an alternative form of theological education

Christian leadership requires radical revisioning in the 21st century. The patriarchal, white, Western, capitalist framework that has dominated the globe the last few hundred years has failed to deliver on its promise of greater prosperity and wellbeing. As people on the margins have always known, the ideology of empire is perverse and demonic in its far-reaching effects. Whiteness, the ideology of the American Empire, was birthed in conquest and theft, and has led to a global neoliberal system where everything is a commodity to be devoured for profit. The earth cries out on the brink of eco-systemic collapse.

This is an age for prophets and healers. As indigenous peoples have long recognized, the need is not for more “progress,” but remembering and returning to the kinship that has been lost. Once the layers of imperial co-optation are peeled away, the indigenous and ancestral presence in the bible is liberated to guide us on this journey of decolonization. Through Underground Seminary, students develop the ability to read history, the biblical witness, and their own story through a post-colonial lens. We excavate the past and face the historical betrayals of communion with God’s good creation, while also uncovering the rich ancestral wisdom that lies beneath.

Our pedagogy for this journey of decolonization is classroom seminars in a small cohort of peers, participation in community housing, daily meals together, projects and trips that integrate the learning, one-on-one mentoring, and occasional work projects. Our alternative theological program aims to heal students’ connection to their roots, liberate the spirit, and restore an experience of kinship with the whole of creation so that together we can follow Jesus in his ministry as a prophet and healer.