Our Stories: Michael Artime

 
Michael Artime grew up in Belleville, Illinois, a half hour from St. Louis, before moving to Spokane in order to be a college professor at Whitworth. He received his job offer one week before he got married, so his wife Tiffany stayed in grad school in St. Louis while he moved in January. In May, she graduated and was required to complete a one-year internship in order to finish her Ph.D. Fortunately, she was assigned to the WSU counseling center—although that was still a 90-minute daily commute each way. Tiffany obtained a tenure-track position at St. Martin’s in Lacey, and then it was Michael’s turn to commute; he lived half a week in Lacey and half a week in Spokane before he moved over the pass permanently when he began part-time instruction work at UPS and TCC. Finally, Michael got a position as a visiting professor at PLU. A series of retirements and sabbaticals will keep him there for the next three years, and he certainly hopes to continue on at PLU afterward.
 
At Whitworth, integrating faith into the classroom was mandatory. He feels that this required him to “open up a space for a conversation about the way that people understood faith as it relates to an issue.” His job during that time was not to convince his students, but to “encourage them to ask questions about themselves that they might not otherwise ask.” At PLU, his desire is to live out his principles for his students, “modeling constructive dialogue and religious tolerance” while “providing information to students to guide them in figuring out the answers to some of these really big questions.”
 
As a political scientist, Michael acknowledges that we live in a divisive age, and he has some suggestions for how Christians can engage with society.
  • First, Christians cannot ignore what is going on and not talk about it. They have an obligation to know what is happening in the world.
  • Second, Christians need to approach politics with humility.
  • Third, too often the church avoids asking “What does the Bible say about this issue” and instead asks “Which party is more ‘Christian’?” For example, Michael points out that the Bible is pretty explicit about what our obligation is to the most vulnerable populations—specifically immigrants, refugees, the homeless, and the widows. Sometimes that means we have to be uncomfortable and unsafe in order to reach out to those people, but we are putting our faith into action at those times.
Michael adds, “When I see images of people fleeing horrendous situations, I think the church cannot turn its back on them. The church needs to get involved. It’s easy to be content with just casting your ballot or donating money. In reality, there are organizations throughout the community here that need volunteers; they need people to go and assist in some of these efforts. That’s the type of church that we should want to be. The world is watching us, so what do we want them to see? Hopefully, they will see a group of people that cares deeply about vulnerable populations.”