Posted by: andreaheyse | May 12, 2009

how did i get here?

So after my freshman year here at SLU, I decided to make the large jump from Physical Therapy with a minor in Theology to a double major in Theology and International Studies. One of the biggest questions I always get after telling someone that is “Why the big switch?” Well I knew that I needed a change, something just wasn’t quite right for me being a PT major. Although I enjoyed it and thought I could make a good Physical Therapist, I didn’t think that it was what I was supposed to do. 

The switch has really proved to be an incredible one for so many reasons. I have grown, challenged, changed, and questioned religion in general but most specifically my own views of religion. I, like I’m sure many of you, came into SLU pretty sure about where I stood with the religion of my childhood. What I came to discover after becoming a Theology major was that the religion of my childhood had served its purpose at the time but was not something I could identify with any longer. This was a scary realization but a necessary one. Over the last three years or so my opinions have changed and perspective opened wide to pluralism and the appreciation of differences. This was part of the reason I wanted to pair Theology with International Studies. Since I am so intrigued by other people, cultures, countries and traditions I have found that one of the best ways to learn about others all over the world is to try and understand where their beliefs lie. To understand ones concept of the divine (or lack there of) is to look into their world for even a little bit.

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Responses

  1. Andrea,

    My experience at SLU with regard to spiritually has been similarly transformative. I started out at SLU an atheist and incredibly critical and skeptical about all forms of religion. I also had a very misinformed understanding of Christianity. With the patience and compassion of my theology professors, I’ve been able to cultivate a more personal and nuanced spirituality as well as a much more sophisticated understanding of Christianity. I think their tolerance for a pluralism of beliefs is what allowed me to explore and grow in my spirituality. I’ve learned so much from them and my peers in bearing witness to how they live out their own spiritual lives. So I must agree that we can cultivate a deeper understanding of our own beliefs by attending to the beliefs of others.

  2. Heyse, once again I appreciate your honesty and truth within this post. I have had a similar experience at SLU over my years here of being forced to question if the God of my childhood still played the same role in my life. I have not yet come to a conclusion but do feel somewhat distant from God. I agree with your pairing of Int. Studies and Theology as link between respect of differences abroad. This is the reason I chose to add theology to one of my majors. I had history and Int. Studies but began to think that having a well-rounded religious understanding would serve me well in a career abroad. So many of the conflicts that exist internationally now are due to religious differences and lack of understanding and tolerance of others. I think that your position in this post is the right approach to dealing with international cultures and belief systems.


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