Articles, Essays & Sermons

COVID-19 and apocalyptic imagination

A meditation

by Ken Sehested

The root meaning of “apocalyptic” is not “catastrophe” but “unveiling.” That which was hidden is now revealed. It is not the brutal, final flourish of history, but the opportunity for renewal, the chance to begin anew.

I can think of no better way to observe Lent than to watch this short (3:42) video, “An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans,” from Films for Action.  And then ponder the brief reflection, below.

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On the character of persistence

Elizabeth Warren and the schooling of US politics

by Ken Sehested
5 March 2020

I’m glad that Senator Elizabeth Warren did not cry in her press interview outside her home this afternoon, announcing she was dropping out of the race for the Democratic nominee for president. Because I was already on the verge of tears.

I have supported more losing candidates for political office than I care to admit. The immediate, sensory evidence of victory—for those pursuing the Beloved Community—is typically piecemeal and prelude. Read more ›

Trouble is where we go

A sermon for Lent, following the death of my Mom

by Ken Sehested
Circle of Mercy Congregation, first Sunday of Lent 2020
Text: Matthew 4:1-11

(The first draft was written late night of 25 February 2020, Shrove Tuesday, following the death of my Mom early that morning.)

“Isn’t there anything you understand?
It’s from the ash heap God is seen.
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14 tentative conclusions on the U.S. presidential primary process

by Ken Sehested

1. Save us, Lord Jesus.

2. We reap what we sow. We have not sown righteously. Looking through a wide lens, we citizens really do get the politicians we deserve. We need to prepare for the possibility that things will get worse before it gets better—regardless of November’s election results.

3. We invest far too much in what happens in Washington, DC, or state capitols, or county seats, or city commissions. Long-term change begins with grunt work in neighborhoods. All politics—as former House Speaker Tip O’Neill said a lifetime ago—is local. Systemic change is dependent on the patient, persevering work of shifting the conversation in nearby streets. Read more ›

What to do when your grandchild’s Sunday school teacher is arrested?

by Ken Sehested

“Oh Lord, I’ve made you a place in my heart,
and I hope now you leave it alone.”
—Greg Brown, sung by Dar Williams, Richard Shindell & Lucy Kaplansky

It’s not what you think. (The arrest.) Nothing salacious or seedy here. My friend BJ was handcuffed for committing an act of civil disobedience to call attention to our worsening climate crisis. Read more ›