Chapel Newsletter Editorial

C H A P E L   N E W S



A Young Black Muslim Male and a Middle-aged White Jewish Female Walk into a Café…

Or perhaps, “Two College Chaplains Walk Into a Coffee Shop.”  Or,“A Muslim and a Jew Meet in the Shadow of a Huge Cathedral” (St. John the Divine, in New York City). Or, “Two Carls Get Together at Columbia University.”

Identity is complicated! Let’s get specific: Mouhamadou Diagne ’12 (now serving as Religious Life Fellow at Columbia) and I (a Carleton chaplain) get together on my recent visit to NYC.  I’ve reached out to him, and suggested coffee at the Hungarian Pastry Shop. (Was my choice of venue a preferencing of my Eastern European heritage over Mouhamadou’s African background?) Mouhamadou, normally a tea-drinker, kicks off the reunion by stretching out of his comfort zone and ordering a latte. It’s a lovely gesture, yet does it give power to the coffee-normative culture?

We catch up - how's life? What's it like working at a big university vs. at Carleton? We dip a bit into current politics: do Black Lives Matter (thinking domestically)? Do Jewish Lives Matter (thinking about Paris)? We ruffle each other’s feathers a bit, which is a good thing.  Life isn’t simple. And we move on to cover different topics: what about sexual assault on campus - what's happening at Columbia? At Carleton? 

While we don’t talk directly about religious faith, a critical take-away for me is that Mouhamadou, after working as a Chaplain’s Associate at Carleton, has indeed found his passion serving as a campus chaplain.  We both seem to feel that connecting with a religious community, having a spiritual home, makes an essential contribution to the well-being of the individual student, and hence the larger campus community.  And beyond. 

And we both feel grateful that Carleton brought us together!


                                                              Shosh Dworsky, Associate Chaplain