, you’re true, and I guess it’s right. And you know, whatever.
Q. Yeah.
A. That was sort of my conversion point of, whatever –
Q. Yes.
A. – that night. And it really has marked my whole life from that point in time.
And that is the-the first sermon. In one sense if you can say, sort of the movement toward God, a very clear movement, maybe it wasn’t a full conversion – whatever you call a full conversion – but that evening the pastor started talking about Balaam’s ass. And I mean, that was what the sermon was about. And I’m thinking, oh, my goodness. What have I got… What kind of religion have I gotten myself into that Balaam’s ass is talking to him. And about half way in the sermon –
Q. I’m in a-I’m in an episode of Aesop.
A. – half way through the sermon he changed to Balaam’s donkey.
Q. Yeah.
A. Oh, it was such a relief.
Q. Yeah.
A. It was at this point I realized that –
Q. He was talking about an animal.
A. – all we’re dealing with is the possibility that God could use animals and not body parts. And it was a relief to me. So from that point there was at least some movement and some sense of reading, thinking, talking with other believers.
Q. Now, why did you end up at seminary, though? You’re a third of the way into a conversion and… Was it the record collection again?
A. No, it was Tremper, though. And that is, it was six weeks before we graduated. He asked me what I was doing after graduation. That’s the first time… In the ‘70s. You’ve got to remember it’s the ‘70s. And at that point I had never thought about what we were going to do six weeks later when I graduated.
Q. Yeah.
A. And he looked at me and he said, Well, what are you thinking of? And I said, Well, I don’t know. I think probably law school. Well, you’ve never taken your LSAT’s. And it was like, oh…
Q. But I’ve taken LSD.
A. Well, what is LSAT? And he, you know, told me what it was. And it was like, Well, bummer. That’s pretty exclusive of ‘em. And he said, Well, what are you going to do? Are you going to get a job? And I said, No, no way at all. And so he said, Well, why don’t you go to seminary with me? And it was like, Well, I don’t think so. And he said, Well, you know, just come. You can think about God, study a little bit, you know, do whatever you want to do –
Q. Yeah.
A. – but… And so we got an application, and it had all these questions I had no idea with. Personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I had no idea what he was talking about.
Q. Yeah.
A. So I tried to fill it out. Tremper, laughing in the background, finally said, Let me fill it out for you. So he filled it out and he was accepted on my behalf to Westminster. He was already going there. So the two of us ended up going. And that was the context where it really did dawn. Whatever awakening that had begun at maybe 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 in the morning, it was really the first year in seminary the gospel simply grabbed me.
Q. Wow. And the lights came on.
A. In the sense that he’s the sovereign God of the universe. He is the author of my life –
Q. Yeah.
A. – and that he has absolute authority over every portion of my life.
Q. Not just some quirky little subculture.
A. No.
Q. It’s the whole enchilada.
A. The whole enchilada.
Q. Yeah, exactly.
A. And somehow…
Q. That’s actually what happened to me in my freshman year of college. I’m a
little on a faster track than you.
A. Well, you’re the beloved, right?
Q. Exactly. Well, the beloved is on a faster track. No, that’s how… That’s
actually what led me to a firm conviction of faith was when, in the book of Romans the phrase, “all have sinned,” and all and all and all… And suddenly I realized, Oh wait a minute. They’re not just talking about Americans and these quirky little fundamentalists. This is the whole world that we’re talking about. This is the creator of the universe. Oh, okay. And it’s so stupid that we don’t see that or understand, that but I didn’t. And you obviously didn’t either. So-so now, how did you end up heading off on the psychology path?
A. Well, even there I wish-I wish there were a portion of my life that made sense, that had a little bit of linearity to it. But I think…
Q. Well, when you hit the elephant tonight it’ll all make sense.
A. Yeah, right before. No sailing magazines.
Q. Yeah, that’s right.
A. No, I think the honest answer is that God has written at least a good portion of my life to reveal something of his goodness, but a goodness that is unpredictable. I think that’s the mark of when I look at my own life and say –
Q. Unpredictable goodness.
A. – there is an unpredictability that you can’t manage God by saying, I’m going to go to college, get a four-year degree, go on to graduate school, do this, that, and the other. Sometimes he picks people like me that simply don’t seem to fit.
Q. Yeah.
A. Don’t fit the model, don’t fit the experience. And then they get thrust/thrown into being the president. I mean, I never thought I would believe, let alone believe to teach, and then teach and be a president of a-of a seminary. I think it’s very, very, very, not only ironic, but just plain funny.
Q. You’re-you’re known around the issue of healing for sexual abuse. How did that whole issue become your nitch, or one of them?
A. Well, I was a psychologist. I had gone through seminary, gone into a local church, met a gentleman by the name of Larry Crabbe, who really did tutor/disciple me, opened the door to thinking about the issues of what does it mean to be in a one-to-one conversation, or one-to-two conversation, about the meaningful matters of life –
