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Or just maybe, I miss... Loder and I were, together...?

I got to soak in his surrender to Spirit within the mundane of our meetings. Whether it was a class lecture, a precept/group discussion, or a one-on-one meeting, it always began with prayer. Not rote. Not formal words spoken as invocation. But heart-felt, belly-felt, impassioned prayer. There was something about his voice that communicated the difference. Or sometimes the tears. At that time, I had only met one other person in my vocational journey who carried that visceral attunement to Presence so palpably. (Marguerite Shuster, pictured below, was where my adult self learned-felt it. When I was 12, I felt it in a Honduran mystic-Baptist, Daniel.). Soaking in that energy, that practice, that passion is something I miss. The business of theological education doesn’t welcome it, ironically enough.

Prayer was also the practice whenever we hit an impasse together, which was pretty often. Loder and I met each week for nearly 10 weeks, trying to hammer out my dissertation proposal for the PhD Committee. Each week, he would try to craft my work in “music in faith formation” within his conceptual categories. Each week, I would convince him that ‘the work,’ whatever it might be, was not that. I struggled so to name what it was. He trusted me enough by this time to stop at the impasse and finally, in frustration, say, “Let’s pray about it together.” Eventually, he surrendered more and sent me to the Chair of the Committee. That encounter is another story entirely—one with a bit of fire and bemusement, in the end. Spirit opened the way for the proposal, ultimately the successful conclusion of my PhD in May 2001. Prayer was at the very heart of it, as Loder (indirectly) taught me to trust my gut through impasse, frustrations, fire and misunderstandings.

Who I used to be with Loder is within me still, somewhere. This 'me' was nearly insatiable in her intellectual hungers. Some days, she would visit five different libraries—because you can. Theological, main, science, two music libraries. Even the Public Library. She felt this urgency in her gut: if she just read enough, imagined enough, loved enough through texts-understanding-writing, the world could be better. Loder was drawn to that energy in me, recognizing it for the enduring passion it was, would be, for sustained scholarly work.

I know this self remains within me, but I’ve slammed into the limits of her vision again and again. I no longer believe understanding will change our world. To even believe so strikes me as (academic) hubris.

I miss that 'me' all the same, as I miss him. Loder was the Spirit’s mitt to my Softball Self…the Crucible able to hold the Flaming impassioned-impressionable young woman I was. Blessed

Assurance, he'd like to know he was.

And I apparently miss...

Soaking in open-hearted, curious prayer with spirit-friends

Feeling impassioned hungers able to be nourished in texts-writing

The urgent belief that understanding could change the world...

It needs more than that today...

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