Blog

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 ›

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 ›