Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Excuses: the peripheral events
we push to the forefront in an attempt
to lessen the impact of our choices
and avoid some of the responsibility
for our words and actions
used and taken, withheld and neglected.

Everyone has extenuating circumstances
in their life that, when carefully
stacked with reason and mortared with intent,
build a one-sided wall that looks
impenetrable from the inside,
yet altogether like
the emperor’s new clothes
from the out.

Integrity in relationship comes
when periphery remains at the margins,
penitence comes from the heart,
hope flows from the promise
to learn, love, and live
toward a tomorrow where
second chances are genuine and
relationships are valued above scores.

© 2011 Todd Jenkins

Monday, January 17, 2011

I was 8 years old in 1967, living in Decatur, Georgia. That Christmas, my biggest concern was whether or not Santa would bring me the Man from U.N.C.L.E. briefcase I so desperately wanted. He did, though I have no idea what happened to it since then. In another part of metropolitan Atlanta, larger concerns loomed.

December 24, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., climbed into the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, for what few people imagined would be his final Christmas Eve sermon. In a courageously prophetic voice, he named the “giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism” as interconnected forces that stood between the world as it was and the world as God intended.

In many ways we have journeyed far since then, but all three of them are still standing. I’m not sure the direction we’ve moved has brought us any closer to divine intentions—more likely farther away. With regard to racism, many laws have changed, as well as quite a few hearts, though we’ve miles to go before we can sleep in the shalom of God’s true peace.

Our appetite for possessions and our penchant for war seem to have escalated. I’ve outgrown the childish desire for a secret agent briefcase, and even consider larger concerns most days. I often recognize racism when it tries to convince me to act selfishly and fearfully.

Materialism is a more elusive and seductive threat. I know I’m not made more secure by the things I own—often even less secure, as I am consumed by the need to protect them—a protection that tries to convince me that other people who might want to take my things are somehow less than human and have little in common with me. Isn’t that how war begins?

Dr. King was right.

© 2011 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Songs of Freedom

(For all those whose flowers are picked before they bloom.)

“Surrounded by Your Glory,
what will my heart feel?”
How many times do you think
they wondered and pondered this?
And how many times
did you wonder it for them?

“Your rivers full of mercy
are flooding every thirsty soul
and making all things new.”
Make all our souls, O Lord,
thirst for you; you alone.
Let our broken hearts also be made whole.

“We’ve been blessed to be a blessing
with enough to give enough.”
Let not these few years
have been in vain.
Give us the hearts to see and share
the more-than-enough we received.

“My chains are gone,
I’ve been set free.”
Unfetter us, O God,
that we might proclaim
the liberty of your grace, the hope of faith.

“Will I dance for you, Jesus?
Or in awe of you, be still?”
How many times has the dance been mentally practiced?
How awesome it must be
moving beyond rehearsal to worship!

(“I Can Only Imagine” Mercy Me; “See Them Come” Ken Bible; “Blessed to Be a Blessing” Brown, Borop, Liles, Cloninger; “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” Chris Tomlin & Louie Giglio)

© 2010 Todd Jenkins