Respecting the awesome power of words!

Archive for November, 2016



We are all, metaphorically,
separated identical twins,
spending our whole lives looking
for a mirrored connection and
a rhythm that defines who we are.

We seldom recognize it
in those who are other,
mostly because we can't even
recognize ourselves in the mirror,

so deluded and confused are we
by all of the identities
that culture has laid upon us,

and those which burst
from our hearts in spite
of our attempt
at cover-up and denial.

It is the divine,
the incarnate one,
who mirrors that twinning
most perfectly, and we
are given glimpses of that daily,
in the face of our neighbors;

especially in the faces
of those to whom
we'd like to not be kin.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins



It’s a double helical deceiver,
at once hiding, minor-grooved,
beneath the surface,
waiting to attack any threat;

at the same time, shading duplicity
in a major-grooved attempt
to distract all involved, including self,
with irrelevant rage rockets,
pyrotechnics of shock and awe.

Unquestioned, facade of indignation
maintains self and others securely
beyond the realm of examination;
stealthily slinking beneath the surface
in preparation for next attack.

Pray for the day when,
by surprise or exhausted surrender,
fear-generated angst is laid bare
before Love’s salvific security.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins

Crashed Server


In the days to come,
all of the certitude and judgment
stacked helter-skelter against
those whose experience
and perception differ from our own

will come crashing down,
not on those who've been
relegated beyond the wall,

but imploding upon
the stone stackers themselves.
Why, you ask?

Because the only mortar used
in this fearful construction
comes from the fetid cesspool
of our own confirmation bias. 

All who emerge from the rubble,
and are courageous enough
to remain present,
will be invited to sit
'round the campfire, listening
to stories never heard.

Thus, the birth pangs of peace
will once again twinge.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins



To genuinely observe Advent,
without being pulled
into the cultural tsunami
of commercial Christmas,
is to participate
in the eternal plan of Grace.

It is to rest in the promise
of divine deliverance
with at least a modicum
of hope that the gift will arrive,
not only with more
than sufficient efficacy,
but also before the nick of time.

It is to admit
that we are fully incapable
of generating the gift
of incarnation on our own,
and therefore entirely dependent
on both God's mercy and timing.

It is, at one and the same time,
both an exhilarating journey
and a risky adventure.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins



When our mechanical devices
  are broken, they are
    of little use until
      they are repaired;

      and our society tends
    to scrap them
  rather than repair them,
tossing them to the junk heap.

Human brokenness works
  in a slightly different way.

  We are all broken
in one way or another.

Unlike machines,
  we are fully capable
    of functioning in a state
      of brokenness, so long
        as we don't lose sight of it.

      Denying our own brokenness
    usually leads to hyper-attention
  toward and condemnation
of others' brokenness.

There is no path to healing
  in this outward focus.

    It leads to a vortex
  of fear, anger, and accusation,
void of accountability.

Recognizing our own
  particular brokenness,
    and living out of its humility
      is part of the path
        to healing and wholeness.

          Stained glass is the ultimate
        human/divine metaphor:
      fragile, broken,
    sometimes-jagged pieces
  held firmly together
in beautiful new patterns.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins




                                                    Photo by Owen Jenkins

It is not enough to confess
that we don’t know
what the future holds.

It is not even enough
to proclaim that we know
who holds the future or
that we are convinced
that the holder of the future
also holds us.

The only thing that is enough
is to hold those who’ve seldom,
if ever, known that the holder
of the future also holds them;

and to hold them with all
of the tenderness and respect
that the future’s hope
musters within us.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins




                         Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

This piece was originally published in 2013.

Remembering is how we learn,
  how we connect,
   how we honor, O God.

As Veterans’ Day approaches,
  may our memories be filled
   with these things:

gratitude for those who
  trained for war, traveled to battle,
   served with body, mind, and spirit,
    and returned with their lives;

appreciation for the sacrifices
  that soldiers and their families make
   in order to serve and protect;

respect for the toll that war takes
  on body, mind, and spirit,
   not only in the trenches and bunkers,
    but also in the home, street,
     office, classroom, and social setting;

amazement for the way some are able
  to overcome war’s lingering demons;

understanding for those who cannot
  shake the images, thoughts,
   and emotional train-wrecks of war
    that have removed from them
     all hope of finding normal again.

Give us courage to honor those
  who have served, as well as wisdom
   to recognize that war is not a path
    that leads to your promises.

Instill in us, O Lord, a hunger for justice,
  a thirst for righteousness,
   and a craving for honesty
    that opens our eyes, ears,
     and hearts to a higher road;

a road that refuses to settle
  for violence, fear, and hate;
   a road that is neither easy nor simple,
    but one that takes us
     on an arduous journey toward
      the mountain of your shalom;

a road where peace replaces cease-fire,
  where bullets are molded into plowshares
   and bombs into pruning hooks.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Ps in a Pod


                                                   Photo by Randy Calvo

We sometimes consider
whether the possessions we hold
really belong to us; whether,
in the divine scheme of creation,
we were intended
to maintain material abundance.

  The bigger question –
  one transcending redistribution –
  is an examination
  of privilege and power.

    When the latter two –
    privilege and power –
    are wielded and yielded
    in healthful and holy ways,
    possessions become both
    a tool for justice and
    a path toward community.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins


Election Eve


                                                     Photo by Anne Shurley

The Alpha-born and bred
forever step forward, O God,
to lead communities and societies
from small to large; and
we are graced with opportunity,
beyond succession, coup,
or appointment, to cast
our ballots in participation.

However fair or free or open
the process seems to us,
remind us that, as people of faith,
our final hope is neither
in the champion of popular vote
nor the victor of electoral college.

Remind us that, from your people's
very first insistence on a human monarch,
you have provided a parallel voice
in prophets, who keep bringing chairs
to the table; chairs that socioeconomics
seeks to remove; chairs belonging
to widows, orphans, and sojourners,
to outcasts and underdogs.

Remind us that the math
that matters in the long run –
or eternity as you are wont to call it –
is not the math of budgets and bottom lines,
but the equation of community.

Come Wednesday, or whenever
the counting is complete
and a victor is declared,
whether or not our desired candidate
and party prevail, or even
if we couldn't find candidates
on the ballot with which 
to align, give us wisdom, 
compassion, and courage to 
speak with the prophet's voice,
walk in the prophet's sandals,
breathe the prophet's air,
and feel the prophet's pulse,
so that our society and culture
will both desire and move
toward a place where justice
truly is for all, where mercy reigns,
and hope springs eternal.

Give us the courage,
both individually and collectively,
to be sentinels of grace;
to be your loaf and cup,
blessed, broken,
poured out, and shared,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins



Sometimes, the odds
overwhelm Murphy,
and unimagined goodness
breaks out in places
it’s least expected;

or at least that’s how
the cynical read it.

Those of us writing
in the font of grace
know differently, but
even if there’s no listening
in the here and now,

it still soaks into our skin,
a little at a time; and
when we become saturated
or marinated enough,
we’ll know, too.

Until then, I’ll keep
watching and writing.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins