I find myself a little ambivalent about this change. On the one hand, it was DEFINITELY time for a name change. There is a mega-church here in Seattle that goes by the same name, so it has been incredibly confusing to explain to people that my school is in no way connected with the church. Mars Hill Church is undoubtedly doing many good things here in Seattle, but their theology is very, very different than ours and I don't always agree with the things they teach or the actions they take, so it has been frustrating to constantly be connected with them. I find myself repeatedly defining my school based on what we are not, rather than being able to gush about the things that we are, the real reasons I love my institution. It will be refreshing to tell people what school I attend and not immediately need to qualify that statement.
On the other hand, I LOVE our old name (and am not crazy about our new one). I love what it stands for. I love that Mars Hill was a place that Paul went to engage genuinely with his culture, a place of knowledge and wisdom and philosophy. I love how cool Mars Hill sounds. Maybe that sounds trite, but I don't care. Mars Hill Graduate School just rolls off the tongue a little better than the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. I love that the initials don't sound like a sexually transmitted disease. SSTP sounds like I've caught something just one step down from chlamydia.
So I begin my time at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology with both joy and resistance, both excitement and hesitation. I am sure it will take me a little while to adjust to the new name, but I am excited for what it means for our institution. It definitely feels like a new chapter in our story, one I am glad I get to be a part of. The following videos were produced by the school, and were both incredibly helpful for me in this time of transition. The first was just released last night following the official name change, a look forward to life in a new era. The second is a video from our founder and former president, Dan Allender. It is a helpful look back at why Mars Hill was chosen as the first name and why it will always be special to me and so many others.