The Hidden Strength of Misfits: Dr. C. Melissa Snarr - Vanderbilt Divinity School

The Hidden Strength of Misfits: Dr. C. Melissa Snarr - Vanderbilt Divinity School - April 10, 2019

Dr. Snarr is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and an Associate Professor of Ethics and Society. A Christian social ethicist, Dr. Snarr describes the misfits of religious traditions who are coming together for the healing and wholeness of the world. The following are her edited remarks at the opening of the inaugural event on April 10, 2019:

As I was looking through some of the writings from Barbara's work, she likes to play on this term, the misfits, and that the misfits of the church are a hidden strength. She has this call to bring together the misfits of the church for reclaiming Jesus's message and the transformation of the world.

Sometimes, in private moments, I like to say that VDS is a little bit like one of the misfit toys in Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, sometimes exceedingly so. But we come together not just to lick our wounds in terms of being rejected. Because if you lick your wounds for too long, they actually never heal. We come together instead to share our strength about the core messages of our religious traditions. We come together for the healing of the world. And so we bring the strength of being the misfits in our traditions for the transformation and for the healing of the world.

And so I am thankful that Barbara has connected her sense of being a prophetic and pastoral misfit with the legacy of Vanderbilt Divinity School. There is a long history of the Divinity School being part of the “New South.” This vision of connecting racial, economic and ecological justice goes all the way back to Alva Taylor and others who did extraordinary work with labor unions and with racial reconciliation, not just within their classrooms but within communities.

In many ways, the wonderful gift of Joerg coming to our community extends and deepens that work. This program really builds the next chapter. This unique combination of religion and justice that is focusing on economic and ecological wholeness adds to the strength of the Divinity School. It extends the work in ways that bring the people that are in this room together – the activists in labor, in Black Lives Matter, and all in ecological and engaged Buddhism all across the board – for the extraordinary work that is required for the transformation, healing and wholeness of our communities.

Click here to read a recap of the event and see photos.