Edna Tang '12: I feel that it is frequently assumed that students who are engaged with spiritual life, and perhaps particularly, those who identify as Christian, are already completely convinced of the infallible truth of all they believe. But perhaps one of the most frightening and valuable things that has happened to me at Middlebury is having my faith challenged, not only when I am questioned by others, but also when I have been brought face to face with my own doubts and uncertainties. And yet what I have also learned here is that it is important not to shy away from these, because if what we seek is the truth rather than to instinctively preserve and defend our own beliefs, then it is vital that we explore and wrestle with these questions as individuals and even more, as a community of people from different backgrounds.
We embrace tolerance of different religions but there is still often the sense of discomfort in talking about “spirituality” with one another because it tends to be viewed as a very private matter, and one in which it is impolite to probe too far. I share in this feeling, and yet, it is those discussions over breakfast in Proctor or standing in a stairwell in Ross, when I have been challenged to push past the discomfort, that have proved so valuable. Over and over again, I have been surprised and challenged by the honesty of other students, and these conversations are becoming as much a part of my “spiritual life” on campus as any of the weekly meetings I might attend. I would love for them to become more frequent.