We need enemies.

People we can fear and mistrust.

And hate. Against whom we can unite

our efforts and our souls.


Look, can you see them?

Those ones, over there; they don’t

share our values at all. They threaten the way of life

that God has given us and that our comfort has blessed.

They are dangerous.


Yes them;

Let us take up our arms,

our pens and our umbrage

and demand that they are suitably confronted,

confounded and called to account.

Feel the pleasing warmth of our cultivated outrage;

enjoy the convenience of enemies.


Even Jesus had enemies,

People who opposed his work,

ones against whom he felt he had to stand;

but perhaps fewer than we might have thought.

Passing up the opportunity of rallying his supporters

and joining in their fears,

he is said to have once declared

that “whoever is not against us

is for us.”

No wonder he was such a failure.

© Ken Rookes 2012

Stumbling blocks

My hand, my foot, my eye;

yes, from time to time

and on occasions, each of these

causes me to stumble.

Other parts too, including some

which my innate sense of decorum

precludes me mentioning.

My brain is the worst,

harbouring, as it does,

my quest for comfort,

my desire for a quiet life,

and those thoughts

which might properly be described

as lustful.

Shall I cut them off, or tear them out,

as the gospel writers suggest?

But I no longer believe in hell,

and my brain might be considered

a somewhat essential organ;

and it appears that my selfish desires

are as much a part of my core being

as any proclivities towards goodness,

love and generosity.

This latter group of worthy aspects

are, I like to think, fruits

of a discipleship choice I have made

to follow one who is truth.

These qualities I try to cultivate;

the others, I strive to keep in check.

Everything else is grace.


© Ken Rookes 2012


A capable wife who can find?

Proverbs 31:10

Hmmm. I think we need a better title than this.


A true partnership is worth the effort

A true partnership is worth the effort,

it is more precious than water.

Hearts that trust, and look to amend themselves,

not the other. Connection,

not perfection is not their goal.

They employ the warm touchings

of various states of nakedness.

as they work in tandem to create a future

of surprise and delight.

They strive to shape a hopeful world of peace

to honour the love that they are making.

They are unafraid of uncertainty, or of poverty;

they care not for riches;

for each has received the gift of the other.

It is more than enough.

When they struggle, it is together.

They sacrifice without keeping score

and count it a privilege for the sake of love.

Forgiveness and generosity become the mortar

for the joining of their lives,

and they live with celebration,

gratitude and faith.


© Ken Rookes

Who will be the greatest?

Every four years

the Christians put aside

their differences to gather

at the Discipleship Olympics.

There they contend with each other

to determine who is the greatest.

The rivalry is fierce,

with acolytes punishing their bodies

and exercising their minds for many years

even to prove worthy of selection.

After days of contesting, measuring,

personal-best scores, fingernail finishes

and acts of heroism and sacrifice;

after countless stories of love,

devotion, triumph over adversity,

courage, heartache and disappointment,

winners are declared.

Flagpoles are readied, anthems are cued

and the victorious ones are called

to stand behind the podium

and await the invitation to ascend.

Before they can do so,

a group of children,

playful, unkempt and disorderly,

is herded before them.

The medals are presented

to the children, who play with them,

laugh, and take turns

in having their pictures taken.


© Ken Rookes 2012

So also the tongue

James 3:5-10

The heart is hungry,

the tongue is its servant.

“More, more,” it cries,

even though it has never missed a meal

and knows that the storehouses overflow.

The heart is greedy;

the tongue insists,

“I know what is best

for your well-being.

Trust me, make me your king;

these others are fools.”

The mines thrust deeper

to ravage red earth,

forests are levelled,

while quarries gobble their way

to the horizon and beyond.

The heart is never satisfied.

“More, more!” the tongue shouts

at gargantuan dozers and digging machines;

“Less, less!” the tongue protests against

the people and their taxes.

They are an inconvenience, undeserving;

annoying obstacles to the heart’s

never-ending lusts.

The heart will never have enough,

even as multiple tongues bring

their restless evil workings

to the task.

© Ken Rookes 2012