Articles, Essays & Sermons

Itching for a brawl

To interpret the latest round of US-Iran tension, here is some history you need to know

by Ken Sehested

“The [US] rationale is embarrassingly circular—we must remain in
the Middle East to protect against terrorists who hate America
because we are in the Middle East.”
—Jeff Faux, “Why Are We in the Middle East?”

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On the origins of Veterans Day

by Ken Sehested

Veterans Day doesn’t lend itself to commercial attention like its twin, Memorial Day, probably because it’s squeezed between two other cash-registering holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving, and it does not coincide with a car-cultural observance like the Indy 500 auto race.

But it is a federal holiday, what was originally called Armistice (or Remembrance) Day, marking the cessation of World War I hostilities on the 11th month of the 11th day at the 11th hour in 1918.

The “remembrance” is stirred by the poem, “In Flanders Field,” written by Canadian John McCrae, a Lieutenant Colonel during the war, from the point of view of the dead, early in that conflict before the war’s romanticism turned to disillusionment. Read more ›

Precious memories

An All Saints Day meditation

by Ken Sehested

Like most, my early memories of holiday festivities are varied and (mostly) pleasant. But Halloween stands out, with the most distinct memories, since it involved an evening of roaming (without adult supervision) in homemade costumes throughout the small town where I lived, collecting sweet treats in decorated paper bags.

Then came the much-anticipated sorting of the evening’s haul: the keepers (the really good stuff), the give-aways, everything else for trading with friends, which could go on for a week or more.

In my deep-water baptist territory, All Saints Day—following "All Hallows Eve," or Halloween—was never mentioned, much less observed. We didn’t believe in saints. Though we did have Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon, namesakes of bi-annual mission offerings—a surprisingly feminine pantheon for a body with severely circumscribed leadership roles for women. Read more ›

Storm coming

How to tell the truth about climate collapse without counseling despair

by Ken Sehested
23 September 2019

Stirred by correspondence with three friends, and punctuated by two historic events, the past week has been a whirlwind of emotions.

My good friend Greg is the smartest person I personally know when it comes to understanding the complex web of factors behind impending environmental collapse. He also has a keen moral vision. A high school math teacher, his convictions are rooted in spiritually-formed personal integrity. He’s taken part in dozens of environmental direct actions, including several stays in jail, for acts of civil disobedience. Read more ›