Open House

So I went to an open house at the Divinity School one evening a few weeks ago. Over a meal, we introduced ourselves. I started off the third table of prospective seminarians:

“Hi, I’m Supa Dupa Fresh, I live nearby with my husband and young daughter. I’m an agnostic, but I am evangelical about three things: 1) Unitarian Universalism, my chosen religion; 2) technology and its power to connect people, especially small communities who would otherwise be dispersed; and 3) the incredible ability we each have to recover from loss, which I lived through when I was widowed nearly four years ago, when my daughter was a toddler.

“Unlike the rest of you, I have to say I’m not really sure WHO it was that called me… [pauses for laughter… hears crickets] but I’ve received a call to ministry very similar to what several of you have described and I think in a lot of ways it would be a terrific direction for me. I’m fortunate have the opportunity to explore new options at this stage of my life, and I thank all of you here tonight with me for being part of my journey.”

I told Mr. Fresh how my joke fell flat and how that, in itself, was funny to me. He tends to be very realpolitik about social interactions, which is a very gentle way, I think, to say that he thinks about war more than warmth.

“You have it all wrong,” he said (I expected that.) “First of all, they don’t know what a Unitarian is. I doubt many of them even know what you meant by ‘agnostic,’ and if they did, all they thought when they heard you was about the points they would get by converting you after dinner. You were just FRESH MEAT.”

As sweet as these future peer seminarians were (every single one an earnest Christian), I kind of think he has a point. But if I do go to Divinity School, I won’t be at all afraid: I know what I believe and that it’s a journey. I’m not attached to agnosticism – if anything, I’d like to be certain once in a while and maybe right a small percentage of those times.

At least around my husband.

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Kim said...

Wow, I did not know that you were considering this route! I have an M Div, and I have observed that regardless of the motivation or call, this kind of focus is all about discovery, passion and community. I think you are the kind of person that would bring so much to the conversation, Supa. Maybe they got confused by your moniker.

annie said...

Cool about the divinity school pursuit. I think there are probably a lot of people with callings to minister who feel put off by the whole "christian" thing. I don't think one has to adhere to a specific creed in order to be called or to reach out to set groups.

Widow in the Middle said...

Have you read "Here If You Need Me" by Kate Braestrup? She is a widowed mom who became a minister and is not your conservative Christian type. You'd probably be able to relate to her humor and candor. Good luck on your journey. In her book, she relates how she took the path toward attending the seminary and what her current job is like as a chaplain to the Maine Warden Service.


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