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Refreshed Through Discernement

The Regional Discernment Retreat I attended is designed to offer an opportunity for young adults like me to explore deep questions about their purpose and passion. Over four days I participated in conversations surrounding the discernment of our gifts and talents, what ministry can look like in different contexts, the challenges of the church to meet relevant needs of our communities, and how each of us might take action and practice our call to ministry.

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By: Krista Rittenhouse April 18, 2016

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?

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By: Chris McCain April 11, 2016

Beauty from Brokenness

If you ask any of my closest friends what my guiding mantra in life is, they will tell you “his wound is his strength.” I got those words tattooed on my chest immediately after the moment they became the truest for me – the moment I came out to my family.

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By: John Winslow March 31, 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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By: Dori Baker March 22, 2016

Diversity in the Classroom: Beyond Resounding Gongs and Clanging Cymbals

You could call me the poster child for diversity. Now attending the third higher education institution of my academic career, many of you reading this will understand that I mean that both figuratively and literally.

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By: Grace Vargas March 10, 2016

God, thank you for making me BLACK! Black History Month Musings

The origins of Black History Month trace back to Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and Howard-bred minister Jesse E. Moorland’s “Negro History Week,” which was first marked by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH) in 1926 as an effort to organize events and learning activities to honor the rich and vibrant legacy of achievements of peoples of African descent.

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By: Melanie C. Jones February 26, 2016

Same Ole Gospel

A world with no change—with no innovation—is a boring world. That point-blank diagnosis just might have been what some churches and pastors (myself included) needed to hear over the course of our ministry in order to embrace more change in our style of worship music, our ideas of outreach, and even in our preaching methods.

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By: John Onwuchekwa February 16, 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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By: Dori Baker February 12, 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.

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By: Shawn Casselberry February 11, 2016

Sacred Work

One gray afternoon surrounded by rows of lettuce fields, I ventured onto one of the main streets in my neighborhood in Salinas, California. A car pulled up next to me on the curb. Slowly the rear passenger window rolled down. A young man showed his face. He pointed, what I would later call “God’s judgment,” a .45 in my direction and yelled “WHAT DO YOU CLAIM?”

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By: Patrick B. Reyes February 03, 2016

It Takes a Village

Yesterday FTE announced the appointment of Dr. Patrick Reyes to the position, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Doctoral Initiatives. He carries forward this sacred work, and its legacy within theological education to a new moment both rife with possibilities and fraught with increasingly complex challenges.

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams February 02, 2016

What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

This is the question the advent of another year raises for many people as Christians pause to reflect on the previous year and welcome the epiphanies of God regarding the year to come.

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By: Stephen Lewis January 06, 2016

The Hope of Now

When we look at the world around us, between us and in us being strangled by loss and violence, it’s easy for our hearts to be shattered pieces on the ground of despair. It’s easier to fill our mouths with empty words of faith, hope and irrelevant idealism.

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By: Stephen Lewis December 23, 2015

Trusting Brown Hands

Conversations about theological education and diversity generally focus on opening our doors to diverse populations—here read people of various shades of brown, while generally understanding ourselves as playing hosts while maintaining a vibrant sense of our own “traditions” and ecclesial “affiliations”—here read white.

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By: Stephen Ray December 09, 2015

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.”

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By: Kimberly Ivany December 03, 2015

More Questions Than Answers

I sat in a fluorescent lit conference room in Peachtree City, GA. Wade in the Water echoed in the room from the morning’s worship and the floor was open for those contemplating vocation and seeking advice to share with the group. There was a space of silence as the room prepared for the next person to offer their discernments.

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By: Christina Schmitt November 09, 2015

Reflections on three years with CMTEV

In 2012 Chesterton House was one of the first organizations invited to participate in the Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation (CMTEV) initiative as a pilot round grantee. We’re into our third year of the initiative and we can honestly say that every year has begun with a surprising mix of new opportunities and new challenges.

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By: Ryan O’Dowd October 30, 2015

A call to ‘Opt-in’

Growing up in my Latino/a church1 I would often hear, “ese sabe mucha teología pero poca biblia” (“he knows a lot of theology but little about the Bible”). This backhanded comment simultaneously challenged the theologically trained on their true knowledge of God and uplifted theologians trained through informal means, namely the Bible and lo cotidiano2.

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By: Grace Vargas October 21, 2015

Theological Education, Diversity, and a Transformative Future

In July, I made a brief case for placing questions of difference and diversity at the center of theological education. In my mind, the case is getting stronger by the day not because of the article’s persuasive powers (!) but because God is moving in our midst.

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By: Eric D. Barreto October 08, 2015

Benefits of a Vocational Friendship

Several months ago a member of my congregation in suburban Houston told me that her sister in Boston was dying. My congregant was doing everything she could from afar, but as anyone who has lost a loved one knows, it’s a daunting process. As she headed up to see her sister one last time, I told her that my best friend from seminary was a pastor in the area and I would put them in touch.

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By: John Allen & Nathan Bledsoe September 16, 2015

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