Molly Brown

1993 Starr King Graduate

I grew up in a community church called the United Church, in Los Alamos, New Mexico. For a while it was the only Protestant church in town, and then various denominations broke away and left behind a Presbyterian/United Church of Christ sort of mix. I didn't attend a Unitarian Universalist church until I was raising my own kids (back in Los Alamos again), and it seemed the best place to take them for religious education. I continued to go to church myself because I liked the community, the minister and the social activism. During this period, the thought of becoming a minister first occurred to me.

I came to Starr King School in 1991 at the age of 49, seeking a "redemptive educational experience." When I first found out about Starr King, I yearned to go there but could not rationalize spending the money unless I intended to become a minister. So I talked myself into that goal and enrolled.

Now, 12 years after graduating, I feel grateful for my two years at Starr King, even though I have never completed the UUA's required steps for ministry. (My biggest disappointment was finding out all the hoops required beyond my M.Div., hoops I was not willing to jump through at the age of 51 after a full career in counseling, teaching and writing.) The knowledge and insight gained through the deep, engrossing and challenging courses I took and my experience of the Starr King community continue to sustain me personally and professionally.

I think I had the best of all possible experiences at Starr King. Because I chose not to pursue Unitarian Universalist ministry, I could concentrate on such gems as Joanna Macy's course in Deep Ecology, Claire Fischer's courses in Feminist Theology and Pilgrimage, and a tutorial with Bob Kimbro. Dr. Rebecca Parker mentored me in a self-designed course in "contemplation," in which I read, meditated and journaled every Thursday morning, just as if I was attending a regular class. These courses influenced a book that I published in 1993, Growing Whole: Self Realization on an Endangered Planet.

Moreover, the course with Joanna Macy guided me into a whole new realm, Deep Ecology, which remains a key dimension of my work today. In 1997-8, I co-authored a book with Joanna, Coming Back to Life: Practices To Reconnect Our Lives, Our World.

Today I continue to struggle with balancing my calling as a teacher and writer (you might say, my ministry)-and making a living. To provide a base income, I work part-time as a high school English teacher. For my "true calling," I offer courses (on-line and residential) in ecopsychology and psychosynthesis, a spiritual psychology I first studied in the 1970s. I present occasional workshops in both areas, consult with individuals via phone and in person, and write. I recently co-authored a book, Consensus in the Classroom, with Linda Sartor, and published Unfolding Self: The Practice of Psychosynthesis, a revision of a book first published in 1983. (I invite anyone interested in my work to visit my Web site.

Within the Unitarian Universalist tradition, I especially appreciate the seventh principle (respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part); the notion of finding/creating one's own spirituality within a supportive, open-minded community; and social/political activism. As an intellectual, I both appreciate and feel impatient with the emphasis on reason. My impatience comes from my desire for a deeper, meta-rational connection to Spirit. My own spiritual path these days includes communion with nature, Buddhism and practices from indigenous traditions.

Daniel Kanter

Doug Kraft

Rob Eller Isaacs

Ronald Gehrmann

Mary Ann Maggiore

Sheri Prudhomme

Judith Brown Osgood

 


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