Well, maybe not a nutshell, but as I've struggled to give context for what the heck I'm doing out here in a Grad School that has nothing (on the surface) to do with theatre, film, European History, or Balkan Folk music (my main worldly interests) I thought I should let Mars Hill speak for itself. Here's some of the core "Who are we at Mars Hill" that I first read on the website when I was searching for a program to merge my hopes and desires in the realms of contemporary culture and realtionship with the God of creation. Here it is in their words. I feel I should also explain breifly that Mars Hill Graduate School has no affiliation with the Mars Hill Church in Seattle that has recently caused such a disruptive stir in the media. I say this not to point fingers and say "We're not them" but simply to clarify that we're not them. I'll leave it there.
Here's a bit about where I am and what I'm doing.
The mission of Mars Hill Graduate School (MHGS) is to train people to be competent in the study of the Scriptures, the human soul, and the culture. To that end, MHGS seeks to prepare professionals and others who desire to obey Christ's commission to serve in the fields of ministry, counseling, spiritual direction and the arts.
Our vision is to train men and women to see Scripture through a perspective that keeps the primacy of story and mystery alive as it authoritatively forms the fundamental parameters of our life and worldview. We believe interpretation or hermeneutics is neither primarily a science, nor a skill, but a living art that molds us into maturity by the Word itself, the convicting work of the Spirit, and in dialogue with the community of faith both past and present.
Our vision is to train men and women to live lives worthy of the gospel. We believe this is possible through an ongoing process of humility that reveals our bias, transforms our heart, and enlivens our passion for the Author of Life. The outcome will be a transformation that involves a shift in perspective (faith), purpose (hope), and passion (love) evidenced in how one relates to enemies and friends, body and mind, and the world in which we are situated.
Our vision is to train men and women to engage culture. Every culture attempts to flee God and yet find life in its own gods. Every culture reflects both the glory of creation and the depravity of the fall. We believe a person or community can never receive a hearing, nor offer the gospel, unless it incarnates the gospel through joyful participation in a culture's glory and honest engagement in its darkness. We wish to develop lovers of language, story, drama, film, music, dance, architecture, and art in order to deepen our love of life and the God of all creativity. The result will be a greater desire to know the human heart, the word of God, and the coming and already present Kingdom of God.
(Mars Hill's motto is TEXT, SOUL CULTURE, as is mine. Pretty amazing that I wanted to move to Seattle, and the one school I could ever imagine going to was sitting right here wating for me. God cracks me up.)