J. Marshall Jenkins

Author, Therapist, Spiritual Director

HALT, Welcome, and Be Welcomed

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy (Matthew 5:7). Participants in Alcoholics Anonymous keep an eye on themselves with the acronym, HALT, which stands for, “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired.”  That experience cues them to call the sponsor, go to a meeting, or otherwise take care of themselves.  HALT raises the risk of […]

Loneliness Discovers Christmas Hope

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’ sake, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6). Righteousness is right relationship.  Loneliness, on the other hand, acutely senses whatever blocks relationship.  Christmas emerges from a biblical story that begins in the Garden of Eden where human willfulness introduced the obstacles that plague us.  Lonely people exquisitely feel […]

Mourner, Reclaim Christmas

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4). Healing processes are not pretty until the end.  A cut on the hand takes you through pain, bleeding, scabbing, and scarring before it clears up.  Grief, too, goes through awkward or ugly phases like denial, anger, bargaining, and deep sadness before acceptance comes.  […]

Christmas Alone and the Christ Child

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). Marital collapse acquainted me with Christmas pain.  Lonely and estranged, I looked around at the apparently happy families and felt like I didn’t belong at the party.  I grieved dreams dashed and time with my son.  It seemed a celebration […]

Practice Freedom to Love

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10). Neither unlimited options nor lack of restraints lie at the heart of freedom.  The prince with the whole kingdom at his disposal will bow down to wealth, power, and name, and he will always long for whatever […]

Practice Forgiveness

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9). Anger is an unruly, oversized boy who gets in your face and your stuff, who slams doors and talks too much and too loudly, who argues for argument’s sake.  Yet, he is your boy.  He lives here.  You find a way […]