land of rest

Land of Rest is a blog of Peter Jenks. Poems, quotes and photos are by Peter Jenks (unless otherwise noted or I miss noting an older post's photo) and are copyrighted, you are free to use these if you acknowledge their source.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


“In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” [Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP keynote address]  Recently this quote was circulated around facebook as a meme.

Carl Sagan lived in a world principally inhabited by scientists, and sometimes challenged by defensive and aggressive religious people and political ideologues.

Religion has a vast multitude of people who have had not only their opinions, but their way of life changed and transformed and opened to different ways of thinking by others who have offered alternative perspectives. Politics also has a wide array of people who have come to realize that what they once thought is now not applicable.

We live in an ideological world where the extremes get all the press. They are not the majority, nor the model for what we all experience.

Repentance has been preached for many thousands of years, and heard, and effected to lives and well beings of millions of people. Repentance is a changing of perspective because of information, experience, or a presentation of love and ideas from a different perspective.

Criticism is cheap, and demeaning religion because of those portrayed in the press or most vocal is not taking the time to listen, as is the case with any group of people. In the same way many religious people have not listened closely to people in the scientific community, who are not bought out by special interests nor biased against people of faith.

We can always be surprised. How wonderful it is when we find ourselves surrounded by the open minds and hearts of people who want to learn, discover and be in awe.


Monday, March 25, 2013

soup sonnet

sage in the snow, spring 2013
When cold and wind are busy kissing their
thin chapped and crackled lips, when snow  
becomes a flattened ice blanket and where
our breath will bellow out the smoke of cold;
When days are shorter than the dark recess
of fear and unforgiven memory,
and curtains closed to hold out excess frost
of eyes and expectations of the town;
When corridors of rooms remain all closed
in with excuses that save heat, but more
to mask the old remnants of life that is
long gone and long to ever see return;
Then any small gesture can bring on spring.
Love is as simple as a bowl of soup.

Friday, March 15, 2013

an unrhymed sonnet




An unrhymed sonnet.

So, I have tried bargaining with your plans,
with patience, waiting like I have been told;
then frantically keeping busy -
to find that only time has passed, that’s all.
The promises and the companionship
which were foretold, or at least offered
by your letters, somehow seem to be dreams
exhaled from my heart, from my memory.
In sorrow, grief and my abandonment
arose the need to carry on alone.
The mud from melted snow is washing down
the street and into other people’s yard.
And now with all my expectation lost,
Stripped bare, I’m left to finally see you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

obscene

It is interesting to me that we first view the understanding of something being obscene as something sexual. And sexual obscenity is restricted, even movies have ratings to keep minors away from it. Yet the obscenity of wealth is not restricted, nor is it taboo. How wonderful it would be to have to type in one's age, or to have brown paper around a magazine that showed ostentatious wealth and greed. If when someone referred to such displays of wealth and excess we shook our heads and thought it as bad as  abusing someone sexually. For such acts of greed and exploitation and avoidance of paying taxes for the common good are in fact abusing more people than single acts of sexuality. Instead, people boast and brag about their ability to "game" the system to their advantage, to avoid paying people living wages. Obscenity is obscenity and sin is sin.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who do we serve

One should not serve the church in order to serve God.
One serves God and in doing so might serve in a church for the work of God.
One does not love others in order to love God.
One loves God and in doing so ends up falling in love with others.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

We are out and looking for food

did you bring us anything?

mystery of faith


One of my great escapes and ways to relax is to read or watch mys-tery stories. It is always a fun challenge for me to try and figure out, ‘who done it’. So often, I have found, the one that is the obvious culprit and seems to be guilty is not the one who is revealed to be the guilty party when the truth is exposed. And a good mystery story, when it is over, leaves me going back over the story remembering all the clues I overlooked, or didn’t understand at the time, or thought to be unrelated to the case. When I look back I can see how it all fits together, but when I was reading the story it was all so puzzling.
There is a wonderful parallel between a good mystery and a life of faith. So often the things that we see as most important and as a sure truth later reveals itself to have been a distraction to the deeper issues of our life. Elections, sporting events, news headlines, and other engulfing dra-mas so often take up great amounts of energy, yet are not the things that truly define our life. Even within the church I find this to be evident. There is much news coverage about the election of the new pope. In the larger events of our life with Christ it really does not matter who is the pope. The reporters of God’s journal have little to say about this election, but much to say about how we behave with those around us. How we treat the waitress at brunch, the friend in need, or our own bodies, is a broader headline in the kingdom of God.
When we look back on our lives; when we sit down to write a spiritual autobiography, as is done each year in the Education for Ministry (EfM) program; when we have time to put every-thing in perspective, then we can see clearly that the things that once seemed so important were in fact only passing flashes of distraction and the key elements of truth were there all along, it just took us longer to see their proper importance.
In the mystery story we try to figure out ‘who done it’, or what secrets were hidden and by whom. In the mystery of faith we discover it is our own secrets that are being revealed and that what has been done is the complete offering of love and forgiveness for us by God.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A BAD IDEA that was sent my way

This is a very bad idea, he is not using safety glasses, a hard hat, nor ear protection.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I look back

portrait of Hanna
I look back, only because I am not there anymore.


Minding our Words


Becoming aware of what we eat, how we eat is an important step in spiritual development. The growing awareness of the need for better food, for an end to the industrialization of our food and the re-emergance of food that is grown, not processed is a great sign of spiritual health in our land.
But we need to not stop at food. How we live with violence, sexuality, and how we communicate are just as important. The very words we use are as important as the food we eat. When we allow ourselves to slide into apathy, complacency with our language and let it be demeaning and ungracious than it is as bad as using high fructose corn syrup or GMO products. We need to no longer slide into slang and offhandedly use vulgarity when we can use a wide range of well meaning words with great effect.
There is an old saying that Manners maketh the man. Well, perhaps manners will help us make us men and women again of integrity and dignity. Water, electricity and attitudes slide quickly to the path of least resistance. The grace of God opens for us the obstacles of opportunity to stop such a waterfall and pump the energy of life back up to higher ground. If we are to eat better, let us also think of sharing our language better at the table of our love. Blessings and grace are a wonderful beginning. An open discourse on issues and events is a great entrée, and humor without demeaning others is the perfect dessert.

God's headlines

The recent headlines and attention that has been showered upon the pope and his retirement and the gathering of the cardinals is of interesting to many people and the press, but I venture to guess that it is not of much interest to God. In fact there are probably few headlines about it in heaven. More headlines, photos and time of God is spent on the people who might be visiting Rome, the families traveling, finding hotels, worried about losing children in the crowd, people out of work, or those who are the maids, waiters, street cleaners, etc. and their deep concerns and longings.
Our media wants to sell papers, and sin and sensationalism are of more interest to the selling of papers to most of us than what would be of interest to the angels of God. So often, in fact, are the news stories covered by our press not really very newsworthy.  But for the fact of a gory photograph or a wardrobe malfunction, or some sexual peccadillo we would not be reading the paper or visiting the website at all.

It does get me to wonder what a newspaper in heaven might look like. Since the kingdom of heaven is at hand, then there must be an alternate press in our very midst, covering the chickens, the trees, the rivers, the small details of our everyday that seem so trivial now, yet are everything in eternity.
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