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Pre-admissions reflections

One of the things we discovered during a process two years ago, when our neighborhood tried to defend itself against gentrification, was that each of us had at least three biographies:

– educational

– employment history

– personal relationships

– political activism

Each of these has brought with it a skill set, which we woven into the web of our lives.

Addition of a spiritual option

In our present context here, we shall have to also consider the spiritual (and/or mental health) aspect. Obviously these fields intersect and interact. One develops a loving relationship with someone of a different faith and has to renew or reevaluate one’s own spiritual commitment. One was raised in one denomination of a faith and finds that either too lax or too stringent as an adult and makes other choices. These are not static events, they are processes.

Now to intersect with these processes with a training program is a challenge. And some of the process will depend upon our ability to monitor and guide the upsets that may occur. And so, for the moment, I would ask you to (internally) reflect on that aspect of your biography: where has this quest led you? what were the milestones? how upsetting has it been? where do you see the challenges going forward? what are your (personal) spiritual goals?

We may not ask you to share all that, but we do ask you to do the self-reflection as an integral part of your participation in this program.

Agnostic / atheist option

At all points in the program this option will have its own focus. There is a genuine concern that a secular option is the only proper answer to religious tensions. And we will be considering this thoroughly, especially on the sociological and philosophical levels of the program. There they will be much more prominent. But they will also have their own space on each of the other levels. And this option can be a lot of fun and will enrich us all.

For the moment, I would invite you to listen to a TED-Talk by an agnostic Jew, exploring his relationship to ritual:

http://www.npr.org/2015/08/14/431365299/how-does-a-year-of-following-biblical-rules-change-you

The questions he asks will enrich you, no matter your persuasion.

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