Respecting the awesome power of words!


Here's a place where ordinary words attempt to reveal the extraordinary grace of life as we live it. Consume the words; breathe in the blank spaces; travel to the places they take you; enjoy the journey, and the people and places you meet along the way. In these relationships, may the meaning and purpose of your life become more clear.
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Word to Word


Those who own the words
own the world.

With ownership comes responsibility.

Responsibility demands accountability.

Accountability requires relationship.

Relationship creates community.

Community offers the possibility of hope.

Hope is the word that owns us all.

From words to hope,
what goes around, comes around.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins



Voting booth curtain closes;
staring at me is a long list of names.
Most of them have associated faces,
many also have slogans and claims.

Over each bunch, there are titles;
once dignified, but now not so much,
and I’m supposed to pick
the best fruit for the future.

It’s been an ugly two years,
this protracted election cycle,
with more than enough
self-aggrandizement and
other-accusation to make even
the strongest stomachs queasy.

So much sleight-of-tongue
has been used,
attempting to convince me
that these people are my kin –
that we share political and economic,
if not physical DNA, and
our collective dissociation
from the rest is what matters.

But as rhetorical hate has risen,
and tempers with it,
something deep in my soul
tells me that divisiveness and
fear mongering are not the way.

There’s a calmer voice whispering
in between the jingoistic fireworks,
pulling us together,
instead of tearing us apart.

It maps a more grand
genetic strand that’s shared
by all; one of spiritual origins.

The whispered plea
I’ve heard over and
over again for years:

“If we don’t find ways
to keep ourselves
in this together,
we will find ourselves
out of it, apart.”

Before we reach
the DNR order, can we
map a course that holds
our social and cultural
double helix together?

Lord, have mercy!

© 2016 Todd Jenkins




"Holy, Holy, Holy!"
is a declaration
about divine character.

Our song? Maybe
it's more like,
"Holey, Holey, Wholly!"

We are tempted,
by culture's competency
and competition,
to leave the holey parts
of ourselves at home
or locked in the trunk

when we gather
as a community of faith,
thereby removing our
shadowed selves
from the redeeming power
of confession,
forgiveness, and grace.

Rest assured, the only way
to wholly become the beings
for which we were created,
is to bring all of our holey selves
to the holy table.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins



"I'm not really a dancer." I said.

Something quaked
at the center of my soul,

"Yeah, this isn't really about
what you think you're good at
or what you believe
makes you look good."

"But, I don't have rhythm!"

"You can breathe, can't you?
In and out, with a tick-tocking flow,
especially when you
slow down and pay attention."

"Well, yeah; there's that;
but I'm more of a walker,
or even a runner.
I mostly want to make progress;
to get where I'm going."

"I've noticed that about you;
and I think you might be
missing out on something important."

"And what might that be?"

"Your life is lived as if
arrival is your purpose,
and as if you must
find your way toward me.
Life is really about journey;
about paying attention
to the people traveling
with you and being present
to and in each moment.

One more thing:
I am the dance."

© 2016 Todd Jenkins


Born on Third


Photo by Hannah McCulloch

Here’s a throwback from June of 2013 that still seems quite relevant.

(Living the American Dream)

I must have hit a triple,
'cause here I am on third.
Of course I wasn't born here;
that whole idea's absurd!

   Daddy is the umpire,
   mama cooks the books;
   but isn't that the way
   everybody's life looks?

      It's true what they say,
      "It's lonely at the top."
      When all your views are down,
      it's really hard to stop.

   I've got more stuff than friends;
   that doesn't really matter.
   It's hard to let your guard down
   when your wallet's getting fatter.

One day I'm going to slow down
and be that kind of guy
people want to hang with;
for now I'm kind of shy.

   I worry what they're thinking
   about the things I say,
   and whether they will judge me
   or try to take my pay.

      It's hard to feel normal
      when you're such a special guy.
      I do my best to fake it;
      I'm usually pretty sly.

   Tried ordinary once
   but then I got burned.
   No one would acknowledge
   the luxuries I'd earned.

It's nice here on third;
I'm such a go-getter.
When I steal home,
it'll be even better!

© 2013 Todd Jenkins


Quid Pro Quo


In a culture lacking
  deepened faith,
    love is merely quid pro quo,
  with every transaction
measured and recorded.

This is the world
  of anxiety, fear, and scarcity;
    a confused world, thirsty
    for intimacy without shame,
  and hungry to know and
be known without judgment.

Only when we learn how
  to sit still and silent
    with ourselves, will we be able
  to recognize the rhythmic beat
    of unconditional love and
  the abundant pool of grace
in which we float.

Give us courage, O Lord,
  to set aside all infatuation
    built on "because"
  and let the richness
    of mercy grounded
  in "even though"
be our daily companion.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins


Prodigal Hope

                Photo by Jarred Hammet


No matter how long
we ignore, deny, or hide
our true selves from others
and even from our own egos,
we don't disappear,

and there's no expiration date
after which we become
sour or unusable.

But when we live hard and fast
in denial, searching for self,
worth, and acceptance
in all the external places
for so many years,

there arises a great sadness
for lost time with our true selves;
a sorrow that can only be overcome
by a recognition and acceptance

of the unconditional love and grace
of the One who waits on the porch
day after day, straining to see and
hear us walking back toward home,
muscles twitching to race
down the road toward us.

This is deepest prodigal hope.
There's nothing greater,
but there's also nothing scarier. 

© 2016 Todd Jenkins




"We give the care we need."
she said, lamenting
a grieving friend's reluctance
to accept care from others.

Ain't that the truth!
It's so hard to receive
when our giving mode is engaged.

If the oceans did that,
waving in a single direction,
the tide would never turn,
inland ground would be flooded,
and the fish would die
from lack of water.

No wonder the moon
is so vigilant in her rhythm
of swinging low,
then backing away;
of pulling and then letting go.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins



             Photo by Gay Jenkins Kallschmidt

The prophets of old
stand with and for
the widow, orphan, and sojourner, 
just to name a few,
still speaking truth
to my power
and your power,

not because they had
psychic ability
to see into the future,

but because power's
seduction and anesthesia
have been the same since Eden.

The gospel calls us
to not only accept
this truth about the ways
we have lived
with privilege unawares,
unquestioned, unexamined,

but also to speak
this societal truth ourselves,
not just in our worship,
but in the marketplace,
in the schoolhouse,
in the courthouse,  
in the statehouse, and
in the neighborhoods.

It calls us to stand against
exploitation and oppression;
to live and breathe
justice and dignity
in ways that make them
a reality in the lives
of all our communities.

Let us not just be the
gathered religious community,
but let us also dare
to become the sent prophets.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins


Brother to Brother

Photo by Holly Jenkins Williams


On the inside,
  where we are all
    more alike than different,
      it’s possible to see,
    at a level far beyond
  the human eye,
places where the similarities
  are light years beyond coincidental,
    where the grand design
      at our very core
    is inextricably woven
  into a bond beyond breaking.

Hold this disease-ravaged tapestry
in your strong but tender hands, O God.

Breathe your life-giving spirit
into both of them.

As the medical team
  pairs core fluids
    in a holy dance,
      let your sacred song
    ring long and strong,
  and give us the beat,
that we may sing
  the refrain of your praise.

So let it be written;
  so let it be played;
    so let it be sung;
  so let it be danced;
so let it be done.


© 2016 Todd Jenkins