Thursday, May 29, 2014

Liquid Prayer

When two or more hearts beat in rhythm,
hope from the ocean's depth
defies gravity and pulses skyward,
seeking to be free.

The eyes have an escape route built-in -
thank you very much, God -
an aqueduct for release.

Those who've experienced
the true strength of Love's
vulnerability know better than
to struggle against the flow.

Instead, we simply pause
to revel in the power of their salty gift,
trusting in divine Grace
to unpack every scared and sacred plea.
Painting of Camp NaCoMe bridge by Ruben Torres
© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How Dare You!

Polite society cringes
when someone dares
to hurl this exclamation
toward the heavens.

It's not that anger
is taboo or unexpected.
On the contrary; rage unleashed
on the road or anywhere else
is standard fare in our culture.

But it is mostly aimed at others,
as lesser beings bearing responsibility
for our own unhappiness,

or even occasionally,
in our bravest moments,
at the mirror of our naked selves.

What those on faith's periphery
cannot fathom is the way
that such expression unveils

a deep and abiding trust
in a God not only strong enough
to accept such heat, but also
loving enough to hold us in,
through, and beyond the fire.

We call it grace – this wave
of unconditional mercy
that pours on all creation
like an ever flowing stream,

inviting us to risk self-forgiveness
before letting its flow continue
into lives all around us.
Photo by Holly Jenkins
© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, May 26, 2014

I Believe

Belief is not something
you defend while you wait
for the world to change or acquiesce.
It's not even something
that changes you.

It is the intellectual sum
of the actions you've already taken,
the questions with which you're wrestling,
and the relationships you're nurturing.

When your beliefs stop changing
and growing, so do you.
If this happens, no matter what else
you think you're doing,
you're mostly just waiting to die.
Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins


Photo by Todd Jenkins

It's painfully ironic that we use
the same word to describe
the delicate and often fru-fru trappings
of our everyday excess and eccentricity

that we use to identify both
the survivors of war's carnage
and our remembrance and honoring
of their final resting places.

May our decorating of the graves
of our decorated ones awaken us
to the deep truth of both
our debt to them and their families,

as well as our desperate need
to find our collective way
to a path decorated by Peace.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Can we not dig below the surface
of our reverence for the men and women,
boys and girls who offer their hearts, lives,
and give up so much else to wear the uniform
and wield our nation's weapons of war?

Surely, a significant portion of that
lumped throat and trickling tear
comes from our amazement
at the courage welling up
in ordinary folk; from our respect
for service that sets aside self;

from the realization that battle
and all of its wicked cousins
accelerate the odds for mortality,
and those who volunteer to serve
are human barriers for our comfort zones.  

Safely tucked beneath that appreciation
lies another gut-wrenching:
the often-unconscious conviction
that armed conflict is not the solution;

the realization that there may
one day be a final war,
but it won't be the result
of a war to end all wars.

The universe's truth is that violence
cannot and will not end itself.
Even physics supports this premise.

This shadow emotion may be
the only hope to lead us along a path
to peace that has not been
irreparably rutted by war's machine. 

Photo by Mary Dumas Sgarlato

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, May 19, 2014


"Ready, fire, aim!" is the way
we most often activate
the diffractor beam of our anger,

raging against others, and
occasionally, self, all the while
missing both the point and the mark.

"All forgiveness begins
with self-forgiveness." she whispers;
and the god against whom
I'm actually intending to aim

is no god at all, but only
the undeveloped negative
of an image from when I let
someone else hold
my camera years ago.

Anxiety and her trust-busting sister,
Fear, are the ones trying
to throw up the boomerang shield,
which only keeps the hate circulating.

Ego, who fantasizes that he's
from an alternate gene pool,
believes he can harmlessly
and heroically absorb it all like
a nuclear waste storage facility.

Meanwhile, Grace sits on the porch,
patiently waiting for us
to unlock the deadbolt;
just dying to transform us
into the transparent beings
for which we've been blueprinted,

so that pain passes through,
whether self-inflicted or otherwise,
leaving us whole and unscathed,
and others are free to answer
Grace at their own door.
Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Friday, May 16, 2014

Creation's Oath

How long will you squander
your precious time and energy
trying to fit yourself into
the imagined mold of divine perfection?

Jesus' earthly sojourn was
as a human; fully as a human.
Incarnation is not a blueprint
for transforming imperfect humans
into faultless heavenly beings.

It is an invitation to fully experience
the joy of humanity
for which we were created.

In that primordial order,
perfection comes from completely
embracing our creatureliness.

Peace and harmony come
when we all figure out
that joy arrives with living
as our true selves,
our whole true selves,
and nothing but our true selves,
so help us God.

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fox Holes

What if there are no atheists
in the paths of tornadoes,
like there are none in war's fox holes;
all of us "praying away",
instead of "praying up" a storm?

Then, God doesn't have to choose sides
or conduct evaluations to determine
whose prayer wins the essay contest,

and the storm is free to follow
her own wild and stubborn path,
like she was going to anyway;

and we all – survivors, victims,
and friends alike – can cling
to the divine promise of presence,

no one having to believe
that grace wasn't big enough
to cover them or their loved ones,
because it's far larger than that.

Photo by Owen Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


It’s funny how the church
is so averse to it, and yet it is
the fundamental purpose of prayer.

Then again, prayer opens up
the possibility for ANYTHING to change,
which turns out to mostly be us.

Once we realize that prayer
is really about transformation,
it's too late to take back

all those we’ve offered,
but it's never too late
to offer some more.

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, May 5, 2014


(Genesis 1:27)

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

Teach us how to be
less reactive,
more reflective;

relinquishing the reflex
of immediate response
and the volatile emotion
fueling flash-fire,
scorching innocent bystanders;

steeping ourselves, instead,
in the leaves of your image,
mirroring love, wisdom, compassion
for all the world to see and share.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Loaf and cup call your name,
pleading for you to become
one with something larger than self,
something that both precedes you
and will far outlast you.

Give up the small self
that knows and controls,
but also hides and fears.

Receive the bread and wine
that pull you into both
your own pain and suffering
and the world's, but also
bid your fractured shards to rise
into the family of faith,

to both eat and drink grace
and become food for those
whose brokenness dares
to come out of hiding
in the presence of yours.

Yes, rise by dying,
not on your own terms,
but those of Love, because
it is the only path to resurrection,
the shared hope for all of creation.

Photo by Todd Jenkins
 © 2014 Todd Jenkins