Vote or Don’t: The Issues are Larger than Elections

VoteBy Ken Sehested

To my friends who question the value of voting, or have ethical qualms about choosing between the lesser of two evils: Vote, or don’t. Its significance will always lie somewhere between essential and useless. None of us is allowed to assess any action as ultimate—but that’s no license for skepticism or despondence.

Voting is such a small part of our commonwealth duty. I spend more time in grocery store lines every month than in polling stations every year. Elections are but the end result of an advocacy for the common good that starts in each watershed. Imagine a different future, find collaborators, and spend yourself extravagantly. Continue reading “Vote or Don’t: The Issues are Larger than Elections”

Getting Soaked: A Meditation on the Recovery of Baptismal Integrity

COM baptism group 9.24.18 (1)By Ken Sehested, the curator of prayerandpolitiks.org, an online journal at the intersection of spiritual formation and prophetic action

Last week I wrote a quick note to my friend Kyle, who gets as excited about baptism as I do, to share the news.

“We’re baptizing seven of our youth group this coming Sunday. Is it OK to brag about this?”

“Yes,” he responded. Continue reading “Getting Soaked: A Meditation on the Recovery of Baptismal Integrity”

Go out in joy

frances
By John August Swanson

A litany for worship adapted from St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Sun” and related Scripture texts

By Ken Sehested

What is it you wish to know, oh mortal one?

Do you think you must ascend to the highest heaven or descend to the deepest pit?

Do you not know that Wisdom has pitched a tent in your midst?

Ask the four-legged, and they will mentor you, or the winged-of-air, and they will school you;

Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.

Who does not know that the Gracious Host has done this?

In the Blessed One’s reach is the heart of every creature, the breath of every living thing.

Brother Sun declares the Beloved’s glory. His voice goes out o’er all the earth, his words to every inhabited place.

Sister Moon and stars pour forth speech to brighten the night in splendor and counsel.

Now hear the blessed promise of old, made new in your hearing:

May you go out in joy and be led back in peace, the hills bursting in song, the trees in applause!˙

©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org, adapted from Job 12:7-10, Psalm 19:1-4, Psalm 97:6, Isaiah 55:12 and St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Sun”

Sister Anna: A litany for worship inspired by the Prophetess Anna

index
Rembrandt, “The Prophetess Anna”, 1639

By Ken Sehested

Sister Anna. Last-named prophet in Holy Writ, more
likely listed among household property and livestock.

When did your Temple-dwelling vocation begin?
What sustained your twenty-four-seven vigil
for all those years? Continue reading “Sister Anna: A litany for worship inspired by the Prophetess Anna”

Joy’s ascendance, This stuff could get you in trouble

By Ken Sehested

“For Jesus, there are
no countries to be conquered,
no ideologies to be imposed,
no people to be dominated.
There are only children,
women and men to be loved.”
—Henri Nouwen

Yes. This. Of course. No doubt about it.
I stake everything on this claim. Continue reading “Joy’s ascendance, This stuff could get you in trouble”

Blessed Assurance: Call to the Table in the Face of Terror

ChildrenBy Ken Sehested

One important thing that hasn’t been said this week [about the savagery of separating of children from parents at the US-Mexican border] is that this Department of Justice policy change is in fact a form of terrorism.

The point of terrorism isn’t killing people. Terrorists make strategic use of aggressive trauma to spread fear for the purpose of affecting social or political objectives. Look up the FBI’s definition.* Continue reading “Blessed Assurance: Call to the Table in the Face of Terror”

Conflicting memorials: The Lord’s Table of Remembrance vs. The Nation’s Vow of Preeminence

Ken SehestedBy Ken Sehested (right), the curator of prayerandpolitiks.org

Violence is evangelism for the Devil

My earliest memory of Memorial Day is of my Dad, puttering in his garage shop (he was a mechanic and jack-of-all-trades fixer-upper) on a rare day off from work, listing to the Indianapolis 500 car race on a portable radio. On one of those occasions I remember using a hammer, and the concrete garage floor, helping him straightening nails for reuse. Continue reading “Conflicting memorials: The Lord’s Table of Remembrance vs. The Nation’s Vow of Preeminence”

James Cone: The Scalpel & The Compress

James ConeThe reflections on Dr. James Cone’s life and teaching keep on pouring in from his former students.  This one is from Ken Sehested the curator of Prayer & Politiks.

I was traveling when the news of Dr. James Cone’s death was reported on Saturday. The first thought that came to mind was what seems to be a providential concurrence: His passing came two days after the opening of the National Peace and Justice Memorial, solemnizing the lynching in the US of some 4,400 black people, in 800 counties, between 1877 and 1950. Cone’s last book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, was recipient of this year’s Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Continue reading “James Cone: The Scalpel & The Compress”