Becoming a Minister of Listening

By John Helmiere, founding minister of Valley & Mountain.  Over 12 months, the Forum for Theological Education is spotlighting 12 leaders, their stories, and how their passion and call to shape a more hopeful future through Christian ministry guides the impact they are making in their communities, institutions, and universities. I went to seminary because I thought I was called to be a pastor. Quickly, I began having second thoughts. While the coursework and w … [Read More...]

Racism Is a Spiritual Issue

By Therese Taylor-Stinson. The shooting of unarmed black men by law enforcement officers and lone vigilantes ambushing churches has exposed the lie of a "post-racial" America. The polarization, the violence, and the controversies make it seem there is no turning from our human condition. But there is hope: In this racially divided time, religious communities can provide safe spaces for all races and ethnicities to heal from centuries of white supremacy and devaluing the lives of … [Read More...]

Real Youth Ministry: More Than Kumbaya Around the Campfire

By David StevensonReal youth ministry isn’t about making nice. It’s about making waves. It’s more than Kumbaya around the campfire; more than bowling and pizza. It’s spiritual jazz; organic, always evolving, never the same.Real youth ministry isn’t for the faint of heart. Like jazz you have to be open to discovery, surprise. It’s called real youth ministry because the youth are THE curriculum. It meets them every moment right where they are, right now.Real youth ministry is much more … [Read More...]

No Ideas But In Things: A Baptist Recovers Ritual

Over the course of 12 months, the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) is spotlighting 12 leaders, their stories, and how their passion and call to shape a more hopeful future through Christian ministry guides the impact they are making in their communities, institutions and universities.By Aaron Coyle-CarrWhen I was a teenager, and still proudly an evangelical, I went on a mission trip to South Africa. As it happened, our flight was routed through Paris, and the layover was long enou … [Read More...]

Is God Guilty?

By Ryan Patrick McLaughlinIn a previous blog, I noted how the structure of our cosmos—including the dance between its law-like structure and chance—renders certain horrendous harms an inevitable outcome.  For example, if evolution depends in part upon random genetic mutations, some of these muta … [Read More...]

Are There Pets in Heaven?

A member of our church died and was cremated and then had her ashes blended with the ashes of her dog that had died and was cremated a year earlier. Another member of our church brought his five year old son to see me because the boy had told him that, “more than anything in the world” he wanted to b … [Read More...]

Struggling with Silence in an Instant-Gratification World

By Breanna MekulyOn developing our interior lives, Sister Joan Chittister explains the Benedictine practice of silence. “Silence lays us open to possibilities, to people, to ideas we would have otherwise forever scorned,” she says in her book The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Mean … [Read More...]

Give Ben-Hur a Chance: Watch the Movie with Your Heart and Imagination

The new Ben-Hur movie from Paramount Pictures opened over the weekend and the reviews have been, well, not all that great. It’s not surprising really, after an enormous promotional lead-up setting expectations high, that folks (especially the non-Christian cadre) have been quick to criticize the big- … [Read More...]

I Needed Somebody to Hope Me: An Update on the Moral Revival

By Rev. Dr. William BarberWhen I was growing up in Eastern North Carolina, I used to love to sit in my grandmama’s kitchen and listen to her sing as she made dinner. Whenever she was done cooking, she’d give me a plate to eat. Then she and some of the other sisters from the church would make … [Read More...]

Patheos 10+1: A Q&A with the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow

“The Asian American community is far from unified in its perspective, but a growing number are pushing our community to confront the racism that exists in our own communities and how we reinforce anti-Blackness and benefit from white supremacy. If you want to know more, track the hashtag # … [Read More...]

Reviving the Heart of Our Democracy: Watch the Rev. William Barber’s Soul-Stirring Speech at the DNC

Last week at the Democratic National Convention, the remarkable Rev. Dr. William Barber II delivered an electrifying speech on the need to revive the heart of our democracy. His rousing words, delivered like a true revivalist preacher, effectively introduced millions of people to one of today's most … [Read More...]

I Dare You to Ask: On the Value of a ‘Beginner’s Mind’ in a World of Pre-Packaged Answers

By Helen Jin KimOver the next 12 months, the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) is spotlighting 12 leaders, their stories, and how their passion and call to shape a more hopeful future through Christian ministry guides the impact they are making in their communities, institutions and univ … [Read More...]

Part-Time Jesus: On Being Church in the Summer

I have read the Bible many times and have found no evidence that Jesus ever took the summer off. Therefore, my philosophy has always been that neither should we. But I am also confident that when the summer breeze wafted over the Sea of Galilee, Jesus took some time off to go swimming, grill some … [Read More...]

Spirituality and Democracy: Staying Engaged Amid Vulnerability

This is a follow-up reflection to my post: What Are Our Choices? Conventions, Elections, and Spiritual Practices.There's an additional element that I discovered inside of me since I began writing about spiritual practices for this election season. Democracy is an extraordinarily challenging p … [Read More...]


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