top of page

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

By Matt Bolander

What a privilege Season 16 had these last nine months to learn, develop, work, pray, worship, and bond together. We now depart with changed hearts that are desperately hungry –hungry not to just seize the day and succeed in this world in all the endeavors it offers, but to be ambassadors who represent and defend the Kingdom.

A concept that we visited many times during our time as Capital Fellows was the idea of “a long obedience in the same direction,” which is the title of a well-known book by Christian author, Eugene Peterson. That title comes from a quote by the German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche, which says, “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

Although Nietzsche often criticized Christianity and the impact it had on Western society, his words ring resoundingly true today as they have for so many before. Peterson masterfully applies this quote to the journey of faith for Christians in our fallen world. He emphasizes the value of being consistently committed to the Christian walk despite the difficulties and distractions that will inevitably come our way.

You may be wondering, “Why is Matt taking so much time getting into the weeds about a relatively simple statement?” I do so because these words have had an immense impact on my life and those of our fellows class. They are words that I was first introduced to by my mentor in college, Josiah Peterson. These words are not just a good proverb but are a necessity in our world today as believers.

If there is one phrase that I would use to sum up our fellow's year, it was learning to be consistently obedient like Nietzsche and Peterson call us to. This played out in long weeks with many hours at work, volunteering at Cornerstone, student ministries, divinity classes or just witnessing the lives of the people we interacted with along the way. In a place as transient as DC, it is rare that much stays constant, but the testimony of the lives of many at McLean Presbyterian and our own paths this year is that faithful obedience does make all the difference in this world, and the work the Lord calls us to.

So as we cast off into the world with the plans the Lord has for us, we must remember that we are new creations. We look forward to continuing to live in obedience to wherever the Lord takes us from here to fulfill His Great Commission given to us in Matthew 28:19-20.

Thank you from all of Season 16 for your support throughout this journey. If you are reading this blog, it is because you have helped care, love, and support us in some way, great or small. We could not have done it without you, so once again thank you.


Pictures From The Week

Stephen getting eaten WHOLE by a Mahi-Mahi … somehow on dry land??

Matt, Stephen, and Lizzy enjoying some beach time with the guitar and Stephen’s newly acquired surfboard

Our last goodbyes as we left from the beach retreat, full of smiles and memories of a year well lived.


Know a Potential Capital Fellow?

If you know a college senior or recent graduate that should consider joining the Capital Fellows program in 2024-25, please encourage them to get in touch with us. The easiest way to express interest in the program is our Contact Us Form. You can learn more about the program, including application deadlines, by visiting the Capital Fellows website.

About Capital Fellows. Capital Fellows is an advanced leadership and discipleship program for recent college graduates. Through graduate courses, a paid internship, one-on-one mentoring and many leadership and community service opportunities, fellows develop and apply their gifts in real-world situations while learning to integrate a Christian worldview into all areas of life. Capital Fellows is a unique opportunity to live and work in the Washington DC area and to be an active member of a supportive community that seeks to serve the city with the love of Christ. It is also a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in the workplace while deeply exploring God’s design for us as workers and contributors to human flourishing.


Pray for the Capital Fellows

Want to pray for the Capital Fellows in an ongoing way? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.

Capital Fellows Class Brochure - for Phones
Download PDF • 1.18MB


About The Fellows Initiative

Capital Fellows is part of a network of similar programs across the country. This network is called The Fellows Initiative. There are 34 Fellows programs in TFI, roughly 3,000 alumni living around the world, and more Fellows programs on the way.

If you know a church in the US or Canada that would benefit from joining TFI by launching a new Fellows program. Please contact TFI by visiting their website.


Don't Miss a Blog Post!

Signup for the Capital Fellows blog email! Emails are sent weekly during the program year. An unsubscribe link is provided in every email.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page