News & Announcements

LIVE to Tell, a Young Adult Initiative Podcast

live to tell

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is happy to introduce today LIVE to Tell, a new podcast that shares findings from our Young Adult Initiative. In each episode, Dori Baker (MDiv ‘90, PhD ‘00) and her co-host Rose J. Percy enter a story-sharing practice with changemakers who’ve journeyed with us.

“Across my career, I’ve been helping people use life stories to unearth our collective wisdom—deepest hopes, dreams, and beliefs about the world and our place in it,” Baker says.

“I believe stories hold the power to heal us and to heal our world. In LIVE to Tell, we hold space for the stories that help people survive and thrive.”

Baker, an alum of the Garrett-Northwestern Joint PhD, served as research director for the first phase of our Young Adult Hub. Her practice of “holy listening” guided the first phase of Garrett’s work with congregations. Percy is a spiritual director and thought leader whose emphasis on justice-oriented embodied practice centers each episode.

“Working with Dori reminds me that just as storytelling is a craft, so are faith and formation,” Percy says. “Each episode is a unique offering that highlights each individual’s journeys in a way that cannot be copied, manufactured, or essentialized. My hope is that the stories inspire listeners to search out the stories that they are living to tell.”

The podcast shares a key learning from our Young Adult Hub: faith communities can position themselves as allies and friends to young people coming of age in these times.

“We learned that young adults are often hurting from painful past experiences with religious communities, leaving them ambivalent about identifying with any singular faith tradition,” Baker says.

“Even so, young adults are still hungry—hungry for practices that tend their souls, hungry for meaningful relationships, and hungry for community that welcomes them as they are and cares deeply about who they are becoming.”

Listening deeply to young adults is especially important these days, Baker argues, because of the current mental health epidemic.

“Brain research shows that spiritual practices can mitigate against the severity and duration of depression, but this first generation coming of age in the spiritual-but-not-religious era often lacks access to communal practices of tending the soul,” Baker says. “In LIVE to Tell, we uncover fresh images of God and shine a light on the practices people are already using to foster individual and communal soul care.”

Each episode models theological reflection on a life story using a four-step method, guided by the acronym L.I.V.E. Baker describes how to use L.I.V.E. as a way to unleash the life-affirming power of feminist, Womanist, and other emancipatory theologies in the book Girl/Friend Theology: Godtalk with Young People (revised edition forthcoming, September 2023, Pilgrim Press).

Across this first season, we’ll encounter stories that touch on:

· One woman’s dawning awareness that her life will always include managing depression

· Another’s story about the stunning miracle of breaking a rule and reaping reward for it

· A man’s story about a transformative moment when love surprised the skeptic heart

· A story about how community can help someone heal from a devastating break up

· Another about a loving practice for recovering from trauma

You can find small group resources to accompany LIVE to Tell at www.doribaker.com.

Dori Grinenko Baker, MDiv (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary), Ph.d. (Northwestern University), describes herself as a “Spy for Hope.” She is particularly passionate about expanding the genre of stories, images, and artifacts for helping people find meaning and discover purpose. She is an educator, activist, and scholar focused on feminist theologies, young adult culture, leadership development, and spiritual practices that sustain activism. She is an activist/scholar at the intersection of feminist theology.

Rose J. Percy (MDiv) is a contemplative theopoet with a background in justice-oriented education and ministry. Her work engages theopoetics, mysticism, identity, vocational discernment, trauma, and theology.

Lilly Endowment’s Young Adult Initiative aims to help congregations develop and strengthen ministries that build relationships with young adults, nurture their religious lives, and foster their engagement with religious communities. With support from a $1.5 million through the Young Adult Initiative, Garrett-Evangelical created Holy Yearnings, Holy Listening, Holy Partnerships in 2017. The initiative will continue for an additional four years with a renewal grant of $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment to support Holy Partnerships: Creating a Culture Shift Toward the Valuing of Young Adults in Congregations. To learn more, go to garrett.edu/youngadultinitiative.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion. Though the Endowment maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana, it also funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. The primary aim of its religion grantmaking focuses on strengthening the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States. Visit lillyendowment.org.