Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Grace in the Dark

Culture begs us to go
toward the light,
but those who are not

afraid of the dark
are far more capable
of journeying to the depths;

the very places
hungering for a taste
of God lifting us above

cycles and circumstances
of our past, offering us a
different present, resurrected future.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Targeting Religion

Too much of what’s labeled evangelism
feels like “Stand Your Ground” unleashed:
unbridled enthusiasm relentlessly

pursuing unknown entity.
Jesus as weapon of choice;
self-righteous indignation

crosshair in which stranger is targeted;
religious superheroes leaving
faith safely locked in the basement.

Where are hearts, voices, lives
mirroring deep contentment, assurance
of Christ’s gentle, irresistible grace?

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, July 23, 2012


Higgs Boson or not,
we are eons away
from understanding what
the human brain can accomplish
in the face of adversity;

maybe it would be more correct to say
“what cranial wireless networks
God reveals in particular circumstances.”

Someone, somewhere is always praying
for THIS time, place, as revelation.

Now would be another good one.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Friday, July 20, 2012

Grand Design

My view of the world
is one way to look at it,
but not the only way;
not your way either.

Like the blind ones
examining the elephant
from different perspectives,
perhaps we should

avail ourselves of
our differing perspectives,
since community, culture,
cooperation seem to be

part of grand design.
African proverb says,
“If you want to go quickly, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.”

Let’s commit ourselves
to the steady train;
long haul with much more
than room for self and same.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, July 16, 2012


They reveal themselves
on multiple levels,
hidden in plain sight,
as Highlights picture puzzles
in Pediatricians’ offices;

rearing their inquisitive,
snake-like heads in places
polite society would never acknowledge.
Manners won’t dissolve them,
not even nasty stares or snarky comments.

Firm they hang, waiting
to be plucked like ripe fruit,
sometimes even falling off the tree,
glancing blows off unsuspecting heads.
“What have you to gain

by this endeavor; what have I?”
“What would happen
if we stood back,
leaving well-enough alone,
giving a chance to the people

whose very life may
depend on this outcome?”
Maybe that’s the ultimate question,
first asked by smart-aleck kid:
“What’s it to you?”

And if the answer is,
“Nothing much.” then
it may really not be
our question to answer.
Perhaps we could better spend

our time answering questions
for which we are chiefly responsible:
“Why am I here?”
“What can I do?”
“What will it matter?”

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Life is less about deciding
what you can or can't do;
more about figuring out
how to live the burning
that lies deep within you.

Always remember:
you cannot change the world alone;
changing the world takes us,
working together, for another.  

When I choose to
accept the real me
because I understand

that a genuine me
makes a better world,

God’s image is reflected.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


When we diagram sentences
in the story of faith,
most heinous error is
transposing subject, object.

God is always subject.
We are ever objects.

The verb? Love.
Not culture’s syrup or obsession.

Compassion, commitment,
connection tethering
not only us to self of God;
weaving human tapestry
into warmth and comfort,
dignity, respect for all life.

In this way,
desire supplants obligation,
guilt melts for grace,
profane morphs into sacred;
all become One, holy.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, July 5, 2012


When your phone is in your pocket and, by your right movement and pressure (or wrong, depending on your perspective), it dials a number, some people call that a butt-call. I think God butt-calls me all the time. I’m just sitting there minding my own business (or somebody else’s) and my “phone” rings—not actually my phone; but something gets my attention the way my phone does when it rings. Then all I hear at the other end of my newly-focused attention is silence.

Sometimes I imagine God, phone in hip pocket, busy doing critical God-things, leaning back a little too hard against the universe and inadvertently hitting the redial or speed-dial button. You know that feeling. You have a sense that God purposefully has directed your attention, and is very present in the moment, but there’s no particular voice or message—just silence.

I used to be annoyed when this would happen; but then one day it occurred to me that, in order for this to happen, MY number must have been the last one that God called, or even that I'm on God's speed-dial, and I thought, “How cool is THAT?!” Of course, the way God operates, the fact that my “phone” rings in no way excludes your “phone” from ringing, and everyone else’s, for that matter. Come to think of it, butt-calling all of us on a regular basis, just so we don’t completely miss all of the ways God is at work in our lives, might be a top priority on the list of Critical God-Things. How cool is THAT?!

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Independence, taken to
its logical conclusion,
without creation’s tapestry of community,
leaves us with nothing more than
winner-take-all tournaments
whose grand prize is
the nothingness of one.

We can only achieve independence
on one front by carefully tending
to dependence on others.
There are no independent independents;
only fools whose temporary rise
prepares them for catastrophic fall.

Benjamin Franklin was right:
“We must, indeed, all hang together, or
assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Patriotism

My patriotism flows from the deep places where God’s questions continue to challenge the actions and choices of all nations, including ours; because even our own great nation is not free from greed, deception, and selfishness.  I know this because I have seen the same demons rise from the depths of my own being.  It is a patriotism that forces me to look beyond campaign slogans and promises to ask if the “widow, the orphan, and the sojourner” are being cared for, and if justice and mercy are becoming the inseparable partners in God’s intended shalom; a patriotism that will not allow me to shirk the same questions with regard to my own life’s practice.

My patriotism is not of the flag-waving variety, and yet the sight of a color guard in parade dress brings tears to my eyes.  I am constantly reminded of the price that has been paid by former generations of soldiers, and the cost to the current generation and its families.  It demands that I be able to distinguish between supporting soldiers and condoning war.  The former is a duty that must not be abandoned, no matter how I feel about the latter.  My prayers for soldiers do not neutralize my prayers for peace or vice versa.  My patriotism cannot count human life as acceptable collateral damage.  It grieves for every human life that is ground into the grave by the cogs of war’s machinery.

My patriotism believes that true freedom will exist only when questions can be asked without fear, and the conversation is open to all, regardless of their opinions.  It holds that truth is best discerned when all the laundry is on the line, and all the players are invited to the table.  It knows that there is a fine line between maintaining national security and protecting vested interest, and those public officials who walk this tightrope are in need of our prayers, as well as our calls for accountability.

My patriotism, like the faith from which it grows, will not accept the words individual or private as modifiers.  It is a communal creature which values the thoughts, prayers, and conversation of others.  This is my patriotism.  I would love to hear about yours.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins