2nd year MACP student Rebecca Canlis wrestles with the reality of beginning her internship this summer.

The second semester is a curious one for the MACP student. We’ve been at this grad school thing for a while now and we think maybe, just maybe, we’ve got the hang of it. We are different people than when we arrived: more confident, more self-aware, kinder, bolder. We know our APA, we can write a WDP in our sleep – we’ve got this.

Then certain rumblings become audible in the hallways, side conversations become tense during class breaks over open laptops and hot coffee, long hugs that say “you are okay” instead of just “hi” are exchanged between friends. The anxiety begins to build… Internship? Wait a second, that starts now? Does everyone else already have their internship figured out? Does everyone else have this therapy thing figured out? Am I the only one who doesn’t feel ready to be a thrown into the ring? Am I the only one who’s afraid to actually put this stuff into practice and – gasp! – “sit with someone”?

Continue Reading Ready for the Real World?

Posted in Psychology at April 8th, 2011.

Recently Dr Chelle Stearns hosted a conversation about the intersecting roles between pastors and therapists. Growing out of the coursework for her class “Theology II: Constructing the Theological Mosaic,” Dr. Stearns invited MHGS counselling psychology faculty members Dr. Stephanie Neill and Dr. Caprice Hollins to join local pastors Dr. Rose Madrid-Swetman and Tim Soerens (MHGS MDiv alumnus) to gather for a panel discussion with the MHGS community. 1st year MACP student Jenny Wanty shares her impressions of that night’s conversation.

After a long and draining day of classes a friend asks, “are you staying for the ministry and counseling conversation?”

“Uh…sure.” And just like that I decided to extend my long day another hour. Although I only heard of this conversation five minutes prior, there really was no question in my mind whether or not I would stay. I decided to attend MHGS because I desire to see an integration of ministry and counseling. Specifically, I want to bring counseling into a church setting where myself and others are imperfect examples of God the Counselor. The panel of men and women were phenomenal and each provided great insight into this ever growing conversation.

Continue Reading The Many Shapes of Leadership

Posted in Theology at April 5th, 2011.

3rd year MACP student Jari Hackmeister rejoices over and recoils from the end of her time as a student at MHGS.

I graduate in 2 weeks and 3 days.

The thing is, coming into this place, I never really expected to get out. They said things like, “You’ll counsel one of your classmates while 6 other students and two facilitators watch and critique.”  Ok, SURE. They said, “Write a paper expressing what you know of the issues and dynamics of your family of origin, and how its influenced and implicated your style of relating.” YEAH, uh huh. And they said, “Obtain an internship at at an eligible site and be a therapist to real people for hundreds of hours.” Wha… “Oh, and of course you’ll be unprepared and inadequate to do so. That’s what internships are for!”

For reasons I have been called to name, though I won’t do so here, I really expected to be able to get out of some of these things. I expected a big “Just kidding! Wouldn’t that have been RIDICULOUS?!?!” or at least an “April Fools!” But no. They weren’t kidding about any of it. They really asked us to do that stuff. And we did it. But the most unbelievable part is what they’re saying now: “Congratulations. You’ve finished.”

When Kristen Houston: Registrar EXTRAORDINAIRE, said those words to me, I came back with a quick, “Well what if I don’t want to be!? What if I WANT to take more classes this summer? What if I don’t want to go?!”
Continue Reading “I Graduate in 2 Weeks and 3 Days…”

Posted in Psychology at March 29th, 2011.

2005 MHGS alumna Maryjane Wilt talks about her risky yet rewarding leap into authorship, with the recent publication of her first book and study guide, Grounds for Marriage: A Fresh Starting Point for Couples in Crisis.

I’ve been an avid journal-writer since my 10th grade English teacher provided time for journaling in class. (Thanks, Miss Morrison. I apologize for not including you in my Acknowledgments.) My journal-writing went from avid to feverish, however, upon enrolling at MHGS. Even so, never in my wildest dreams, did I imagine that my journaling would materialize into a book.

But the volume on my coffee table, titled, Grounds for Marriage: A Fresh Starting Point for Couples in Crisis, published just one month ago, is proof positive when I become most doubtful.

Actually, I didn’t want to write this book, and I put it off over and over again, partly because I didn’t want my personal story of failure to be out there for everyone to know and critique. Plus, the message of this book doesn’t necessarily conform to the standard message of the Christian faith community. I expect that some will call me a heretic at worst, and misguided at best. I expect that others will share the sorrow that drove the writing of this book. In the end, however, I had to write the book to cool the “fire in my belly,” to borrow Jeremiah’s words, from which it arose.

If calling us to true intimacy is heretical, then I guess I’ll take my place with the heretics.

Continue Reading Grounds For Marriage

Posted in Psychology at March 23rd, 2011.

First year MACP student Jeff Rogness reflects on the changing rhythm from first term to second.

