FTE Blog

More Questions Than Answers

I sat in a fluorescent lit conference room in Peachtree City, GA. Wade in the Water echoed in the room from the morning’s worship and the floor was open for those contemplating vocation and seeking advice to share with the group. There was a space of silence as the room prepared for the next person to offer their discernments.

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By: Christina Schmitt November 09, 2015

Reflections on three years with CMTEV

In 2012 Chesterton House was one of the first organizations invited to participate in the Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation (CMTEV) initiative as a pilot round grantee. We’re into our third year of the initiative and we can honestly say that every year has begun with a surprising mix of new opportunities and new challenges.

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By: Ryan O’Dowd October 30, 2015

A call to ‘Opt-in’

Growing up in my Latino/a church1 I would often hear, “ese sabe mucha teología pero poca biblia” (“he knows a lot of theology but little about the Bible”). This backhanded comment simultaneously challenged the theologically trained on their true knowledge of God and uplifted theologians trained through informal means, namely the Bible and lo cotidiano2.

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By: Grace Vargas October 21, 2015

Theological Education, Diversity, and a Transformative Future

In July, I made a brief case for placing questions of difference and diversity at the center of theological education. In my mind, the case is getting stronger by the day not because of the article’s persuasive powers (!) but because God is moving in our midst.

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By: Eric D. Barreto October 08, 2015

Benefits of a Vocational Friendship

Several months ago a member of my congregation in suburban Houston told me that her sister in Boston was dying. My congregant was doing everything she could from afar, but as anyone who has lost a loved one knows, it’s a daunting process. As she headed up to see her sister one last time, I told her that my best friend from seminary was a pastor in the area and I would put them in touch.

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By: John Allen & Nathan Bledsoe September 16, 2015

Affirmations of Calling

I had the opportunity to meet and engage women of color that have pursued ministry and preaching as a vocation through FTE’s Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant; The grant was such a tremendous blessing as it enabled me to develop relationships with women that have utilized their experience and/or understanding of grief in their respective ministries.

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By: Natasha Patterson August 27, 2015

Seven Questions with Leah Gunning Francis, Author of “Ferguson & Faith”

With the timely release of Ferguson & Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, Dr. Leah Gunning Francis discusses the significance of her work for faith communities and emerging Christian leaders.

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By: Leah Gunning Francis August 19, 2015

A Reflection on My Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant Experience

Today, nearly a year after my proposal was selected, I can say with unfettered confidence that this experience has proven to be transformative, empowering, and pivotal in my quest for bodily confidence within the community of faith.

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By: James Howard Hill, Jr. August 17, 2015

The Sublime Power of Belief

At particular historical moments events overwhelm our usual use of words and categories. Such was the martyrdom of the Saints at Mother Emmanuel on June 19th, 2015.

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By: Stephen Ray July 28, 2015

Theological Education After Ferguson and Long Island and Baltimore and Charleston and….

If theological education could previously assume a future apart from the questions of difference and diversity, this last year shattered such delusions. Ferguson. Long Island. Baltimore. Charleston.

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By: Eric D. Barreto July 17, 2015

The Ministry of Surrender

Productivity. Efficiency. Results. These are three highly regarded values of the work culture that I came from.

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By: Cailin Choy July 14, 2015

The Stillness

As we were sitting at the table having deep, meaningful conversation about our lives and the various stages of our journey, one of my colleagues made a statement that shook me to my core. “What are you afraid of in the stillness?”

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By: Fran Davis-Harris July 01, 2015

Racism: The Most Sinful of Legacies

People of color have known from personal and community experience that racism is still rampant. The Charleston massacre is forcing the United States to face itself.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra June 24, 2015

What Is Thy Name

In the eighth chapter of Luke’s gospel Jesus is confronted by a man possessed by demons. The man is nameless, but is given a narrative. He is naked. He is homeless and finds rest among the dead in graveyards. He is depicted as one who is suffering.

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By: Hassan Henderson June 23, 2015

Active Faith is Urgent

It’s incredible how quickly things can change. Just three weeks ago, FTE gathered leaders of many ages, races, and church traditions to explore what it means to live out an “active faith” – a faith motivated by a deep religious conviction that what God is doing in this world bends toward justice and that we are called to be active partners in that transformation.

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By: Chris McCain June 19, 2015

The Birth of Goodness

I got to welcome a new life into the world this week. After 30 hours of helping my friend labor, I watched in amazement as a new child was born. Having lost a baby to stillbirth 14 years ago, I witnessed this live birth as a healing deep in my soul.

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By: Dori Baker June 19, 2015

Re-Arranged by the Spirit

During the Forum opening, Stephen Lewis, among others, repeatedly said, you matter, your work matters. For sure that falls differentially across bodies, but I experienced a sense of being washed over; crisp water waving over me making the cracked parts supple.

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By: Amy R. Barbour June 17, 2015

Vocation in Between the Aftermath of Violence and a Hoped-for Future

What future does God envision for us? What future do we long to see? What are we willing to do to give shape to it? These questions, written by FTE President Stephen Lewis, are ringing in my ears as I follow on-the-ground reports of what’s happening in Baltimore ...

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By: Dori Baker May 01, 2015

To Follow a Call

What does it look like to be a woman in ministry? At FTE’s East Coast Discernment Retreat in Black Mountain, NC, I met many examples of women in ministry including Tiffany Thomas, a United Methodist pastor who began preaching at 15.

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By: Kate Stoltzfus April 29, 2015

Tooth Fairy

Last week I attended a retreat in Black Mountain, North Carolina hosted by the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE). The main point that I took away was that God’s ministry can be present in the work I want to do – animal therapy. If God is truly calling me, I can get there. But in order to get there, I have to continue to accept the experiences in my past.

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By: Katherine Mockler April 28, 2015

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