CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other health experts when planning future events.
Update on Summer/Fall 2020 Gatherings | Forum for Theological ExplorationPartners in Possiblity | Forum for Theological ExplorationI See You | Forum for Theological ExplorationA Reason to Celebrate | Forum for Theological ExplorationGo offline on April 22, 2020 | Forum for Theological Exploration
Arundhati Roy’s haunting account of the massive trauma unfolding among migrant workers in her native India amid the Covid-19 pandemic.">
Walking Into the Future this Easter Season | Forum for Theological ExplorationGod has Left the Building | Forum for Theological ExplorationThoughts In A Pandemic | Forum for Theological ExplorationDancing in the Midst of Complexity | Forum for Theological ExplorationUpcoming Events: FTE’s Response to COVID-19 | Forum for Theological ExplorationAn Opportunity for Social Entrepreneurs | Forum for Theological ExplorationDesign for the Future Leaders of the Church and the Academy | Forum for Theological ExplorationIntroducing A New Vision for FTE’s Vocation Network | Forum for Theological ExplorationRedesigning FTE Once Again | Forum for Theological ExplorationNot Just Another New Year | Forum for Theological ExplorationA Legacy of Leadership | Forum for Theological ExplorationSeven Tips for Writing a Solid Grant Application | Forum for Theological ExplorationDiscernment and Disability | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhat we see and hear on Sunday morning | Forum for Theological ExplorationNavigating My Doctoral Journey: What’s Theological Education For Anyway? | Forum for Theological Exploration
video celebrating 50 years of doctoral fellowships, Rev. Dr. Gregory C. Ellison II, reminds us of the importance of the work of scholars of color. He states that in 1968, “we needed scholars of color to live boldly in that moment.” The images in the video remind us of the many events of that year: the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Juan Carlos and Tommie Smith lifting their black-gloved fists at the Olympics in Mexico, and César Chávez leading the UFW and his first spiritual fast. During that same year, we remember there were only 18 doctoral students of color in religion.">
Future of Theological Education | Forum for Theological ExplorationRev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon - In Her Own Words | Forum for Theological ExplorationCallings | Forum for Theological ExplorationFTE Remembers Rev. Dr. James H. Cone | Forum for Theological ExplorationNotes from further down the path: Checking in with the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis | Forum for Theological ExplorationOh the places we will go…to write | Forum for Theological ExplorationA Risk I Am Willing To Take | Forum for Theological ExplorationLetting Leaders Lead | Forum for Theological ExplorationFive Influential People You Meet in Grad School | Forum for Theological ExplorationPeace | Forum for Theological ExplorationDissertation in a Nutshell: From Topic to Defense | Forum for Theological ExplorationFinding Hope | Forum for Theological ExplorationRest for the Journey Ahead | Forum for Theological ExplorationLearning to Breathe for a Marathon | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhy Social Entrepreneurship Should Matter to Faith Leaders | Forum for Theological Exploration
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.">
Social Justice as an Extension of Faith | Forum for Theological ExplorationIntroducing the Leaders for Tomorrow’s Institutions | Forum for Theological ExplorationA Lesson on Leadership | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhen in Doubt, Do ... | Forum for Theological Exploration“We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations …” | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhat is our next most faithful step? | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhat is Changing? | Forum for Theological ExplorationSurvival in the Lily Fields: FTE Doctoral Fellowships | Forum for Theological ExplorationFaith & Politics: Conversations Leading to Action | Forum for Theological Exploration
second installment of my thoughts on diversity in the classroom. It doesn’t take the events of last week to make it difficult for me to write on the topic because even on ordinary days (if those actually exist) whatever I feel led to say smacks of being trite.">