Q. Yeah.
A. – in a way that some call counseling but I just call “having a good lunch.” And in that context I went to graduate school, like many of us do. And in that context it became clearer and clearer there was so much to be learned. And as I learned it, got into talking to people – and I’m now a professional – I remember the day very well a woman, whom I had worked with for maybe five or six sessions, looked me in the eye, out of the blue, and says, Do you know anything about sexual abuse? And I graduated, had a Ph.D., was a psychologist, a pretty young one but, I remember thinking that if I tell you the truth, that I never have studied it for one single minute, I’ve gone through three years of seminary, two years of a Master’s program, six years of a Ph.D. program, all excellent programs, 11/12 years of graduate education, not a single stinking minute on the issues of abuse.
Q. Wow.
A. And I looked at her and I said, No, I don’t know much. And she said, I know you don’t. And if you’re willing to work with me, I’ll teach you everything I know. And that was truly – about 1986 – a journey that God has not graciously let me leave and that has opened the door to things that I would never, never, never have thought I had the privilege to enter.
Q. Why did she trust you with that?
A. Good question. Maybe she saw enough brokenness, maybe enough arrogance, maybe enough failure, maybe enough chutzpah. Who knows? But God was gracious enough to have her ask that question.
Q. So basically, she shared her life around this issue, and it was your first education.
A. It was.
Q. Wasn’t there a lot written already about it? Was it…
A. 1986, not a lot. Shall we say, the feminists were writing about it. But certainly in Christian circles, it was an unknown, unaddressed topic except for a few decent books.
Q. Wow. We’re going to pick up there when we come back because, sadly, just based on the statistics, we know that some of you listening right now, this is one of your issues. And we also know, within the Christian community, that many people don’t talk about it. And it’s a suppressed issue still.
We’re going to pick up with Dr. Dan Allendar coming up right after this. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back.
(Break.)
Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. Dr. Dan Allendar is with us. Remarkable story. And his books include The Wounded Heart, The Healing Path, Intimate Allies, seminar workshop leader, President of Mars Hill Graduate School, which we still haven’t gotten to.
Q. We’re talking about-about the whole issue of healing from sexual abuse, an
issue that started with one of his patients in the mid ’80s. And it was a subject that you didn’t know that much about, hadn’t been written that much about. And since then we’ve learned worlds about the frequency, the nature, the extent of sexual abuse, and its impact. I mean, how widespread is this issue truly in American life and society?
A. It’s pervasive. If it were an issue of the common cold, we would see it as a
tragedy and it would be at the very front of Newsweek every week. We’re looking at men, we’re probably looking at at least one out of four. That’s conservative, a very conservative figure. My guess is we’re looking at at least 30/33 percent.
Q. And when we talk about one out of four, 33 percent of men involved in sexual
abuse…
A. Having been abused.
Q. Having been abused. What impact does that have on their lives, and how has it
been such a suppressed issue for so long?
A. Well, there’s so much shame attached to it. You know, if you look at women,
the figures are even higher at 38 to 40 percent. And again, a conservative figure. So if you think about a congregation of 200 people, 100 men/100 women –
Q. Yeah.
A. – you’re looking at, you know, 50 women and 25/30 men, and that 85 out of
200. That’s substantial.
Q. I was with a… We were with a couple for dinner a few weeks ago and I
couldn’t believe his ears, my ears, when I heard what he said. And so I asked my wife when we got home, and she said that she and his wife were talking and didn’t hear what he said. But-but I know that what he said was, Well, does it ever strike you – and this was after the-the Elizabeth Smart story came out – he said, Does it ever strike you that maybe this is just normal, since it’s so widespread? And I thought, Well, just because it’s widespread doesn’t mean it’s normal. And-and I-I-I was so taken back I didn’t actually pursue the line of questioning anymore. But-but it strikes me that we have an unbelievable kind of moral problem in a society where something is that common that is so obviously a violation of… I mean, I often tell people, let alone my spiritual convictions, just my human, being a human being makes me know that this isn’t normal or right, and so forth.
A. Well, it deadens. That’s one of the basic points is it deadens something in the
human heart. It kills a sense of humanity. It allows you to be even more abused and often allows you to do harm to others, even if it’s not sexual abuse, there’s a certain detachment often technically called dissociation, a deadness inside the heart that separates from the reality of the pain.
Q. Can people be healed once they’ve experienced it?
A. Oh, it’s the hard labor of, Will you name it first? Will you have the courage to
name you have abuse? And that abuse, even if it was one time, one minute, has an effect in your heart, today, 30 years/40 years later.
Q. Yeah.
