Articles, Essays & Sermons

Malcolm, Martin, and the American racial impasse

Dream or nightmare?

by Ken Sehested

I’ve consciously adapted the title of one of my intellectual and spiritual mentors, Dr. James Cone (of blessed memory) for this reflection, in light of the 21 February anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination in 1965; and in reaction to the recent announcement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that it will reopen the case against those convicted of that murder.

Already in 2020 the New York City district attorney announced that it had launched an investigation into the murder, for which three members of the Nation of Islam had been convicted. Malcolm X (Malik Shabazz) had broken with the organization’s policy of Black separatism, though not from his convictions regarding systemic racism.

In recent days a former New York policeman’s deathbed written confession—claiming that the police and the FBI collaborated in arranging Shabazz’s murder—is raising the investigative stakes. (For more on this see Julia Jacobo, ABC News.) Read more ›

“Nerve us up”

Two texts for Lenten resolve

by Ken Sehested
Shrove Tuesday 2021

This past Sunday one of our members, Stan Wilson, offered the “call to the table” in our congregation’s zoom worship screen-gathering. He led with a suggestion that was equivalent, in my hearing, to a thunderclap.

“How about for Lent this year we give up Donald Trump?” Read more ›

Lenten woe yielding toward Easter’s weal

A fantastical dream

by Ken Sehested

Introduction. I composed the following note
to a friend after he was defrauded and defamed
by someone who should know better—and as
I began to write, an eschatological vision emerged.
Apologies in advance for the colloquial references.

                                    §  §  § Read more ›

Feast days and history’s affliction

On the character of our spiritually forming work

by Ken Sehested

Today, 1 February, is the feast day of St. Brigit of Kildare. It brought to mind one of my favorite prayers, which I designed as a piece of art (below).

As it happens, today is also the sixty-first anniversary of the Greensboro, NC “sit-in” movement, when students at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University demanded to be served at a segregated Woolsworth lunch counter.

The extraordinary decision by those students to commit nonviolent resistance against injustice was not done on impulse. Much preparation went beforehand. This tactic had been tried before but did not spark of movement. Read more ›

Cooking fatigue

American-style pandemic blues

by Ken Sehested

“Can’t we go to a restaurant? I’m tired of eating groceries.”
—Dennis the Menace cartoon

Our local paper has a weekly section devoted to cuisine—that’s the classy word for food—and often reviews the plentiful restaurant scene in this city that’s a magnet for tourism. Read more ›