I want to add my voice among all of this Black Friday Holiday Gifts In Yo Face Must Have Deals Grouponcopious Ticking Time Bomb You Can’t Afford This Except for Today O M G Why Do We Do This Every Year Extreme Makeover Madness.
Gift-giving is great. Giving gifts that are meaningful is also great. But let’s be honest. If I were to tell you that instead of buying you something this year, I donated money to a charitable organization on your behalf, would we still be friends this time next year? Now you’re just envious of some Mongolian family who has a water buffalo that you could’ve used… or re-gifted to a co-worker. So instead of creating a spirit of covetousness, let’s meet in the middle…Read More »
By: Kathy Lee December 05, 2011
So I went…to an extremely broken place and reality, because my friend had friends he wanted to help. New Orleans’ entire infrastructure was compromised by hurricane and flood damage and our nation struggled to respond adequately with resources and more importantly, a plan for recovery.
Enter God. Enter Mercy. James Keenan, SJ, defines mercy as the “willingness to enter into the chaos of others.” I found myself in the chaos of soggy homes, inadequate insurance coverage, limited resources, frightened and overwhelmed leaders, a growing desire for security and stability, and a hunger for what “used to be.”Read More »
By: Jocelyn A. Sideco November 15, 2011
This is the first of a series of excerpts from the Nurturing the Next Generation of Scholars workshops at the 2009 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).Read More »
By: Dr. Monica A. Coleman November 09, 2011
I attended the funeral of Marion Zwicker. She was 80 years old. She and her husband, Otte, and their 55-year-old son, Kurt are special people. At one time, they were my parishioners and model church members in terms of attitude, service, and support. You could also say they were change agents, people who made things happen.Read More »
By: Jim Ellison October 25, 2011
Fifty years ago, someone would have guessed it was just a fancy sandwich: LGBTQ. Now, it has become a global game of tug-of-war with communion bread, inevitably creating a “winner” and “loser” dichotomy. Churches around the world—and certainly across America—are spinning themselves nauseous over what to do with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people, and I think it is time we reevaluate things mid-spin.
The conversation about LGBTQ people and the church needs to happen in a graceful space that is outside of the loom of legislative consequence.Read More »
By: Tyler Sit October 21, 2011
As a Lutheran pastor (ELCA) in Wheaton, Illinois, a town often regarded as the intellectual capitol of American evangelicalism, the intricacies of mainline-evangelical relationships are an ever-confounding aspect of daily life.
So it was with great interest and a longing for clarity that I hopped on the train into Chicago a few weeks back to attend “Reasons for Hope: A Dialogue on the Christian Future” featuring Barbara Wheeler and Richard J. Mouw. Jointly sponsored by The Christian Century and Christianity Today, the event brought together two respected leaders in theological education, each of whom I knew to be an articulate representative of her or his respective liberal or conservative Protestant camp. I was also aware…Read More »
By: Rev. Mark Williamson October 18, 2011
Live Blog from our 2011 Calling Congregations Conference
House for All Sinners and Saints is a community of theologians of the cross. Of such theologians, Martin Luther famously argued they were made “by living, nay by dying and by being damned.” It is such a belief that informs HFASS’ ethos of “anti-excellence, pro-participation.” We have become the church we are, not through pursuing programs, but by living, dying, and yes, sometimes being damned, through the messy, unclean, and ecstatically wonderful task of being a church of producers, not consumers; participants, not spectators; failures, not models.Read More »
By: Matthew Nickoloff October 06, 2011
In October 2010, I was sent to Atlanta to attend the Calling Congregations Conference with a small team of my colleagues from Life Together, the Episcopal Service Corps young adult intern program in Boston. I experienced VocationCARE as a set of practices that intend to enliven individuals and communities, with the potential to deepen our relationship to God, to ourselves, to each other and our communities.Read More »
By: Suzanne Ehly October 03, 2011
Last September, Arrington Chambliss and I attended FTE’s VocationCARE: A Deeper Look retreat in Atlanta, GA. We had been invited to learn about the VocationCARE work for churches and spiritual communities. We were interested because of collaborative work we are doing with young adults and congregations.Read More »
By: Ella Auchincloss September 29, 2011
I almost got stuck in a snow storm in Indianapolis back in February. On my last day in town, with my flight home cancelled because of ice, I found myself at an impromptu lunch meeting with Rev. Stephen Lewis. At the time, Rev. Lewis was serving as Vice President of Program for the Fund for Theological Education (FTE), and he began telling us about the exciting work that FTE has done in developing what it calls VocationCARE.Read More »
By: Steve Knight September 26, 2011
How striking and tragic is the contrast that the church often presents to 12-step and other communities that hold themselves accountable for transformation. I believe this is to the great detriment of its vocation as Gospel-bearer. For what makes a more total, more dramatic and clear call to transformation than the Gospel, with its summons to metanoia—the about-face of one’s priorities, actions, of one’s very heart and being?Read More »
By: Nicholas Hayes September 22, 2011
In his forthcoming book, Breathing Under Water, the Franciscan theologian and spiritual writer Richard Rohr deems Alcoholics Anonymous, “America’s most significant and authentic contribution to the history of spirituality.” Rohr’s assessment offers confirmation from a far more experienced observer of something that has been gnawing at me, especially of late: the church has something essential, even vitally necessary, to learn from AA.
