“What Would You Have Us Do to Change the World,” with Amanda Stubbert

Amanda Stubbert: Welcome to the SPU Voices Podcast, where we tell personal stories with universal impact. Today, we did something a little bit different. We love our famous last question where we ask our guests: “From your unique perspective, if you could have everyone in Seattle do something differently when they wake up tomorrow that’s going to make the world a better place, what would you have us all do?” And I can tell you that every answer I receive gives me a little bit of surprise and definitely something to consider when I wake up the next morning. So let’s take a minute and listen to some of our favorite answers from this last year. Enjoy.

Amanda: Allie Roth, supporting foster families with her company With Love.

Allie: Gosh, this is such a good one. I would say, find an organization that you are passionate about and either donate your time or your finances. So whatever that is, so whether it be animals or whether it be elderly or whatever it is, because I think what that does is it creates a place of more connectedness, but also empathy. And I think if we just had, we were more connected and had more empathy, I think that the world would be a better place.

Amanda: Tim Hanstad, CEO of the Chandler Foundation and Nobel Prize nominee for his co-creation of Landesa.

Tim: Faith expressing itself in love, and that means love for the other. And the other are people who are different than us, and that is different by nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation. All of those things are … We have to lean into those, and we have to lean into those heavily and we have to be on the right side of history on all of those too. And the church hasn’t always been on the right side of history, which is shameful sometimes. I think we need to think more about, are we going to be on the right side of history? Are we going to allow ourselves, our faith to express itself in love? I think that means expanding inclusivity. That certainly was the message of Jesus. I think that’s why he criticized the religious leaders and ultimately got himself in trouble. It was the inclusivity that was core to his message.

Amanda: Chantel Vinson, teacher and coach.

Chantel: I’m constantly, I wouldn’t say concerned, but hoping and wanting for us to be aware of, I would say for me, it would’ve been the generational curse, right? So, getting in touch with our young people because they are the future of our country and what we give them is what they’re going to give back to their kids. And so the conversation that we just had, was to be able to plug into our young people or into each other in general and actually ask questions that you want to know the answer to. Have conversations that you are actually listening to instead of just hearing so that you can actually be, sometimes things happen where we had a whole conversation and I wasn’t listening and I was just hearing you. And I missed that important piece that could have helped that person.

And so I would say, for people in the Seattle area, is to reach out and engage the young people in communities, give them opportunities to get to know you, give yourself opportunities to get to know them, and teach them how to engage one another. And those things will become fruitful, and how they give back to their communities, how they give back to their school, how they give back to their parents. I think those things will all pay themselves forward 10 times.

Amanda: Jeff Van Duzer, former provost and dean of the School of Business at SPU.

Jeff: Okay. So it’s a little cheesy to sort of say, follow Jesus. So I’ll set that aside, but that would actually probably be a very good thing for us. I mean, boy, there’s a lot of brokenness. I guess maybe I would start by asking us as a broader community, when we encounter someone else, I think it would be helpful if we could start with the assumption that they are trying to do good and that they are fundamentally interested in things that are right and good, and that we may disagree violently with them and they may turn out to be grossly misinformed, but they’re not fundamentally out to do evil. And I think if we just gave each person that we encountered the initial benefit of the doubt, it might change the flavor of the discourse that’s going on around us and create some greater sense of community unity to allow us to move forward and solve some of the problems that we’re facing.

Amanda: Kimberly Segall, professor of English.

Kimberly: Ooh, kind of like this question. I think, act locally and think structurally. I think that this idea of acting locally so that, one out of five kids in our state are hungry and we can do something about that, and we need to do something about that. Or the longest war in U.S. history in Seattle, we need to go to the airport to bring in recent immigrants from Afghanistan to Seattle, that’s acting locally. But at the same time, we need to think structurally about changing structures that are … why aren’t people getting enough food? And that shouldn’t just be a private matter. That should be a restructuring of policy. So that combination of ethical action and listening to others in our home city, which even the academy, sometimes we get into what some critics have called sort of academic silos without listening to the grassroots movements around us and the voices around us as we act. But then, also to step back and think about restructuring the racializations and the problems of our society.

Amanda: Bomin Shim, nursing professor.

