Other Writing

In addition to Grace at the Garbage DumpBackpacking through the Anglican Communion, and the articles on his blog, Jesse is also the author of numerous articles and opinion pieces that have appeared in a wide variety of journals, online and in print. Here is a small selection.

“Why Pastors Envy Pope Francis” thinks about the phenomenon of “pope envy” and the state of mainline Protestantism. From the 15 June 2014 edition of The Living Church.

Pope Francis stands as a reminder that ministry is first and foremost a vocation, not a profession. Vocations involve our whole being, body and soul. And when calling people — lay or ordained — to ministry, God calls us to respond with passion, determination, and our whole heart. The pope in his ministry has declared, in deed as much as in word, “Here we are. This is what we believe.” Perhaps Protestants are so enamored of the pope because he does and says what we — thoroughly entangled in the modern world — wish we felt more free to do.

“Songs of exile and faith” about Christianity among the Dinka of South Sudan appeared in the 8 January 2014 edition of The Christian Century.

The Dinka church is a church of exile. When the civil war began there were only five Dinka congregations stretched along 150 miles of the Nile’s east bank. They were all that remained of the British Anglican missionary presence among the Dinka in the early and mid-1900s. Today that same 150-mile stretch is home to more than 300 Anglican congregations (and a handful of others in other denominations), not to mention innumerable preaching centers in cattle camps along the Nile. There are two dioceses in the area and plans to create more. Virtually every one of the villages on the roads leading out of Bor has a church—often a mud-and-thatch building.

The Christianity of today’s Dinka emerged out of the sorrow and deprivation of refugee life, a time of despair that led many refugees to turn to the church for support, nurture and growth. It’s no accident that the wooden church pews came back with the refugees. Today the cathedral in Bor is a center of South Sudanese life. On Sunday mornings the building pulses and shakes with the energy of up to 1,500 worshipers. The same is true in the churches scattered throughout the region.

“The hard lesson of being mutual” appeared in the Church Times on 16 August 2013 to mark the 50th anniversary of “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ”:

Fifty years on from MRI, it is worth returning to the manifesto and the period that produced it. In its emphasis on the patient work of building genuine relationships across lines of difference, the importance of genuinely coming to know one another in the context in which each lives, and above all in its recognition that God is always calling us to something greater than ourselves, MRI has much to teach us.

It is risky to reach out to those who are different from us, and daring to ask what we might learn from someone from a different background. But it is precisely these things that are at the heart of what it means to be God’s people in the world – a fact that is no less true today than it was in August 1963.

Muscular Mission: a review of two recent books by Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Living Church, 28 April 2013

The critique here is not of the Presiding Bishop’s fidelity or orthodoxy. The reader is left in no doubt of Jefferts Schori’s strong, lucid, and passionate faith in God in Christ. Rather, the argument here is that the Nike theology of mission constitutes only a part of the good news the church has to proclaim, the what —shalom, the feast — but not the how — repentance, forgiveness, transformation. Our work in the world is not independent of our personal, living relationship with the one through whom all are made new. I doubt the Presiding Bishop would disagree. But the impression these books leave is otherwise.

Why the Next Archbishop of Canterbury Should be AfricanReligion Dispatches, 25 June 2012

The current pattern of appointing a grey- or no-haired white male as Archbishop of Canterbury has produced little in the way of progress for the Anglican Communion. It is time for something different.

Mission and MarriageEpiscopal News Service, 26 June 2012

Our marriage, then, is not simply about the love we have for one another or our desire to spend our lives together. Our marriage is part of our role in God’s reconciling mission. Marriage is missional.

Paying Attention to SudanEpiscopal News Service, 29 June 2011

Sudanese like Cimbir can take the lead in rebuilding their shattered country – but only if we first begin paying attention.

Bringing in the SheavesSojourners, May 2011

“They’ll teach the people agriculture so that the people can feed themselves and give to the church,” Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul told Sojourners. “We don’t want our people to be burdened by priests. We want the priests to be tentmakers, like Paul, and support themselves with agriculture.”

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