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At the Tufts Humanist Chaplaincy, we hope to foster a comfortable environment for people to engage in honest discussions around the challenges in their lives, and to explore how people outside traditional religion approach questions that many faith traditions engage regularly. Our day to day lives, on campus and off, can be challenging just as they are exciting, but we don’t always have a structured hour in the week to sit down and reflect on the way we’ve grown, and the lessons we can learn from the experiences of others.

At small group reflections, the Humanist in Residence facilitates an open, respectful, and confidential conversation around a chosen theme that concerns and informs many of our choices and experiences in our life journey. The conversation is rooted in a text (or other piece of culture) written from a Humanist perspective that engages the theme, and from there will be open to the perspectives and experiences of everyone present in the group. Those present are encouraged to bring pieces of culture that inspire their own values on the theme, including and especially those from other faith traditions.

After we explored “fearlessness in caregiving” last week, the upcoming small group reflection will explore change–how do we confront change when it flows from crisis, how do we enact change ourselves, is there value or risk in chasing after change–led through a song by David Bowie. It will be on Monday, October 26th, at 9pm in the Interfaith Center downstairs meeting room. Small group reflections are open to all members of the Tufts community, irrespective of anyone’s belief background. Light refreshments will be served!


David Bowie is a visionary musician, writer, actor, and artist whose cultural persona and vast discography characterized the glam rock era and continue to impact music today. Perhaps his most famous persona, Ziggy Stardust, brought British culture to a seminal moment confronting bisexuality, androgyny, authenticity, and outer space. His later collaborations with Brian Eno were celebrated as novel and reinventive contributions to Western music, and his most recent release in 2013 The Next Day was hailed as among the best produced albums of the year.

Bowie has never identified with Humanism, and has remarked that he is “not quite an atheist.” However, much of his work locates itself in a world where our gods are created by cultural forces, and many of his lyrical lessons are crafted from time and time again enacting catastrophic, stylish change on himself and his image.

Though indeed one of Bowie’s best known songs, “Changes,” reminds us to “turn and face the strange,” we’ll be listening to part of a different Bowie piece as a jumping off point for our discussion on Monday. As the vehicle for his Thin White Duke persona, Bowie released the record Station to Station. The title track–in full clocking in at over ten minutes–laments whether it is too late to change, whether constantly changing might drain us of emotion and leave us obsessed with finding it again. We’ll reflect on these lyrics in particular:

Once there were mountains on mountains
And once there were sunbirds
to soar with
And once I could
never be down
Got to keep searching
and searching
Oh what will I be believing
and who will connect me with love?

Wonder who wonder who
wonder when
Have you sought fortune evasive and shy?

David Bowie – Station To Station (Live 1978)