A. So if you name it, then it opens the door to this process of, Will I ask hard questions? Now, really what you have me into is the whole core of Mars Hill Grad School. I mean, as a grad school what we’re committed to doing is asking, Will you-will you name the hard issues of life? And that’s one of the reasons why abuse has taken me to this question of, Will I have the courage to name? I’m back to that question of, How did I get into this? Well, it was probably a year and a half later I started teaching this material that I was learning from her. And a good friend of mine came to one of the first/second seminars and after it was over said to me, Do you have any history of abuse in your life? And I said, Absolutely not. He said, Well, you know, you have a lot of passion about this, a lot of issues seem to be there, Why have you asked the question, have you asked, Have you been abused? And it’s like, Of course I have. No, I have not. And he said, Well, have you ever been violated sexually? Ever been harmed? Ever felt sexual shame in any moment? And I was like, Well, of course I have. And I told him a few stories. And as I told him the stories, he began to weep. And he said, Do you mean to tell me this event with the scoutmaster, this event with a coach, this event in a locker room aren’t sexual abuse? And I looked him literally in the eye and I said, Well, given the definition I used when I was teaching, yes it is, but it really isn’t. And I just… It was literally that sense of, Wait a minute, what did I just say?
Q. Hm.
A. This is a good definition for you, but not for me. I mean, that level of shame of saying I will not address what’s really in my own life.
Q. What impact is pornography having on this issue?
A. Oh, goodness.
Q. And what impact is pornography having on young men and the way they view women, what happens in their romantic relationships with women, what happens when… I’ve got three daughters. And I often, knowing the statistics, I often shudder to think what is going to happen when young guys who have been under the influence of this stuff, get into marriages.
A. Yeah. 15,000 men at a Promise Keepers, and they did a survey. 65 percent of them said they struggled with pornography every week. That’s pastors, in the ministry, etc., etc. So if that’s true in the pastoral community, you can bet it’s equally true in the context of, should we say, the “other” communities of God’s people. So we’re looking at a scourge, something that if we just yell at it and say it has to stop, don’t give in, chose not to. I mean, pornography, particularly on the internet, is anonymous and it is crass and violating beyond the typical violations you see in the typical magazines like Playboy.
Q. Why is it so widespread? I mean, what do we know about the kind of psychological triggers or the spiritual yearnings or what… What are the contributors that make somebody vulnerable to-to-to…
A. Well, I think-I think pornography requires no risk. And we live in a culture where men are more and more and more not wanting to take the risk of love making or of being in love and giving their heart to a woman. And therefore, you can be married but not have to even deal sexually with her because you have fantasies in a magazine or on the internet. It doesn’t require risk. It doesn’t require failure.
Q. Now-now we would believe that part of spiritual renewal and healing would-would absolutely deal with this area in people’s lives, but it appears, based on what you’re saying, that there are a lot of people who-who in their-their kind of spiritual journey have somehow compartmentalized this area off on the side and are-are trying to go ahead and become the person God wants them to be without actually dealing with this area of their life.
A. Well, back to that word, hard questions. It is your god. Now, let’s look at why you would have a magazine become a god on your behalf.
Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. The notion that of course it’s wrong is where many Christians stop, rather than saying, let’s ask why we would be drawn to not only a violation of ourselves but somebody else.
Q. You know, what’s interesting about this subject is whenever I, as a mere mortal talk show host, bring up this subject people will call in and guys will, they’ll weep on the-on the air by phone, and usually with using somebody else’s name, with how entrapped and obsessed and addicted they are to pornography, how-how it is affecting their life and their marriage and everything else. And it’s like there’s just this extraordinarily powerful grip on their life. And it actually is one of the reasons why so many of them feel the need for God because-because they’re-they’re in hopes that that will somehow deal with it. But there’s not an automatic causal connection between bringing your life to God and having this issue resolved.
A. No. Chesterton had this beautiful quote, and he said, “Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.”
Q. Wow.
A. If you’re willing to of course say, it’s wrong to go to a brothel, but now, what is it that you’re truly looking for in the magazine? What are you truly looking for in your own life? Will you let your own story be part of what you examine in the hard questions you’re facing?
Q. Well folks, you can spend more time with Dan Allendar by picking up a copy of his books, The Wounded Heart, The Healing Path, Intimate Allies. There are also seminars and workshops. What’s the best website to go to for information about the workshop?
A. The path less chosen.
Q. thepathlesschosen.com. And we’ll also learn more about Mars Hill Graduate School right after this. Don’t go away.

