By Keenan A. Mount
Paul Cloud was never satisfied with the limited view provided by the clergy at his home town’s first Baptist church in Gillespie, Illinois. This underlying dissatisfaction, along with a general sense of comfort found in sacred symbols and places, led Paul to, later in life, take classes in theology, in order to better help develop their perspective on the grand topics present in theology. They took a special interest in Theravada Buddhism, the oldest existing Buddhist school. Cloud is now an Adjunct Professor in the Humanities that teaches the same class they once attended at Lewis and Clark and is going on their third year doing so.
Cloud is immersed in their job and job related studies, largely as an extension of their want for a broader perspective on theology. Cloud places a great deal of importance on perspective, in regards to theology and in general. They actively seek “cordial conversations on deeply held beliefs,” as they described. This pursuit for theological discourse is made easy, with their position as a teacher, and Cloud couldn’t imagine themself in any other setting but an academic one.
Cloud would cite Anthony Magnabosco as their “current primary influence and inspiration.” Magnabosco developed a method for amiable discussion on religion, known as Street Epistemology. The site dedicated to Street Epistemology describes it as “a set of tools that helps you have better conversations about difficult topics.” Cloud also points to Siddhartha Guatama, the Buddha, as a major point of inspiration and influence in their life and work.
Professor Cloud is often occupied by their work but Paul is just as often enjoying time with their child. They will frequently play tabletop roleplaying games or explore and enjoy the outdoors with one another.
Cloud would consider themself as much of an activist as a teacher. They take opportunities to advocate for and ally with marginalized groups. This is especially true for religious groups marginalized by other religious groups. As a part of this, Cloud will be taking the role of faculty advisor in the soon to be established SSA chapter at Lewis and Clark. SSA is an organization dedicated to advocating for the separation of church and state, a sentiment Paul Cloud holds dear.
Finally, Cloud would encourage any student with a perspective on theology to take their class so that they may expand on their own theological view.