Well the computer I'm working on has blogger in an Asian language. I can't tell which one, but not Korean. So strange. It's because I'm in the computer lab (it must have cookied this site after someone used it in their home language). Luckily I am typing in English - hopefully it's not going to post in another language!
Today is being such a nice birthday. I'm taking time to catch up on all my favorite websites. I so infrequently have time to just read fun stuff! Also, I'm very very excited because I read about a woman who runs a graduate program in spirituality up at GTU (Sandra Schneider, I believe), and so I went looking at their doctorate, and I really think the program looks amazing! For one thing, it's super-interdisciplinary. A few of the faculty already study some food stuff, and these days I'm finding my interests are in creating connections between organic material and ritual, and spiritualizing the organic movement - that is, helping people see that there is something deeper than "creation care" to the way they choose to shop, eat, and farm - there is something inherently human about it, something that connects us to God in a very real and deep way (since God is all over, under, and in the creation!). So maybe there are a few people there that would be interested in helping me create a spirituality of food. Most exciting is that Berkeley is home base for Michael Pollan, my current favorite food writer, who did The Omnivore's Dilemma. He's the Knight Chair in Science & Environmental journalism (funny, I used to work for the Knight Chair in Media & Religion!) there. But from reading his book, I'll bet he's itching to talk to somebody about the deeper ethical and maybe even spiritual dimensions of the quest for daily bread. Surely he's bored teaching journalism! Well, I at least find hints of his deeper questions in his book. So wouldn't it be completely awesome to study with him as part of a doctorate?? I sure think so.
Anyway, I think there are some GTU folks who read this blog. I would be SO delighted to hear your thoughts about the school, if I'd fit in there, and so on. Also, if there are people at other schools that sound like a fit for me, by all means let me know! I'm just in the very beginnings of the doctoral search process. Not even sure how it's going to turn out, or IF it will!
A few specifics: I am interested particularly in the Christian Spirituality area, but also the areas of Cultural/Historical studies, Liturgical studies, Religion & Psych, Philosophical Theology, even Biblical Studies would feed into my ideas and course of study. I'm very interested in going to an interfaith program b/c I especially want to study comparative ritual use of food and organic materials. I think the best religions at that are Judaism (a big area of study at GTU, I notice!) and Hinduism (I'll just have to take a Fulbright to India, right?), definitely NOT Christianity (w/our prop "food") but my dream would be to help reintegrate it, so that our Eucharist has the kind of meaning that a Seder has, intimately wrapped up in the kind of food, how it is prepared and served, and how it connects to God's story. What I love about GTU (what very little I've seen, just from the website) is that it seems like I could really integrate all this stuff - even the Pollan angle. But of course the Big Question is is there faculty there who want to mentor me? That's going to require me to start some research and study. So without further ado, I think that's going to be my super-fun birthday activity!
Thanks for all the warm wishes. I promise to get Schleiermacher up soon...but part of me wants to wait until it's graded (b/c a few of my graders read this). OK?
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GTU's program is fantastic, and one of the few doctoral programs in Spirituality (though that is not a super employable academic specialty yet).
The one problem is that they combine a very high cost of living with pretty inadequate financial aid (since they are relatively new and all-graduate, no endowment, etc.) I was admitted to that very program at the top level = priority admit and was offered a half tuition scholarship and no stipend. So I stayed at Notre Dame where I had done my M.A. and had full tuition plus a stipend, no work fellowship the first year and t.a. after, which went pretty far in the Midwest, esp. since we could live in married student housing (at GTU seminarians get preference for this over doctoral students).
Money isn't everything of course but it can make the difference in quality of life and long term debt load. I would aim certainly to pay no tuition at the PhD level and preferably to get a stipend as well.
I know all about tuition, stipends, and so forth (today's hot perk is health insurance) from going through this process w/my husband. He didn't apply anywhere w/o full financial aid, and I wouldn't either. GTU's website implies that they have gotten more ability to help students. But if that's not the case, then oh well.
One of the best Eucharists I've ever participated in was led by a woman who provided a multigrain, dense, toothsomely healthy loaf for our bread. It was such a delightful sensory experience to chew it and realize that Jesus is wholesome. I still mention it at church as part of my ongoing conviction that no matter what, communion bread should taste good.
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