Sunday, November 30, 2014


Our blessings are legion,
O Lord, but that doesn't mean
that demons aren't
swirling in our lives,
attempting to possess us.

We find ourselves surrounded
by Consumption and Greed,
by Comparison and Indifference,
by Judgment and Fear.

Cast out all of these
who would influence us
to want more and love less,
 to hoard more and give less.

Show us the lie
of Scarcity that we
may live the truth
of your Abundance.

Into the places where Hurt
and Anxiety creep,
pour in your Grace
that it may seep
all the way to the marrow
of our souls, and we
may find the truth of Enough.
Guatemala, November 2014

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I thought I was walking
in the ones you've been given,
until I realized that they were
only my most uncomfortable ones,
which probably look
and feel very different from
the ones you're wearing.

And it really wasn't a mile;
more like a brief nightmare
from which I could wake
and assure myself that such things
could never happen in real life.
At least not in mine.

Lord, have mercy!

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Not broken or
declared defective,
or thrown on the trash pile;

not even repaired,
or replaced, or refurbished,
or recalled;

but healed is what
God has declared
we will become.

Healing with beautiful scars
and glorious stretch marks
to remind everyone,
ourselves included,

that the cuts and bruises,
cracks and crumblings
are not so much evidence
of our mistakes and failures,
as necessary entry points
and exit ports for Grace.

They are stained glass slivers
through which light
is able to shine and refract
into all the people and places
the sun has yet to reach.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whole Life

It doesn't mean there are no broken pieces;
won’t guarantee that you’ll be put together
like you were, or like you dreamed,
or like somebody else told you that you should be.

It’s not a pristine book with gilded pages
un-smudged as the day it rolled off the press.
It’s not a policy that guarantees protection from harm,
or even reimbursement for the inevitability of death.

It has been fully lived, including the good, bad, and ugly;
dead ends, re-routings, pain, suffering, and grief.
Cracks abound, with no attempt to disguise them;
savored, instead, in humility and gratitude
because they have created you,
both in the breaking and in the re-forming.

To jettison or judge is to discard essential parts
of who you are, to plea-bargain for a knock-off.
The world needs all of you, past and present,
in order to move toward the abundant life
that Grace is preparing for our future.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Friends are familiarity
breeding anything but contempt.
They alert us to the comfort
that therapy's mirror
need not reflect a solo portrait.

The very best of them
can be found beside us;
their body language
and facial expressions
often mimicking our own;

this camaraderie is often
the path from pity to party,
lament to laughter.

Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney
© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, November 10, 2014


Grace becomes a tangible reality, 
and a true driver 
in the universe's market, 
when we begin to realize 

that the only thing our lives
should be compared against 
is God's freely offered 
and overflowing love. 

In this measuring cup, 
no one and no thing
are a threat to living joyfully; 

peace becomes a byproduct 
of breathing; and others 
become our sisters and brothers. 
Photo by DeEtta H. Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins  

Saturday, November 8, 2014


She sidles up as if
she were an old friend, 
but we know better; 

know that through her wiles 
old friends will die. 
Not necessarily people, 

mind you, but customs, 
places, and so much 
comfort from familiarity. 

If it were not for the loss, 
and the twisting grief 
that losing causes - 

grief that surprises us 
by its cunning deception - 
we might could stomach 
her forward summons. 

Where can we find an anchor 
that holds but will not drown; 
a tether that secures 
but will not entangle? 

Lord, have mercy! 
Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

© 2014 Todd Jenkins  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Outside the Walls

My sense is that the institutional church's current conflict and paralysis are largely a result of fear/grief from mainline Protestant religion's perceived decline in influence. As our global culture gives more credence to a plethora of competing claims, honest inquiry asks deeper questions, and we’re not all prepared for that kind of digging.

Instead of settling for dogma, belief, and adherence, people want to see and participate in a living of the gospel that is in-the-flesh.  This incarnational living creates an overwhelming desire to experience God at work outside congregational walls, where worship, by itself, isn't sufficient. 

In such a position (which is really the same old intersection of cross and humanity), the church's task is to thoroughly grieve these losses of influence (imagined or real), and begin to move forward toward the practice of a more genuine gospel that is less beholden to the encumbrances of, not only sanctuary, but also privilege and exclusivity; a gospel that is more focused on the unleashing of divine justice and mercy that are both individual and institutional.
Photo by Holly Jenkins Williams

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

E Pluribus Unum

"Out of many, one."
We're from the government
and we're here to help;

from the presbytery, the church,
the neighborhood, the community.
We're all in this together.

Help; when you want it;
when you need it;
when you'll accept it;
even when you won't.

One beggar telling another beggar
where to find bread.

If we don't find ways
to keep ourselves in this together,
we'll find ourselves out of it, apart.
E Pluribus Unum.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, November 3, 2014

Grace Seeps

When the power of resurrection
seeps into your brokenness
at all the thin places
and thin times of your life,

it is so radical and transformational
that the transactional world
cannot deal with it.

You begin to let go of all the pretending:
perfection, comparison, competition,
scarcity, fear, blaming, hoarding, ego –
all of the things by which
you had been controlled.

You begin to play by different rules.
The old rules, hard and fast
as they are, become insignificant;
not because you are above them,
but because you have been
moved beyond them.

You can no longer see and act
in binary fashion, checking off lists
of things you will or won't do
because they are right or wrong.

You are both under the control
of and set free by something
much bigger than law.

You are living through Love,
which turns out to be a messy,
complicated rule that refuses
to be exclusively held by anyone
or nailed to any particular place or time.

This Love is a gift.
You didn't earn it.
You don't own it.
You can't choose who deserves it,
because nobody does,
including you.

Yet it's been given to you anyway;
not just parceled out to you stingily,
but poured out on you extravagantly;

given to you so that
you can let its gift and power
soak all the way
to the marrow of your bones,

flushing out all hurt and hatred,
and all other lies of "not enough"
all falsehoods of “not good enough”;

given to you so that
you can reflect it to others;
so that you can share it
with everyone you meet.

Unlike all that other stuff
that controlled you,
this Love shrinks and dies
when you try to hoard it,
and grows and blossoms
when you give it away.

This is your mission –
your life's purpose
from this day forward –

to let the rule of Love
free you to respond with grace,
not because anyone has earned it,
but because we are all
dying without it.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins