Respecting the awesome power of words!

Posts tagged “connection

Neighborhood

fullsizeoutput_258dPhoto by Jennie R. Jenkins

 

The universe is a neighborhood
into which we've been poured.

Fear convinces us to shrink,
control, protect, and gate our lives.

Grace welcomes us to expand,
release, free, and open ourselves to love.

The former choice leads
to the creation of enemies and despair;
the latter, to the creation
of neighbors and hope.

To whose invitation
are you responding today?
How's that working out for you?

When people are used
and things are loved,
we become tight-fisted
possessives of our possessions,
and our fearful exclamation is,
"There goes the neighborhood!"

When people are loved
and things are used,
we are able to become gently-holding
stewards of possessions,
and our joyful exclamation is,
"Here comes our neighbor!"

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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Dry Sockets

IMG_7537Photo by Dan Tice

 

When the tears don’t fall,
yet you feel their weight inside,
pressing like the weight
of additional atmospheres,
yearning to find
the equilibrium of release,
I wonder if they’ll create
an alternate route of escape.

Might they rise
through the vocal chords,
their savory blend
evoking tender words
of compassion for others
who are hurting?

Could they escape
through fingertips,
forming stories of hope
and courage for those
on and beyond the margins?

What if they caused muscles
and ingredients to merge,
so that comfort food
was prepared and shared
with people neck-deep
in their own grief?

Where else have you
felt them leaking grace
into the world?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Prophetic Courage

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Without separation
  and distance,
  truth will not
be spoken to power.

When the church’s bread
  is buttered by empire,
  the gospel’s call
    to interconnection
    with those at and
  beyond the margins
  is lost,
as are the church
and its members:

🎼I once was found
  but now I’m lost;
  could see, but now
    I’m blind.
    Dear Lord, help me
  to count the cost;
  prophetic
courage find!🎼

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


“Produce to Share”

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   This was the sign 
in a church’s fellowship hall. 

   It was summer, 
AKA gardening season, 
   so I knew, 
from my experience, 
   that the first word 
was accented 
   on the first syllable. 

   Zucchini, tomatoes, okra,
and all sorts of vegetable delectables
   would come and go from this spot,
offered from abundance,
   received with gratitude.

   But then my inner wordsmith 
asked its 
   “What if?” question. 

   What if this was a verb, 
not a noun? 

   What if it 
was divine instruction 
   on life’s deepest meaning? 

   What if it was 
a holy critique 
   of cultures and economies, 
pulling us together, 
   rather than apart, 

   reminding us 
that we are, 
   first, last, and foremost, 
created for community? 

   What if our whole lives –
not just our gardens –
   are designed for us
to pro-DUCE to share?

   But wanting to justify himself,
he asked Jesus,
   “And who is my neighbor?”
(Luke 10:29)

© 2018 Todd Jenkins


Acts of the Apostles

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When all the xenophobic ooze
has been pressure washed
from beneath the rocks
where it hid for generations
and swept off the streets
where it has surfaced,
there will come a reckoning.

We can’t just stand by,
silent, while all this hate
and fear foments.

We must act
with integrity and courage.

 Here are some
of the questions
that are being asked:

What happened
to our elected officials?
What happened
to our families of faith?

Unless we act decisively
and immediately, our faces,
our names, our reputations
will go down as ones
who sold out our country
and its people.

Is this the way
we want history
to remember us?

Is this the seed
God planted
in our hearts?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Presence/Protection

fullsizeoutput_212dPhoto by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

 

“Ah, yes,” I realized,
“the wounded healer
offers presence
over protection.”

What our finite little minds
fail to realize —
our sad little sacks
of imago sui —

is that all protection comes
at a cost to someone.

Build a wall,
and you create
insiders and outsiders.

Forcefully and single-mindedly
deflect pain, disease,
injury, and illness
exclusively for one group,
and you’ll likely magnify/multiply
it in another.

Just ask those
whose healthcare
is far inferior
to the healthcare of others. 

