terrorist shooting in San Bernadino, CA.

"> Leading with Love in the Wake of Islamophobia | Forum for Theological Exploration Set the Prisoners Free | Forum for Theological Exploration Sacred Work | Forum for Theological Exploration It Takes a Village | Forum for Theological Exploration What’s Your New Year’s Resolution? | Forum for Theological Exploration The Hope of Now | Forum for Theological Exploration Trusting Brown Hands | Forum for Theological Exploration God Beyond Borders | Forum for Theological Exploration More Questions Than Answers | Forum for Theological Exploration Reflections on three years with CMTEV | Forum for Theological Exploration A call to ‘Opt-in’ | Forum for Theological Exploration Theological Education, Diversity, and a Transformative Future | Forum for Theological Exploration Benefits of a Vocational Friendship | Forum for Theological Exploration 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.

"> Affirmations of Calling | Forum for Theological Exploration Ferguson & Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, Dr. Leah Gunning Francis discusses the significance of her work for faith communities and emerging Christian leaders.

"> Seven Questions with Leah Gunning Francis, Author of “Ferguson & Faith” | Forum for Theological Exploration A Reflection on My Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant Experience | Forum for Theological Exploration The Sublime Power of Belief | Forum for Theological Exploration Theological Education After Ferguson and Long Island and Baltimore and Charleston and…. | Forum for Theological Exploration The Ministry of Surrender | Forum for Theological Exploration The Stillness | Forum for Theological Exploration Racism: The Most Sinful of Legacies | Forum for Theological Exploration What Is Thy Name | Forum for Theological Exploration Active Faith is Urgent | Forum for Theological Exploration The Birth of Goodness | Forum for Theological Exploration Re-Arranged by the Spirit | Forum for Theological Exploration Vocation in Between the Aftermath of Violence and a Hoped-for Future | Forum for Theological Exploration To Follow a Call | Forum for Theological Exploration Where Two or Three Are Gathered | Forum for Theological Exploration Tooth Fairy | Forum for Theological Exploration Marking Vocational Transitions Faithfully | Forum for Theological Exploration Mission Year to attend FTE’s Discernment Retreat in Lake Arrowhead, California.

"> Our Becoming | Forum for Theological Exploration Falling Deeper Into My Calling | Forum for Theological Exploration Let the Streets Inspire You | Forum for Theological Exploration Whose Name is on the Invitation? | Forum for Theological Exploration The Feeble Art of Radical Hospitality | Forum for Theological Exploration Finding God in the Rabbit Trail | Forum for Theological Exploration What is Worship to Me | Forum for Theological Exploration A Resolution for Religion | Forum for Theological Exploration Sacred Cows at the Lord’s Table | Forum for Theological Exploration I am a Pile of Trash | Forum for Theological Exploration The Church Knows Something | Forum for Theological Exploration Critical Feeling | Forum for Theological Exploration “Do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19 | Forum for Theological Exploration Buddy Crossed the Line | Forum for Theological Exploration Campus Ministries Shaping the Future | Forum for Theological Exploration Teaching Theology after Ferguson | Forum for Theological Exploration Imagination Next | Forum for Theological Exploration If it was a Snake ... | Forum for Theological Exploration The Power to Reshape Brokenness | Forum for Theological Exploration Campus Ministries that Stick | Forum for Theological Exploration How to Harness the Awkward Pause | Forum for Theological Exploration 2015 FTE Doctoral Fellowships. This is an appropriate moment to reflect briefly on why we do the work of supporting rising theological educators of color.

"> Why We Do This | Forum for Theological Exploration In Praise of Small Spaces | Forum for Theological Exploration Culture Shock | Forum for Theological Exploration Can We Keep Our Promises? | Forum for Theological Exploration An Opportunity to Re-Engage not Remake the Church | Forum for Theological Exploration Living Stream Church of the Brethren.

"> Innovative Ministries: Stepping outside my box | Forum for Theological Exploration Attentiveness and Practices in Christian Ministry | Forum for Theological Exploration Conducting My Beautiful, Cacophonous Clone Choir | Forum for Theological Exploration Can you Repack That? | Forum for Theological Exploration An Open Reflection to My Younger Self | Forum for Theological Exploration A Christian Take on Mindfulness | Forum for Theological Exploration The Building of Community in Unlikely Places | Forum for Theological Exploration Compensation for Being | Forum for Theological Exploration Transitioning-into-Ministry (TiM) Participants Gathering. The first year I thought it was a fluke. The second year I was looking for it. This year, I was expecting it. What was is “it”? The power of a room.

"> The Power of a Room | Forum for Theological Exploration Listen Closely | Forum for Theological Exploration Communication as an Art | Forum for Theological Exploration Celebrating a Birthday or Celebrating the Birth of an Idea | Forum for Theological Exploration Shhhhhhhh! | Forum for Theological Exploration Do We Know Enough About Other Religions? | Forum for Theological Exploration My Time At the FTE Vocational Discernment Conference | Forum for Theological Exploration Is the Institutional Church Worth Saving? | Forum for Theological Exploration A Muddy Epiphany | Forum for Theological Exploration In Search of Community | Forum for Theological Exploration Prayers on the Wind | Forum for Theological Exploration Live the Questions | Forum for Theological Exploration Ask a Millennial Why They Stay | Forum for Theological Exploration Afterlife Chat at Midnight | Forum for Theological Exploration Vocation and Inspiration | Forum for Theological Exploration On Mountains and Empty Spaces | Forum for Theological Exploration What a Vocational Calling to Ministry Means to Me | Forum for Theological Exploration The Anti-Tourism of Meditation | Forum for Theological Exploration When Lions Have Historians | Forum for Theological Exploration Five New Features on fteleaders.org | Forum for Theological Exploration Seeking the Kingdom—and Finding It | Forum for Theological Exploration Darśan: Seeing the Divine Image in India before spending a semester together in India.

