Posted by: Robert A. Holsapple | October 19, 2009

Confessions of a second year seminarian

O.K., I have been writing for a month now for the Christian Association at the University of Pennsylvania as part of my Theological Field Education internship and I realize I have not shared much about myself or the journey I am on. So here goes.

I am in seminary at Palmer Theological Seminary because I am on a journey to discover what it is that our incomprehensible but loving and embracing Creator has in mind for me in my walk through this cycle of life. I have spent the majority of my adult life pursuing material, occupational and interpersonal gain. I have succeeded beyond my wildest imagination only to have it all go away in what appeared to be an instant. At the end of the day I was left with nothing but who I had become and who I had avoided becoming as a person.

I am intentional about completing the journey in a more sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially conscious and active manner. I am in pursuit of my call to serve others and to contribute to bringing about significant and meaningful change on many issues to which the Christian Association is committed. Please allow me to elaborate.

Social justice issues have always been in the forefront of my consciousness; even while pursuing more than my fair share of riches. While this might appear oxymoronic to some, for me my pursuits in social work and through my work as a psychotherapist have always been directed towards empowering others to overcome all manner of oppression, victimization and trauma. I did not however, actively pursue these ends in my personal walk.

I have come to recognized that I reached the limits of my ability to make a personal difference on my own. I want to join in with the Divine and others in finding more systemic and enduring ways of ameliorating the root causes of social, racial, gender, cultural, economic and other injustices that perpetuate forcing people into positions of vulnerability.

Global sustainability and corporate and civil accountability have become issues of import to me quite frankly through what I have learned from accompanying my children in their growth and development. While I as a child of the sixties have generally been focused on peace and racial reconciliation, my two grown daughters and one adolescent son have grown up in a world that is more conscious of “green” issues and increasingly aware of the inequitable distribution and consumption of the earth’s resources. I have come to embrace, as does the Christian Association, a call for increased social activism around these issues. I am challenged to develop a new paradigm based in part on my evolving theology of world community that of necessity must be interdependent and mutually supportive in ways that are sustainable beyond even the generation yet to come.

My middle child is presently living on the land at a peasant tea farm in Hawaii; not the Hawaii of resorts and splendor but the Hawaii of people simply trying to scrape out a meaningful existence without scarring the earth or depleting its precious and limited resources. I wish I could join her there, but that is her journey and this is mine.

I will share much more as time, my evolving consciousness and study demands permit. In the interim I wish you peace, shalom and salaam aleikum my brothers and sisters.


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