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A Word on Wisdom - A Center's Concern

December 8, 2020

A word on Wisdom. Wisdom is true when it heals the world. The wisdom within religious traditions and spiritual pathways are intended to assist or heal the world, because wisdom is always outward-looking from what it brings deep within. Often, this is how wisdom feels in our own lives. Wisdom imparts, it seeks, it invokes, it heals.

Over the generations, the work of religious scholars has been shaped by core values that are in turn informed by sacred stories and community reflection across the ages. Even as many of us publish in one corner of this field or another, religious wisdom must help and not hinder the health of the world.

Alongside core partners in our Ecumenical and Interreligious Advisory Council, we discerned the title -- Center for Religious Wisdom & World Affairs – because we affirmed that the wisdom of traditions at Seattle University – in its faculty, staff, students, and external communities – included people informed by a Jewish understanding of Tikkun Olam in the repairing or improving of the world, or a Christian obligation of clergy and lay to seek the renewal of the people in daily life, or the Sikh affirmation of Guru Nanak’s guiding philosophy that our daily reality is a reflection of our inner state. In a university context alive with Ignatian discernment, and deeply caring for the values within religious and cultural pluralism, wisdom across the ages invites us to discern new perspectives and then to act on behalf of the neighbor. Wisdom helps heal the world.

We invite you to read our Center Strategic Vision to learn more to learn more about our approach and ‘reason for being,’ and how our work supports the greater mission and vision of Seattle University and the university’s five goals from 2020-2025. I am deeply encouraged and indebted in a season of gratitude to the Center Team of students, staff, faculty, and the richness of advisors in the Ecumenical and Interfaith Advisory Council of leaders in this region and the world, who give so freely of their energy and insight. Thank you.

On behalf of these circles of leadership, I am pleased to highlight in this newsletter three aspects of a coherent story of the Center.

First, this team is grateful for the wisdom of faculty, staff and students in this university who are participating in the Seeking Wisdom Series. Knowing that wisdom to assist the world is ready to be shared from every field, members of the university community are responding to our prompt for constructing curricular-based video -- flashes of insight on their experience of the wisdom in their field – which includes question prompts to engage students in the virtual classroom or education in a local community. In this newsletter we highlight Dr. Jaisy Joseph’s video. You can visit the entire resource at the link above.

Next, a Center Student Affiliate took the lead and, working alongside university staff, Student Affiliate Kelly Curtis, is transforming all audio and video content into an accessible format for closed captioning. To be true to our word for enhancing the student experience, our gestures of invitation require rendering all of our projects accessible. This Center Team is grateful for her leadership.

And third, the Center hosts a webinar series – called Soundings – that do one thing: Address a societal challenge that harms local-to-world affairs. The newsletter highlights our Sounding from last week – the religious response to the movement for Black lives. This team is grateful for panel leadership, to Center Scholar Dr. Edward Donalson and to Presiding Elder Francis Barrett for convening this event, and to our Student Affiliate Carlos Bello for his technical insights, creativity and support.

As we enter the Winter quarter, the Center Team will be welcoming our Scholars for the next major study of the Center, which focuses on a cross-religious understanding gratitude, injury, and restoration in a pandemic age.

Thank you for listening. Across religions, this time of year is often one of an anticipation of hope and reflection. Our whole Center Team wishes these for you, and for best of health through this whole winter season.

On behalf of the whole Center Team,

Sincere Regards to you,


Michael Reid Trice, PhD
Spehar-Halligan Associate Professor in Constructive Theology and Theological Ethics
School of Theology and Ministry
Seattle University

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The Center for Religious Wisdom & World Affairs includes the Religica Theolab Podcast. The podcast interviews local to international leaders on topics of shared value and wisdom to the listener.

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