Labor Day

Quotes, quick-facts, extracts

by Ken Sehested


This collection of material is especially designed for use in planning a Labor Day observance—but also more: on work in general, both the productive and destructive varieties; on sabbath-keeping, which is so much more than blue laws; on discerning vocations and callings; on the terrorizing disconnect between commerce and the flourishing of every living thing; on the increasingly barbarous treatment of immigrants and refugees.

On this Labor Day, make a commitment that, in the coming year, you will strike up conversations (maybe even friendships) with people who work with their hands. The greatest failure of progressive movements—churched and unchurched alike—is our cultural alienation from working class folk. There can never be a sustained movement for fundamental change until this failure is admitted, renounced, and rectified. Read more ›

Preface to special issue on white supremacy

Part 1

by Ken Sehested

“No one cops to their own ingrained white supremacy, even though white supremacy is the water
and we are the fish, and it’s unlikely that we are not at least a little bit wet.”
—Timothy B. Tyson

        In recent years it feels like we have been drenched with news of a plague most thought was laid to rest with the successes of the Civil Rights Movement: festering white supremacy and white nationalism. Read more ›

Thoughts and prayers, shots and tears

A meditation on mass shootings

by Ken Sehested

Our nation, averaging one mass shooting per day, now has suffered two in the span of 13 hours. Thoughts and prayers. Shots and tears.

Has there ever been a time when the practice of “prayer” has been so debased and its announcement greeted with such cynicism?

Maybe when Jesus compared the piety of the religious establishment to white washed tombs, radiant in the full light of day, yet full of rot and canker (Matthew 23:27). Read more ›

"We tolerate no scruples"

A summary history of 20th century bombing of civilian populations

by Ken Sehested

Every year on 6 August much of the world remembers the first-ever atomic bombing, of Hiroshima, then of Nagasaki. Few remember, though, that the US firebombed more than 60 other cities (using the recently invented incendiary substance known as napalm), including Tokyo, where the deaths of more than 100,000 (mostly by fire, destroying 16 square miles of the city), rivaling the fatalities caused by the Hiroshima attack.

Despite the Hague Convention of 1907, where European powers agreed to forbid the use of aerial bombardment of civilian populations, the prohibition was rarely observed. Both German and English aircraft killed at least 2,000 civilians during World War I.

The first egregious case of such bombing occurred in 1937 in Guernica, Spain, during the Spanish Civil War. Adolph Hitler supported the fascist Spanish General Francisco Franco. An estimated 1,000 Guernica civilians were killed—an atrocity that inspired the artist Pablo Picasso his famous “Guernica” painting, which still stands as an icon addressing the barbarity of modern warfare. Read more ›