23: Coffee with Viki Brooks


Viki2Viki Brooks is the Director of Religious and Spiritual Life and Campus Protest Minister at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Union College is where I started asking serious philosophical and theological questions while I was a student of civil engineering and economics. Union celebrated its bicentennial when I graduated 20 years ago, just a few years before Viki’s time as Chaplain there.

Viki sits in a highly intellectual college community. My roommate and I spent the entire first year, if not more, asking ourselves how we got in to that school. We studied every hour of almost every day doing our very best and it was quite often not good enough. This school did not hold your hand. You learned to be diligent and responsible or you failed. At least that was my story and my experience. Most students had much faster and more powerful minds and that is good.

Viki1Viki offers her community dialogue and education that it cannot easily find. I knew two professors that admitted to having religious beliefs. God and academia were presumed to be separate. There is believing (faith) and there is knowing (academics or science). Interestingly, there is a significant Jewish population and yet the distinction often remained true for them. I experienced many college student who were Jewish in their lineage and, in some cases, in practice, who did not have any belief in God or a higher power of any sort. Heritage and faith remained separate.

Links:

viki3

Parliament of the World’s Religions

Union College

Union College Religious & Spiritual Life Office

Micah 6:8

Karen Armstrong:

Book Recommendations:

Barbara Brown Taylor:
Kathleen Norris: