Town Hall with Dr. Richard Beck: “Traditioned Innovation”

Is it possible to bring together old and new and recover things that have always been? On January 27, Dr. Richard Beck joined us for the first in a series of Town Halls on Traditioned Innovation examining how we can renew traditions and practices from the past in order to improve on the present and make progress towards the future.

We also heard from Courtney Dugstad about the remarkable work being done in Rochester, MN by Next Chapter Ministries in bringing together tradition and innovation in their work with families who are reentering the community from being incarcerated. 

Town Hall Notes: 
Dave Hillis and Cornelius Williams discuss the foundational importance of both tradition and innovation (the old and new) that shape effective organizations. These are ideas that hold up against the cult of originality and hubris that can bog down organizations.  
Dr. Richard Beck is introduced (14:06) and discusses the kingdom of God being a place of hospitality, and the failure of Christians to fully live into that vision. The gap between the vision and reality is rooted in the psychological dynamic of disgust and distance of the other. The stranger should be invited to God’s table and welcomed as our neighbor, but strangers are too often viewed as objects of anxiety and wariness, and not embraced as brothers and sisters in our faith community. Practices that can help us embrace the stranger come from St. Thérèse of Lisieux (“The Little Flower”): seeing the humanity of others around us instead of dehumanizing others, stopping and creating space for the priorities of others (being patient), approaching and crossing boundaries so that we are not always homogenous in our interactions.  
Dr. Beck answers questions from the audience (36:25-43:00). 
Cornelius Williams introduces Courtney Dugstad, Executive Director of Next Chapter Ministries in Rochester, MN (44:00). This ministry serves families who are reentering the community from being incarcerated. Next Chapter offers residential and non-residential programs. This discussion with Courtney ties the town hall together by discussing the tradition and innovation of Rochester and the tension of incarcerated people having to be responsible for their behavior while understanding their trauma which is statistically higher than the general population.  
Dr. Richard Beck is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. He is the author of Unclean and The Authenticity of Faith. He also writes about the intersections of psychology and theology at his popular and award-winning blog Experimental Theology.
 Courtney Dugstad, is the Executive Director of Next Chapter Ministries the Leadership Foundation in Rochester, MN.


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