Blog

How do you deal with anger?

Pastoral commentary

by Ken Sehested

Introduction

Many years ago a friend wrote to ask about how to handle anger, naming a specific incident regarding
her congregation’s skewed budget habits. Of course, the incident is not unique, and the question
of what to do with anger stretches across a wide range of personal and public contexts.
Below is her question and commentary, then my response.
Read more ›

Are things getting worse? No, just uncovered.

Commentary on “zero tolerance” immigration policies, with five suggestions

by Ken Sehested

U.S. President Donald Trump is a self-obsessed, infantile, demagogic and malicious huckster without a shred of moral capacity other than self-promotion.

There. Say it out loud.

Say it again. Read more ›

Blessed assurance

Call to the table in the face of terror

by 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.*

        When Attorney General Jeff Sessions first announced this new administrative procedure six weeks ago, he explicitly used the threat of separating children to spread fear among would-be immigrants. Already, 2,000 children have been separated from families. Read more ›

al-Nakba

Meditation on Israel, Palestine, and the calculus of power

by Ken Sehested

        15 May is the anniversary of what Palestinians call al-Nakba, translated as “the Catastrophe” in reference to the day following Israel’s formation as a state in 1948. Some three-quarters of a million Palestinians were forced from their homes. Four hundred Palestinian villages cease to exist. The heirs of the expelled now number five million, most living in refugee camps on the West Bank, Gaza, and surrounding countries.

        I was in my 30s when I first heard the word Nakba, and the historical moment it represents, well into a career requiring broad knowledge of global affairs. In my experience, few here in North America know the word.

        A more evocative translation of al-Nakba could be “the Humiliation,” since in English “catastrophe” is often associated with “natural” disasters. As such, no human agency is implied—only the brute hand of climatic turbulence well beyond our control or even prediction. Read more ›