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He desired a better country

A remembrance of David McReynolds

by Ken Sehested

        It would be a stretch to say he was a friend. More like an acquaintance in his far-flung orbit of fellow pilgrims who looked to him for light.

        We corresponded off and on for more than a decade. He was generous to people he barely knew, and was known throughout his life for kindness to those with whom he disagreed.

        I looked forward to his occasional posts on Facebook, with off the cuff commentary on current events. In our last correspondence, he responded to some material I wrote about Muriel Lester, who has a front row seat in my personal cloud of witnesses. David wrote to say that he drove Lester all over Southern California on one of her speaking tours many years ago. Read more ›

Senator McCain

Long live the mavericks

by Ken Sehested
26 August 2018

I have disagreed with US Sen. John McCain on a whole range of issues over many years. We see the world in profoundly different ways. (And I say this without the slightest hint of having a fraction of his stature.)

However, he is numbered in a rare breed of politicians of his generation—or mine, or any in my memory—who has displayed more character and integrity, the willingness to be guided, more often than not, by moral principle rather than profit or political expediency. Read more ›

The latest US-Iran dust-up

Reckless baiting . . . again

by Ken Sehested

“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer . . . who says Cyrus [“the Great,” 6th century BCE ruler of Persia,
modern day Iran, who freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity] is my shepherd and he shall carry out
all my purpose” for he is my “anointed” [the same word later used for Jesus in the Newer Testament].
—Isaiah 44:28-45:1

It’s quite possible that the last two days’ headlining spat between the US and Iran may be Trump’s desire to distract public attention from his domestic challenges. It is not inconceivable that, as some are saying, he’s willing to go to war with Iran in order to get reelected. Read more ›

We must be prepared

A brief meditation for the living of these days

by Ken Sehested

We must be prepared.
Things are likely to get worse
before they get better. We
must listen to the news,
from a variety of sources.
But we must not draw our
bearings from that news.
Read more ›

Angry words in the Psalms

A collection of texts

Introduction by Ken Sehested

Years ago, in putting together a special issue of Baptist Peacemaker on the topic of anger, I asked two friends (thanks again, Steve & Marion) to do a bit of research. Read through the Psalms, I asked, and compile a list of verses that speak about anger and its various synonyms—expressions of hatred, longing for vengeance, threat of retaliation, etc.

Needless to say, there is a lot there; and it’s actually shocking that the believing community’s prayer book contains such a level of vile and violent accusations and bequests. (This material is formally referred to as the imprecatory psalms.)

In his Praying the Psalms, biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann says this material reveals ancient Israel doing three things. “First, you must voice the rage. Everybody knows that. Everybody in the therapeutic society knows that you must voice it, but therapeutic society stops there. Second, you must submit it to another, meaning God in this context. Third, you then must relinquish it and say, ‘I entrust my rage to you.’” Read more ›