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Knowing and Loving

By Jack Woods

Last week, the Capital Fellows had the opportunity to have dinner with Dr. Steve Garber and ask him questions on one of his books, Visions of Vocation. Central to the book is the question, how does someone truly know the world and still love it? He discussed the tendency of people to go from a wide-eyed 21-year-old, eager and hopeful to make a difference to a jaded, cynical, calloused, hardened 30-year-old who derides their past self as naive, overly idealistic, and foolish.

Having recently been challenged by John Kyle about my own cynicism, I felt convicted and fearful as I often wrestle with these conflicting dispositions of the heart. This year has strengthened my passion for pursuing law school and given me a belief that I can use my passion for justice to be an advocate for others and confront social issues in meaningful ways. Yet, when I envision my future career and dare to dream that I can accomplish such things, a part of me cringes, and a deep-seated cynicism reminds me how ridiculous those hopes are.

When I look at the world through such a lens, the only answer to how someone can know the world and truly love it seems to be that they cannot. If this seems true to me at 23, having graciously been spared from great suffering up to this point in my life, how much more true will it be as future suffering tempts me to despair? Yet, in Christ, we are called to be a hopeful people, rooted not in a sentimental feeling or wishful thinking, but in the finished work of Christ’s death and Resurrection and his light that has overcome the darkness.

When I reflect on the people I most admire, it is those who maintain a generous, hopeful, joyful posture toward the world even as suffering comes. This calls to mind MLK Jr., who, even in the face of unbelievable persecution and ultimately, death, held out hope that light could drive out darkness and love could drive out hate. I think of Bryan Stevenson who, despite being exposed to the cruelty and evil that persists in our institutions, still dares to proclaim that, “each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

Rooted in the unchanging hope of the Gospel, these men are a powerful witness to a cynical, doubt-ridden, hurting world. What does it look like to hold onto this Gospel hope that, by the grace of God, the world is not as broken or dark as it might otherwise be and that one day he will return to make all things new? How will I strive to create and maintain a generous, hopeful, joyful posture toward the world as trials come my way? How will I know the world and still love it? To these questions, there are no easy answers.

Jack Woods is a member of the Capital Fellows class of 2023-24. He is from Brentwood, TN, and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This year, he is working as an intern at The Human Trafficking Institute.


Pictures From The Week

Dinner with Dr. Steve Garber.

Celebrating Corinne's birthday at Bar Taco!

Capital Fellows relaxing in the snow.

Snow day on the National Mall.


Know a Potential Capital Fellow?

If you know a college senior or recent graduate who 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 through 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

Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week!

February is almost upon us. That means seminary classes will be starting again and that the job search is in full swing. Please pray for them as they return to the normal weekly rhythm of the program. Also, throughout January, we've had many encouraging and inspiring guest speakers. Please pray for our wonderful guest speakers who are willing to come, many of them year after year, to speak with the Capital Fellows about their vocational journeys.

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

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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.


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