FTE Blog


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


“We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations …”

As we planned to host over 170 leaders from the High School Youth Theology Institutes (HSYTI) initiative, I imagined they might share helpful stories with each other. As it turned out, they did. But something even more inspiring emerged than what I had imagined.

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By: Jodi L. Porter February 09, 2017


What is our next most faithful step?

Members of our staff gathered on Thursday morning after the election to check in with each other. Our collective experience during this presidential election cycle and the shocking results this week were deeply upsetting for many. After allowing space to acknowledge our feelings, fears, and facts, we turned to think together about what this moment means for our shared work.

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By: Stephen Lewis November 11, 2016


What is Changing?

“We live in a time of rapid change.” If I had a quarter for every time I’ve said or heard this about the state of theological education I would have enough money to pay off my student loans. Change seems to be the watchword of the day.

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams October 25, 2016


What Role do Faith Communities have in Shaping Public Life?

Can faith communities create space for conversation about the policies that shape our collective future? Can we do so in ways that invite civility rather than divisiveness? We gathered with those questions the morning after the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In a room overlooking the U.S. Capitol, FTE hosted a Community Forum on Faith and Politics.

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By: Dori Baker October 10, 2016


Survival in the Lily Fields: FTE Doctoral Fellowships

A flower farmer went out to his lily fields to see how they were growing. He looked over his acreage and saw the lilies swaying in the wind. He thought to himself, “What a beautiful field of lilies.” He saw out in the corner of his fields a small rose rising just above the rest of the lilies. He marched over to pull the colorful rose from the ground.

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By: Patrick B. Reyes October 04, 2016


Faith & Politics: Conversations Leading to Action

I’ll never forget June 27, 2013. It was my first date with my now husband, John. We went to a local Italian restaurant and sat outside on the patio that was lined with white, twinkling Christmas lights. The sun was setting just over the Atlanta city skyline and it was a perfect atmosphere for a first date.

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By: Diva Morgan Hicks September 16, 2016


Classroom Violence

On the heels of a tragically bloody week (#AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #Dallas), I sit down to share the second installment of my thoughts on diversity in the classroom. It doesn’t take the events of last week to make it difficult for me to write on the topic because even on ordinary days (if those actually exist) whatever I feel led to say smacks of being trite.

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By: Grace Vargas July 15, 2016


The Pulse of Justice – The Passion of Jesus

Sunday, June 12, 2016 at approximately 2 a.m., a gunman violently stole the lives of 49 of God’s beloved people. I cried that night, in my car, by myself, but I was not alone. Together, with my community, I am in mourning.

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By: Hassan Henderson June 20, 2016


Leading Differently When Different is Dangerous

A few months ago the dean of my church said he had submitted my name to the Forum for Theological Exploration to attend a “Christian Leadership Forum”. Initially, I thought that I was going to be subjecting myself to endless hours of singing How Great Is our God with a bunch of young adult Christians who looked, spoke, and thought differently from myself. I was wrong.

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By: Nelson Kristoffer Mendoza June 17, 2016


Where Were You on Bloody Sunday?

Where were you on Bloody Sunday, June 12, 2016? I was presenting my dissertation research in Seoul at a forum held at Chung Dong First Methodist Church. The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred that day, from 2-5 AM EST or 3-6 PM KST, the exact time of our forum where we were discussing our moderator’s question: “As a Christian body…how is the church to respond to society?”

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By: Helen Jin Kim June 16, 2016


Our Students Will Lead Us

At a recent FTE Community Forum in Chicago, I was struck with the observation made by a presenter that our next generation of pastors are now in prison. I was reminded of a related thought expressed last year at a gathering in Ferguson, MO on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death—that the leaders of church, whatever it will become in the future, are in the streets today fighting for justice.

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By: Stephen Ray June 07, 2016

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