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Priest Gets First-Ever PhD in Snowboarding

At a glance, each of the words contained in this post’s title may not be all too special. Priests are pretty common, many people snowboard and there are a decent amount of people with a PhD floating around the world. With their powers combined, however, they form a pretty awesome bit of news: Neil Elliot, a priest at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, is the first person in the world to receive a PhD in snowboarding.

Dished out from Kingston University in London, Elliot’s rad PhD journey began when he discovered the term “soul-riding” on the Internet, which supposedly refers to having transcendent, spiritual experiences while snowboarding.

Elliot’s boned out thesis doesn’t prove any direct connection between spirituality and a 5-0 grind, but he believes there’s a connection nonetheless:

“What my thesis does is give a new model for spirituality, saying that spirituality is a way of looking at the world and a way of looking at the world that includes there being something more than just the material.

My thesis goes on to say that there’s three dimensions to that. There’s the experiences that we have, there’s the context that we’re in and then there’s what’s going on really inside us, who we are.”

How do Elliot’s congregation and colleagues feel about all this? Apparently, they understand:

“They understand that this is a light on what we’re all struggling with: how do we encourage people to come into the church? How do we encourage people to see religion and spirituality as working together, rather than being different things?”

(CBC News via The J-Walk Blog)

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