Classroom Violence | Forum for Theological ExplorationThe Pulse of Justice – The Passion of Jesus | Forum for Theological ExplorationLeading Differently When Different is Dangerous | Forum for Theological ExplorationOur Students Will Lead Us | Forum for Theological ExplorationPentecost: A Time for Change | Forum for Theological ExplorationCan the Church Help End Violence & Injustice in Our Communities? Seven Themes We Heard in Chicago. | Forum for Theological Exploration“Go, set the world on fire!” But don’t burn it down. | Forum for Theological ExplorationShake, Rattle, and Roll: Culture, Queerness, and Faith | Forum for Theological ExplorationBehind the Doctorate | Forum for Theological ExplorationRefreshed Through Discernement | Forum for Theological ExplorationCreating Space for Imagination | Forum for Theological ExplorationLeading Differently by Listening to Whispers, Shouts and Echoes | Forum for Theological ExplorationGod, thank you for making me BLACK! Black History Month Musings | Forum for Theological ExplorationSame Ole Gospel | Forum for Theological Exploration
terrorist shooting in San Bernadino, CA.">
Leading with Love in the Wake of Islamophobia | Forum for Theological ExplorationSet the Prisoners Free | Forum for Theological ExplorationSacred Work | Forum for Theological ExplorationIt Takes a Village | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhat’s Your New Year’s Resolution? | Forum for Theological ExplorationThe Hope of Now | Forum for Theological ExplorationTrusting Brown Hands | Forum for Theological ExplorationGod Beyond Borders | Forum for Theological ExplorationMore Questions Than Answers | Forum for Theological ExplorationReflections on three years with CMTEV | Forum for Theological ExplorationA call to ‘Opt-in’ | Forum for Theological ExplorationTheological Education, Diversity, and a Transformative Future | Forum for Theological ExplorationBenefits of a Vocational Friendship | Forum for Theological Exploration
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.">
Affirmations of Calling | Forum for Theological Exploration
Ferguson & Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, Dr. Leah Gunning Francis discusses the significance of her work for faith communities and emerging Christian leaders.">
Seven Questions with Leah Gunning Francis, Author of “Ferguson & Faith” | Forum for Theological ExplorationA Reflection on My Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant Experience | Forum for Theological ExplorationThe Sublime Power of Belief | Forum for Theological ExplorationTheological Education After Ferguson and Long Island and Baltimore and Charleston and…. | Forum for Theological ExplorationThe Ministry of Surrender | Forum for Theological ExplorationThe Stillness | Forum for Theological ExplorationRacism: The Most Sinful of Legacies | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhat Is Thy Name | Forum for Theological ExplorationActive Faith is Urgent | Forum for Theological ExplorationThe Birth of Goodness | Forum for Theological ExplorationRe-Arranged by the Spirit | Forum for Theological ExplorationVocation in Between the Aftermath of Violence and a Hoped-for Future | Forum for Theological ExplorationTo Follow a Call | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhere Two or Three Are Gathered | Forum for Theological ExplorationTooth Fairy | Forum for Theological ExplorationMarking Vocational Transitions Faithfully | Forum for Theological Exploration
Mission Year to attend FTE’s Discernment Retreat in Lake Arrowhead, California.">
Our Becoming | Forum for Theological ExplorationFalling Deeper Into My Calling | Forum for Theological ExplorationLet the Streets Inspire You | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhose Name is on the Invitation? | Forum for Theological ExplorationThe Feeble Art of Radical Hospitality | Forum for Theological ExplorationFinding God in the Rabbit Trail | Forum for Theological ExplorationWhat is Worship to Me | Forum for Theological ExplorationA Resolution for Religion | Forum for Theological ExplorationSacred Cows at the Lord’s Table | Forum for Theological ExplorationI am a Pile of Trash | Forum for Theological Exploration
For us, we discovered responses to almost all of these questions by doing what the Forum for Theological Exploration does—convene people.
The police murdered George Floyd in the same neighborhood as my church, New City Church. Many pastors have reached out to me asking how they can help, and lately, my most common response has been to start having conversations with your own people, because if this hasn’t happened in your neighborhood already, it certainly can.
