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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 theme that concerns and informs many of our choices and experiences in our life journey. The conversation begins 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.

The upcoming small group reflection will begin with a poem from poet Langston Hughes. It will be on Friday, October 7th, at 5:30pm 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!


langston-hughes-11Langston Hughes was an influential American writer in the Harlem Renaissance. His novels, poems, and plays lifted up the experiences of Black American life in the ’20s, hailed today for having been intentional about connecting with a brought Black audience in America and for having helped break Black art into the American mainstream.

Like other authors who we’ve read to open small group reflection, Langston Hughes did not identify as a Humanist–in much of his work in dealing with religion, he seems to be criticizing how his peers practice from a standpoint within tradition rather than outside it. However, his work is important for all Americans to read and engage with, both as it relates to religion and as it speaks to so much of the violence and tension in our society today.

To open this week’s reflection, we’ll read Hughes’ poem, “God.”

I am God—
Without one friend,
Alone in my purity
World without end.
Below me young lovers
Tread the sweet ground—
But I am God—
I cannot come down.
Life is love!
Love is life only!
Better to be human
Than God—and lonely.