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Jim Kelsey

A quiet dinner at a Chinese buffet was shattered by a foul-mouthed woman shouting racial slurs at eight Muslim women. The scary part? A restaurant full of patrons continued to eat their dinners without coming to the women’s defense. […] 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

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

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

Jim Kelsey is executive minister of the American Baptist Churches-New York State. 1. Where did you grow up? Outside of Dayton, Ohio, in Kettering. 2. What is your favorite verse, book or story in the Bible? Why? Jeremiah 29:11-14. It expresses God’s unending goodwill toward us and assures us that God has a future for […] Read More

Malcolm X’s Chicago house had been firebombed that morning. Both Malcolm and Martin Luther King Jr. were in New York for speaking engagements. Malcolm had requested a secret meeting with King. King had agreed. It is a fictional account by Jeff Stetson titled “The Meeting.” In this play, Stetson speculates what these two influential, yet […] Read More

We have all seen it. You probably saw it in the last few weeks. A child is coaxed onto Santa’s lap, and then the child begins screaming and frantically trying to escape. Truth is, some children find a strange loud man in a bright red suit and long white beard frightening. The angels in Luke’s […] Read More