October 17, 2008

Well, I'm at the mid-point of my first semester and it's been quite a ride.

I am fascinated by the classes I'm taking, which never fail to open up new possibilities and completely rock my assumptions about religion and about the Bible--assumptions which were already pretty fluid and liberal.

I am humbled by the people I go to school with, like Joanne, a PhD from Yale and an American History professor at Dartmouth, who's written a couple of books.

Or Jonathan, the young gay man from Louisiana who seems to naturally embody an encyclopedic knowledge of religion, a charismatic love of Jesus, and a complete and guild-free repudiation of every heterosexist norm and ethic I can think of.

Or Michelle, a 44 year old african-american lesbian from Houston, who paid every cent she had for the U-Haul to get her and her stuff to Berkeley, leaving behind all that she knew, including her partner, to take up this vision and calling.

Or Patrick, a lifelong Catholic from Ireland who has struggled all his life with being gay and Catholic. His questions are so raw and intense. His Catholic identity so important to him, but he can't be at home in it. A former hospital Chaplain, Patrick came out to his mentor, an aged nun, who smiled, without judgement, and told him about "Pacific School of the Sea". And so he left everything and came here.

These are just a few. And not even the most amazing, just the ones I know best. There are folks from Kenya, Mongolia, South Korea, some who came through poverty and revolution to get here.

And these are people who are TRULY committed, not to The Church (whatever that is) or to Jesus (whatever that is) but to Justice. To figuring out what's Just and doing something about it.

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