“All I ask is no hate. I’m on the path to be a minister and I’m living a life that is dedicated to love. Although I draw much of my own personal theology from Christian teaching, I recognize that my way is not the only way. Every faith base has something to offer to the conversation and I welcome engaging you all on a variety of topics…volatile and not. So here goes, laying it out there and looking forward to hearing from you all…Adam” — July 18, 2012 — https://spirituwellness.com/2012/07/18/hello-world/
That is how I began my Spirituwellness blog 10 years ago. I stand by these words and I continue to build on them. Not only am I now an ordained member of clergy, I have just completed 5 important years as the Lead Minister of the historic First Parish in Cambridge Unitarian Universalist congregation as well as being a chaplain and instructor at Harvard. I have been involved in community and worked hard to get my church through a global pandemic, the presidency of Donald Trump and the early throes of a long overdue racial awakening in the United States.
And now a new chapter begins. Today, I leave for Charlottesville, VA where I will begin studying at the University of Virginia for a PhD in Ethics and Society focused on the intersection of equity, religion and embodiment. This is literally the dream of a lifetime for me and the culmination of the last 10 years of work, study, practice and exploration.
I have not shared this publicly with many people, both friends and family and I offer my apologies to all of you who are a caught off guard by the news. I’ve kept mum because this has also been an extremely emotional time. To take a career crowning situation like the one I’ve been fortunate to have in Cambridge for the last 5 years and totally upend it to go back to the bottom of yet another mountain is daunting. Yet, while this has been both the most difficult decision, it has been the most grown up and true decision I’ve ever made. I recognize that the path ahead is not easy from an academic standpoint, and I am even more aware that with the state of religion today, particularly where it manifests in politics and policy, I am walking into the fire. By situating myself in Virginia…in Charlottesville…I am in the belly of the beast. And it is where I most want to be.
So here goes, once again, I’m laying it out there, dedicated to a public life rooted in love, eager to find new understanding and possibilities in myself and to help a better world emerge for us all.
When I visited Charlottesville in 2019, seeing the resting place of enslaved black ancestors (not mine), next to Jefferson’s palatial tribute to himself demonstrated a foundational national inequity that told me I needed to come back here someday and figure out how to do something.