Monthly Archives: January 2021

Peacebuilding 3 Ken Sehested Part 1 PGE 31

As I say in the introduction to this episode, I have two goals in this ongoing series on peacebuilding. The first goal is to enable you to become aware of the extent of people active in peace work and peacebuilding efforts and to learn how each person draws resources from her or his faith or worldview perspective to do her or his peace work. The second goal is to provide for you practical resources for peace work and peacebuilding in your own life.

You may have noticed a change in my terminology. Formerly, I was using ‘peacemaking,’ because that is the term used by Glen Stassen in his book, Just Peacemaking, and Irfan Omar and Michael Duffey in their book, which inspired this series, Peacemaking and the Challenge of Violence in World Religions. However, I like the distinctions Rabbi Amy Eilberg makes in her book, From Enemy to Friend. She describes ‘peacekeeping’ as that which militaries do to prevent further violence in a situation, ‘peacemaking’ as the negotiation process diplomats or mediators do with larger groups or nations, and ‘peacebuilding’ as what ordinary people do in the course of their daily lives. Since my focus in this series is on what we can do, I am changing my term.

Although I didn’t know this at the time of recording, this episode is the first of a two-part interview. In this episode and the next, I focus on resources from my Baptist heritage.

My guest is Ken Sehested.

Ken is the editor/author of the online journal, prayer&politiks. Once upon a time he played football at Baylor University, back when few outside Texas had heard of the place (and its sports teams were the ragamuffins of their conference). And a traveling teenage youth evangelist. No longer a teenager, he is still an evangelist, though his understanding of what it means to follow Jesus has changed considerably.

Ken’s closest brush with jobs people understand were as a typesetter and, later, as a stonemason. Being picky about your work means creating your own, as a full-time mendicant with Seeds magazine (1978) when it became a monthly magazine focusing on food security and world hunger concerns; then as the founding director of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (1984); as founding co-pastor of Circle of Mercy Congregation in Asheville, NC (2001); and now as the electronic ink slinger of this site.

An award-winning activist and author, Ken’s greater honor came when a four year-old granddaughter memorized and recited his favorite Mary Oliver poem as a Father’s Day gift. His most recent books are Peace Primer II: Quotes from Jewish, Christian and Islamic Scripture & Tradition (published by the Baptist Peace Fellowship) and two collections of litanies, prayers and poems, In the Land of the Living and In the Land of the Willing (Wipf & Stock).

The music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project. You can learn more about the album and the Worship Project at

LGBTQ Christian Stories PGE 30

In her extensive work with peacebuilding, Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer (Listen to PGE12 below.) stresses the importance of focusing more on the heart than the head. By this she means that building bridges of peace and relationships between people who disagree and/or are in conflict more often occurs when the people involved in the disagreement/conflict tell and listen to each other’s personal stories and life-journeys rather that when each tries to persuade the other through reasoning. Focusing on the head tends to devolve into further conflict and destructive behavior.

Meta Commerse (Listen to PGEs 24-26 below.) speaks of this process of bridge building, peacebuilding, and healing through the telling of personal stories as story medicine.

In the efforts to deal with LGBTQ rights and issues through the head, bitter conflict, destructive behavior, and tragic brokenness has been the result. Drowned out in these efforts has been the stories of LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ Christians. But heeding the wisdom of Rabbi Fuchs Kreimer and Meta Commerse is vital. It is what changes minds and brings healing and reconciliation. Hearing stories such as the ones you will hear in this episode is what helped change my mind and has helped me to grow in my walk with Christ.

So, the purpose of this episode is to let you hear the personal life stories and journeys of four LGBTQ Christians who span three generations. My guests are Nancy Flippin, Mindy Allen, Amy Cantrell, and Sully Hart.

Nancy and Mindy are married to each other. Nancy is the daughter of missionaries and lived in Seoul, Korea for six years moving back to the United States to attend Biola College where she earned a B.S. in Mathematics. After working for a few years for Corporate America, Nancy knew this was not her calling in life. She worked as a campus minister for three years at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, GA, and then began working in affordable housing development in the inner city of Atlanta for ten years. After that she worked for eighteen years with the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Currently, Nancy is the CFO at Manna Food Bank in Asheville, NC. Nancy serves as a deacon at First Baptist Church, Asheville and as treasurer for the Alliance of Baptists. Nancy’s faith journey has led her to engage in social justice initiatives and to advocate for systemic changes that will lift up those who have been and are oppressed.

Mindy holds both an undergraduate degree (B.A. from Shepherd College) and a graduate degree (M.A. from Marshall University) in Health and Physical Education. She is a life-long educator, having taught in West Virginia, Hawaii, Georgia, and North Carolina. After living and working in Atlanta for thirty one years, Mindy and Nancy moved to Asheville, NC, where Mindy currently works at Evergreen Community Charter School. Mindy is a runner/walker, photographer, and outdoor enthusiast. As a life-long seeker and follower of Jesus, Mindy has a passion for social justice and serves on the Mission Council at her beloved community of faith, First Baptist Church, Asheville.

Amy (Reverend Amy Cantrell) lives, moves, and has her being in the intentional community, BeLoved Asheville where she is deeply engaged in the daily life of loving neighbors and building community with people on the streets, Latinx and African American neighbors, and a whole host of people committed to making love real in the world in our daily lives. She was school educated at Converse College and Columbia Theological Seminary and street educated in Harlem, NY; Ponce DeLeon Ave, Atlanta; and on South French Broad Ave. and Grove Streets in downtown Asheville, NC. She is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church, USA.  A queer woman who is married and who loves being mom to twin six year olds.  She loves the color purple, playing guitar, studying movement history, and being a pretend alligator with her kids on the playground.  Find her on Facebook @Amy Cantrell and @BeLovedAsheville.  For more information about BeLoved Asheville, visit

Sullivan “Sully” Hart is a native of Asheville, North Carolina. On his path as a musician, Sully has been fortunate to sing with many church communities, learning from different Christian traditions and practices. In 2017, Sully graduated summa cum laude from Furman University with his bachelor’s in vocal performance. Sully earned his master’s degree in vocal pedagogy from the New England Conservatory of Music in 2019. Sully currently lives in Boston where he works as a freelance musician and church chorister. Sully also writes a blog titled Off the Syllabus which you can read at

The music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project. You can learn more about the album and the Worship Project at