Serve Well Blog

7.3.13

Is It Our Innocence?
by Krista Colleagues Jonathan Jackson & Kendall Paine

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press

This year's conference theme, Cultivating Life Together: An Environment for Community, was an entry point for ways in which we are invited to live in community. We touched on everything from developing skills for self-reflection, engaging dialogue across differences, and recognizing and loving our neighbors more fully. Keynote speaker Katharine Hayhoe and workshop presenters engaged us in many ways of bridging differences and their importance for navigating a diverse and complex world.

Colleagues leading us in thoughtful reflection through vignettes was especially meaningful. One vignette challenged us in a unique and different way.

2012 Krista Colleague Jonathan Jackson performed a spoken word poem (which is provided in its entirety below.) Intergenerational mentors, guests, Krista Colleagues, and staff were all impacted in their own way when Jonathan performed the poem because his words and thoughts inspired us to wrestle with our faith, our service, and our role in community.

It is this type of deep pondering, self-reflection, and growth that the Krista Foundation wants to pursue further. Tomorrow, we are launching Significant Suppers where we hope to sort through the many challenging moments from our time of service.

This task of critical reflection - specifically processing the ways in which we've lost "innocence" - is central to a life of service leadership. Jonathan's poem, provokes us to self reflect on our ideologies and what has shaped them, as well as where we've had to step outside of ourselves. In a unique way, the poem asks us to focus on our similarities while recognizing and embracing our beautiful differences.

We invite you to join us in pondering the refrain from Jonathan's poem:

Is it our innocence we're protecting or our spirits we're neglecting?

How does one even respond to that question? How do you respond to that question? As a person nurturing a life of service leadership, what have you learned about the loss of "innocence" about the realities of both unrelenting suffering and tremendous blessing? How have you experienced the service journey as a spiritual path? Or, not? 

Share your responses below in the comments box! We look forward to seeing the ways you've been able to reflect on this poem's powerful message and insight. 

 


Untitled
It's a matter of perception
What's failure, what's perfection
Who you choose in the election and what fuels that selection
But if you take the time to question
What you were fed at inception
To check the references section, you'll learn a valuable lesson
See, the act of simply accepting
The opinions of your brethren
The sermon taught by your reverend, no beginning just an ending
Leaves too many of us guessing
Pulling our hair out stressing
Unable to discern if something's a curse or it's a blessing
 
We walk in the same direction without watching where we're stepping
Is it our innocence we're protecting or our spirits we're neglecting?
 
We learn from an early age who we are and we're not 
Those without much learn to be grateful for the little they've got 
And those who have learn to feel sorry for the ones who do not
And think their ticket into heaven is something that can be bought
Rather than embrace diversity of opinion and thought
We're told we should just melt together, like fondue in a pot
Drop the rituals, the traditions and the customs we've got
And blindly accept every single thing that we're taught
 
But are the problems solved by saying we don't see complexion?
Or acting like we don't notice when two men show affection?
Do we think by pretending left and right are just directions,
We can keep Black and Latino men out of corrections
Maybe if we donate a dollar to the food connection
We can feed the family begging at the intersection
And while a meal for that family is surely a blessing
Is the problem solved or does the cause go on without detection?
 
We walk in the same direction without watching where we're stepping
Is it our innocence we're protecting or our spirits we're neglecting?
 
Its seems as though the list of problems is never ending
But are we ignorant to the facts or are we just pretending?
Is it that we've yet to find something that's worth defending?
Or do we keep our mouths closed out of fear of offending?
Never attending to those whose wounds we could be mending
It seems we spend our time befriending
Those who see no point in lending us a hand or comprehending
Our struggles, too busy tending to their own condescending agendas
Focused on blending our differences and pretending
That color has no relevance and culture is not transcending
 
We walk in the same direction without watching where we're stepping
Is it our innocence we're protecting or our spirits we're neglecting?
 
It says all men are created equal in the constitution
But that text for me has always been a source of confusion
Tell that to the victims of religious persecution
Or to the desperate women forced to resort to prostitution
People are victimized daily but where's the restitution?
Politician says they'll fix your problems, if you just sign this resolution
But no matter how much ink is spilled we still see no solutions
It seems as if our only resort may be a revolution?
 
Or maybe if we closed our mouths and we opened our eyes
Dropped our preconceived notions and looked deeper inside
Perhaps then we'd start to recognize all of the lies
That have fed into our reluctance to put difference aside
Social constructions that contribute to our false sense of pride
And make us approach life as a battle where we must choose a side
 
In order to change the world we must start within
Learn who we are, search our souls, and only then
Can we truly embrace another and call them a friend
Rather than treating them simply as a means to an end
And not ignore the differences but rather celebrate them
If there are multiple opinions then we should elevate them
The goal is not uniformity but rather unity
Because only on that foundation can we build community
 
We walk in the same direction without watching where we're stepping
Is it our innocence we're protecting or our spirits we're neglecting?
 
Is it our innocence we're protecting or our spirits we're neglecting?
-Jonathan Jackson

 

Current comments.

  1. Linda said:

    Awesome and thought-provoking. Brings up a lot of good questions in an artistic form. Thanks for sharing your gifts, Jonathan!

  2. linda said:

    one more - the last portion where the goal is not uniformity and elevating multiple opinions is an area where our culture and community can strive to work toward more


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