Bomin: So, Julie and I have been in conversation with actually another colleague here at SPU around the concept of time. And I guess this answer has to do with that time. And one of the things with dementia is their concept of time slightly changes, and they might be living in a different time or it’s just expanded or is just different. So, I guess what it would be is, when we meet someone in the store, on the street, that is different from us and their response doesn’t come immediately, if we take a step back and give a little bit more time that, in that time and space, we might be surprised at how we can actually connect and communicate with each other. And that’s, I know that sounds a little abstract and out there. But in our relationship with … If we hear the diagnosis dementia, sometimes we just don’t know how to talk to the other person where we’re unsure, and so we might halt, but just give yourself and the other person time. And you might be very pleasantly surprised.

Amanda: Julie Pusztai, nursing professor.

Julie: I don’t want to be too redundant here, but that is really what I was thinking as well. The kindness also can come from the recognition of how unique we are as people. And it’s within all of us to categorize people. It’s just easier and faster to figure you out if I can put you in categories. But taking the time to extend kindness to an individual as best you can, knowing that all of our lives has a uniqueness. Not everybody comes to it from the place I come to it with. So seeking to know the individual and seeking, even for someone fiddling with their wallet to try to find the right card or the right, whatever money to give, and you’re waiting impatiently. That individual has a life story. And so, kindness and treating people with the understanding that they live in a certain life situation that may be different than ours, but it is worth understanding.

Amanda: Chris Baron, filmmaker.

Chris: Oh, be kind. Do something kind to some stranger.

Amanda: Rick Newell, mentor and volunteer.

Rick: One for certain is that if all of Seattle placed their faith in Jesus Christ, not just Seattle would change, but the whole world would change. What, and I don’t mean the Jesus that, I don’t know, I’m sure that your listeners are a spectrum of faith journeys, but I don’t mean the church, the Jesus that you might have learned in church or through the TV or YouTube or wherever, but the genuine, you know in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the four gospels, what Jesus teaches is, it is world-changing. Not just Seattle would change. The world would change.

Amanda: Yeah.

Rick: If 700,000 people gave their lives to Jesus. Love your neighbor, love your enemy. That idea alone is, it is earth-shaking. It really is. To genuinely love the people that are considered your enemy to, he says to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. And even my friends, even if my friends have something a little bad happen to them, some part of my heart is glad that they’re not going forward. There’s something sick about that, but even more so with your enemies, that my enemy is rejoicing, then my natural inclination is to be sad. But Jesus says, no, even your enemy, you should be at such a place with me and how much I love you and how awesome you are that if your enemy is thriving, it shouldn’t bother you.

Amanda: Jackson Stava, athletic director.

Jackson: Certainly there’s part of me, I could make a funny response and say that everyone should just come to one of our games and that would make the world a better place. And certainly it may, right? And I would encourage anyone in the greater Seattle area to take advantage of that and to come. But I think if I were to say, what would make the greater city of Seattle a better place, or this region a better place if everyone did one thing, the thing that I really believe is that answer is, I think people need to slow down. People need to see the process for what it is. It kind of goes back to what we just talked about.

In athletics, we talk a lot about the process, right? There is a process of recruiting and there’s a process of teams coming together. There’s a process of growth. And that process, that journey, as I mentioned before, that is where the richness happens. That’s where we see the fulfillment of so much of what God is calling us to. That’s where we see how we can bring the kingdom of God into this world as we engage with people. That’s where you see the personal growth. It is not just the end result. And Seattle is awesome with the industry and the tech and the opportunities, but it also is a fast place. It is rapid. It is always ever-changing. And I think that this area, for sure, the students that we work with, but everyone finding a way to enjoy the ride, trust the process, slow down, whatever phrase you want to use, but understand that that journey and slow journeys are oftentimes the ones where the most growth and transformation happens. I think that would help us a ton. And come to our games.

Amanda: Well, I hope you found these answers inspiring and uplifting. And if I may, I’ll answer the question myself. If everyone in Seattle woke up tomorrow and did one thing differently, I would have them compliment a friend every day in a thoughtful way. That’s my answer. If you have an answer, let us know. Email us: alumni@spu.edu. Have a great day.

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