The Ugly Truth About Church | Forum for Theological Exploration FTE Remembers Rev. Dr. James H. Cone | Forum for Theological Exploration Five Influential People You Meet in Grad School | Forum for Theological Exploration Learning to Breathe for a Marathon | Forum for Theological Exploration 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.

"> Social Justice as an Extension of Faith | Forum for Theological Exploration Introducing the Leaders for Tomorrow’s Institutions | Forum for Theological Exploration “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations …” | Forum for Theological Exploration What is our next most faithful step? | Forum for Theological Exploration Survival in the Lily Fields: FTE Doctoral Fellowships | Forum for Theological Exploration Our Students Will Lead Us | Forum for Theological Exploration Pentecost: A Time for Change | Forum for Theological Exploration Can the Church Help End Violence & Injustice in Our Communities? Seven Themes We Heard in Chicago. | Forum for Theological Exploration “Go, set the world on fire!” But don’t burn it down. | Forum for Theological Exploration Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Culture, Queerness, and Faith | Forum for Theological Exploration Refreshed Through Discernement | Forum for Theological Exploration Set the Prisoners Free | Forum for Theological Exploration Sacred Work | Forum for Theological Exploration It Takes a Village | Forum for Theological Exploration The Hope of Now | Forum for Theological Exploration More Questions Than Answers | Forum for Theological Exploration Theological Education, Diversity, and a Transformative Future | Forum for Theological Exploration FTE’s Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant; The grant was such a tremendous blessing as it enabled me to develop relationships with women that have utilized their experience and/or understanding of grief in their respective ministries.

"> Affirmations of Calling | Forum for Theological Exploration Ferguson & Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, Dr. Leah Gunning Francis discusses the significance of her work for faith communities and emerging Christian leaders.

"> Seven Questions with Leah Gunning Francis, Author of “Ferguson & Faith” | Forum for Theological Exploration A Reflection on My Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant Experience | Forum for Theological Exploration The Ministry of Surrender | Forum for Theological Exploration Racism: The Most Sinful of Legacies | Forum for Theological Exploration Active Faith is Urgent | Forum for Theological Exploration Vocation in Between the Aftermath of Violence and a Hoped-for Future | Forum for Theological Exploration To Follow a Call | Forum for Theological Exploration Where Two or Three Are Gathered | Forum for Theological Exploration Marking Vocational Transitions Faithfully | Forum for Theological Exploration Mission Year to attend FTE’s Discernment Retreat in Lake Arrowhead, California.

"> Our Becoming | Forum for Theological Exploration Falling Deeper Into My Calling | Forum for Theological Exploration Let the Streets Inspire You | Forum for Theological Exploration A Resolution for Religion | Forum for Theological Exploration The Church Knows Something | Forum for Theological Exploration Critical Feeling | Forum for Theological Exploration Teaching Theology after Ferguson | Forum for Theological Exploration Imagination Next | Forum for Theological Exploration If it was a Snake ... | Forum for Theological Exploration Campus Ministries that Stick | Forum for Theological Exploration How to Harness the Awkward Pause | Forum for Theological Exploration 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.

"> Why We Do This | Forum for Theological Exploration In Praise of Small Spaces | Forum for Theological Exploration Culture Shock | Forum for Theological Exploration Can We Keep Our Promises? | Forum for Theological Exploration An Opportunity to Re-Engage not Remake the Church | Forum for Theological Exploration Conducting My Beautiful, Cacophonous Clone Choir | Forum for Theological Exploration An Open Reflection to My Younger Self | Forum for Theological Exploration Compensation for Being | Forum for Theological Exploration Transitioning-into-Ministry (TiM) Participants Gathering. The first year I thought it was a fluke. The second year I was looking for it. This year, I was expecting it. What was is “it”? The power of a room.

"> The Power of a Room | Forum for Theological Exploration Celebrating a Birthday or Celebrating the Birth of an Idea | Forum for Theological Exploration Is the Institutional Church Worth Saving? | Forum for Theological Exploration In Search of Community | Forum for Theological Exploration Live the Questions | Forum for Theological Exploration Ask a Millennial Why They Stay | Forum for Theological Exploration Afterlife Chat at Midnight | Forum for Theological Exploration What a Vocational Calling to Ministry Means to Me | Forum for Theological Exploration When Lions Have Historians | Forum for Theological Exploration Darśan: Seeing the Divine Image in India before spending a semester together in India.

