Michael A King
Office Phone: (540) 432-4261
Main Campus, Harrisonburg
Office Location: SB 132
Vice President & Seminary Dean
“As EMS dean I’m highlighting such themes as ‘treasures of not being sure,’ ‘transforming the shadows,’ and ‘using power for the less powerful.’ I hope to contribute to an EMS learning community prepared to ask a.) difficult questions not to undermine but to deepen the faith with which pastors and theologians trained at EMS engage today’s ferment in faith and culture; b.) how amid a fierce love for the church Christians can more honestly name failings and frailties, not to destroy but through the saving grace of Christ to transform; and c.) how those with power, including seminary deans, might use it not to aggrandize the powerful but to uplift the ‘the least of these.’ I dream of an EMS able to engage the largest questions and faith affirmations in trust that, as my uncle Richard Detweiler used to tell me when addressing my youthful wrestlings, ‘Jesus is as big as the universe.’”
Growing up in Cuba and Mexico as son of missionary parents, Michael A. King experienced multiple cultures and faith understandings. He learned to cherish the Anabaptist-Mennonite commitment to faithfully follow Jesus while wondering what alternate convictions another tradition might have shaped in him. Immersion in Christian thought and life at a time his Mennonite community forbade watching TV even as he gulped down secular books and novels made him wonder what was real and true and good amid competing perspectives. He also wrestled with the gap between Christians’ talk and walk. As a result, into early adulthood King came to question the existence of God and the validity of Christianity even while craving the divine. Often feeling at the margins, unsure to which culture he fully belonged, bred in him compassion for others marginalized by life circumstances or unjust structures.
Although refined and chastened by life journeying, experience as pastor and publisher, academic training, and turning toward a faith in Christ enlarged by doubts and questions, lessons from King’s background continue to nurture his passions at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. There he is articulating such themes as "treasures of not being sure,” “transforming the shadows,” and “using power for the less powerful.”
King has long been an editor and publisher, first through Herald Press (Scottdale, PA, 1989-1997) and then more recently as owner and publisher, Cascadia Publishing House LLC (Telford, PA, 1997-). He has been pastor in congregational settings ranging from Germantown Mennonite Church (Philadelphia, PA, 1982-1989), Spring Mount (PA) Mennonite Church (1997-2008), and more.
King is married to Joan Kenerson King, of Olean, NY, a family therapist with offices in Devon and Telford, PA; and an advanced practice nurse who consults with public behavioral health systems. They are parents of three adult daughters.
King received his B.A. from Eastern Mennonite University (1976), M.Div. from Eastern Baptist (now Palmer) Theological Seminary (1982), and Ph.D. in rhetoric and communication from Temple University (1997).
As author and publisher, King addresses theology and culture, including implications of postmodernity and the emerging church movement. King is co-editor of Mutual Treasure: Seeking Better Ways for Christians and Culture to Converse (Cascadia, 2009), editor of Stumbling Toward a Genuine Conversation on Homosexuality (Cascadia, 2007), and co-editor of Anabaptist Preaching: A Conversation Between Pulpit, Pew, and Bible (Cascadia, 2004). He is author of Trackless Wastes and Stars to Steer By: Christian Identity in a Homeless Age (Herald, 1990, which emergent leader Brian McLaren has said began to address emergent issues 10 years before McLaren), Fractured Dance: Gadamer and Mennonite Conversation On Homosexuality, C. Henry Smith series, vol. 3 (Pandora U.S., 2001), many articles in a wide variety of magazines and journals, including Christian Century. He is co-author (with Ron Sider), of Preaching about Life in a Threatening World (Westminster, 1997).