I will admit that I was very nervous about being asked to write about my experience of pluralism at HDS. My first thought was, “what do I have to offer to this? I’m Catholic; quick, grab a Muslim, a Pagan, a Humanist, anyone but me!” After thinking on what it is like to be a student here at HDS, I can say that it has been an immense time of growth for me. I have chanted with Buddhists, been silent with Quakers, high-fived over commonalities with Episcopalians and burst into tears of frustration over impassioned theological debates. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone socially, academically, emotionally and spiritually too many times to count. I like to think that the community here at HDS is one in which we are in constant motion; dancing, embracing, and shoving each other as we grow and explore ourselves, our faiths, our studies, and our ministries.
Whether it has been in the formal setting of Noon Service, where different student groups of shared interest or spiritual identity share with the larger HDS community what they believe in, or casually in the student café where a lunch with friends can feel like a joke (An agnostic, A Jew, and a Buddhist are all eating grilled cheese sandwiches one day…) I have been struck by the beauty and wonder of the place known as HDS. Because of my experiences here I have been forced to seriously question my beliefs academically and spiritually. Because of my friendships with fellow spirits who do not see the world as I do, my world is bigger and better. We don’t agree on everything, but there is room here for everyone who is open to hearing different perspectives, challenging themselves to consider new and alternative view. I will close this first post with a little joke a professor at my undergraduate program once told me which I think sums up HDS quite well, “A Jew, a Catholic, a Muslim, and an atheist walk into a bar. They enjoy hanging out despite their spiritual differences”.