Unprotected Texts

The difficult dialogue with the Bible on love and marriage

by Nancy Hastings Sehested
Circle of Mercy Congregation
May 13, 2012

The caller sounded desperate. “Please, please help me. I don’t want to live in sin anymore. I have to get married. Can you help me?”

She explained that she had lived with one of our prisoners for several years. He had 10 more years on his sentence. Then she told me more than I wanted to know about their intimate life together. “The Bible says it’s sin.” Read more ›

Safe church policies

Pastoral advice on getting started

by Ken Sehested

      I’m embarrassed to admit muffling a groan when I first heard “safe church policy” mentioned in conversation among our members. Three thoughts came rushing up in complaint.

      First, I remembered the news, from years ago, of a daycare center announcing it was instituting a “no-touching” policy guiding staff behavior with children. No hugs. No encouraging hand-on-the-shoulder. No child-on-lap comforting of distress. I thought then, and still think: that’s nuts.

      Also, I had recently spent many hours wrangling with two different insurance companies, trying to get a very basic liability policy, a new requirement by the church whose space we rent. None of the agents with whom I spoke could conceive that we didn’t want a dozen or more types of coverage. ‘Danger” marketing (“Risk management”) is a growth industry. Read more ›

News, views, notes, and quotes

Signs of the Times  •  11 October 2018 •  No. 174

¶ Processional.I Am the Land,” a musical tribute to Salvadoran martyr and Archbishop Oscar Romero, by E. Ethelbert Miller and Richard J. Clark, performed by the Seraphim Singers. (7:21. Thanks Rose.)

¶ Invocation. “Dear Jesus: Don’t do that. Don’t go saying “I come not to bring peace, but division.” You’re scaring us. Don’t you know there are children in the room!” —continue reading “Peace, peace but there is no peace,” a litany for worship inspired by Luke 12:49-53, Jeremiah 6:13-15, and former Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero

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Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero

Canonizing El Salvador’s beloved archbishop

by Ken Sehested

        This Sunday, 14 October, former Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romeo (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980) will be officially canonized—declared a saint—by the Roman Catholic Church during its 2018 Synod of Bishops in Rome.

        In 1997 Romero was declared a “Servant of God,” a process which makes him a candidate for sainthood. But the process stalled when the hierarchy worried if such a move would be too “political.” Then in February of 2015 Pope Francis decreed that Romero had died “for the faith” (in odium fidei); and then in May announced his beatification, the final step before canonization as a saint of the church. A quarter of a million Salvadorans attended Romero’s beatification service.

        When in 1977 Romero was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador, many in the government, wealthy landowners, the military, and the Catholic hierarchy were pleased. Romero was known as a traditionalist, compliant on matters of piety, doctrine, and relations with the state. Read more ›

News, views, notes, and quotes

Signs of the Times  •  3 October 2018 •  No. 173

Processional. Thousands of students and faculty from the Catholic-run St. Scholastica’s College dance en masse to protest violence against women and children on 14 February 2018, in Manila, Philippines. The annual dance, dubbed One Billion Rising, is held every Valentine’s Day. This year’s performance came shortly after the brutal Philippine President Duterte gave orders for his troops to shoot female dissidents to his regime in the vagina to render them “useless.” (1:15 video.)

Above: Happy 50th anniversary to the Redwood National Park in California, home of the some of the world’s largest trees.

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The earth is satisfied

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 104

by Ken Sehested

Worthy, worthy the One who conceived the earth and gave birth to bears and basil and beatitudes alike.

The earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work!

At the sound of your Name the trees rejoice, for you are clothed with honor and clad in beauty. Read more ›

Getting soaked

A meditation on the recovery of baptismal integrity

by Ken Sehested
24 September 2018

Last week I wrote a quick note to my friend Kyle, who gets as excited about baptism as I do, to share the news.

“We’re baptizing seven of our youth group this coming Sunday. Is it OK to brag about this?” Read more ›

News, views, notes, and quotes

Signs of the Times  •  26 September 2018 •  No. 172

Processional.Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor,” musical setting by Irving Berlin of Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty, performed by the Portland Choir & Orchestra.

Above: The Monarch butterfly, which each year migrates freely over the borders between Mexico, the US, and Canada, has become the symbol of immigrant rights groups. Photo by Michael Sewell Visual Pursuit via Getty Images.

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