Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD
Associate Professor of Christian Formation and Culture
Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD, has been committed to Christian formation for more than 25 years, working in educational, conference, congregational, and camp settings. Before coming to AMBS in 2003, he was minister of youth ministries for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. At AMBS, Andy teaches in areas of theology, culture, and philosophy. He also launched !Explore, a program that encourages youth to consider various forms of Christian ministry, including pastoral ministry. He is also the direcor of the Center for Faith Formation.
How does the Bible shape your vocation as a professor?
Reading, interpreting, and applying biblical wisdom to our lives today requires a similar approach to culture: reading, understanding, and discerning how we are formed by culture. If we ignore how we are shaped by culture, it is easy to simply dismiss culture as all bad, on the one hand, or to uncritically embrace it and miss how it misshapes us, on the other hand.
Christians must constantly be asking whether we are being formed as disciples of Jesus Christ who seek restoration of relationship with God, with each other, and with creation, or being formed as disciples of fearful nationalism and consumer culture.
How do you encourage students to hold together excellent academics with deep spiritual formation?
The life of the mind and the life of the spirit are two dimensions of what is ultimately one life. While we may have preferences or predispositions, to be whole persons we all need to grow through engagement in Christian practices of prayer, study, fellowship, and action. At AMBS, academic study is both tested and refined through inward practices (such as individual prayer and Bible study) and outward practices (such as fellowship and community involvement).
How does studying in your discipline prepare students to participate in positive personal, spiritual, and social transformation?
Christian leaders are at their best when they are also Christian learners. The way I combine faith formation and cultural hermeneutics helps Christian leaders continue to learn to distinguish easy, quick, short-term, and false promises of salvation offered in the dominant narratives of nationalism, consumerism, and militarism, from the gospel story and invitation to the more difficult but patient and enduring path of spiritual, physical, and social salvation offered in Jesus Christ.
My goal for students
Why I am at AMBS