May 24, 2017

I Am Starr King: Interview with Aaron Eaves

Aaron Eaves

3rd-year M.Div. student

Why did you decide to become a spiritual leader?

It has definitely been a long winding journey that arguably started when I was a child, but I can definitely say that the latest leg of this journey began in 2008. I had a spiritual experience following the death of my mother that catapulted me back into the world of religiosity. It was about a year later that I first heard the call to ministry. However, I spent the next 5 years or so denying that call. Until, I experienced a series of events that led me to want to finally answer this call, to give back what had been given to me. I wanted to share with other people that religion doesn’t have to be problematic. Religion doesn’t have to be homophobic. Religion doesn’t have to be sexist, xenophobic, racist, or exclusivistic. I wanted to share with others that we can have an experience of the divine, an experience of God, that is really generative.

Why did you decide to study at Starr King?

I first heard about Starr King and the GTU through one of my mentors who is a PSR graduate. When she first told me about the GTU, Starr king, and her experiences here, I immediately knew that if I ever was going to go to seminary Starr king would be the only place that I would go. And the primary reason for this was theological safety. I don’t know of any other place that I could go and feel theologically safe. As a self-identified heathen from the South, there’s nowhere else that I could have went that wouldn’t have wanted to fit me into some box of orthodoxy. But with Starr King, this is not our approach. And secondarily, it was the politics of Starr King – it being a progressive institution.

What is your most meaningful or memorable experience here at Starr King?

That’s hard to say. I’ve had so many incredible and meaningful experiences here. However, I’ll pick the group of experiences I’ve had with this interesting avant-garde work that I’ve been doing with a fellow seminarian over at PSR that we have dubbed the Mythic Theater. In this work, we have essentially been doing religious liturgical musical theater, as a way of expressing the religious impulse. It’s been really amazing to find identity in this work, as well as finding a different way to do ministry. It’s also been a complete surprise, having no experience with theater coming in.

What do you plan to do with your education after Starr King?

That is a good question! Honestly, right now, I’ve found myself often thinking in “either/or” terms but it is likely going to be “both/and.” I often think it is either the UU ordination parish track or it’s following this avante garde artistic religious impulse thing that is going on with me and trying to build an alternative ministry out of it- some sort of entrepreneurial ministry. Though, I’m definitely open to wherever the Spirit moves me, whether that be parish, art, chaplaincy, nonprofit, or otherwise. I’m also open to, and probably will, dabble with many things over the course of my career- particularly with the kind of education that I’ve received here at Starr King.


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