FTE Blog

Oh the places we will go…to write

Literary great Virginia Woolf once described her desire for a room of her own, a place to write and think in peace. I agree with her wholeheartedly. Having the time and space to write are so important. However, writing time seems to be the first to be eliminated from any busy academic’s schedule. More often than not, we must be intentional about protecting both. We have to make time to write and have a physical space for writing. Carving out time and better yet, reclaiming our writing time is crucial.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra March 23, 2018

Five Influential People You Meet in Grad School

It has been said that we are a combination of the five people we spend the most time with. I grew up with a dicho or saying in Spanish that goes: “Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.” Translation: “Tell me who you walk with and I will tell you who you are.” Who we surround ourselves with speaks volumes about our character. I find this to be especially true in academia because academia often fosters competition over collaboration. For this reason, discernment and learning to identify who has your best interest at heart is important.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra January 26, 2018

A Risk I Am Willing To Take

A short time ago if you had told me that I would be moving states


a church, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I had been deeply wounded by a church in the past and finally found a safe place. Yet as unexpected as it was, that is exactly what my husband Will and I did! It all started like this:

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By: Ashley Easter January 18, 2018

Letting Leaders Lead

The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia spurred a lot of subsequent activity, not only in the United States but also up in Canada. In Vancouver several groups organized an anti-immigration rally at our city hall. This rally elicited the organization of a counter-protest on the same day, in the same place. Upwards of 4,000 people quickly signed up to attend.

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By: Roger Revell January 12, 2018


A poem on peace written by Christina Schmitt, a 2015 Regional Discernment Retreat participant.

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By: Christina Schmitt November 06, 2017

Dissertation in a Nutshell: From Topic to Defense

To reach candidacy or become “ABD” is an exciting milestone in the doctoral journey. You’ve officially made it through years of coursework and passed your comprehensive exams. Now, in my opinion, you are moving into the last and perhaps most challenging stage of your formation as a scholar: the dissertation.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra October 19, 2017

Where are the Mentors?

“Where are the mentors?” This question is my constant companion as I navigate the unchartered waters of the next great emergence in the Christian church.

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By: Kathleen Braafladt August 15, 2017

Two Pastors, a Chaplain and a Bar

“Now that my kids are adults, they aren’t interested in going to church anymore, even if I am the pastor,” the woman lamented, looking down at her plate. The other women sharing our small lunch table—a college chaplain and another pastor—frowned in sympathy.

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By: Linda Kay Klein July 24, 2017

Finding Hope

I never knew what question I was seeking the answer to until June 1, 2017. After worship one night during the Christian Leadership Forum dinner I busted into deep, flowing tears…

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By: Queen Frye June 23, 2017

Rest for the Journey Ahead

Eleven days after my seminary graduation, I boarded a plane to Atlanta for the Forum for Theological Exploration’s 2017 Christian Leadership Forum. While I was already excited to join my cohort and meet scholars whose work I admire, I walked away from the Forum feeling thankful for an additional gift: FTE’s hospitality that demonstrated that I was welcomed, honored and affirmed as a member of this community of Christian leaders.

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By: Jasmin Figueroa June 22, 2017

Learning to Breathe for a Marathon

The weekend just prior to the Christian Leadership Forum, I ran my first marathon ever. As a college cross country and track runner, I have long considered myself a distance runner. My routine 8k and 10k race distances, however, pale in comparison to the toll the marathon took on my body, mind, and spirit. I have since been relishing both the physical and the psychological break from running before I begin a new training cycle toward another fall cross country season.

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By: Isaiah Friesen June 07, 2017

Why Social Entrepreneurship Should Matter to Faith Leaders

What makes a social entrepreneur? Someone who challenges cultural perceptions about the dis-enfranchised and the displaced? A leader who upsets binaries that erase the genius we might otherwise see in one another? A change-agent who looks at surrounding culture, sniffs out creative vitality, and follows that which resembles “good news for the poor”?

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By: Dori Baker May 22, 2017

Social Justice as an Extension of Faith

This past year as I applied to Lutheran Volunteer Corps, one of my mentors asked me why I had chosen a faith-based organization focusing on social justice, rather than a secular organization. This question caught me completely off guard—I had never considered that my passion for social justice could come from anything but my faith. So many of the Scripture passages that speak to me most deeply are those that call for an end to oppression and injustice, that call for us to care for those who are in need, for those who are rejected and for those who are forgotten. From Jesus to Martin Luther King, Jr. my models of social justice are strongly tied to faith.

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By: Kasey Shultz April 28, 2017

Introducing the Leaders for Tomorrow’s Institutions

In 1968, Executive Director of the Fund for Theological Education (FTE), C. Shelby Rooks looked at the landscape of theological education. There were only 18 African American Ph.D. students in religion in the US and only 40 African American professors held Ph.D.s in the field. Building on the legacy of the Rockefeller Brothers Doctoral Fellowship, FTE began awarding the Special Opportunity for Doctoral Study of Religion for African Americans. In 1976, while looking at similar data for the Latinx community, FTE begins offering the Special Opportunity for Doctoral Study of Religion for Hispanic Americans

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By: Patrick B. Reyes April 20, 2017

Vocation is Finding Me

I had arrived weary. Tired of trite messages about God’s sovereignty, about God. Tired from fears of rejection, of misjudgment, of criticism. Tired of the Church. All I had was a little flame inside that gasped for oxygen. And I prayed, God, fuel that flame.

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By: Sophia Har April 07, 2017

Excellence in Our Fields: The System of Theological Education

What is excellence in theological education? During FTE’s annual Mentoring Consortium, a gathering of organizations who support scholars of color, we asked this very question.

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By: Patrick B. Reyes April 06, 2017

Women Ministers: A Diverse and Mighty Throng

Though the battle for women’s equality and acceptance into leadership in the church is still being fought on many fronts, there is a generation of female leaders rising within the ranks of ministry.

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By: Ashley Easter April 05, 2017

A Lesson on Leadership

During seminary, I went on a spiritual retreat that involved a reflective hike. As a hiking novice, I purchased new hiking boots, dry wicking socks, and a backpack. In the spirit of being prepared, I loaded up my backpack with six bottles of water and snacks.

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By: Darlene Hutto March 20, 2017

When in Doubt, Do ...

Reports came home this past week. Both of my children, 17 and 13, dutifully presented their offerings. Per our ritual, I asked each one, “Did you do your best?” It’s a question based on the mantra we have always encouraged with our children in the classroom, on the field, at work or with how they treat their friends. That mantra, “just do your best.” Even when it means you lack capacity to give 100%, give your best, even if your best is only 60%. Even if you fail, it’s okay if you can look back and say you did my best.

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By: Brian Foreman February 17, 2017

Mindful Mentoring

I recently had the opportunity to participate as an observer at the High School Youth Theology Initiative (HSYTI) initial gathering in Indianapolis. I loved the diversity and creativity of the leaders and programs from colleges from coast to coast.

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By: Maria Teresa Gaston February 16, 2017

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