Can I Get a Witness? for Divinity School

I am Marvin K. White, poet, author, deacon, Facebook Statustician, caregiver, cupcake baker and community member. You may know me by the various ways that (you) community has/have called on me to poet at the funeral, the wedding, the birth, the ribbon cutting, the observance, the protest and the vigil. Maybe you have read one of my collections of poetry and found a story similar to yours, or even yours. Maybe you said to yourself, "I could have written that!" Maybe you were at the repast where I brought baked goods to remind the living how sweet and divine it all is. Maybe on Facebook, you smile and laugh with me as I make use of my status as a place for poetry and story.

I have always listened to the hopes projected onto my life by community. My aunt who said, "You would make a good manager somewhere." And my mom: "One day you gon' win the lotto." And you, my varied and beloved community: "Come, tell our story. Do not leave us out after they have locked us out. Call the names of our dead and our living. Reconcile our lives to our fears, failures and triumphs. Leave trace and trail so that we might find our way home and one day home find its way back to us."

I feel read. I feel listened to. I feel called.

I have been nominated and accepted to seminary at the Pacific School of Religion as a Changemakers Fellow, a full-time, tuition-covered fellowship program for "deserving and promising individuals who are themselves current or potential "˜change-makers' in their contexts but who might never consider PSR because of the high costs of tuition." In my application I said explicitly, I'm taking what I am trained in home with me and I'm bringing my home training to school. I am interested in the ways politics, business, globalization, entrepreneurship and various pre-colonial and indigenous practices have something to say to Christianity, and not just Christianity to them.

The fellowship does not cover books, meals, transportation or living expenses. I have never known "not working," so "working less" in order to "study more" never came to mind. Every writer I know wrote or studied "on the side" of their full and committed lives. I am asking you for financial help for this semester's needs (and beyond if you are willing and able) in my journey toward my Certificate of Theological Studies. After this yearlong program I will be able to apply for admission for PSR's regular Master's of Divinity program. I know, right?!?!? Did you call me that? Did I turn around when you said, "Pray for me"? Did I go before the poetry gods when you say, "Preach!" and "Tell it, Marvin"?

The Single Student Budget (Monthly)
Household $1,000
Food 375
Transportation 250
Miscellaneous Expenses 150
Books and Supplies 111
TOTAL $1,886

The Single Student Budget (9 Months)
Household $9,000
Food 3,375
Transportation 2,250
Miscellaneous Expenses 1,350
Books and Supplies 999
TOTAL $16,974

I do not show up empty. I have been called by community. I have already been bestowed community degrees. Matriculated. Now, if I am hearing my community correctly, you have opened doors and made pathways for me to bring our folkways into "discourse," shape our community ways into "theoretical inquiries," line our wisdoms and spirits up alongside all of the mystics, theologians, priests, saints, heretics and gods to watch them hold their own.

Please know I don't ask lightly. I hope all that can give, do, and those who can't, send a word of encouragement to me or someone else. I hope that your dreams and what you are called to do become so loud that you have to listen to them and order your life to them. So it is with me.

I will be eternally grateful for any help you can give, and for spreading the word.

In advance and with gratitude, thank you.

Marvin K. White
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Marvin K. White 
Oakland, CA
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