Presence, on the other hand,
is a promise not to abandon,
no matter what.

In the end,
as well as in the middle,
and the beginning,
and everywhere in between,
having someone
BE WITH us
through the pain
and suffering of life
is the real game-changer.

Presence is
our raison d'être;
our koinonia.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Beclowned

IMG_3731Photo by Owen Todd Jenkins

 

When the circus
  comes to town,
    reality takes a holiday
      and many fantasize,
    even in the midst
  of their own despair,
about a perfect world.

The next day,
  we all wake up
  and face the gallows
of authenticity,

challenged by a world
  immersed in
    and fueled by
      the flesh and blood
        of those whose labor
          has been consumed
        with limited
      or no remuneration,
    solely to generate profit
  for those roosted
in the highest branches.

The noose swings
  menacingly from the tree,
    marking the metronome
      of privilege, oblivious
      to the flesh and blood
    of all who will suffer most
  from the invisibility
of this lynching.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins


Write the Present

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Only those who can
both see the past
and taste the future,

  are fully equipped
  to write the present
  that God is unfolding.

    I know you wanted
    it to be present-tasting
    and future writing.
    So did I.

      But I’ve had a bate
      of folks trying
      to convince me
      of their flawless
      clairvoyant skills,

    only to be confused
    and disappointed
    by the disconnect
    and ambiguity.

  What I’m hungry
  for now is to feel
  the heartbeat
  of our current story;

to have its rhythm recorded
in rich, lyrical EKG,
so I can trace the peaks
and troughs with my finger,
as my soul relishes
the gift of this day’s life.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

The Other Side

IMG_5148Photo by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

A Mark 4 version of “Just as I Am.”

Just as he was, he left to go
toward people that he did not know.
Courage within, mercy to show,
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

As storms arise, disciples’ dread
fills every heart, and every head.
While all believe they’ll soon be dead,
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

The other side, always his plan;
respect and hope go hand in hand;
love for each woman and each man;
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

Out in the streets he now is found.
Forgiveness creates holy ground;
his grace is flowing all around;
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

He whispers now his plaintive call
to risk ourselves as storms befall,
and join him, off’ring self for all,
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

GEM

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        He said, “God is
        a Good Enough Mother.”
        Then he ‘splained:

      A GEM gives birth to you,
      nurtures you, protects you,
      and makes you the center
      of her universe until
      you start learning how
      to take care of yourself.

    This begins somewhere
    between the ages of 2 and 3. 
    This is where a GEM’s focus
    and methods change.

  Now, she must help you see
  that you are NOT the center
  of ANY universe, but you are
  connected to other people
  and all of creation,
  and she teaches you
  that you exist to care
  for the world and ALL its people;
  that you will find existential meaning
  in becoming a nurturer, yourself;

that making other people’s lives better
will bring you far greater joy
than using them to make
your life easier, more comfortable,
and more secure;

that you will more fully
comprehend love
when you can both
voluntarily give yourself
for others and allow yourself,
in vulnerability, to be helped,
not by those you coerce,
but by those
who choose to help you.

  If we’ve never made it past
  believing we are
  the center of the universe,
  we cannot stomach anyone
  who won’t go to any length
  to make us look and feel divine.

    We are still holed-up in Eden,
    munching the hell out of
    the fruit of the tree
    of the knowledge of good and evil,
    completely ignoring the reality
    in front of our faces,
    and firmly convinced
    that the serpent was right —
    consuming this fruit
    has made us gods!

      We’ll half-heartedly inhabit lives
      of noisy desperation, stumbling
      from one litigation to another,
      never having the courage
      to admit we ever
      did anything wrong.

        As long as we’re never made
        to see our connection
        to the rest of the universe,
        we’ll continue to rewrite reality
        to fit our own needs.

      We need to cultivate a lot more
      GoodEnough Mothers
      who’ll help us realize
      the universe doesn’t spin
      on our axis.

          We have enough serpents;
          too many, even.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins