In Search of Kinship:
Voices from Collegeville
A Podcast

  Photo: Saint John's University, January 2018, Cindy Gonzalez

Photo: Saint John's University, January 2018, Cindy Gonzalez


In Barking to the Choir, by Gregory Boyle, we read…

"The status quo doesn't want things to get upset. But hidden in this detente is division, polarity, and the striking of the high moral distance that separates us. How do we awaken from the dream of separateness, from an abiding sense that the chasm that exists between us cannot be reconciled? For it would seem that the gulf in our present age could not be wider between "Us" and "Them." How do we tame this status quo that lulls us into blindly accepting the things that divide us and keep us from our own holy longing for the mutuality of kinship -- a sure and certain sense that we belong to each other?" 

The quote, found in the introduction of the book, sincerely spoke to me for I too am in seek of mutual kinship. Why? I am a woman attending graduate school on a breathtakingly beautiful tundra known as Collegeville, Minnesota. I am pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree at the Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary. I also have a one-year-old son who keeps me on my toes and married to my college sweetheart, Jake. Sounds lovely right? It is.

Nevertheless, I should add that I am not just a woman, I am a woman of color. I am a woman on the margins. I grew up in a community where safety wasn't always guaranteed and survival was the ultimate gift God could give us. My parents both immigrated to this country to give my siblings and I a better chance at life. I am a part of an interracial marriage as my husband was born an raised in Minnesota with both Irish and Norweigan roots. 

My son is both Latinx and American. I am first generation American; he is considered second generation American. Kinship matters to me because he and all of his generation deserve a better nation, under God, to call home. Growing up, I always felt as if I were the "Them" that Gregory Boyle writes about in his book. I looked different than the majority of my classmates while an undergraduate student at The College of St. Benedict. I am and have always been proud to be brown, but it never occurred to me that my brownness may not appeal to other people. I never knew that my skin color may limit the interactions others would have with me. I didn't know that subconsious reasoning could lead us to further marganalize others simply because of the color of their skin. 

I hope this podcast serves to inform our universities, our churches and our Stearns County community of what belonging to one another means. I hope this podcast serves as an urgent, compassionate and loving plea for kinship. I hope the podcast underlines the idea that lack of inclusion hurts everyone not just those people who happen to be of color. It is through the shared feeling of lack of inclusion that I hope we may all feel interoconnected. I am hopeful for a future where we move beyond inclusion to authentic kinship. 

With love,
Cindy Liliana Gonzalez