Thursday, January 27, 2011


by Jenny

I had an experience yesterday that reminded me that as a non-Lutheran student, I am part of the “diversity” at Luther. I ran into one of my former professors who loves to joke about my being “Baptist” (my nuanced self-description of “working with a church that is affiliated with a Baptist group but consider myself more non-denominational” doesn’t go very far with some people!). Of course, this professor makes fun of me in a respectful, non-offensive way that actually makes room for talking about our theological differences, which is a good thing.

So besides this encounter making me laugh at myself, it also took me a little off guard—I’ve been at Luther long enough now that I don’t always remember that I’m of a different denomination than most of the students. Of course, there are times in classes when I become aware that I have a different perspective than the majority, but overall I’ve encountered openness to hearing people’s diverse ideas and beliefs. This makes it so that students not only of different denominations, but also from different countries, different life experiences, etc., can feel at home here.

Thinking about my J-term class, amongst the six students, one TA, and the professor, we represent four denominations and three different countries that we call home. This is pretty amazing for a small class. And after reading different liberation theologies, which are largely based on experience, I realize how much each person/community’s experiences influence their faith and approach to theology.

So really, each student at Luther creates the diversity that makes it such a great place to be. The common faith and goals we share seem to unite us in such a way that we can respectfully talk about differences. And not that we should minimize our differing viewpoints, but I think being able to laugh at ourselves once in awhile is healthy.


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