SNU says goodbye to Spiritual Development associates

Spiritual Development Says Goodbye - Photo supplied by Jason Hubbert
Photo provided by Jason Hubbert

Ronna Fisher, Content Editor

This is the first part in a series about the personnel changes within Spiritual Development.

Each new school year brings with it change.  SNU is no exception.  This year the Spiritual Development team waved goodbye to two associates.  The Echo caught up with former associates Rhea Woodcock and Jason Hubbert through email.  Both resigned from their positions earlier in the summer.

“I have so enjoyed my time as a staff member at SNU; however, I never planned to stay long-term.  It was time for me to try new things and learn some new perspectives.  I am now working as an administrative coordinator at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma,” said Woodcock.

When asked about her future plans, she replied, “I don’t have any plans beyond loving my loved ones, working hard and travelling as much as possible.”  In fact, Woodcock is currently travelling in Iceland.

She encourages students to: “Ask questions every chance you get.  Ask them of God, of your friends, of yourself.  And then, listen for the answers.”

After eight and a half years in Spiritual Development, Hubbert felt that he had met all of his goals within his position.  “I wanted to train students on how to start small groups so that when they left SNU they wouldn’t feel like they had to go to a church that had an established young adult group . . . This way they could see lots of churches that don’t have established groups as options for their church home.”

He also desired to promote justice issues as spiritual issues.  “I’ve spoken about this idea some in chapel, but the big issues that are tying up the time, money and energy of the Church today are homosexuality, evangelism, correct interpretation of scripture, technology in worship, etc.  The big issues facing the world are poverty, unclean water, global warming, hunger, disease, war and energy . . . Jesus went around directly addressing many of these issues—it’s what he spent a good chunk of his time on.

Why would the world listen to the church when we aren’t concerned about the issues everyone else is facing and we’re spending unbelievable amounts of time, energy and money focusing on internal debates?  . . . I wanted to see that focus change, and I wanted to be a part of that.  Without a doctorate, it became apparent that I would not be given the opportunity to advance in Spiritual Development; therefore, having accomplished my goals, I decided to move on to something else.”

That “something else” became law school at Oklahoma University.  “I like higher education and could see myself moving back into it after I complete this degree.  Or, I might practice law, or I might do something else entirely,” Hubbert said.

“I’m not certain that this decision is the correct one, but I think it will open doors for me to participate in areas that I’m passionate about and to which I think the gospel calls us.  I will continue to be ordained in the Nazarene Church and continue to teach at SNU in the Professional Studies programs in the area of the Bible.”

Hubbert encourages students to be flexible in their faith.  “We try and melt down these stories and experiences into attributes and sentences and statements about who God is and what God does—but they are by definition the crystallized, imperfect residue left from encounters with a dynamic God read through the lens of extremely fallible humans.  If you prioritize your understanding of a few statements and ideas over the actual experiences, you will run up against a living God and an unbelievably unrelenting world . . . Your faith will be battered and . . . lost completely . . . If you’re flexible you’ll come out with a much better understanding of God.  If not, you’ll lose your belief in God out of fidelity to a manmade system of words and phrases that were themselves only an attempt to make complex life experiences of God comprehensible.”

He leaves with this message to the student body: “I’d like to say I love you, and I loved working with you more than you can know.  I thank you for your embrace of me as a speaker in chapel, on mission trips, in the classroom, and in and around SNU.  I thank you for opening up to me, sharing part of your journey with me and letting me share part of mine with you.”

The Echo wishes you both all the luck in the world and thanks you for everything you have given to the SNU community.