Silent Voices - A Poetic Reflection on Election Season

Editor's note: In the midst of this volatile and contentious presidential election season, Jackie Shields invites United Methodists to view the election through the lens of the Gospel and United Methodist Social Principles, especially where poverty and the refugee crisis are concerned.

A longtime reader of the Ministry with the Poor blog, Jackie found her voice in speaking up for the importance of community that emerges from authentic, mutual relationships, rather than tasks alone-- a cornerstone feature of Ministry With the Poor. As she explains, "Writing poetry has been gifted to me as a response to the world I have come to know. The words seem mandated to shine a light on the many kinds of poverties evident in our community and world at large. The spirit simply nudges!"

Silent Voices

We hide behind
of words,
polarizing words
that kidnap
the gospel
and rob us
of voice.
Not our voice.
God's voice for a
world gone mad.

Silent Voices.

Reason loses to
the masses,
fear drives a
speeding train
without brakes,
without caution bars,
death of perspective
and deep contemplation
collateral damage.


Not taken.

Silent Voices.

Where are the voices?
Our voices?
Where is the balance
the gospel offers,
of we,
who are called

Silent voices.

When did
inside church walls
but remain
unvoiced across
the threshold?

Silent Voices.

How did Christ's
lose to rhetoric
by and for a few?

Silent Voices.

We need not
dictate the political
but we are called to shine
our light on gospel
words that call for
love and justice.

Silent Voices.

Walls deserve collapse
before they are built
in mind or brick,
exclusion replaced
by God's promise for all
his beloved children,
not those we choose.

Silent Voices.

Books of
social principles
and resolutions,
imperfect, perhaps.
But, dusty and forgotten
when our hands and feet
reach the real world
of hurt and hunger,
injustice and hate.

Silent Voices.

We know the verses,
are taught the verses.
We embrace the nouns,
believe the nouns...
but allow the verbs
to be lost
to silence.



  1. kathleen talley says:
    Good morning to All, As Christians we need to stand up and speak out for the Kingdom of God here on earth. Thank you Jackie for allowing the Lord to use you for his Glory. Please keep writing and nudging us. Love and Blessings, Kathleen Talley- Dixon Memorial United Methodist Church.
    Apr 28th, 2016
  2. Joan says:
    No words.....just tears.
    Mar 5th, 2016
  3. Kitty McMullin says:
    So beautiful and directly to the point Jackie....
    Mar 9th, 2016

Jackie Shields

Jackie Shields is a lay member of Brentwood United Methodist Church and has served as a 20 year volunteer in several inner-city ministries following retirement from a long nursing career. She is passionate about social justice issues, particularly around the status of refugees, immigrants and access to health care. A special interest in inner city children’s education has led to a focus in after-school ministries facilitated by the Methodist Church locally.

About This Blog

Read and comment on a range of personal reflections and perspectives about poverty and Ministry with the Poor. Our goal is to attract diverse voices and points of view from United Methodists and friends, including people and communities living in conditions of poverty, other experts, religious leaders, community organizers, advocates, policy makers, volunteers, and all engaged in Ministry with the Poor.