(Break.)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is Dick Staub back with you. And we have in the studio with us Dan Allendar. And if you’re interested in the seminars and workshops, Wounded Heart Seminar is one, and there are others as well. And they-they are frequent. And you’ve got to go right now and check it out and see which one is going to be in our area coming up real soon. The website is thepathlesschosen.com. That’s thepathlesschosen.com. And when you go to that web page you’ll have an opportunity to check out workshops, seminars, Dan’s speaking schedule, and there’s also information about-about his books and the things that he’s written, so it’s kind of a one-stop place for you to-to get more information. And I know, as we’ve talked about the issue of sexual abuse, for some of you this is – and pornography and addiction – this is such a painful area for you that you can hardly bear it. And this is a chance for you to actually take a next step and get some help. And I really urge you to do that because Dan has pulled together resources that really do provide a range of approaches to getting the help that you need and-and-and to begin to deal with an area of your life that is the weight that is holding you back in life so often.

You’ve talked a little bit about Mars Hill Seminary. And just, in a nutshell,
what is the seminary about?

Well, years ago we began to try and think through how to help people think
about the nature of reading life. Reading is really what we’re about, and that’s the big issue. And if you want a fancy word for it, it’s the hermeneutics. How do you read the human face and text that comes out of a mouth and eyes and non-verbal behavior? Well, that’s what a therapist does. But in many ways, learning how to read the face is not that dissimilar from learning how to read the Bible. We have to read the Bible in a context where the meaning of that text is taken into our lives, transforms our lives, and then is taken into the lives of other people. Well, in one sense, that’s what a therapist does. So the way of learning how to read the Bible, in many ways, informs how you actually learn to read people.

Hm.
So we have this notion that what we want to do is combine the reading of the
soul and the reading of the Bible. But there’s a whole third area that you have such a passion for, and we’ve taken on at least a core part as, well and that is we live in a culture, a situation. Seattle is a different world than Peoria. And we need to learn how to read Seattle. America is different than Istanbul. Well, given the worlds that people live in, we need to learn to read the culture in a way in which we lead other people into reading their own lives and into reading the scriptures. So we’re involved in helping people learn to read three texts: the text of the human heart, the text of the scriptures, the text of the culture. And if you can learn to read the three, they really will help to inform each other.

And the name, Mars Hill, comes from Paul’s ability to do that in Acts chapter
17.

17, yeah. And as he read the culture he was able to bring the gospel more
clearly into their worlds.

And one of the things that people will find is if they learn this skill they’ll be
able to read the gospel into their own life. They’ll-they’ll be able to under… It’s not just about understanding culture so I can communicate gospel more effectively, it’s actually a point of clarification for us. It’s a point at which we come to understand how our faith connects to the issues raised by the culture.

