Saturday, December 24, 2011

Editing the Future

The other day I tried to use an old jump-drive that I found in my desk. My laptop opened the drive and indicated that its storage capacity was already maxed out. The image above shows the files it contains. Notice that the highlighted file was last modified December 29, 2103. It's been a while since I studied math, but I'm pretty sure this date is more than 92 years into the future. 

Beyond the frustration with my inability to remove these extraneous files to make room for today's important documents and pictures, I am curious about what it's like to edit the future. Most people spend a lot of time and energy trying to edit their past, and some of us use precious human resources worrying about what will happen later, but I'm not sure I've ever considered the implications of editing the future. 

I hope you never grow weary of hearing about grace (as it seems that I am forever thinking and writing about it). I think that grace is precisely that-- a way of re-writing the possibility of who we can and will become. If I could open the 2103 file of our lives, I am confident that I would find overflowing evidence of God's glorious unfolding plan. Barring major medical breakthrough, I do not expect to be alive in 2103, but I have unwavering faith that the world that God intends will still be unfolding. 

My current hope is to leave both the past and future to God, and to do my best to open myself to living in and with the present. 

© 2011 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Advent’s call to wait, watch, prepare
didn’t outlast Thanksgiving’s leftover turkey;
O come, o come Emmanuel gave way
to O little town of Bethlehem.

The family candle ritual fell
as the calendar filled with fun;
the bell lap comes earlier each year,
pushing, pressing; fibrillation nears.

The devotional book gathers dust
as cable inundates us with new classics.
How many twists and technologies can we find
to complicate and reintroduce Nicholas’ gift?

Worship at the cathedral of the mall
intensifies as credit tachometers
whine beyond the red zone;
package toting enhances subluxation.

Always one step ahead of where we are;
spirit, mind, body– never the three shall meet;
standing in line, expecting only to
exchange presents instead of presence.

Beyond the mall manger’s baby powder scent
the Christ child begs our attention;
the true spending gift of Christmas
is risking honest time sharing love.

© 2004 Todd Jenkins

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gathered and Sent

Newsflash: The word “synagogue” has its roots in the Greek word that means “gathered.” Synagogues became life-giving places of sanctuary for those practicing the Hebrew faith as its practitioners became widely scattered across the Middle East, and particularly after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. The word “church” has its roots in the Greek word ecclesia, which means “sent out.” The practice of faith via religion requires a balance of these two: gathering and sending. If today’s church spent and focused as much of its time, talent, energy, and possessions on being sent out (“blessed, broken and shared” to use the language of Eucharist) as it does on being gathered (secure, protected, and perpetuated) the world would be a much healthier and holier place. Just sayin’. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sunset December 14

My cousin Lee and others have shared numerous photos of breathtaking sunsets lately (the photo's hers), which is probably why I was so attentive to the horizon on the way back from Vantown yesterday. I couldn't pull over and take a picture, so I just talked to the sun all the way home. Here's what I couldn't get out of my head this morning:

As struggle/transition (synonymous most times)
between day and night
neared its inevitable conclusion –
just when I thought the sun
would acquiesce painlessly,
she opened a vein,
letting flow a dark red river.

Clouds, tipping their hand,
soaked up the blood like nurses
gently gauzing surgical incision,
evidencing their complicity in the coup.

Of course, dark eventually triumphed,
but through sun’s epic struggle,
those of us facing raging night
remember her promised return;
winter’s pall not quite so ominous.

This daily sacrifice,
played out on every horizon,
with infinite variety,
shores-up fragile walls of faith,
reminding us: grace and God
are as ever-tenacious
in pursuit of our future.

Thanks be to edge of earth and sky!

© 2011 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, December 11, 2011

If Joseph Had a Blog

Bringing the Gospel into the 21st Century
(If Joseph Had a Blog)

Joseph Weldon:

March 1
Mary’s been acting strange lately—not just your usual “teenage girl you’ve asked to marry you” strange. It’s more than that, but I can’t put my finger on it.

May 3
Work has been so busy lately that I haven’t even had time to blog. There are so many bridges that need building, and I’m so very thankful to have a job working on them. Haven’t had much time for sleep, and when I have, I’ve had some pretty weird dreams.

Last night I dreamed that an extra-terrestrial visited me, only it wasn’t one of those Roswell-like outer-space creatures—more like a really calming presence that glowed a lot. I wonder if it was someone who had spent too much time at one of Japan’s earthquake-damaged nuclear power plants. Anyway, this “dream visitor” told me Mary was the one for me (Duh, don’t I know that?!). Then he told me that she was faithful and a very good listener, and that I should learn from her.

After that, the dream turned into a nightmare. He told me that Mary was going to have a baby! And I knew that we hadn’t… and he said that she hadn’t… and then I woke up in a cold sweat.

May 15
Finally got to talk to Mary about that crazy nightmare I had. I’m beginning to wonder if both of us didn’t get some bad sushi, ‘cause she says she had a similar dream. Not only that, she’s started to put on weight and has this indescribable glow about her—and I’m not talking about a nuclear glow. What’s up with that? Do you think that dream-visitor could have been right?

August 20
Now everyone’s starting to treat us differently—and not in a good way. We can see it everywhere we go. People stop talking when we get within ear-shot and look at us with either a deer-in-the-headlights look on their faces, or a smug, down-the-nose stare, and then we hear them whispering after we pass by.

I’ve taken to praying a lot lately—not so much because I think I’m so spiritual or religious, but because there’s so much I don’t understand, and it’s the only way I’ve learned to live with the unanswered questions.

October 8
There’s no hiding this baby-on-the-way now. The only remaining question is what we’ll do after it arrives.

I just received notice in the mail that Uncle Sam is requiring that I be in some nowheres-ville town in Kansas for the last 2 weeks of December. There’s a Homeland Security training event scheduled there, and my National Guard unit is participating.

We leave for Kansas next weekend. I’m afraid to leave Mary alone. She looks like she’s wearing a 30 lb. watermelon around her waist, and neither one of us have very many friends left. I guess she’s going to have to go with me. I sure hope we can find an affordable place to stay!

This “listening to God” stuff is harder than it looks. I’m going to keep praying, hope for the best, and listen as well as I can. To all my followers out there in the blogosphere I beg: Pray for us! Pray for us all.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins