Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hope and Help

Moment Magnitude a feeble attempt
at bringing order—or at least measurement
to catastrophic release of seismic energy
that leaves our planet’s surface
a teeming pile of chaotic disaster.

What used to be organized construction:
beams, bricks and blocks
architecturally designed and shaped,
now precariously piled randomly
as if no one ever planned or cared at all.

Creole-speaking masses with
little or no slice of the economic pie
felt and saw their frail abodes
collapse into nothingness as if
earth issued eviction notices.

In the face of death and deprivation,
with whatever makeshift tools they find
hot, hungry, thirsty, traumatized folk
dig for life like there’s no tomorrow
because for too many there isn’t.

Grant that hope and help
may feed one another and, together,
keep the world focused on
Haiti’s rubble-rousing and reconstruction
until dignity builds her permanent dwelling.

© 2010 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mission's Meal

As cultures, economies, faiths,
and people’s lives intertwine
in this ever-shrinking world,
inequity of circumstances and resources
inevitably weaves a fragile tapestry.

Warp threads extend vertically,
from earth to heaven,
stretching to connect
creation and holy hope;
declaring independence and worth.

Woof threads span horizontally,
from person to person, life to life,
drawing us together as family,
posing questions of abundance, scarcity,
exposing interdependence as two-way street.

Respect is invited to the table
as stories, faith, lives are shared,
understanding supplants judgment,
trust trumps angst and fear,
all hunger for God’s sustenance.

Sustainability must be addressed
from both directions simultaneously,
mine & yours, ours & theirs.
How can we both live and serve
with what we have and haven’t?

Dignity becomes a possibility
when resources are controlled
by those who have a need;
we/they becomes us,
stuff becomes God’s.

Tapestry of mission and service
unfurls into intended form
when we all allow ourselves
to be fed by the long-handled spoon
of one another’s gifts and grace.

© 2010 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Church I See

I see a congregation that celebrates worship in two separate locations,
at two separate times, in two separate styles, yet yearns to live, act,
and serve as a single body, united in its commitment to serve the risen
Christ through its common mission. I have a vision of a congregation
that sees the sanctuary and the gym as half-full on Sunday mornings,
and is so excited about what is going on here that friends, neighbors,
co-workers, and acquaintances hear about it and are invited. Have we
seen this congregation? Will we be this congregation?

I see a church that reaches out to serve others near and far with time,
treasure, and talent; a church with missional fervor that has been
grasped by grace and flung into the world with an attitude of gratitude.
I have a vision of a church that staffs itself and holds its staff accountable
for supporting and empowering all of its members to more
faithfully embrace a personal and corporate call to Christian worship,
mission, and service. Have we seen her? Will we be her?

I see people who make time to learn and teach one another, and all
who gather, in all sorts of formats and venues, not because it is an obligation,
but because it is a passion. I have a vision of people whose
faith traditions are regularly practiced, understood, celebrated, and
shared; people who ask “Why not?” more often than “Why?”
Have we seen these people? Will we be these people?

I see a congregation that gladly opens its doors, hearts, and homes to
people of all ages and circumstances, regardless of whether they are
members or whether they do or can contribute to the church’s coffers;
a congregation that recognizes that each generation has something to
teach and learn from the other. I have a vision of a congregation that
believes finding better ways to connect the generations is critical to its
purpose. Have we seen this congregation? Will we be this congregation?

I see a church that cultivates members whose generosity is deeply
rooted in God’s ownership of all creation; a church that challenges its
members to join in and support its mission and vision, rather than
meet its budget. I have a vision of a church that bases its budget more
on what it believes God wants done, than on patterns of what people
have let go of; a church whose members find ways to support the
church’s mission during and after their own lives are complete. Have
we seen her? Will we be her?

I see people who are fully and joyfully committed to and engaged in
revealing God’s grace to all generations now and forevermore. Have
we seen these people? Will we be these people? Won’t you
join these people?

© 2010 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Pastor Jessi recently introduced me to an online art form called “Wordle.” ( The main page’s introduction reads:

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

This description is much too simple. Wordle may be considered a “toy” because you can “play” with (tweak) the images it generates, but the power of the “word cloud” image goes far beyond play. It creates a visual representation of the central ideas and focal points of a given body of words.

From time to time, either printed in the bulletin or on the screen for TouchPoint, we will use wordle word-clouds to help you see the key messages and meanings in scripture, stories, and other writings. Above is a wordle word cloud for this article.

© 2010 Todd Jenkins