Religion and spirituality always have been central aspects of my person. I grew up in a conservative Christian environment. I loved it. It was one of the greatest driving forces in shaping the person I was. I was especially passionate about Christian Scripture. This love led me to want to build a professional career out of religion. With that thought in mind, I attended the university owned by the church I belonged to at the time. I studied the Bible, its history and archaeology, and the languages of the ancient Mediterranean world. I was fulfilling my dream; however, I felt like something was lacking in my studies. I loved what I was learning, but I realized that I wanted to be able to apply it in some practical manner.
As I applied to graduate school, one of my professors suggested that I apply to Vanderbilt Divinity School. I had not considered it before because it was a progressive institution. The more I thought about it though, the more it made sense. I love the focus on social justice within society that VDS strives to create. I applied and was blessed to be accepted. My time at VDS was stimulating and ultimately, life-changing. I know that may sound cliché, but in my case it is true. I left the conservative Christian denomination I belonged to because of my collective experiences at VDS. The faculty and students showed me that there are a myriad of ways of living a spiritual and justice-driven life.
VDS literally opened an entire new world to me. Upon being graduated, I have been working to put that new-found perspective and knowledge to good use. I am working currently as a case manager for the YWCA Weaver Center, one of the largest and most cutting-edge domestic violence shelters in the country; furthermore, I am working on their new Engaging Men program which is seeking to change the cultural understanding of masculinity in order to prevent violence against women and girls before it begins. I am especially focused on reaching out to spiritual communities in Davidson County. I am more grateful for my experiences at VDS than I can relate with words. It has changed my life for the better.
Seth Kohrman, M.Div. 2012
Case Manager, YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee