About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009), and The Dave Test (Abingdon, 2013). He and his wife, Natalie (who is also an Episcopal priest), live in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, with their Gordon Setter, Hilda of Whitby. They have four children and five grandchildren: Henry, Addie, Heidi, Sophie, and Drew, with a sixth on the way.

Cancel that Meeting!

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Meetings.  They are the mainstay of the modern workplace, both in and outside of the church.But how much do they accomplish and are they worth the opportunity cost in time and talent?After all, our places of employment pay for us to set aside other tasks in order to attend them and they often generate other kinds of work that take us further off task.After years of convening and attending them, I’ve come to the conclusion that we often meet for all of the wrong reasons. One of the wr … [Read more...]

7 Ways to Prepare Spiritually to Vote

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The election of a new President comes into sharper focus next week with the primaries.We’ve been polled, encouraged, recruited, and berated.   We have been told that we are better than we are and we’ve been told that we worse than we are.Now it’s time to begin weighing the real-world consequences of our vote.It is also time to consider our spiritual obligations.So, how do we make a decision about voting marked by thoughtful, deliberative, and spiritual preparation?Here are som … [Read more...]

5 Keys to Surviving Spiritually as a Leader in the Church

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Over the last three years, my dear friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Fowler has invited me to speak to his leadership class about the spiritual challenges that a leader in the church faces.It is generous of him.  A deeply thoughtful scholar and practitioner, he hardly needs me to remind his class of the spiritual challenges that attend the task of providing leadership for the church.  But I’ve appreciated the invitation and the event has become something of a spiritual exercise for me. … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Age without Getting Old

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Sometime ago, a friend who had just celebrated his 84th birthday observed, “You know, when I was young, I thought I knew what being in my eighties would be all about.  But now that I am well into the experience, I realize that I don’t know at all.  Oh, sure, I have aches and pains that I didn’t experience in the past and I move more slowly.  But inside, life feels much as it did in my thirties and forties.”Thanks to his observation, I found myself musing about the experience of aging.  Here a … [Read more...]

Dealing with Job’s Facebook Friends: 5 Thoughts on Suffering & Social Media

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A dear friend who has navigated cancer of his own is now facing that journey with his wife.  Her cancer, sadly, is far more virulent and, tied as it is, to a genetic marker, the little monster is not going away.Like many of my friends, he has shared the progress of his wife’s treatment with his Facebook community, and the result has been just what one might hope for: words of encouragement and sympathy, promises of prayer, and offers from those who live close-by to help in one way or an … [Read more...]

Christmas Autopsy: 5 Thoughts about the Death of Christmas

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The war on Christmas has become an annual topic of conversation.This year The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger even declared that Christmas is dead.Is it time for an autopsy?Scanning the store windows up and down New York’s Fifth Avenue, Henninger chronicled the ways in which major commercial outlets had erased even the most sentimental traces of Christmas from their windows, replacing Santa Claus and his elves with palm readers; the Roman god, Neptune; and the inebriated and se … [Read more...]

5 Spiritual Truths that Won’t Change with the Election of a New President

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Some time ago, Ben Myers, a systematics professor at United Theological College in Sydney, Australia, summarized the Bible, book by book, using Twitter.  He did an admirable job of capturing the themes of First and Second Kings: 1 Kings: So, you really want a monarchy huh? Don't say I didn't warn you.2 Kings: I told you so. Read together, the message of those two books could be understood as an endorsement of theocracy (i.e., the direct rule of God).  But they are much better read – as the … [Read more...]

5 Things the Church Should Tell the Candidates for President

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Dear Candidates for President of the United States (yes, all of you):On the subject of politics and religion: Please don't mix the two...in the name of personal morality or in the name of social justice.   You cannot and you will not get it right.  And, although a few among us have been telling you that if you want our vote, you should share our faith, really, that's not good for you, for us, or for the country.  Really.  Why?   1. Because Christian notions of private and publ … [Read more...]


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