Erik(a) Boss on Embracing Faith and the Future at LSTC
Erik(a) Boss, center, at a LSTC “Recess” event hosted by our Compost and Recycle Coordinator, Emily Moentmann (lower right). L. Boss – the LSTC Garden Coordinator, is also featured (lower left).
For Erik(a) Boss, the journey to LSTC started in a church basement. “The Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills, Colorado, has a preschool in their basement,” Boss says with fondness for the memories they cultivated while teaching in that environment. It was there, too, that Boss first experienced both their call and the realization that they wanted to approach their primary interests, which include reconciling science and faith and promoting a peaceful society through ministry.
A couple of years later, Boss and their family took a trip to Chicago, and decided to drive through Hyde Park. “We ended up at CTS, and I found out that there were five seminaries in Hyde Park and that one of them was a Lutheran seminary,” Boss recalls. “So, we immediately looked at a map, walked over to the Lutheran seminary, and I met one of the people who used to be in our student services department, Matthew, and he just gave me an impromptu tour.”
A true selling point for the institution was the Zygon Center for Religion and Science, which seeks to harness religion and science together “in order to gain insight into the origins, nature, and destiny of humans and their environment, and to realize the common goal of a world in which love, justice, and responsible patterns of living prevail.” For Boss, who hopes to work as a chaplain in the US military, especially in service of international peace efforts grounded in scientific developments, it seemed like a great fit.
There was, of course, still the question of feasibility. After some research, however, Boss realized that there were full tuition scholarship opportunities sponsored by the ELCA as well as internal opportunities sponsored by LSTC and congregational support. “I started learning that there’s just so much money for education, especially if you’re going to a Christian institution,” Boss says.
After enrolling, Boss was impressed with LSTC’s pedagogical stance, and the way in which their professors encouraged nonconformist out-of-the-box thinking and interpretations. “[It was here that I realized] that there is a field of thinking that includes this conversation about topics and concerns I’ve had for many years about how our culture functions and how we force conformity…and if I’m being honest, I think one of the reasons I chose LSTC is because I felt like it was the least likely to try and push something on me(except for something that I wanted to be pushed on me). I think they have a very liberatory view here compared to anywhere else that I looked at.”
Embracing a liberatory consciousness has served Boss well—they regularly attend four different congregations to truly understand the different environments that make up Chicago’s Lutheran community and often participates in community events and social opportunities on campus. To others who hope to follow in their footsteps, Boss encourages them to dive in “focus on following the process as is intended,” they advise. “The ELCA has a process that is very intentional that prepares you for ministry in a certain way, just based on how the structure functions, and I would recommend that.”