To say last night went well would be an understatement. Here I was, all mentally armed to defend my thesis and they really didn’t challenge me at all. It was a bit of a let down. On the other hand, it was nice to hear such unexpected and glowing praise. I was really stunned, because the two readers I was assigned are two of of the toughest and most respected professors in the entire department.
They announced at the beginning of last night that two papers are selected from each seminar to be presented at the regional chapter meeting of the American Academy of Religion, which is the preeminent organization of religious scholars in the U.S. One of my professors asked for my permission to submit my paper for consideration by the entire faculty as one of the recommended papers. She also wants me to submit it to a undergrad thesis competition the college sponsors each spring *and* said that three professors had agreed to assist me in getting my thesis published in a religion journal.
She said that I was doing something that other scholars weren’t doing yet, and I think she used the term “post-structuralist constructivist theory for GLBT persons” – and although I can’t explain exactly what that means, it sure sounds impressive, don’t it? 😉 A lot of works like “ontology” and “epistomology” were thrown around as well. When she compared my work to the work of Michel Foucault, I almost fell off my chair. Though I haven’t read him (will start in January with my History of Sexuality class), I know enough to know that Foucault was a towering figure of 20th c. philosophy and any comparison to him, no matter how small, is quite a compliment.
My other reader was my academic advisor and my reformation theology professor who trained at the University of Munich. He told me at the dinner afterwards that he was very proud of my paper. I asked him if I did Luther and King justice and he said he was very pleased to see how I had laid out my argument and used those sources. He told me, in the larger group, he though my paper made an important contribution to reimagining the gospels in a way that places the GLBT community not merely as the recipients of the grace of the gospels, but helps make of them agents of the gospel message. Internally, I let out a sigh because I realized that I had, in fact, conveyed what I wished to convey in my paper.
So, right now I’m going through the “day after the last class” let down that I normally go through in December, when all that inner angst and anxiety floats away and what’s left is a whole that life gets to step into for a few weeks before it all starts up again. I was SO worried about this religion seminar class and what it would demand of me but it seems that I rose to the occasion and delivered, and I’m very proud of myself for that. I pursued this degree to prove to myself that I could really do it, and even though I still have four classes to go to get my degree, I know inside I’ve accomplished what I set out to accomplish and that gives me great confidence and self-esteem, to tell you the truth.