Picasso wants to change your life, not necessarily to take you into
relationship with Jesus Christ, but God intends to use Picasso to change your life for the purpose of revealing the glory of God.

So-so how did this place end up in Seattle?
Well, there were a number of us who, as we began to dream, we were
involved in a counseling program, but we wanted to do a whole lot more, and that is to engage the church. Outside of just the counseling realm, we wanted to train folks that were going to be pastors, who were going to be church administrators, we wanted to get into where God has the greatest heart for. I think God has a heart for counselors in the therapeutic context. But his deepest commitment is to the context of the local church. And so we had the opportunity to work with a wonderful group, Western Seminary in Portland. We came up here, started a branch campus, and after about four years they began to evolve in a different direction and began to say to us, Listen, we are for you 100 percent. But do you want to go ahead and start your own place? And we did. Foolishly. And it’s been glorious.

Now, you’ve gotten accreditation –
We have.
– which is an amazing accomplishment.
Oh, it’s a wonderful, wonderful… We come up for what could be called full
accreditation — we have partial at the moment – in about one week.

You and I are always together at this dramatic moment. Now who comes to
this seminary? Who are the students?

Well, probably about 65 percent of our students come from outside of the
Seattle area. And we’re hoping – and this is, I’m begging ya, I’m beggin ya – to come and take a look at us because about 30 percent/35 percent come from the Seattle and what could be called the Northwest area, and we’re hoping to see that rise.

And what are their professional aspirations? What-what-what kind of degrees
am I going to get out of Mars Hill?

We have a Master of Divinity degree, which is the one that’s usually most set
for the local church. We have a Master of Arts in Counseling degree. Right now we have a Master of Spiritual Nurture, which is really a commitment to training people to be spiritual directors in the context of the church. We’re going to be making some changes in all those areas, but the bottom line is this: We want to involve people in face-to-face conversations and in a context of bringing the church into the culture in a way in which… The culture is not going to come to us. We gotta go to them.

And-and who are the professors? What kind of team have you put together?
Well, we’ve got a number of full-time folks, about four of us that are full-
time. And then we’ve got about four right now part-time, that is, folks who are about 50 percent. Some are pastors in the area. A gentleman by the name of Jim Davis from the Bremerton area. We’ve got some folks from southern Seattle and we’re… Go to the website. I’m sorry to do it that quickly to say our faculty shows themselves in that area and just fine human beings.

mhgs.net is the website for more information about Mars Hill Graduate
School, and it’s right here in the Seattle area. And it’s a resource that-that-that you ought to know about. We’ve talked about a couple of websites tonight with Dr. Dan Allendar. One is for the graduate school, Mars Hill Graduate School. That’s mhgs.net. We’ve also talked about the workshops and seminars that Dan does around the subject of healing after sexual abuse, and that’s information that you can find at thepathlesschosen.com. And I hope you’ll write those down and check out the information that is available in both of those-of those websites. When you-when you look at the journey that you’ve been on and God being full of surprises in the unexpected, what is the most unexpected thing for you about being in Seattle?

Well, I think one of the great things about being in Seattle has been the
opportunity to tell people that I teach at a seminary and have them look at me and go, What? What are you doing? And I said, Seminary. And have them say, What are you doing teaching dead people? And then to say, No, that’s a cemetery.

Yeah.
People don’t know the gospel here. People don’t even know a lot of religious
language.

Yeah.
It’s so much… It’s glorious to be here rather than in the Bible belt where
you’ve got to fight with so many long-term traditions. At least it’s new here in a way so if you surprise people…

Do you think people are spiritually open here?
I think they’re massively open, if you don’t offend them by being a predictable
right-wing republican with short hair and with an attitude. And if you’re able to interact with some level of humility – not to say that that approach is not humble – but if you have some level of humility, they’re intrigued.

Dr. Dan Allendar has been our guest. You can find out about Mars Hill

Graduate School by going to mhgs.net and you can find out about his workshops and seminars by going to thepathlesschosen.com. Another Seattle resource. We’ll be back with more of the Dick Staub show coming up right after this. Don’t go away

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