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.">
She has the monumental task of training 13 Americans to see differently while in India…">
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.">
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.">
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..">
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?”">
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.