The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Publicly Accountable Note-to-Self

Hi. A few stories, confessions, and revelations and stuff to put on "paper" for when I forget my commitments.

In high school, I was like "I want to be a youth director" because I loved BLCYM and Jonathan (our youth director) and so, naturally, wanted to keep that forever. It's where I met my best friend, and so obviously it was the best thing out there. Typical.

Then, sophomore year of college, I met the CLU Campus Ministry, and the CLU Religion Department, (and then the Secular Student Alliance the next year) and the world of interfaith dialogue swept me off my feet. Somehow, I forgot about the life of youth ministry I'd loved. Going to seminary for the express purpose of cruising on to a PhD and being a professor and activist and all-around brainiac took center-stage. With it, the idea of parish ministry and youth, in particular, got shunted to the back burner as "less than" my newfound academic pursuits. That kind of thing was for people without higher education, I'm sure I said.

The first two years of seminary kept this ball rolling pretty hard. School is basically my favorite place, y'all, and the idea of staying there forever, reading and writing about the world seemed like the ultimate life. Being in the Bay Area, the crossover between academia and activism is pretty easy. One week, for one class, our homework was to attend an Occupy protest and write a theological reflection about it. I mean, really. Hashtag Berkeley.

And every time a fourth-year said something about, "well, once you've done internship," I just rolled my eyes for hours about how out-of-touch with reality parish ministry had to be, compared to my awesome worldview and stuff. I am so ridiculous sometimes, you guys.

The first few months of internship, I fought tooth and nail to make it reinforce my ideas. I was like "yep this proves this life isn't for me" every time something wasn't the coolest or the most academic or the most liberal or whatever. I AM LITERALLY INSUFFERABLE.

I'm a week away from completing my internship, as I write this. My project (a required part of the intern year) was helping to articulate a budding ministry of advocacy. We met with a cool guy named Brad, the Rocky Mountain Synod's advocacy director for the state of Colorado, who helped us figure out how to be in relationship with our legislators. We met monthly to learn and plan; we attended a legislative prayer breakfast; we attended Faith Advocacy Day for Colorado; I attended Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a long-weekend event in DC; I preached about being advocates for justice; we watched documentaries; we wrote our legislators; we encouraged the congregation to have opinions about things like the death penalty and other issues of criminal justice reform. It RULED.

Simultaneously, in the last 11 months, I have gone on two weekend retreats and two week-long trips (one service, one camp) with the high school and middle school youth here at Holy Trinity. We also had a girls' overnight for Dia de los Muertos, and I taught confirmation once, and I often hung out with the high school kids during their Sunday morning education hour, and I'm the captain (lol) of our "HTLC Heroes" team that's hitting up the ColorVibe 5K this Saturday. They're so cool.

And not only are they so cool, but the camp staff that I met on our trip to Joplin and our week at confirmation camp were so cool. I forgot to mention how much eye rolling I did in college and up until a month ago with regards to camp. Sorry to those I love deeply (in particular Ben and Kelsey) who love camp deeply -- I don't know if you even knew I was such an ass.

And I read Eboo Patel's book Acts of Faith, and dove headlong back into thinking that the way to change the world is through young people. And, especially, by having important conversations and interfaith conversations and serving together and advocating together. That it's definitely important to foster advocacy among adults, but that the damage future generations could do to each other will be much more easily avoided if our young people don't grow up in a world of ignorance and misunderstanding and hate, in the first place. And somehow in the mix I encountered and entered the 99 Collective, a group of young adults who are committed to transforming the world through young people, through the church. Who'da thunk.

So, now, as I go forth into the world in peace, back to my academic Berkeley life for my final year of seminary classes, I'm making some out-loud commitments.

I'm registered for classes that I think will make me a better pastor, advocate, ecumenical and interfaith partner, and innovator in what I see as the future of the Church. And I'm hoping that by putting these words out to you, that, round-a-bout February, when you see me forget myself and roll my eyes about something someone says about youth ministry, that you slap me upside the head and make me read this whole post out loud.

And, after all of that, when I graduate in May, I'm moving to DC because that's where I think the action I want in on is taking place, right now. And I sure hope that the bishop of the Metro DC synod wants to call me--even though what I'm looking for in a call is a little more than the plug-and-play into and existing situation that we see throughout the ELCA. I'm hoping to be multi-vocational, and I'm hoping to help bridge the gap between the church and the rest of the world. I want to be an advocate, and I want to effect change in the lives of young people, and I want to do it from the pulpit, and the hospital room, and other houses of worship, and the steps of the capitol, and the university campus. And maybe even from summer camp.

Because writing a paper full of "the answers" is cool and all, but actually being with people is probably significantly more effective. And follows a lot better in the footsteps of our main man, Jesus. Which, after all, is kind of what I signed up to do three years ago.

Don't let me forget it.

Herbie, the LoveHonda

My main man, Rick.