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Author Jim Kelsey

Jim Kelsey is executive minister of the American Baptist Churches-New York State.

The hope of Lent is that we will come out of it a bit different than when we entered, having changed in some way for the better. Here’s the story of one pastor who turned his back on his racial prejudice. […] Read More

When Jesus commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, he is urging us to nurture our innate, neurological capacity for empathy. However, when it comes to those who aren’t like us, many of us resist this innate ability. […] Read More

Looking back on our nation’s role in slavery and racism, communities are struggling with how to memorialize and interpret the past. Sometimes, to enter well into the future, we need to own our past. […] Read More

If you’re a church leader, your first task is to establish trust. If trust exists, a church and their leaders can survive the stress of tough finances, deteriorating buildings and declining membership. […] Read More

When pastors set boundaries in their lives, they can maintain their emotional, physical and spiritual health so when they are “on,” they bring the best they have to the situation. […] Read More

Many of us born in the United States are in a position of privilege. Perhaps it would be healthy for us to look through a locked gate from the wrong side – with neither privilege nor claim. […] Read More

They were seeking a “biblical form of church government.” This congregation seemed to think that they could achieve this by severing all formal ties with other churches and becoming an independent church. As a Baptist, I am a high-trust, low-control person. I trust local congregations to follow the Spirit and would defend them from outside control. […] Read More

We are nicer when we journey together. In writing about civility, Gil Rendle (“Behavioral Covenants in Congregations: A Handbook for Honoring Differences”) cites the work of Yale professor Stephen Carter, who argues that riding in a subway, bus or train full of strangers requires us to understand our obligations to treat one another with due […] Read More

The powerful strategize; the powerless engage in tactics. So writes Emmanuel Katongole in his book, “Mirror in the Church – Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda.” People in power plan the way they want things to be. They do research and analyze from a distance. They employ technology and expertise. They are pragmatic and lay […] Read More

We learned it as children: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I assume it is to be a comfort to children when someone speaks unkind words to them. It occurs to me that it also could be a taunt that dares actual physical violence. In either case, it […] Read More