At Fare Forward, we describe our vision as “thick doctrine, deep practice.”

What is “thick” doctrine?

1. Our journey to a faith based on “thick” doctrine began with the desire for an intellectually rigorous Christianity. Growing up in the 1990s and 2000s, the prevailing image of Christianity was anti-intellectual and fideistic. Our non-Christian friends were often surprised to learn that Christians think. Church teaching was limited to “how to get to heaven” and “how to be a good person.” In our teens, we were fortunate to discover writers like C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton who integrated faith and reason in a way that was foreign to our Christian experience.

2. In our pursuit of an intellectually rigorous Christianity, we discovered a wealth of resources in historical and ecumenical sources. The intellectual fragility of contemporary Christianity was tied to its ahistoricism and its ignorance and suspicion of other traditions. By recovering thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin, as well as many smaller names in between, we could construct a far more robust tradition than that which we had inherited.

3. Having set out to become intellectually rigorous Christian through engagement with historical and ecumenical sources, we found that Christianity provided a comprehensive perspective, a foundation for all of life and thought. Christian doctrine was not limited to morality or evangelism or social justice, it provided an intellectual framework for addressing any issue.

Therefore, “thick” doctrine is about reweaving the diverse strands of Christian tradition that have become unraveled from one another into an integrated life of the mind.

What is “deep” practice?

1. Our journey to a faith based on “deep” practices began with a desire for a truly transformative Christianity. In America, Christianity has been accommodated to a mainstream lifestyle, where its demands are acknowledged at all, they are easily spiritualized and compartmentalized. We believe that following Christ should be a distinctive and disruptive way of life.

2. Two ways in which we aspire to live transformed lives are by living intentionally and incarnationally. Intentionality involves cultivating relationships and community
and rejecting ironic detachment. Incarnational living is characterized by awareness of and availability to others, especially the poor and marginal, in living out the way of Jesus.

3. In seeking a transformative Christianity characterized by intentional and incarnational living, we have developed a strong interest in liturgy. Christian tradition attests to the fact that practices have the power to shape us. We are committed to exploring the role of liturgical practices in both the church and the world.

Therefore, “deep” practice is about the reintegration of head, heart, and hands with a special attention to vocation and public Christianity.