FTE Blog


The Feeble Art of Radical Hospitality

I once told a friend who has lived in the South all of her life that I was going to teach a conference on hospitality in the church. She replied emphatically, “What are you, a Northerner, going to teach Southerners about hospitality? We [Southerners] invented hospitality.”

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By: Tiffany Thomas March 03, 2015


Finding God in the Rabbit Trail

Do you ever feel guilty for getting distracted by the way any good book, blog or podcast leads down a rabbit hole of connected thoughts, ideas, people and movements? This is part of the contemporary human condition; indeed Nicholas Carr (The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains) suggests humans are losing our capacity to dive deeply and concentrate single-mindedly.

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By: Dori Baker February 19, 2015


What is Worship to Me

What does worship mean to you? As I contemplated that question, I began to examine my heart in the midst of my worship. For example, was I really worshiping God, or just uttering words with no substance.

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By: Anthony Ramos-Ruiz February 10, 2015


A Resolution for Religion

With the advent of every year, we gain a fresh start or a new perspective on where we are, where we have been or perhaps what fills us with hope to begin. The beginning of each year provides Christians an opportunity to reflect and discover God’s epiphanies in their lives, communities of faith and through their witness in the world.

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By: Stephen Lewis January 13, 2015


Sacred Cows at the Lord’s Table

There were four of us young adults: my United Methodist self, an Episcopalian, a self-avowed Luthera-costal, and a non-denominational turned Presbyterian. As we sat together in the musty, old-fashioned bed and breakfast that was our home-base for the Wild Goose Festival ...

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By: Cassidhe Hart January 06, 2015


I am a Pile of Trash

A pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?” Reading what the Ferguson Police Department’s representative said about Michael Brown’s memorial, I remembered the day I visited that sacred space with my FTE mentor, Pastor Shonda Gladden.

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By: Trevor Persaud January 06, 2015


The Church Knows Something

Sixty years ago, FTE emerged during a segregated era. Twenty days later the United States Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools and universities unconstitutional, provoking civil unrest throughout the country.

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By: Stephen Lewis December 23, 2014


Critical Feeling

I can’t breathe. Protesters chant: We can’t breathe. The police officer who strangled Eric Garner was not indicted for any crime. This on the heels of the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. The weight, of horror, of despair, of heartbreak, of rage. But I can breathe. I’m breathing right now. I always find my breath, after those breathless moments. Eric Garner did not. Many of us do not.

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By: Mimi Khuc December 17, 2014


“Do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19

Zimmerman mistook Martin for a thief. Wilson saw Brown as a charging “demon.” Ronald Ritchie, when he called the police, stated John Crawford III was loading a gun, waving it around, and pointing it at people, including children. We know, for certain and beyond all doubt, this account was false, an imaginary situation spun from fearful misperceptions. But the policeman involved, they went with this fiction. They made a crucial and split-second choice, they made the wrong choice, and the costs were enormous. John Crawford III, totally innocent, is dead. My scholarly interest is in this crucial, split-second decision-making: what factors influence judgment when you aren’t conscious of your making a decision?

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By: Erica Ramirez December 11, 2014


Buddy Crossed the Line

Nearly eight years ago, I sat on a bus from Chicago headed to Fort Benning, Georgia, to protest police militarization, torture and human rights violation at the School of Americas also called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Buddy was unsuspecting—casually dressed and quiet. He had one small satchel. I thought he was shy and mastered traveling light.

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By: Waltrina Middleton December 10, 2014


Teaching Theology after Ferguson

When my students enter my classroom most consider theology to be a task centered on ideas, on their beliefs. Some are pretty sure of what they believe, but most are open and hoping that these ideas have something to do with their lives. Still others are pretty sure theology has little to do with their lives. To disrupt all of these starting points with either confusion or hope, we begin the class by reading scholar and activist W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk. This might seem like an odd choice for a course focused on theology. And for many of the students it is difficult to see how this book is a theological text.

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By: Brian Bantum December 09, 2014


Imagination Next

I live in St. Louis. I am a mother of six and eight year old sons. I teach at a progressive seminary. My spouse is the pastor of a congregation that hosted Dr. King in 1964 and has distinguished itself as community leader for social justice over the years. Our congregation, like many, is still searching for a “new normal” in the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown – a decision that has prompted many in our community to ask “Who are we?” and “How shall we live into a future filled with hope in the midst of despair?”

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By: Dr. Leah Gunning Francis December 08, 2014


If it was a Snake ...

A year ago, at a youth conference in St. Louis, I witnessed a fellow friend use the story of the crack epidemic in 1980’s Detroit to explain a valuable lesson. He discussed how people were angry about crack, because it created murder, robbery, rape, and poverty in the community. He said, “Crack did not create these issues…”

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By: Eric Brown December 05, 2014


The Power to Reshape Brokenness

I struggled to get out of bed today; jet lag, the onslaught of a common cold and deep grief about the injustices leading to Michael Brown’s death held me in a fog. So I stayed in, made coffee, and read “Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance” by FTE Alumnus Reggie Williams.

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By: Dori Baker December 02, 2014


Campus Ministries Shaping the Future

What do you get when a Catholic, a Baptist, a Lutheran, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, a Non-Denom, a “None,” and an Episcopal, walk into an Indianapolis hotel lobby? A random sampling of collegiate ministry leaders who recently gathered to explore their unique capacities to cultivate theologically informed vocational questing on public university campuses across the country.

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By: Rimes McElveen November 06, 2014


Campus Ministries that Stick

​I’ve been thinking a lot about stickiness lately. Now I’m not talking about chewing gum; I’m talking about ideas. Why do some ideas stick while others fall by the wayside? That is, which ideas bear potential for sustained, positive impact?

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By: Chris McCain October 28, 2014


How to Harness the Awkward Pause

For my church planting residency at Urban Village Church, my mentor challenged me to have meaningful discussions with at least 25 new people every week. You may be thinking: Doesn’t it get awkward?

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By: Tyler Sit October 22, 2014


Why We Do This

Every now and then it is important to remember why we do what we do. On October 1, we launched the 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.

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams October 15, 2014


In Praise of Small Spaces

I did what you’re never supposed to do: agree to live in an apartment you hadn’t seen in real life. But the intentional community offering this room had everything that I wanted. What could go wrong?

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By: Tyler Sit September 29, 2014


Culture Shock

My professors warned me about ‘reverse culture shock’ after I returned from India. American life is at a different pace, they told me, with different rules and expectations. Now that I have returned to the United States, graduated, and begun a church planting residency, there is no doubt in my mind that the culture shock I am experiencing is not from living in a different continent.

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By: Tyler Sit August 29, 2014

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