Author, speaker, ordained minister Danielle Shroyer, MDiv ’99, has taken to the digital highway as the heart and soul of the blog Soul Ninja. Launched in September 2018, Soul Ninja is the next extension of Shroyer’s calling. Through the online community, she shares practices that support people to be centered, thoughtful, mindful, and spiritually wise. She attributes her ability to move her ministry in new directions to the curiosity and flexible thinking she honed at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Shroyer describes her Seminary experience as crucial to preparing her for leading the emerging faith community Journey, as well as her post-pastoral work. "The purpose of a seminary education is not to teach you to do a job. It’s to teach you how to do any job because you know how to think well and be who you need to be,” says Shroyer. "To be in a community where I got to hear so many different perspectives—that was profound for me. I’m grateful for the curiosity, for the practice of learning that was cultivated for me at Seminary.”
After completing her MDiv, Shroyer became pastor of Journey, and eventually Journey’s theologian-in-residence. She wrote and published three books on faith; spoke nationally on new forms of faith and worship; supported struggling churches through transformation; and held leadership positions at Emergent Village, including as the national co-director.
“To be in a community where I got to hear so many different perspectives—that was profound for me. I’m grateful for the curiosity, for the practice of learning that was cultivated for me at Seminary.”
Most recently, Shroyer has taken up meditation and attributes her spiritual growth to that practice. In addition, Shroyer was part of a cohort led by a Tibetan Buddhist in the study of Buddhism, which gave her fresh language around faith, helped her to reimagine her own life, and deeply grounded her in Christian faith.
“The more I learn about Mahayana Buddhism, the more I’m like, "Yes, Jesus. Yes!” Shroyer says. "I’ve been asked, ‘So are you still Christian? Or are you Buddhist now?’ I say that the great thing is that I don’t have to choose because Buddhism isn’t a religion based on a God. You can practice Buddhism as a Christian, as many people do.”
Shroyer’s writing and talks about her book Original Blessing: Putting Sin in Its Rightful Place have been central to her perspective on spiritual work. “I love the yin and yang of this idea that we’re good, just the way we are. We can rest in that. There’s nothing you can do to earn it. There’s nothing you can do to lose it. It’s there always. Just rest in it.”
Shroyer says, "Because you’re good, you’re capable of doing everything Jesus asked you to do. You’re not going to do it perfectly, but that does not get you off the hook from trying. Because you rest in that goodness of your nature, your Buddha nature, in that image of God in you, you are able to practice a way of being in the world, to put in the work. I think Christianity needs that, especially now.” Her words reflect an oft-quoted part of the Talmud that reads, "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
Danielle Shroyer published three books, Original Blessing: Putting Sin in Its Rightful Place (Fortress Press, 2016), Where Jesus Prayed: Illuminations on the Lord’s Prayer in the Holy Land (Paraclete Press, 2016), and The Boundary-Breaking God: An Unfolding Story of Hope and Promise (Jossey-Bass, 2009). She contributed to the Common English Bible Women’s Edition (2016) and Faith of Our Mothers, Living Still (2017), an overview of the history of women at Princeton Theological Seminary.