FTE Blog


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


Can We Keep Our Promises?

“I’m thinking about quitting the MDiv.” The voice on the phone was my former student and intern here at Marsh Chapel with the support of FTE’s Pastoral Internships.

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By: Br.  A. Whitney LC Lawrence August 20, 2014


An Opportunity to Re-Engage not Remake the Church

When my wife and I arrived to be co-pastors about four years ago, we found a congregation with an amazing history. They were founded in the mid 50s and since their founding have always been involved with incredible things in the community—the civil rights movement, Vietnam, social justice movements.

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By: David Lewicki August 12, 2014


Innovative Ministries: Stepping outside my box

I admit I can be a traditionalist and creature of habit when it comes to church, so when my Aunt Norma from Tennessee announced that she participated in a Maundy Thursday Service online, I kind of gave her a sideways glance and asked, “What’s that!?!” She explained that Pastor Audrey DeCoursey who is based in Portland Oregon has started an online church plant and worshipping community called Living Stream Church of the Brethren.

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By: Heather Wallace August 06, 2014


Attentiveness and Practices in Christian Ministry

It was a rare and beautiful moment—200+ leaders of all ages from churches, seminaries, and community organizations stood quietly, breaking up the energetic conversation and brainstorming that marked the day, and waited at their empty dinner tables with their hands on their stomachs, breathing deeply and consciously and attending to the presence of God in their breath.

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By: Cassidhe Hart July 25, 2014


Conducting My Beautiful, Cacophonous Clone Choir

One of my summer TV obsessions is BBC America’s Orphan Black. With the help of greenscreen effects, an immensely talented actress portrays multiple people cloned from the same genome. In a single episode she can be a scientist, a thief, a soccer mom, a crooked biotech executive, a fanatic cultist, and whatever else the writers toss her way. It’s an intriguing exploration of identity and of the pathways open to each individual.

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By: Trevor Persaud July 19, 2014


Lead Differently

“Here’s to the crazy ones…The ones who see things differently…People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Seventeen years ago these provocative words captured the attention of the public and persuaded many to think different about Apple.

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By: Stephen Lewis July 14, 2014


An Open Reflection to My Younger Self

I am the seven-year-older version of you. You are angry about God’s call in your life and bitter with everyone. For some reason, FTE sees something in you and selects you as an Undergraduate Fellow. Honestly, you do not know how they made this mistake.

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By: Eric Brown July 03, 2014


The Building of Community in Unlikely Places

Against the picturesque setting of the gorgeous pines stood a 30 ft. slim pole that is part of the challenge course of Camp Berachah. Atop the pole stood a very nervous, young man who kept stating, “I can’t do this”.

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By: Fran Davis-Harris June 18, 2014


Can you Repack That?

It’s a bread-and-butter question that pastors love asking: Can you unpack that for me? The question is extremely useful (though perhaps overused), because people often speak in loaded language and try to convey more than they’re saying.

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By: Tyler Sit June 10, 2014


Compensation for Being

I was walking through the Boston Public Garden when I ran across two couples looking for someone to take their picture. I obliged, and after snapping a couple of shots I noted that, “You really can’t get a better day in Boston.” One replied, “I know, isn’t it marvelous?” After this brief encounter, we went our separate ways. Was this not a moment of ministry?

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By: Br.  A. Whitney LC Lawrence June 04, 2014


A Christian Take on Mindfulness

Jesus dedicates no small amount of metaphors to inspire his disciples to “keep watch”: bridesmaids who burn their lamps as they wait for their beloved (Matt 25:1-13), a servants in a house who waits for the homeowner to swing by (Mark 13:32-37), and so forth. Watchfulness, it would seem, was what the disciples should be all about: their eyes were to be the ones to peer into the dark outside and wait for a flicker of the divine to break the night.

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By: Tyler Sit May 29, 2014

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