The Beginnings of a Convergence of Thoughts

The Beginnings of a Convergence of Thoughts September 5, 2018

I am honored that you have found yourself here.  There are thousands of things to read on a normal basis, and you have found yourself here.  You’re probably a friend of mine, a colleague, or you may have stumbled here because you’re searching the interwebs and somehow miraculously found out about this.  No matter who you are, thank you.  I hope you find this helpful.

First, allow me to introduce myself.  I am an agnostic United Methodist Clergy who serves Harvard and MIT Universities.  I’m also the founder of an organization called Convergence on Campus (better known as Convergence) which focuses on enhancing college and university campus climates for religious, secular, and spiritual identities through policies and practices.  It’s been a journey for me to get to this point, but it’s a journey well worth taking and one in which while I struggle with often, is in many ways the very essence of what I’ve always been supposed to do.

Now a little about “A Convergence of Thought.”  For a while now I’ve wanted to have a space through which I might be able to share my thoughts (and ask for some feedback from you all) about the confluence of religious, secular, and spiritual identities in and throughout the world.  I have political aspirations, have background in psychology and human development, social work and mental health counseling, am writing a dissertation for a degree in higher ed administration, and in the end, I am deeply engaged in the world’s needs to better come to terms with understanding spirituality as a part of everyone’s identities.  This does not mean I wish to put people in a box, nor do I mean to say that I presume everyone wants to claim their spirituality, but I believe inherently there is something that binds us all together.  And unfortunately, we often erode our sense of oneness by breaking down through political divisions, through tribalism, and through manifested differences which are far less real than we wish to admit to.

A Convergence of thought will be many things.  Mostly though, I hope it is a space where we explore these fundamental questions of religious, secular, and spiritual identities in the intersections of all things.  As John Muir, the illustrious explorer and naturalist once said, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”  A Convergence of Thought is that tugging on the strand of religious and non-religious identities and the “Jenga block” movement of the rest of the world when we do.  I’m not sure where it will always lead, but I know that I will do my very best to think deeply, be informed, and leave a sense of wonder wherever we go.

So as I begin this journey, I want to thank you for finding your way here.  We are on a journey together.  I hope you might as well be interested in this journey.  Please do help me stay on the path.

J. Cody Nielsen

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