Articles, Essays & Sermons

We don’t have anything if we don’t have stories

Preface to 11 July 2019 special edition of Signs of the Times devoted to brief stories

by Ken Sehested

"If you want to change people's obedience then you must change their imagination."
—philosopher Paul Ricoeur

By the time I finished my cum laude undergraduate work and with distinction seminary degree, my analytical powers were sharply honed. I was capable of researching, selecting, and presenting large troves of factual material; which I immediately put to work as an advocate for justice, peace, and human rights shaped by a passionate theological ethos. Read more ›

Eastertide

The outing of the church

by Ken Sehested

       Some years ago, writing in the days leading up to Easter, I realized important though tragic anniversaries arrived in the days immediately following that Sunday.

        “Even before our resurrection flowers have wilted, we will be confronted again with the presence of evil. Since Easter falls early in the calendar this year, in the coming resurrection week we will be forced to remember the enduring power of death. In 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and theologian, was executed by the Nazis two days after Easter Sunday. This next Thursday, April 4, we will remember the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. right here in Memphis.” —continue reading “Open Letter to My Daughter: Easter morning, with the stench of death still in the air

Right: "Holy Spirit Coming," painting by He Qi.
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Find a trailhead to the ministry of reconciliation

What should the Christchurch massacre prompt from us?

by Ken Sehested

        What can you do to abate the harm caused by the mass murders in New Zealand mosques? Not much, in the scheme of things.

        Which is not to say there’s nothing at all to do.

        For us in the US (and people around the world), we must use that tragedy as a mirror to examine how we are complicit with similar threats close to home. If the grief we experience over deadly news a half-world away is to be more than vaporous sentiment, fading with each text alert from our phones, there must be a contextualizing in our own location. Read more ›

There is a new creation

The Apostle Paul’s vision of the ministry of reconciliation

by Ken Sehested

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything
has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given
us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,
not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.
—2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Read more ›

Essay in celebration of the global Youth Strike 4 Climate movement

Choosing between Wednesday’s penitential ashes vs. the scorched aftermath of Earth’s burning

by Ken Sehested

“God gave Noah the rainbow sign / No more water but the fire next time.”
—lyrics from the Negro spiritual “Mary Don’t You Weep”

        I haven’t been able to get Greta Thunberg’s face out of my mind, especially since Ash Wednesday. Read more ›