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June Tidings from PK

posted May 25, 2017, 1:48 PM by Kate Fields
Dear Brave and Beautiful Church:

As we enter into June, we enter into a season of graduations — transitions marked in our lives that one season is over and a new one is beginning. Ends are important reflection points, and beginnings are important prayer points. I offer you a portion of the graduation speech that Dean Emilie Townes gave weeks ago to the Vanderbilt Divinity School’s graduating class of 2017.

“now, i don’t have to tell you that the world is messed up—that’s the technical term that we use in ethics for ontological crisis that morphs into evil
but i want to stop by today to tell you that it does not have to stay this way
you can change it
you can change it with everyday acts of humanity and outrageous moments of rebellion
but don’t get it twisted and zoom off into foolishness or a meandering obnoxiousness
in fact, i encourage you to be overactive hell raisers for justice and hope
spiritual warriors for compassion
create, leave, and teach others to have an ethical footprint in a world that seems stuck on multi-tasking inequity….”
“you must not lose your heart
you must not lose your soul
you must not lose your intellect
for being theological fabulous means that in this postmodern, post-election, post-truth, alternative facts world, you stand as that pesky reminder
that faith, hope, and love mean something when they are lived with gusto and bodacious orneriness
and you, now my colleagues…yes, now my colleagues, join the ranks of the cloud of witnesses and the contemporary faithful to change the world
not by tolerating it
or reforming it
or revising it
you are called to transform it
by doing your first works over from time to time
by refusing to live in silos of the heart, mind, and soul and then building superstructure walls to keep others out; without realizing that you are also trapping yourself within
by falling in love with creation and living that love in your everyday
by learning from those who suffer differently from you or who are different from you
by leaning into humor and laughter and recognizing that there are times that we humans are often absolutely absurd
you must not lose your heart
you must not lose your soul
you must not lose your intellect
you must not lose your spirit
 do these things and more and make the world around you a welcoming home
 God’s blessings and God’s good speed as you go”[1]

 [1] Emilie Townes, “2017 Charge to the Graduates”, Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt Divinity School, 12 May 2017, <>.