The following should be considered a composite conversation, undertaken with many at Yale Divinity School. The quotes that follow are not verbatim, nor to be understood as to be the product of any one individual.

“The funny thing about Yale is that it gives you just enough to make a show of it, and then asks you to be grateful for the crumbs.”

A few friends gathered around a dinner table…beers, wine, and coke all went up to lips and back as the conversation grew more animated. The cork was out, and the sentiments flowed freely.

“It happens with everything. Representation of people of color in faculty and students…feminist voices,

“Did you know we have faculty committed to opposing women’s ordination?”

Who, we wondered…and a few names bubbled up. No wonder this was so fucked up…

“hey…weren’t you chairing the sub committee on…”

I hung my head slightly…i know…i really meant to get that together, but you’d never know how crazy things get. And after an intitial bout of emails, interest seemed to taper off. I left the work undone…and the institution did it’s magic once more. By delegating what should be institutional tasks to the student body, YDS effectively mires reform efforts in an uphill battle. We turn over every 2-3 years, we’re over worked, and with scarce time to meet. Even booking a room is often a challenge.

And it came together for me. There was that which I was personally responsible for doing, and not doing. And there was that which I had been teased into thinking was possible, or already done. What caught my gall was the way in which the very real problems of this place were continually made invisible by such posturing, and dismissed as the oversensitivity of a few discontents.

And in that moment, I felt slightly bitter.

“Guess that means that you could really screw with them if you took them at face value.”

A friend broke my reverie. She was charting out a new course…one of a jaded sincerity. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It’s not that I hate the place…indeed, i have many dear friends, whose love is like a drawing band. Why not be faithful to that, and mock the artifice that has come between that which we love and that which we must hold to be true?

You may be tempted to read this as a rant against my school. And there is some truth in that. I finish my second year feeling betrayed by an institution that claims a place of progress and transcendence, but still struggles with so much. But it is also a love letter to my fellow rebels and discontents…students, staff, faculty, who see the place not as it is, but as it might be in Christ’s love.

caritas,

-sly

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