Human inheritance is both blessing and curse. And in religious inheritance this paradox is acute…. What curses do we need to shed, in the process of growing up? What can we hold to as blessing?           –Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

Wedding Picture of Loretta and Bill, 1985

Me with my new husband, Bill Haney, Berkeley, 1985

I am a former teacher; a student of religious history and thought; a descendant of Mennonites whose history stretches back 500 years to the Netherlands and the Protestant Reformation. This Mennonite heritage feels like a precious gift, one I treasure even though it has not been an unmixed blessing. It has required work, the hard work of sorting blessing from curse, spiritual and intellectual wrestling, wrestling that in mid-life led me to the formal study of theology.

In 1977, when my two daughters were both in college, I quit my job teaching high school English and drove down Highway 5 from Seattle to Berkeley, California to begin an MA program at the Graduate Theological Union. My time there was wonderful—a golden time that allowed me to question and reflect, sit quietly and let new meanings grow. I came out of that time with a new understanding of my religious heritage as well as the more worldly reward of two academic degrees: the MA in Philosophical Theology and a Ph.D. in Theology & the Arts.

I currently live in Bellingham, Washington.