October 8, 2018--- Four priests (Stefanie Taylor, Allen Sandlin, Donna Mote, and John Thompson Quartey) visited Oglethorpe eager to answer questions from curious students who wanted to know more about God and their opinions as religious leaders.
This was the second annual Ask a Priest event, organized by Edie Brush and Margaret Light, members of the Episcopal Student Association.
“It’s not about the attendance,” said Light, “we measure success in movement, that is, to say, were people moved or inspired by the answers the priests gave.” She said the students in attendance received spiritual growth as a result of attending the event. She continued to speak on her hopes for students to take advantage of opportunities for spiritual education.
Some questions students asked the priests included, “what other answer is there besides ‘Everything happens for a reason’ in a time of crisis?” and “why do bad things happen to good people?” The priests responded with answers such as: “Life is arbitrary, God is not,” and that no matter what, God can and will support you. Others expressed their concern with the debate between LGBT people and being religious and understanding the current cultural and social climate. The priests expressed their answers with kindness, compassion, and affirmation towards the audience.
Towards the end of the night, the priests took time to thank our generation for questioning and essentially abandoning what they called “fundamentalist beliefs.” They shared stories of how people within their personal lives said that even they “were going to hell” because of their varying beliefs that conflicted with the beliefs of the older generation.
The attendance may have been small, but a greater experience happened; the audience and the priests were able to commune and make fellowship with each other and bridged the gaps between religious leaders and listeners. This panel sought to prove that at the end of the day, they are people just like us; and like us, they want answers to explain why we are, how did we get here, and what our purpose is for what we call Life.