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

Losing yourself (and not losing yourself) in The Collective

This is socialist music – how did that become a bad word? – inviting people into an experience of the collective even as Wimbish sings intimate closet prayers.

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Fighting over forgiveness since the third century

If your religious hero is too gentle or forgiving, don’t worry, you can find another one.

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Jesus and murder victims’ families on the death penalty

I must confess: In the long process of study that moved me from fundamentalism to progressive Christianity, it was Jesus, not victims’ families, who convinced me to oppose the death penalty.

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Faith means a lot of waiting around

The “it” in David Crosby’s “Long Time Gone” is that kingdom where peace and justice reign, and it still seems a long time gone. We hope that, indeed, Love Wins in the end. But love sure seems to be losing most of the time.

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Art as an act of faith

I’m afraid, every day, of failure. But I want to have faith. I want to believe that we are in the hands of a loving God. And here’s what David says that looks like: “At his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.”
In a very real way, to make music – to create art in response to the beauty of Creation – is to believe.

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I joined the boycott by accident, and I’m glad I did

For decades, gays and lesbians have been fighting to be recognized as fully human, capable of as pure a kind of love as anyone else. It’s been a Sisyphean task, and you either add to the weight of social inertia, or you lighten the load.

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Feel free to dance

People with perceived weakness can show us strengths we didn’t know we had.

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They said I need a platform

“… instead of noticing things and saving them up for a magazine story or a song or a book, I’ll leak them out to you a little at a time, drip, drip, drip.”

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Broken and Sacred: on Over the Rhine (Prism)

When Karin Bergquist sings about ‘the young and dumb and bored’ driving recklessly for the thrill, you know she’s no pretty girl to be trifled with.

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Church: Fractured or worse? — 3 books on the subject

Living in community, even the community of the Christian church, is hard work.

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