top of page

Day 28: Always...the More...

At this moment, there is one hour, fourteen minutes left of ‘this semester’ at United. Students are cramming to finish final papers, and grading will await me after the 5 p.m. hour passes. Twilight then comes, with the semester completed while we professor-folks need to finalize grades and release these particular students. This is probably the first semester in all of my many years of semesters that I’ve counted down the hours to the end. I will grade and release ASAP. Time to move on…

A callous, curmudgeonly professorial cynicism? Perhaps, but not really. Weariness. Exhaustion. Sadness. And always...the yearning for the More...

This semester’s run of "Methods of Interreligious and Intercultural Encounter" was small, given most students chose the format with some face-to-face time in June. That run of the course begins May 23rd, by which time I hope to have finalized the syllabus. [Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.] This semester focused the work in four men—two white men (one Southern, one Texan, I think), two men of the African diaspora, one older and well versed in difference, the other younger and more traditional in his language. My challenge has been crafting spaces for unexpected or even unpredictable encounters amidst these students, given there were so many things that were homogenous. Male. Conservative Christian. Methodist, though one African Methodist Episcopal. Resistant to what they thought this course would be. The AME guy was a blessing, as his police work and martial-arts training gave a good, healthy masculine frame of reference for some of the coursework.

But I’m so very weary…this semester more than most, it seems.

I’m pleased with all I invited. I’m proud of the work that I craft, to create safe-brave spaces for fledgling ministers to consider their work beyond previous solely traditional or mono-traditional categories. And movement has happened with this group, like Spirit does with every group at the end of a semester.

The most rigid, Southern-Conservative guy opened his final paper with a line that saddened but did not surprise me. “There were several areas within the course that I felt were going against the teachings of Scripture, but I know that the motivation comes from a place of love and care for others.” Oh how I weary of this paternalistic judgment, one against another, lodged in an indefensible accusation of “going against the teachings of Scripture,” which means “only my interpretation of scripture.” Which pats on the head to honor a motivation of love and care for others, suggesting that Scripture isn’t a primary story of loving and caring for others. And he has no clue how small and potentially violent his 'way' is right now. He has no curiosity. There is no wonder or mystery or paradox allowed.

Thankfully, my friend (Rabbi) Brad called today, to catch up on some collaborations. Let us all take satisfaction in his words, most relevant with the most resistant: This student cannot unsee what he’s seen, nor unhear what he’s heard. In Spirit’s tether, that really is enough.

Except I always want the More…for him…for us all.

13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Hess Condensed

A more public feed of brevity

for a prolific process-blogger...

bottom of page