“Gotham is the best thing I’ve done in years.” It’s what I said to four nodding members of my Gotham cohort when we were out to dinner last Saturday night. So what is Gotham, that it could bring five busy professionals together on a Saturday night, and evoke in us such unanimity?
If you look at the Gotham website, you will learn that Gotham is a nine-month intensive theological and leadership training program. And so it is. But it’s so much more than that. It is a class, a community, and in a way a greenhouse, where young professionals, artists, teachers, and others come together and see who God is in the daily realities of our lives. It’s affected everything about my life—my work, my friendships, the way I spend my spare time.
And I almost didn’t apply.
My application to Gotham was a desperate act of last resort. After years of schooling and having embarked on a career in law, I applied a sandpaper scrubbing of logic and reason to nearly every tenet in my life. Yet somehow, as I questioned my assumptions more and more, my faith remained oddly “sacred.” It was set apart from the intellectual rigor—it was true because it had to be, and so therefore it was. But in the quiet moments, I admitted to myself the true reason I avoided applying strict scrutiny to my faith. I was terrified that, if I asked the questions, I would find no satisfactory answers. If my faith didn’t satisfy my reason, if I discovered my theological grounding was a lie,what would I have left? I was on the edge when I applied to Gotham and thankfully, mercifully, God met me where I was.
Through Gotham I have seen theological concepts go from words on a page to principles for daily living. In the safe, heavily curated confines of the Gotham curriculum I have begun to ask the questions that I never could bear to ask. And I’ve been rewarded with answers that far surpass anything I once insisted must be true. I have seen my faith put into a systematic framework that stands up to scrutiny, that has logical progression and cohesion, and that has a fascinating, deep richness that even my “beloved” law books can’t match.
To my surprise, I have discovered that Gotham is more than a theology class. It is spiritual boot camp, where each Fellow’s growth is deliberately, intensely stimulated. Through the readings and by living life together with the incredible Gotham community, I have learned to see and comprehend the depth of my sin and brokenness. I have learned experientially that there is no hope for change or healing outside of the Gospel. And I have learned that the Gospel does not discriminate. As it has become more integrated into certain areas of my life, I see change and healing everywhere. My intellect and reason, which are built on such a hyper-rationalist foundation, are being strengthened by God’s brilliant logic and redeeming framework.
The Gotham experience has stretched me and changed me, and I think it will continue to do so over the years that may be ahead. And that is why Gotham is the best thing my cohort-mates and I have done, as believers, as professionals, and as New Yorkers.
The final info session for next year’s applicants is Sunday, March 10 after the 9:30AM Downtown service.
Visit www.gothamfellowship.org for more information.