I am amazed that I am already halfway through my second term in my first year of grad school. The road to get here has been full of new places, people, ideas and experiences. Thankfully, there have also been familiar places, people ideas and experiences to assure me that I have been on the right path. The Mars Hill Graduate School experience is a unique one, and there are many components to it. What I have been thinking about recently is how different the first two terms have been, but at the same time equally necessary.

I’m in the MACP program and the first term courses center around these three classes Faith, Hope and Love, Interpersonal Foundations and Intro to the Hermeneutical Task which are all taught by amazing professors. Each class session was usually provocative, enlightening and potentially transformative. For the second term the classes are History and Therapeutic Practices, New Testament Genre and Marriage and Family. They are much more practical and simply didn’t pack the same punch as the classes last term. The fact that our class with Dan Allender (who if you don’t know much about him, he is enigmatic, dramatic, brilliant and crazy all at the same time) started a few weeks late didn’t help.

But what I have learned as these classes have developed and progressed is that there is plenty of beauty and mystery in the mundane of life if you’re willing to acknowledge and look for it. For me that idea is reflected in the church calendar, a majority of the year is given over to “Ordinary Time.” A time to rest, reflect and grow into the rhythm you learn and create from the more dramatic and intense seasons of life.

Jeff Rogness is a 1st year in the MACP program. He grew up in beautiful Ottertail County, MN and enjoys reading, listen to and playing music and watching movies with or without friends.


Posted in First Year Experience at March 9th, 2011.

3rd year MDiv student Jev Forsberg writes about participating in the 2011 Society of Vineyard Scholars Annual Conference where he presented his paper “YHWH, Batman, Popeye, and Jerry Falwell: Questioning the Myth of Redemptive Violence.”

As a good “High Church” boy, experiencing forty minutes of intense charismatic worship bracketed by a Spirit-wielding prayer-warrior pastor/preacher slaying congregant after congregant in the Anointing of the Spirit was, shall we say, not a typical worship experience for me. Nevertheless, that is how I joyously spent my time at the 2011 Society of Vineyard Scholars Annual Conference here in Seattle, Washington.

During the Conference weekend, the celebration of the Eucharist was void of the pomp, circumstance, and vestments with which I was familiar, and was instead filled with laughter, eye-contact, and a cheese and wine buffet. Instead of singing the traditional and enduring hymns I knew by heart, we sang fresh melodies with passion, fervor, tears and dance. The setting was charming, the speakers were stirring, the symposiums were challenging, and the mood was easy. It was a spectacular weekend!

Despite my lack of familiarity with Vineyard’s distinct style of worship and liturgy, I quickly came to learn that their passion and desire to experience the Triune God was matched that weekend equally by their intellectual vigor and thirst for theological excellence.

Continue Reading A Weekend With The Society of Vineyard Scholars

Posted in Theology at March 7th, 2011.

1st year MACP student Katie Jensen writes about joining MHGS Student Leadership this Spring as a member of Sacred Space.

As per the typical experience at Mars Hill Graduate School, my first semester was a challenging one. Yet I have discovered that out of the dark mystery of the unknown is birthed the creative rawness of glorious new beginnings.

Though I still feel often lost in the darkness, I’m learning to close my eyes, listen for the music, and am gaining to courage to sing along. I’ve been on a journey of voice: discovering my voice, using my voice, and loving my voice. This road stretchesout before me to the horizon, and I am, for now, set upon it. Joining Sacred Space at MHGS is for me a step of faith in this direction. For I believe that I have something of value to bring and am putting myself in a position to offer it.

Continue Reading Journeying Through Sacred Space

Posted in Spirituality at February 21st, 2011.

There’s something about a place that gets inside you.

For three years I felt like I lived in the old factory-turned-graduate school that sits on the corner of Elliott & Wall. I attended classes and meetings, researched, and wrote papers within the red brick building. But I also ate meals, took naps, had deep conversations, laughed until I hurt, cried on behalf of myself and others, and grew into friendships that have given me hope for a different future.

There’s something about this place that gets inside you.

Continue Reading An Alumni Experience of the MHGS Artist Residency

Posted in Artistry at February 14th, 2011.

1st year MACP Sarah Swift shares work she created during the winter break. Photography by MHGS student Leanna Ramsey-Corrales.

What We May Be by Sarah Swift

Continue Reading In Between

Posted in Artistry at February 3rd, 2011.

2nd year MACP student Ashlee Knight reflects on beginning a new term at MHGS as a member of Anamchara, the realm of MHGS Student Leadership that focuses on community life.

Looking outside at the gray and rainy Seattle sky, it is hard to recognize the beauty in what January brings. Yes, it is a time for hibernation, Netflix and rain boots, but it is also a time for dreaming and anticipating the fresh things God has in store for the new year. January gives us the gift of joining God in the unveiling process: the unveiling of hope, restoration, beauty, relationship and blessing.

Continue Reading January Thoughts

Posted in Community Life at January 26th, 2011.