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Umm = Stop

By Hunter Dixon

I have a habit of making wildly circuitous comments in class. I start with a great point, and meander through lots of mental imagery before returning to a restated same point. At the Capital Fellows Winter Retreat, I became more fully aware of this habit. I also learned that the switch from my initial thought to the meandering story is often triggered by the word “um.” For the sake of brevity, and the ears of my future bosses, friends, and classmates that in many situations I am now working to practice “um equals stop.”

What is the word, “um?” Some say it’s a linguistic filler that we should excise from our vocabulary. Others say it buys them time in a tense conversation. For me it’s a tool: a purposeful moment to pause, reflect, and get curious. Just because I stop talking doesn’t mean I have to stop thinking.

While I reclined at home this holiday season, I received many questions from friends and family about what exactly we do during the Capital Fellows program. Well, for me it’s a lot of “ums.” It’s a lot of moments of quiet, solitary reflection interspersed between the proverbial firehose of information about how God has uniquely made me to work in His world, combined with a lab for radical application of this new knowledge in my internship.

Last semester, we reflected introspectively and theologically. We examined our hearts and minds for idols, figuring out what makes us tick, and why. We examined how Scripture aids our self-discovery by providing a model for true fulfillment, and we examined the role of the church as God’s primary institution in pursuit of those aims. Basically, what I got out of that is that God uses us wherever we are to do amazing things despite our imperfections, and He is using that work to renew the world progressively and radically to the image of “the new heaven and new Earth.” But we can’t see His plan presently; it often becomes clearer only in hindsight. So, we have to trust God at the next step and commit ourselves to continual curiosity about God, ourselves, and the surrounding world.

After explaining this, the usual next question from concerned loved ones is “SO, what do you want to do with that?”

“UMMMMM… I’m still figuring that out,” I’ll reply. Time to get curious.

This is why Capital Fellows is two semesters, not one. We need to understand the theological underpinnings of our vocation in light of scripture (see above) in order to know what next step to be faithful to. Thankfully, our Winter Retreat began that process, but we still have a ways to go. This next step will almost certainly be temporary, and so will the next step after that, but no matter how many times I change jobs or careers, I have a framework with which to approach life, because I know that all my work and life outside of work contributes to God’s plan of making all things new. He can, has, and does use all our “mistakes” for his glory, and like my class comments, his circuitous story for me will come back around in the end. For now and the future, I will continue to search for the “ums” in my life, get curious, and find fulfillment in His plan.


Pictures from the Week

Learning about peer counseling at the Capital Fellows Winter Retreat. Thanks to Laura Welke for leading us!

Six of the guys (missing Sam) visiting the Antietam Battle Field after the Capital Fellows Winter Retreat.


Become A Capital Fellow in 2021-22

We are now receiving applications for Season 15 of the Capital Fellows program!

The next program year runs from late August 2021 through mid-May 2022. If you are a college senior or recent college graduate - or know someone that is - we would love to hear from you! The Winter Application Deadline is January 15!

Want to learn more before you apply? Join an upcoming informational webinar. Click here for dates and times.


Pray for the Capital Fellows

Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week!

January is guest speaker season for the Capital Fellows. We have heard from many amazing people in many stages of life and career fields. Each one has uniquely described how they connect their faith in Christ to their work, home life, church life, societal responsibilities, etc. Please join us in praying for these wonderful speakers and the impact their experiences will have on the fellows. The spring classes will be starting next week as well. Please pray for fellows and professors that these would be times of great learning and mutual blessing.

Want to pray for the Capital Fellows throughout the year? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.

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Benefits of The Fellows Initiative

You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 30 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. But, did you know that the sponsors of TFI offer great benefits to Capital Fellows alumni? For example, Reformed Theological Seminary offers a 33% tuition discount for 5 years. You can learn more about TFI's sponsors by clicking here. TFI is also sponsored by The Budd Group, the Gordon College Master of Financial Analysis Program, and Regent College in Vancouver.

If you know of a graduate school, seminary, employer, or other organization that would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact TFI by clicking here. Thanks!


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