She has the monumental task of training 13 Americans to see differently while in India…

"> Sacred Optometry: Opening my Eyes in India | Forum for Theological Exploration Faith and Leadership, Nathan Kirkpatrick has been talking for years about over-investing in young people and the importance of giving the youngest generation a shot at not only Christian formation but also Christian ministry. But what does “over-investing” look like?

"> A New Year’s Resolution for Ministry | Forum for Theological Exploration Freedom to Flunk | Forum for Theological Exploration A Musical Ministry | Forum for Theological Exploration 2011 Leaders in the Academy Conference. After all, in the pursuit for excellence in scholarship in our fields of theological education, we are on a quest. This quest encompasses, as Dr. Emilie M. Townes proclaimed in celebration of the great legacy of Dr. Sharon Watson Fluker, great oeuvres along the way.

"> Colonizer or Co-learner? | Forum for Theological Exploration Academy of Preachers.

I am two days into a five-day camp, and my mind has been kneaded and sculpted so much in these short hours that I feel my brain must resemble a beloved can of Play-dough. The kneading is a result of love and affection, and it is with the endless possibility of my new intellectual “toys” that I have begun to discover something I can hardly believe I didn’t notice before.

There is no escaping tension.

"> The Tension of God’s Dance Floor | Forum for Theological Exploration Academy of Young Preachers, and the FTE staff did a great job of creating a space where learning and development could take place both as preachers and as the people who have been called to preach.

"> We are Not Walking Alone | Forum for Theological Exploration Volunteers Exploring Vocation. While it a was a short retreat, the time was spent doing some serious reflection and discussion on what vocation means and how to discern vocation.

Before the conference, I simply associated the word vocation with a career path. I expected to attend this conference and learn about different ministerial and social justice vocations. Instead, we discussed vocation in a way that I never considered. Vocation is more than just a career; it’s your lifestyle. Throughout the weekend, the definition of vocation revolved around this central theme: where your greatest desire and the world’s great need meet.

"> Vocation Exploration in Seattle | Forum for Theological Exploration McCormick Theological Seminary, and the first Asian American president of a Presbyterian Church (USA) seminary. I was able to attend, along with other FTE staff, at the tail end of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference.

First, a moment of full disclosure: I am an alumna of McCormick. I was part of Frank’s ordination commission. We have worked together when I was in Chicago. Now I know Dr. Yamada as one of many important partners in the work FTE does with leaders in theological education.

This inauguration? It was cool..

"> Letting Loose Leadership | Forum for Theological Exploration Finding A Barefoot Way | Forum for Theological Exploration Fran Davis-Harris spoke with FTE Alumnus the Rev. Dr. Forbes (‘61) about his life and work. He shared his thoughts on being the first African American pastor of The Riverside Church. Read on to learn his major influences and how the purchase of three tangerines helped connect him with FTE as a student.

"> 10 Questions with The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes (‘61) | Forum for Theological Exploration 2012 FTE Leaders in the Academy Conference

As a first year FTE fellow, I have found myself reflecting deeply on the theme of this year’s conference “Building Community at the Crossroads.” In both a literal and figurative sense, the image of crossroads points to notions of choice and reflect a point in time in which persons are moved to choose a path in which to continue on their journey. Yet, as a burgeoning, young, Christian theologian, I am struck by the theological richness of the symbol. For crossroads can, and perhaps must, be conceived as crossroads, reflective of a question which faces all FTE fellows as we exercise our human agency on this journey toward becoming religious and theological scholars. The question we must ask is, “what type of scholar will I become?”

"> Choosing a CROSSroad | Forum for Theological Exploration 2012 FTE Leaders in the Academy Conference allowed me to consider how I define my vocation as an African American scholar. Vincent Harding’s article, “IBW and the Vocation of the Black Scholar” brought forth some questions and concerns that I have about the place of the black scholar in the academy. Harding argues that the calling of the black scholar is to fully incorporate the black experience into his/her research. The work of a black scholar should serve as an effective tool that strengthens and empowers the voices and experiences of African Americans. Harding’s article was written in 1974, where social and political issues differed from our current situations in 2012. However, I have reflected on how his claims are being applied in today’s academic setting.

