FTE Blog


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


Pentecost: A Time for Change

When was the last time you changed something that has had a lasting impact on the larger community? In light of the circumstances we find in our country and communities, how does real change, sustainable change happen?

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By: Stephen Lewis May 23, 2016


Can the Church Help End Violence & Injustice in Our Communities? Seven Themes We Heard in Chicago.

Does the church play a role in changing the ongoing story of violence and injustice in the marginalized neighborhoods beneath glimmering skylines across the US? We asked that question in the heart of North Lawndale, a neighborhood with one of the highest rates of violent crime in Chicago to wonder together how God may be rallying new kinds of leaders and new ways of being church.

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By: Dori Baker May 17, 2016


“Go, set the world on fire!” But don’t burn it down.

I was privileged to attend the FTE Discernment Retreat in Burlingame, CA where young Church leaders were eager to set the world on fire with the love of Jesus Christ.

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By: Sam McGrath May 03, 2016


Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Culture, Queerness, and Faith

As a Filipino-Vietnamese woman, my culture claims God first, family second, and everything else after. It was straightforward. Until it wasn’t. Like many young people, I took a break from the church during college, seeking to acquire spiritual fulfillment in other ways.

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By: Ann Marie Do April 28, 2016


Behind the Doctorate

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 postpat, 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.

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By: Patrick B. Reyes April 19, 2016


Refreshed Through Discernement

The Regional Discernment Retreat I attended is designed to offer an opportunity for young adults like me to explore deep questions about their purpose and passion. Over four days I participated in conversations surrounding the discernment of our gifts and talents, what ministry can look like in different contexts, the challenges of the church to meet relevant needs of our communities, and how each of us might take action and practice our call to ministry.

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By: Krista Rittenhouse April 18, 2016


Creating Space for Imagination

I am often asked, “What does it mean for FTE to be the Forum for Theological Exploration?” It’s a great question – and one that we at FTE think a lot about. When you think of the word forum, what comes to your mind?

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By: Chris McCain April 11, 2016


Beauty from Brokenness

If you ask any of my closest friends what my guiding mantra in life is, they will tell you “his wound is his strength.” I got those words tattooed on my chest immediately after the moment they became the truest for me – the moment I came out to my family.

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By: John Winslow March 31, 2016


Leading Differently by Listening to Whispers, Shouts and Echoes

What does the church look when people lead by listening—not within our own walls, but in unexpected places? I recently spent time with The Rev. Hannah Bonner, a white woman who ministers through a predominately African American church in downtown Houston and was a featured leader at a recent Forum for Theological Exploration Regional Discernment Retreat.

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By: Dori Baker March 22, 2016


Diversity in the Classroom: Beyond Resounding Gongs and Clanging Cymbals

You could call me the poster child for diversity. Now attending the third higher education institution of my academic career, many of you reading this will understand that I mean that both figuratively and literally.

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By: Grace Vargas March 10, 2016


God, thank you for making me BLACK! Black History Month Musings

The origins of Black History Month trace back to Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and Howard-bred minister Jesse E. Moorland’s “Negro History Week,” which was first marked by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH) in 1926 as an effort to organize events and learning activities to honor the rich and vibrant legacy of achievements of peoples of African descent.

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By: Melanie C. Jones February 26, 2016


Same Ole Gospel

A world with no change—with no innovation—is a boring world. That point-blank diagnosis just might have been what some churches and pastors (myself included) needed to hear over the course of our ministry in order to embrace more change in our style of worship music, our ideas of outreach, and even in our preaching methods.

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By: John Onwuchekwa February 16, 2016


Leading with Love in the Wake of Islamophobia

Liberty University has been in the national spotlight twice recently. First, the college’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr. urged a room full of undergraduates to carry concealed guns and spoke derogatorily of “those Muslims” two days after the terrorist shooting in San Bernadino, CA.

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By: Dori Baker February 12, 2016


Set the Prisoners Free

God has been breaking my heart over our country’s prison system. It just doesn’t seem right that the “land of liberty” has more people locked up than any other nation. So when my friend invited me into a maximum security prison to join a class he teaches on prison literature I readily accepted.

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By: Shawn Casselberry February 11, 2016


Sacred Work

One gray afternoon surrounded by rows of lettuce fields, I ventured onto one of the main streets in my neighborhood in Salinas, California. A car pulled up next to me on the curb. Slowly the rear passenger window rolled down. A young man showed his face. He pointed, what I would later call “God’s judgment,” a .45 in my direction and yelled “WHAT DO YOU CLAIM?”

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By: Patrick B. Reyes February 03, 2016

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