Blog | Forum for Theological Exploration

FTE Blog

Go offline on April 22, 2020

On April 22, 2020, Earth Day turns 50. During that first celebration in 1970, more than 20 million people, including many religious leaders and young adults, went outside to demand a better world. In that same year, the National Environment Protection Act went into effect establishing the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read More »

By: Patrick B. Reyes April 21, 2020

An Opportunity for Social Entrepreneurs

In FTE’s work with Christian leaders and young adults, there has been a growing desire to move beyond the walls of churches and classrooms to address the issues our communities face. Leaders—students, professors, doctors, and pastors—have discovered that they have been formed to do much-needed work focused on social impact in such a time as this.

Read More »

By: Kimberly Daniel February 04, 2020

Letting Leaders Lead

The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia spurred a lot of subsequent activity, not only in the United States but also up in Canada. In Vancouver several groups organized an anti-immigration rally at our city hall. This rally elicited the organization of a counter-protest on the same day, in the same place. Upwards of 4,000 people quickly signed up to attend.

Read More »

By: Roger Revell January 12, 2018

Two Pastors, a Chaplain and a Bar

“Now that my kids are adults, they aren’t interested in going to church anymore, even if I am the pastor,” the woman lamented, looking down at her plate. The other women sharing our small lunch table—a college chaplain and another pastor—frowned in sympathy.

Read More »

By: Linda Kay Klein July 24, 2017

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”?

Read More »

By: Dori Baker May 22, 2017

Creating Space for Imagination

I am often asked, “What does it mean for FTE to be the Forum for Theological Exploration?” It’s a great question – and one that we at FTE think a lot about. When you think of the word forum, what comes to your mind?

Read More »

By: Chris McCain April 11, 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.

Read More »

By: Dori Baker March 22, 2016

Set the Prisoners Free

God has been breaking my heart over our country’s prison system. It just doesn’t seem right that the “land of liberty” has more people locked up than any other nation. So when my friend invited me into a maximum security prison to join a class he teaches on prison literature I readily accepted.

Read More »

By: Shawn Casselberry February 11, 2016

God Beyond Borders

Inside a small church in Toronto’s north end, I spent a recent morning listening to author Paul Sparks speak about ‘the art of the neighbourhood church.’ A Parish Organizer and Social Entrepreneur, Paul explores innovative ideas and accessible approaches to ground-level ministry in his latest work entitled “A New Parish.”

Read More »

By: Kimberly Ivany December 03, 2015

Affirmations of Calling

I had the opportunity to meet and engage women of color that have pursued ministry and preaching as a vocation through 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.

Read More »

By: Natasha Patterson August 27, 2015

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.”

Read More »

By: Tiffany Thomas March 03, 2015

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?

Read More »

By: Chris McCain October 28, 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.

Read More »

By: Stephen Lewis July 14, 2014

7 Questions with Alumnus, Author, and Activist Dr. Gregory Ellison

Fran Davis-Harris sat down with FTE Alumnus Dr. Gregory Ellison to talk about his new book, Cut Dead but Still Alive: Caring for African American Men. Dr. Ellison shared intimate accounts of how he came to understand his call and purpose as a preacher, educator and scholar activist. He also spoke passionately about what prompted him to write his book and begin the subsequent grassroots community empowerment initiative entitled Fearless Dialogues. Read on to get a glimpse of the great work Dr. Ellison is doing.

Read More »

By: Gregory Ellison September 03, 2013

Volunteers Exploring Vocation - Windy City Style

In a city like Chicago, it’s easy to find amazing people doing outrageously awesome ministry if you look in the right places. The people of Chicago are out in the streets “doin’ life together,” as Phil Jackson, pastor of the Lawndale Community Church, put it. They have learned what it really means to live in community.

Read More »

By: Rachel Witkovsky June 05, 2013

God is Hungry

“For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” –Matthew 25:35-40, NIV

God is hungry and waiting to be fed. This hunger is reflected each day in the faces of children standing in long soup kitchen lines and in the panicked voices of desperate fathers searching for a way to put food on the table for their families. Each day their numbers grow as God waits to be fed, the text of Matthew 25 resounding in repetition. When God’s creatures are hungry, God is hungry. Through the living witness of my work I have come to believe that our God is one who laments with us and feels the depths of our pain.

Read More »

By: Jennifer Bailey January 22, 2013

Supporting Young Black Women in Ministry

If there is one thing that I know, it is that I have been blessed with people and communities who have supported my ministerial and academic endeavors. This support has motivated to continue pursuing my calling to preach and teach. As time as transpired, I’ve met countless young adults who have not had these types of support systems. Without the blessings of likeminded peers and mentors, many young adults have been left to figure things out for themselves. On one hand, this has clarified the resilience and the creativity with which many young adults are living into our vocations. On the other, it has clarified the void into which affirming words have yet to be spoken to the next generation of leaders.

Read More »

By: Neichelle R. Guidry Jones October 22, 2012

10 Questions with The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes (‘61)

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.

Read More »

By: Laura Mariko Cheifetz June 04, 2012

20 Steps to a Renewed Church

Tonight I went to a meeting at the local Episcopal church; it was a dinner and get-together with the new Bishop of Alaska. Apparently, Alaska hasn’t had an Episcopal bishop for a while, so this is exciting news that there is now a bishop. The dear little Episcopal church here, which is called St. James the Fisherman (how cool is that name?!), is tiny and doesn’t have a priest and is run by well-intentioned older women. Which is the story of so many rural Episcopal churches.

I left thinking, “ah, the church.” Not “ah” like a sigh of relief, but more just a sigh. I feel like buried in the center of the church (and I mean the church as a whole—all the Christians worldwide) is this amazing, redemptive, beautiful thing.

Read More »

By: Tamie Harkins April 08, 2011