Interviewee: Rudy Schlosser
Interviewer: Suzanne Degnats
Date of Interview: January 18, 2013
Format: WAV file; mpeg audio file and transcript
Length of Interview: 1 hour, 18 minutes, 58 seconds
Transcript: 58 pages
Rudy Schlosser was born on November 22, 1962 in Los Angeles, California. His father was of German ancestry and was born in Bosnia; his mother was born in Mexico. Schlosser considers himself an “American.” He attended Catholic school in the suburbs of Los Angeles and studied International Relations and Finance at Stanford University. Throughout his career in finance, Schlosser traveled extensively and has been to over 73 countries. He moved to Atlanta in 2004 after he “picked up a dart and threw it at a map,” and it landed on the state of Georgia. Schlosser began taking Italian courses at GSU and worked with the Archdiocese of Atlanta to start the Catholic Student Association on campus, which he currently runs.
Schlosser states that religion, travel and exercise are the three constants throughout his life. He experienced a very religious upbringing, due in part to his very religious mother and his Catholic education in elementary and high school, where religion permeated every aspect of his daily life. As a child, he was an active altar boy and described himself as a “very good Catholic,” attending Mass every Sunday in addition to practicing the other tenets of prayer, obedience, avoiding sin, and confession. While at Stanford University, Schlosser sought out the Newman Center Campus Ministry. Although he had friends of different faiths, Schlosser never discussed religion and had only textbook knowledge of other religions. After graduating, he traveled extensively and never once missed Sunday Mass. Upon taking Italian language courses at GSU, Schlosser learned that there was not a Catholic program on campus. Working with the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Schlosser started the Catholic Student Association at GSU. As the head of this organization, he organizes travel with students to sites of religious significance, opened the campus Chapel in 2012, and leads the Catholic Student Association’s mission of Homeless Ministry and Crisis Pregnancy. Catholic ideas of Heaven, Hell, Sin and Forgiveness inform his faith. He explains that Catholics do not hate people, they hate the sin, and that the greatest sin is to think that God will not forgive you. He believes that dedicating a few moments a day to God helps people live a balanced and peaceful life.
Roman Catholic, Catholic Education, Travel, Vatican, Lourdes, Mass, Confession, Prayer, Altar boy, Obedience, Catholic Student Association, Heaven, Hell, Sin, Forgiveness, Balance, Peace, Campus Ministry
Interviewee: Danny Sprouse
Interviewer: Suzanne Degnats
Date of Interview: February 23, 2013
Format: WAV file, transcript
Length of Interview: 85 minutes
Length of Transcription: 47 Pages
Danny Sprouse was born in 1963 in Stanton, Virginia. During his childhood, he lived in rural Virginia. His father was an adamant atheist, although Mr. Sprouse’s extended family were very religious and members of the Church of Brethren. After a falling out with his father at the age of seventeen, Mr. Sprouse moved in with his grandmother. He obtained a GED and got a job as a medical transcriptionist. After living in various areas of Virginia, Mr. Sprouse moved to Atlanta to continue his education, eventually graduating with a Master’s Degree from GSU in Professional Counseling. At the time of the interview, he was the director of the MISTER center at Positive Impact. He has been with his partner for eighteen years and does not have children.
Danny Sprouse’s first memories of religion relate to his family’s Sunday gatherings. Although Mr. Spouse and his immediate family did not attend church, they would meet for dinner after his religious extended family attended Sunday service. During these gatherings, Mr. Sprouse enjoyed sitting and listening to the women discuss the Bible and scripture, among other things. In his adolescence, Mr. Sprouse began to explore religion as an escape from his family situation, especially his violent father, although he did not feel that Christianity saved him. In his teenage years, Mr Sprouse came across a Wiccan book and became attracted to pagan rituals and practices, especially while he was coming to terms with his sexual orientation. His family was dismayed and insisted Mr. Sprouse be baptized, which he agreed to do. After leaving home at the age of seventeen, Mr. Sprouse intermittently moved away from any spiritual practice but was always drawn back to pagan practices, especially rituals related to the seasons and nature. Throughout his life, Mr. Sprouse has had a number of spiritual experiences, both terrifying and loving. Rather than interpreting these experiences as contact with an outside force, he understands them to be manifestations of his own spiritual energy. Although Mr Sprouse acknowledges that there was religion on campus, he wasn’t aware or participating in it during his time at GSU. Instead, his strongest memory of religion on campus related to his troubling interactions with a student in his counseling cohort at GSU. Mr. Sprouse viewed this student, a fundamentalist Christian, as culturally insensitive. He was struck by how toxic this student’s belief system was to himself and to everybody around him. At the time of the interview, Mr. Sprouse described his religious orientation as agnostic pagan, although his educational experience caused him to be more scientific and analytical in regards to religion and spiritual encounters.
Atheist, Church of Brethren, Christianity, Escape, Wiccan, Pagan, Baptism, Rituals, Seasons, Nature, Spiritual, Agnostic, Scientific, Analytic, Sexual Orientation