She has the monumental task of training 13 Americans to see differently while in India…

"> Sacred Optometry: Opening my Eyes in India | Forum for Theological Exploration Faith and Leadership, Nathan Kirkpatrick has been talking for years about over-investing in young people and the importance of giving the youngest generation a shot at not only Christian formation but also Christian ministry. But what does “over-investing” look like?

"> A New Year’s Resolution for Ministry | Forum for Theological Exploration Inside FTE’s New Name | Forum for Theological Exploration Cultivating Quality Leadership for a Sustainable Church | Forum for Theological Exploration Single-Leader-Centered vs Group-Centered Leadership | Forum for Theological Exploration Leadership Capacities Every Young Pastor Must Learn | Forum for Theological Exploration Freedom to Flunk | Forum for Theological Exploration National Festival of Young Preachers. Originally published on The Huffington Post.

Let us take a moment to look at what Hebrew Scripture teaches about Sabbath. In Exodus, the longest of the 10 commandments says that we should do all our work in six days but on the seventh we should not do any work, nor should we allow anyone else to work—not our children, not those who serve us, not the resident aliens, not even our livestock and animals. (Exodus 20: 8-11) Everybody gets a day off.

Our scriptures understand it. Our story tells it. But do we imbibe it? Do we speak the language of Sabbath?

"> There is No Rest | Forum for Theological Exploration A Musical Ministry | Forum for Theological Exploration Reflections on the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference | Forum for Theological Exploration

Behind the Doctorate

By: Patrick B. Reyes
April 19, 2016

I was formed by those who had deep theological convictions.

In 2014, FTE’s name changed to reflect its focus on young adults exploring theological questions and the partners who are accompanying them in their discernment and call to ministry. When I first became involved with FTE in 2015, theological exploration resonated deeply with my own educational journey.

I explored theology for one reason: Christians had saved my life. From the Christian Brothers, who took the time to be fully present with me during times of deep pain and sadness, which I hinted at in my last post sacred work, to Grandma Reyes, a devout Mexican Catholic, who held all the pains and joys of our incredible family, I was formed by those who had deep theological convictions.

When I began to explore theology vocationally, funding, as too many of us know, was not always easy to come by as top funding programs aren’t exactly recruiting in the “2nd least educated city in the US (Salinas).” Needless to say, I worked to pay for my education.

One job was hanging metal lath and drywall for my uncle’s company in Bakersfield, California. My uncle paired me with an angry and broken man named Andy. Andy had been to prison twice, was missing his front teeth, his dark leathered and weathered skin covered his 60-year-old skin and bone frame, and on certain days could barely walk because of his chemical dependency. I remember one afternoon in the 105 degree heat after I had finished the framing and lath on the corner of a building, Andy threw me off the scaffold, hit me with a piece of metal framing, and threatened to fight me over poor craftsmanship. Most days played out this way, and so I would return to my Grandparent’s home tired and frustrated from resisting retaliating against his broken body. Once home, I would help take care of my grandparents. My grandpa had dead feet from diabetes, which my Aunts and I would rub to create what circulation we could. He also had an open wound on one leg that we regularly had to change because of the smell of rotting flesh. He too had lived through a hard life of abuse both to himself and others.

I learned more about the power of theological exploration during my time in Bakersfield than I did during all my subsequent studies.

About half-way through the summer, I told both of these men about my interest in pursuing theological training: “God helped the hurting,” was my line. Sharing my desire to pursue theological training seemed to open a space for both of these men to share their own stories. I spent day after day listening to these two incredibly broken men share their deepest hurts, pains, struggles, regrets, and hopes. They explored deep theological questions: where is God in the suffering? Does God forgive the abusive? Will God have a place for them? Will God or I help them seek forgiveness with the loved ones they had wronged? These men, who had done so much damage to themselves and others, were barely alive, skeletons really, craving for someone to call their bones to rise. I learned more about the power of theological exploration during my time in Bakersfield than I did during all my subsequent studies.

Theological exploration is not just the pursuit of knowledge contained in books, but it is also an examination of the relationships that sustain our bodies and souls. In my own doctoral work, I returned to the fields that raised me and asked friends, family members, and my community what sustains them theologically through the suffering - through la lucha? They, like Andy and Grandpa Reyes, had hopes of resurrection, healing, and connection with others who had similar questions. Behind the doctorate is not just the intellectual works of past theologians, but the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain and suffering of my community, a sentiment shared by many scholars of color.

As I learned in my community, sharing narratives sustains us in this difficult work. Thus, I have to ask the following questions: what is behind your work? Why does theological exploration matter to you and your community? What can we offer as scholars to our communities?


Caption: Patrick Reyes (pictured above) leading a workshop at the 2015 Christian Leadership Forum.

Tags: Inside FTE, Thinking Out Loud


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