Harvard Divinity School

Christian Ministry Student Luke Mendez Visits Harvard Divinity School

Issue 18: October 11, 2023

By Special Contributor Luke Mendez

My journey through the Diversity and Explorations Program (DivEx) at Harvard Divinity School was an absolutely incredible experience. I had the privilege of meeting 36 remarkable individuals who are undoubtedly the future trailblazers in the field of theological studies and research. Words cannot adequately express the depth of their character and the lasting impression they left on me.

Despite having only three short days to get to know one another, our cohort formed an incredibly tight-knit bond. Initially, I was nervous about the experience, fearing that I might feel out of place among a group of students with privileged backgrounds, far removed from my small-town Texas roots. To my pleasant surprise, the people I encountered, including professors and staff, were not only humble but also remarkably knowledgeable in an astonishing range of subjects. Their brilliance and passion for their respective areas of study were truly inspiring.

What struck me most about this diverse group of individuals was their rich tapestry of backgrounds, spanning race, gender, sexuality, and faith traditions. As a queer Christian myself, it was refreshing to find kindred spirits who shared my experiences and perspectives. Our collective goal was to create more inclusive and peaceful communities, not only within the Christian faith but across the board.

Within our cohort, we had members from various faiths, including Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, agnostics, atheists, and many more. This diversity served as a constant reminder that, despite our differences, most of us shared quest for a deeper understanding of the divine and all of us shared a passion for religious studies. It was truly remarkable to witness the power of their voices and stories, and over the course of our time together, these individuals became my second family.

I owe it to Dr. Waters for encouraging me to apply for Harvard Divinity’s DivEx program. It has been a life-changing experience, one that has broadened my horizons, enriched my perspective, and connected me with a community of like-minded individuals committed to making the world a more inclusive and spiritually impactful place.