Read More »
By: Nicholas Hayes September 19, 2011
Tom Beaudoin was right in his recent blog. There is something about Christian language in the air!
The “age of the rage for literacy” has arrived at all levels of the Christian conversation. There is also a rush to “describe and denounce religious illiteracy,” but neither advocating for Christian literacy nor decrying illiteracy is very helpful if you can’t describe the next step, so that is what I intend to add to the conversation.Read More »
By: Jerome W. Berryman September 13, 2011
Around the age of ten years old I remember adults beginning to ask me an odd question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a child living in poverty, to me the answer was a no brainer. “I want to be rich” was always my answer; most of time it was received with laughter. Sadly I think too many young people start out life thinking about what they want to become in life based on what they want have in life. Rarely do we say that we want a life and a career that will allow us to have joy, peace, fulfillment, and balance. We typically think about a career that will allow us to buy things that we hope will give us joy, peace, and fulfillment, and then we later learn these items can’t be purchased.
Over the years I’ve learned that…Read More »
By: Rev. Romal Tune September 02, 2011
It has been almost two weeks since I along with 9 other young preachers participated in the FTE and The Academy of Preachers produced preaching camp, yet I still feel the residue of this experience upon me. We stayed up all night writing and sharing sermon ideas, I will never forget the time dedicated to helping shape our preaching skills, from the suggestions of peers and that of our mentors. I enjoyed all the many times of assisting and encouraging us in the art and presentation of preaching.Read More »
By: Darnell Fennell August 23, 2011
In pastoral research, we are firmly in the age of the rage for literacy.
The consensus is striking, the baton relayed from one domain of ecclesial expertise to another: from pastoral workers, to seminary and graduate theological school faculty, to some of the most influential sociologists of religion and practical theologians, and finally to young adults and teenagers themselves, the urge to describe and denounce religious illiteracy has become both diatribe and truism in almost any discussion of the practice of faith today in Christian circles.Read More »
By: Tom Beaudoin August 16, 2011
One of the very first lessons I learned working with churches is how lonely a road ministry can be. Being set apart by God to serve His people is an inspiring but scary responsibility. To meet young people who understand that, share those sentiments and agree to join you in the growing process has been invaluable. Dr. Dwight Moody and Wyndee Holbrook of the 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.Read More »
By: David Telfort August 12, 2011
This week, thanks to the unimaginable generosity of the Fund for Theological Education, I am in Atlanta, GA, at a preaching camp hosted by the 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.Read More »
By: Kristina Heise August 03, 2011
After completing the Lilly Residency Program at the First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, MI I took a call as an Associate Pastor in a small city in Michigan. Knowing that the adjustment would not be an easy one, and reflecting on what I had learned from my time in the Lily program, I decided that the first thing I needed was colleagues who could also be friends. So, I went in search of colleagues in the hopes of also finding friends. Knowing I would have a colleague in my Head of Staff, in other clergy in town, and in my governing body, I wanted to seek out colleagues who were in a similar place in ministry—so I sought out young women clergy.Read More »
By: Amanda Riley July 18, 2011
The Fund for Theological Education held their conference in New Orleans this year. Two uncertainties already in my mind: what is a ministry conference like and how does New Orleans look after two Gulf Coast disasters? The shuttle from the airport to Dillard University was cold and full of chattering voices. I observed how we instinctually categorized each other: What kind of Fellow? What denomination? What seminary? The words felt empty when I said them. They did not actually say much about who I was. It was like placing everyone on a map and we’d only just met ten minutes ago.Read More »
By: Kayla Fox June 29, 2011