FTE Blog


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


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


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 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


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


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


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


What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

This is the question the advent of another year raises for many people as Christians pause to reflect on the previous year and welcome the epiphanies of God regarding the year to come.

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By: Stephen Lewis January 06, 2016


The Hope of Now

When we look at the world around us, between us and in us being strangled by loss and violence, it’s easy for our hearts to be shattered pieces on the ground of despair. It’s easier to fill our mouths with empty words of faith, hope and irrelevant idealism.

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By: Stephen Lewis December 23, 2015


God Beyond Borders

Inside a small church in Toronto’s north end, I spent a recent morning listening to author Paul Sparks speak about ‘the art of the neighbourhood church.’ A Parish Organizer and Social Entrepreneur, Paul explores innovative ideas and accessible approaches to ground-level ministry in his latest work entitled “A New Parish.”

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By: Kimberly Ivany December 03, 2015


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

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