Dori Baker

Recent Entries

Walking Into the Future this Easter Season

Vocation rarely unfolds in the abstract. It is granular, day-by-day, often emerging out of life’s bone-crushing losses and the grace-filled ability to create ourselves anew. I thought about this when I read novelist Arundhati Roy’s haunting account of the massive trauma unfolding among migrant workers in her native India amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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April 10, 2020

Why Social Entrepreneurship Should Matter to Faith Leaders

What makes a social entrepreneur? Someone who challenges cultural perceptions about the dis-enfranchised and the displaced? A leader who upsets binaries that erase the genius we might otherwise see in one another? A change-agent who looks at surrounding culture, sniffs out creative vitality, and follows that which resembles “good news for the poor”?

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May 22, 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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October 10, 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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May 17, 2016

Leading Differently by Listening to Whispers, Shouts and Echoes

What does the church look when people lead by listening—not within our own walls, but in unexpected places? I recently spent time with The Rev. Hannah Bonner, a white woman who ministers through a predominately African American church in downtown Houston and was a featured leader at a recent Forum for Theological Exploration Regional Discernment Retreat.

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March 22, 2016

Leading with Love in the Wake of Islamophobia

Liberty University has been in the national spotlight twice recently. First, the college’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr. urged a room full of undergraduates to carry concealed guns and spoke derogatorily of “those Muslims” two days after the terrorist shooting in San Bernadino, CA.

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February 12, 2016

The Birth of Goodness

I got to welcome a new life into the world this week. After 30 hours of helping my friend labor, I watched in amazement as a new child was born. Having lost a baby to stillbirth 14 years ago, I witnessed this live birth as a healing deep in my soul.

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June 19, 2015

Vocation in Between the Aftermath of Violence and a Hoped-for Future

What future does God envision for us? What future do we long to see? What are we willing to do to give shape to it? These questions, written by FTE President Stephen Lewis, are ringing in my ears as I follow on-the-ground reports of what’s happening in Baltimore ...

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May 01, 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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February 19, 2015

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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December 02, 2014

Listen Closely

The room was full of young pastors—hip, cool, bright and beautiful people in their twenties—newly out of seminary or divinity school, embedded in their first calls. Gathered for a few days to make friends among ecumenical colleagues, they were open to wisdom that might help them stay connected to their best selves.

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May 09, 2014

Finding A Barefoot Way

Sometimes, when we open our meaning-making to a trusted circle of friends, we see things we cannot see alone. We see images and hear whispers of connection that elude us in solo quests. If we carefully prepare our hearts and minds, we might even sense one another’s “shy souls” coming out of hiding to bask for awhile in the mysterious presence of God among us.

People of all ages can step onto this holy ground, and I believe congregations are places where that sometimes happens. What if we found a way to allow that to happen more frequently? What if we got serious about creating spaces for intergenerational meaning-making?

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April 02, 2012

Finding Purpose in 3D

This Christmas season I received a gift I love so much I can’t help but give it away. I took my 13-year-old daughter, donned the dorky 3-D glasses, and dove into 127 minutes of delight: Martin Scorcese’s new film “Hugo.”

I rarely see first-run films. At $13.50, it seems absurd not to wait a few weeks until it comes to the dollar theatre. But I raced out to see Hugo after an email from a friend who said the movie reminded him of our work at FTE. Indeed, he was right: the movie hit me where I live, reminding me why I do what I do, love what I love, and care about what I care about. Hugo creates a space to celebrate all the things we embrace in the work of VocationCARE: holy listening, story-telling, community as source of healing—and perhaps best of all—unlikely friendships across generations, mysteriously in service to finding (or re-finding) one’s place in the world.

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December 13, 2011

Finding God and Health In The Experience of Storytelling

A University of Massachusetts Medical School study recently found that storytelling may have positive effects on patients with high blood pressure. For at least one group of low-income African Americans followed in the study, listening to personal narratives helped maintain lower blood pressure as effectively as more medication. The study found that participants who watched videos of stories drawn from their own community and told in patients’ natural voices fared better than those who watched generic, how-to videos about stress reduction.

Does that surprise us? All the world’s religious traditions hold…

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March 22, 2011