Here are 25 questions that I have faced in the past seven days—my hope in passing them on is that they might inspire conversations in your own context:
What will you do when a Black person is murdered by the police in your neighborhood?
What do you tell your family as you prepare and dedicate every waking hour to responding to this situation?
How will you override the overwhelming impulse to move towards solutions and instead allow for time to mourn?
When the outpouring of white guilt shows up, how will you translate that to meaningful solidarity?
How will you prepare your community to organize with each other and not rely on one single leader?
When a white woman sends you a pleading message that says, “Am I doing enough??” how will you pastorally tell her that this a great question to field with other white people who, with practice, will recognize that the focus of the discourse must not be white feelings but rather justice for Black lives?
What songs will you sing when you are on the streets with your community?
How will you use your networks to channel funds to the places doing the most important work?
How will you express gratitude when total strangers of other faiths donate to your church?
How do you make sure that well-intentioned people are not “done dealing with racism” now that they’ve donated to you?
When you hear from credible sources that white supremacists are swarming in from other states to sow mayhem by burning down post offices, libraries, and Black-owned businesses, how will you respond?
When the President calls protestors “thugs,” then later that day, a 17-year-old Black young woman in your community can barely finish her shift at a grocery store because adult white men are calling her a ‘thug,’ what will you do?
Which forests can you visit in the midst of all of this, so that in their bright greenness they can remind you that the world is persistently and courageously alive?
What does your children’s ministry look like when families are vacating the city because both the national guard and white supremacist militias are roving in front of their doors?
After people start breaking windows and torching buildings, how will you refuse to be swept up in the criticism around the destruction of property and make sure that the conversation centers on justice for Black lives?
When someone asks you, “I understand that when Black people with legitimate anger break windows we call it an uprising, and that’s different from when white people come in wanting to create chaos, but at the end of the day do the immigrant business owners who were looted even care about the difference?” what will you say?
How will you contain yourself when the Bible becomes vividly applicable as you read it in the face of such social upheaval?
Who will be in your circle to correct you when you speak or act in a way that unintentionally reinforces racist thought?
How will you remember to drink enough water?
When South Minneapolis residents are encouraged to pack a grab bag and fill their bathtubs with water in case of arson, how will you communicate without inciting panic?
What prayers will help you get to sleep when the constant drone of military helicopters are overhead?
When the news reports are partial and reductionistic, how will you platform voices that add dimension?
How will you create space for non-Black people of color to start confronting anti-Black prejudices in their own communities?
When you check in with people, and the number one response is “I am feeling numb,” how does that change your approach to worship?
How will you proclaim the Gospel?
For us, we discovered responses to almost all of these questions by doing what the Forum for Theological Exploration does—convene people.
Indeed, the good news is that no one pastor has to have the answer to all of these questions; rather, that pastor only needs to know how to gather people well enough that everyone leaves with a greater sense of who God created them to be and how to move towards wholeness. Together, we created:
Facebook groups to organize protests
A Solidarity Fund to support local folks
Healing circles for people to process, including circles that are specifically Black
Ways to connect outside resources to local recovery while minimizing “savior” dynamics
Of course, those are just the best ideas that we could think of in our context.
Whether you are a pastor or not, I implore you to think through how you would respond in your context and start having conversations now.
New City had two and half years to build a foundation of antiracism training, sermons, book groups, Bible studies, and policy analysis to be able to respond now, and we needed every bit of it.
Blessings to you in your deliberation. As I write this, a huge thunderstorm just passed through the Twin Cities, guaranteeing for the first time in a week that no building is on fire right now.
May God be such a storm in your life when this happens in your neighborhood.
Rev. Tyler Sit is the church planter of New City Church. He is a United Methodist pastor, the son of a Chinese immigrant, and author of the upcoming book tentatively titled Staying Awake: The Gospel for Changemakers (set to publish early next year). TylerSit.com, @TylerSit