I am Rev. Dr. Robert E. Shore Goss – ordained a Catholic Jesuit priest – who fell in love with another Jesuit, Frank Ring, and resigned from the Society of Jesus. I am an unlaicized Catholic priest (excommunicated) and served from 2004-2105 as Senior Pastor/Theologian of MCC United Church of Christ in the Valley,, a totally green or environmentally friendly church (check out the pictures of our church and garden at www.mccinthevalley.com/). MCC in the Valley became a dually affiliated church with MCC and the United Church of Christ.
I am legally married in California to Rev. Joseph (Joe) Shore-Goss, a clergy in the United Church of Christ. He is a thoroughly creative whirlwind, artistic and spiritually talented and compassionate, pastorally gifted and the love of my life. I love also my dog Friskie, who brings joy and teaches me so much about life and grace.
I describe myself as a Bodhisattva Christian, a hybrid spirituality whose primary roots are in Jesus Christ but a spirituality which also honors the spiritual path of the Buddha and his successors. My spirituality combines the spiritualities of Ignatius of Loyola, Mary Magdalene, Francis of Assisi, Hildegard of Binger, Dun Scotus, Albert Schweitzer, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., Rachel Carson and Sallie McFague, and numerous other faithful justice-seekers, green activists, and peace-makers in the world’s faith communities.
I majored dually in Classics and Theology at Holy Cross College. I entered the Jesuits, and went through two years of the Jesuit Novitiate and making the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, and then attended the Jesuit Weston School of Theology (now the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry). I had some of the greatest Jesuit theologians and biblical scholars in class, and I credit them teaching me how to think outside the box.
I began doctoral studies in Comparative Religion and Theology at Harvard Divinity School. My first year of graduate school, I enrolled in a Seminar on Faith taught by Dr. Wilfrid Cantwell Smith. I wanted to do a seminar presentation on Buddhist notions of faith, but since I knew Latin, Dr. Smith assigned me the topic of Thomas Aquinas’ notion of faith. When I presented the paper on Aquinas, something remarkable happened that Friday afternoon at the Center of the Study of World Religions. A Muslim participant saw parallels with Al Ghazali’s notion of faith. Almost like dominos one seminar participant after another discovered parallel notions of faith with Maimonides, Ramanuja, and Dogen. It was at that moment I began to comprehend faith as part of our human make-up – that faith is placing our heart and trust what each person of faith finds to be ultimately meaningful, true, beautiful, and loving. One of the consequences of the insight I experienced was my further evolution as a Bodhisattva Christian on my journey to become an interfaith Christian. Read in the new book Queering Christianity, my chapter on “Bodhisattva Christianity: A Case of Multiple Religious Belonging.”
As a Christian, I have often found the Holy Spirit to be a Mischief-Maker – who colors outside the lines of institutional orthodoxies and authoritarian and exclusive ecclesiogies. She is the sustaining power of God immanent in the universe – in all life and within ourselves. She is immanent as the green energy of the universe and all life.
I received my Th.D. from Harvard University in Theology and Comparative Religion with a specialization in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. It was the same month that my first book came out: Jesus ACTED UP: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto.
For my queer biography, read the first chapter “Out of the Closet into the Streets” of Queering Christ. I transferred as an unlacized Catholic Priest to MCC in 1995. I was confirmed for Privilege of Call within the United Church of Christ and plan to honor a wedding promise to my husband Joe, A UCC clergy to follow him wherever he secures a position of Pastor. I intend to write more books and work as trainers and green missionary for faith communities to grow in their commitment to Earthcare and environmental justice. I will update my contact page when I know where the Lord is calling us. In the meantime, I will keep my email: firstname.lastname@example.org and continue to use this website.