"> Navigating Through Vocational Pressures in the Academy | Forum for Theological Exploration FTE Leaders in Ministry Conference in Nashville. It has been quite the colorful rainbow of experiences complete with all the related emotions. My fellows have taught me so much. Not just about themselves and their own faiths. But also about myself. And my faith. We closed out our “round table” group discussions tonight. In my own group, one of the gentlemen did the closing prayer. I am so grateful that when we have prayed here during this conference, we all seem to do it in the same language. We all seem to use the universal language of…

"> Jesus was human.  And he rocked at it. | Forum for Theological Exploration The Beloved Community | Forum for Theological Exploration Supporting Young Black Women in Ministry | Forum for Theological Exploration Circles of Friendship | Forum for Theological Exploration God is Hungry | Forum for Theological Exploration Habemus Papam | Forum for Theological Exploration 5 Questions with FTE Alumna Jennifer Ikoma-Motzko | Forum for Theological Exploration Wild Spaces: Reflections on the First FTE Advisory Team Meeting | Forum for Theological Exploration Volunteers Exploring Vocation - Windy City Style | Forum for Theological Exploration Hope for the Next Generation of Academic Leaders | Forum for Theological Exploration The Power of Diversity | Forum for Theological Exploration Leadership: A Two-Way Street | Forum for Theological Exploration Open Your Eyes | Forum for Theological Exploration An Invitational Prayer | Forum for Theological Exploration Free to Serve | Forum for Theological Exploration Purpose Will Find You | Forum for Theological Exploration 7 Questions with Alumnus, Author, and Activist Dr. Gregory Ellison | Forum for Theological Exploration An Interview with Author and FTE Doctoral Alumna Monica Coleman | Forum for Theological Exploration What Are We Now Called To Become? | Forum for Theological Exploration Justified | Forum for Theological Exploration

The Ugly Truth About Church

By: Rich Havard
October 20, 2020

Let’s be honest.

The church is often not a hospitable space. Faith communities have centered the privileged and pushed others to the margins. Religious groups have tried to snuff out those with a burning zeal for justice in order to maintain the status quo. Ministries have dismissed many who doubt and ask curious questions.

If we desire for the church to truly create hospitable space, we must first lament the ways our communities have failed to do so.

Ian Pitcher, Tanamá Rivera Vargas, and Audree Garcia, three undergraduate students in the Inclusive Collective, penned this poem to name the pain points of many—wounds and resentment caused by the church’s locked doors, crossed arms, and blocked paths. But these young poets and faith leaders refuse to stop with lament. The last line of their poem offers a glimpse of hope, “That must change, Hollow words must ring true!” Ian, Tanamá, and Audree are pursuing another way forward as they strive to create faith spaces where all of God’s people are truly welcome. Hospitable communities where people can be their true selves, discover who God is calling them to be, and gain the fuel for courageous, faithful living.

May we all hear their pain and frustration. May we lament the sins of the church.

And may we all move forward in a fresh, creative, and bold way.

Hands

Arms Crossed, words spoken

But do you hear?

Your Body kneels before the symbol

But is it seen?

Water hits the basket

But do you feel?

The doors are locked, again.

Why?

Here are movements only movements

The mind sleeps,

Or perhaps it’s elsewhere

Another time, or place

But, it’s needed here,

Well not, here exactly, but outside

It sits too long

It needs to hear the songs, feel nature, live.

These hands have been still too long.

Do they not feel the pain?

Can they not hear the cries?

They must!

But then, how can the doors be closed?

Are they afraid of what they might learn?

Is that why they change the songs, rewrite words, forget the stories?

No wonder they are still, but

That must change

Hollow words must ring true!


The Inclusive Collective (IC) is a member of FTE’s Community of Practice Cohort which is a two-year journey with an emerging network of Christian institutions committed to accompanying young adults in vocational exploration and discernment for ministry.

IC is a vibrant, growing, and diverse campus ministry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and across Chicagoland. The ministry exists to fuel young adults through Jesus-rooted soul work. They strive to create experiences where people encounter God in such powerful ways that they feel inspired and energized for courageous, faithful living. Experiences that stir them to follow Jesus, disrupt the status quo, and co-create God’s Beloved Community.

Tags...: Design Thinking, Thinking Out Loud, Shaping the Future


Blog comments powered by Disqus

Read More