About Jesse

    A veteran newspaper reporter, Jesse tells stories of regular people living with passion, struggling against injustice or simply practicing their faith. Through songwriting, magazine journalism and essays, Jesse aims to describe the human condition, especially the search for transcendence.

 

this littler light:
flashes of grace in politics, pop culture and publick houses

My kid’s art teacher asked if Michael Brown was too political (Durham News)

My youngest and I helped art teacher Malcolm Goff haul his pieces into the school. I noticed one of them had an inscription, “In honor of Michael Brown.” It showed a young black man with his hands raised up in defense, his eyes and mouth wide with fear. “Do you think it’s too political for elementary school kids?” Malcolm asked me.

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Souls to the polls on Saturday? (Durham News)

When our leaders have taken efforts to silence some of our voices, there’s something beautiful about a group of people going together to make themselves heard.

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Ferguson and voting rights (Durham News)

If we’re supposed to live in a democracy, and your government not only doesn’t represent your interests but actually becomes an instrument of extreme violence against you, maybe rioting is the only thing you have left to get its attention.

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Groanings too deep for words (Durham News)

Sloan Meek’s singing doesn’t mean everything is right with the world. Far from it. But when he gets going, it’s hard not to sing along in honest-to-goodness, genuine joy.

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You’re not supposed to believe in magic, but I do

If you want a mystical experience, go on a spiritual retreat, if you must, but don’t try to tell the rest of us about it. We can’t understand.

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The beauty of this place (Durham News)

I was in San Francisco recently, shopping in a vintage-clothing store in Haight-Ashbury, and I asked the cashier to recommend a place for dinner. “In the Haight?” he asked. “Nowhere. The food is terrible. Go down the hill to Cole Valley.” Seriously? There were almost 30 restaurants within a few blocks. None of them were any good?

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The magic of fire (Durham News)

Conversation feels lighter and lubricated when I can stare at the glowing orange embers, instead of noticing the people around me and wondering if we’re tired of one another’s company yet. Silence is not awkward, because mysterious chemical changes are happening right in front of our eyes. Wood, once green with life, is now turning into black soot and heavenbound smoke.

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Beer and pyromania (Paste)

Conversation feels lighter and lubricated when I can stare at the glowing orange embers. Silence is not awkward, because mysterious chemical changes are happening right in front of our eyes. Wood, once green with life, is now turning into black soot and heaven-bound smoke.

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One-way train (Durham News)

Brother Starch would convene us every Sunday evening to boast to one another about how many souls we had won the previous week. He that winneth souls is wise, he’d always say, quoting Proverbs 11:30. Winning souls was never about anything like, say, convincing a man to stop beating his wife or to start serving at a soup kitchen. It was about keeping people from eternal damnation. One lady, Miss Beth, would come reporting she’d won seven or 11 or 17 souls in any particular week. Nobody, not even Brother Starch, ever came close to beating her.

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Dad, “Cecilia” and me (Durham News)

If you’re like most artists, struggling to build enough of an audience to make something that resembles a living, and if you’re like Dad or me, with a family to support, then a disease like writer’s block sounds like a death sentence.

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