September 30, 2016

People I Read: Nicole Havelka

In the early-ish days of blogging, it was normal to have a blogroll: a list of links to other (often more popular) blogs that the author was interested in. The blogroll would sit calmly in the sidebar and let readers browse their way to other blogs and other authors, discovering fresh ideas and insights. Now, nobody maintains a blogroll. The best hope you have of finding someone else is to follow a link in the body of a post or in a comment or in a link dump. Around here, they also show up in link posts that I share fairly frequently.

But the fact is that I kind of miss the blogroll, and I think that it’s worthwhile to share some of the blogs I read and a note one why I read them. I’ll try to put up one example every couple of weeks.

This post’s person I read is Nicole Havelka at Defy the Trend (who, I should point out, I know from Chicago Theological Seminary).

Rev. Havelka is a deeply creative minister; consultant with the Center for Progressive Renewal; Minister for Networking, Resourcing, and Creativity with the Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ; and Curator for Youth and Young Adult Ministries with the national setting of the United Church of Christ. Defy the Trend covers a lot of topics, but the ideas that I see Rev. Halvelka return to most often are social justice, faith formation, and – maybe most importantly – the role of social justice in faith formation.

Here are two paragraphs from a single post that speak to this theme:

Those who profess to follow Jesus must recognize that God speaks to us through the lens of time; always calling us to greater love of ourselves, our neighbors, even those we perceive to be enemies. We are called to live this first in our homes and our daily lives. This practice will likely inspire greater and greater integration of faith into life. Integrated faith lives means that people will feel compelled to do something about racial injustice.

Family ministry can and will change the world. One Family at A Time. Maybe it will even prevent the racial violence that tore Michael Brown’s family apart.

Faith formation is about the integration of faith in Christ into our daily lives. That includes – at its very core – diakonia: the work of justice and righteousness that finds its clearest expression in serving the poor and oppressed. Rev. Havelka and Defy the Trend provide a vision of the church as a community that moves beyond the comfortable familiarity of our brokenness into the unfamiliar places where we can do what matters.

September 30, 2016


I’m a pastor, an author, and a nonprofit development and communications professional. My passion, my mission, and my calling is bringing people together to do good, with a particular focus on serving people who are experiencing poverty and other forms of marginalization.

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