Last year at this time, I was a week away from my first day of graduate school in a Methodist seminary.
I didn’t start a blog at that point because, honestly, what was there to say? I didn’t see the conflict. My degree program is the Master of Arts in Social Change, not Master of Divinity. I’m not training for ministry or chaplaincy, so I’m not sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong. I just understood (and understand) religion as part of what needs changing. For that reason, studying social change in a religious environment is perfectly logical.
Looking back, it’s a little bit bizarre that I had so much faith in the ability of a seminary to welcome an atheist, whatever the nature of the work she is planning to do.
I’ve learned a lot in the past year. For example, I’ve learned that the first time someone calls you out for not having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s annoying. The twentieth time, it’s a pattern.
Oh, how I wish now that I had kept track of the pattern.
To be fair, there are a lot of people who are supportive of what I’m doing, including the president of the school. Having institutional support is valuable and I would not want anything I write in this space to reflect poorly on my institution. The school has problems because all schools do. I have never been treated worse than any other student just because there is no personal god in my theology.
Of course, if that changes, the news will break here.
In part, this website will be my professional voice where I hope I will be able to articulate who I am, what I’m about, and why I said, “Theology, that sounds fun!” But I’ll also be blogging, for your entertainment and mine, about the wild and wacky world of the only atheist seminarian I know (me, in case you didn’t catch it). It’s Year Two, and there’s an incoming class. People are bound to say the darndest things.