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.


    The Atlantic


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

A kinder, gentler, more radical monotheism?

“Because I am, I am valued, and because you are, you are beloved, and because whatever is has being, therefore it is worthy of love.” — H. Richard Niebuhr

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Liturgy, the Work of the People, A Worthy Risk

I wrote this for call-and-response at my church a few months ago. We were studying “liturgy,” a word that means “work of the people” and refers to whatever acts of service or worship a congregation does together.

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Housework, hookups and St. Gregory of Nyssa

Try sticking it out for a few years, and you’re lying in the same bed where you make love, and it’s 3 am, and your spouse says she feels like a slave because you left your dirty dishes in the sink again, when you have “to respond to that which demands your response.”

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Reading the Bible as a trickster, feminist, patriarchal Dad

Given God’s reputation — the history of oppression against women (and others) in God’s name — a non-chauvinist God would have to sneak up on the activist community as a sort of “trickster.” If the feminists can let God the Father hang on the margins, maybe we Dads and aspiring dads and other patriarchal thinkers can ride His coattails.

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What the World Needs Now is Another “Hallelujah” Cover, Like I Need a Hole in My Head. But This One Moves Me.

How do you join in Leonard Cohen’s deep sorrow with guys best-known for “bringing sexy back” and Aguilera’s “Stripped”?

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Click Here for Sexy Pics (With a Striking Body Type and a Social Message)

Spoofing American Apparel’s racy ads, “American Able” exposes a disabled body – along with the cultural assumptions that keep it hidden.

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Where is the protest music (Gangnam Style)?

To say Psy is no Springsteen or Guthrie or Dylan is one thing. But I don’t see American pop stars confronting “hollow materialism” the way he is. I could be wrong. I listen to indie rock bands, many of them from Canada. Enlighten me.

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Book excerpt from This Littler Light

I started to admit that I would never see the perfect image of God in myself or anyone else. I would see it only through a glass darkly. And once you admit that, you can start to give and receive grace.

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In the backseat with a consoled conscience

Maybe that’s what constitutes a good life: a series of distractions from the mist of our own self-interest. Giving to the poor and recycling are good distractions. So is Mad Men. At least when I remember that nothing else I do is really all that more important than watching TV.

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Punk rock, Jesus and Pussy Riot

Punk music and a lot of folk music and the Christian gospel say they same thing. They say, “Look, you principalities and powers, you might think your authority matters and you’ve got things pretty well under control, but there is a deeper truth that you can’t even fathom. And that truth will win out in the end.”

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