LJ Boswell

LJ Boswell

Humanist Chaplain

As the Humanist Chaplain at Amherst College LJ supports spiritual but not religious, atheist and agnostic students in their explorations of the big questions in life. While humanism has its roots in a rational model of understanding human values and goodness, LJ is interested in exploring how to be more embodied and heart-centered alongside the rational as we explore how to live a meaningful life in these times.  

As a white, queer, non-binary mystic, as well as an artist, educator, spiritual director, racial healing trainer/consultant and chaplain, LJ is passionate about living and serving at the intersection of spirituality and social justice. They support our individual and collective reflection, healing, transformation and liberation, with a focus on how we can embrace our authentic selves as whole and vibrant human beings.

Prior to working at Amherst, they have worked as an interfaith hospital chaplain in Oakland CA;  served in a ministry role for Friends Meeting at Cambridge (MA); directed Y.E.S., a student-run co-curricular service learning program at Humboldt State University; and have been working with New England Quakers towards racial healing and equity.

LJ grew up as a humanist Unitarian Universalist in central Pennsylvania and is now a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers).  They’ve completed a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the ministry as well as 4.5 units of CPE interfaith chaplaincy training and a Master in Education from Humboldt State University.  

In their M.Ed. thesis The Structure Trap, which focused on the role of reflection in service-learning, they identified how the structure of educational activities can unintentionally impede rather than support learning. This work of LJ’s continues to inform their understanding of how white supremacy ideology functions unconsciously within many of us to impede rather than embrace the values we actually aspire to live out.