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A Northeastern Seminary alumn will be returning to campus as the new professor of Spiritual Formation.

Marlena Graves is a 2007 Master of Divinity graduate from Northeastern Seminary and is currently finishing a Ph.D. in American Cultural Studies with a focus on Ethnicity, Gender, and Social Identities. 

“I am super excited to be among such admirable faculty and staff,” Graves said. “My calling is to help spiritually form church leaders of integrity whose lives are anchored to Christ. And of course, the formation goes both ways: the students form me in the way of Jesus, too. It is such an honor to be chosen to work here.”

Graves said her research covers how white evangelical Christians have been captive to United States culture in the areas of race, immigration, and gender. “I am interested in how we spiritually form counter-cultural Christians who are more like Jesus,” Graves said. “My question is what values have we picked up or inherited from our culture instead of Christ? My research centers on faith, formation, and culture. I am excited to teach the whole slate of classes in spiritual formation. I am always learning something new. Teaching the classes forces me to keep studying and growing.”

She is a noted author of several books including A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness (Brazos Press, 2014), Who’s My Neighbor? Loving Our Neighbors As God Loves Us (Discovery Series, Our Daily Bread, 2020), The Way Up Is Down: Becoming Yourself by Forgetting Yourself (IVP, 2020), Forty Days On Being A Nine: Enneagram Daily Reflections (IVP, 2021). 

Marlena is married to her husband Shawn, a philosophy professor. Together, they have three daughters, 15, 10, and nearly 8. All involved in athletics, music, and school, Marlena will begin her work in this critical faculty role on July 1, 2022, teaching online for the first academic year with plans to move to Rochester next summer.