Thursday, July 2, 2020

FOLLOW THE LEADER


Dear All of Us,

Remember what fun it was when we were kids playing 
                    Follow the Leader
and its kiss'n cousin, 
                    Simon Says?
They were high energy, exciting, social and challenging.
Success meant following the leader exactly,
doing just as Simon said and did. 
The foil was to foul out by not doing so exactly.


Well, here we are, kids still,
but with a pile on of years, experiences
(and often pounds as not so well). 
We're still at it, 
following leads and leaders, 
doing as some sort of Simon says.
What's different,
critically different,
are the results. 
They don't mean winning or loosing a game.
They determine whether we win or lose in life.
That depends on:
        - who's lead we follow
        - what sort of Simon is having the say in our lives
        - just how fully/exactly or not we follow along and follow through.


So, let's do our own spiritual version of
         "Take me to your leader" -
             Simon or other wise -
who/what leads are we following,
who/what has the "say" in our spiritual life.


FALSE
LEADS :
          - the phony self 
                  costumed as 
                     self centeredness,
                         arrogance,
                            narcissism,
                                       lust - 
                                            the whole clan closet of such sad
          - materialism, consumerism -
                                           "spend self on stuff"
          - a life style 
                        stalled on the surface of things,
                                            stifling spirit
          - the "say" 
                        coming from a not at all "social" media
          - politicians and public practitioners 
                        leading to our polarization and their privilege

            
             " Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind.  
               And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch."
                                         Jesus
                                                                                                      Matthew 15:14 

REAL LEADS:

Rather than be dumped in a deadly ditch,
we can soar to the heights.
In one way and many,
Jesus offers lead,
asks to share His Soul Say:
            
             - "Come, follow me."Matthew then - us now 
                                                                              Matthew 9:9
             - "Take my yoke upon you, learn from me 
                 for I am gentle and humble of heart, 
                 and you will find rest for your souls. 
                 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
                                                                              Matthew 11: 29-30
             - "I am the way, the truth and the life."  
                                                                              John 14:6
             - "Abide in me as I abide in you."
                                                                              John 15:4
                                                                           
             - "I have come that they might have life
                and have it to the full."
                                                                             John 10:10
                                                                                 
             - "You have the words of eternal life." 
                (Simon Peter when many refused 
                to follow the lead of Jesus)
                                                                             John 6: 68

                  - "I am the light of the world."
                                                                             John 8:12


In multiples of many, 
Paul urges us to follow 
   Jesus The Christ 
so closely and completely 
that we are One,
that we live
 "en Christo"
   
 -"I live now not I, but Christ lives in me."               Galatian 2:20
                   
Talk about a good lead.
That's a God lead!

Fully following the lead of Jesus,
hearing and heeding his "say":
               - we see everything in his light
               - we hear and live his life giving word
               - we think his way
               - we act and react his way
               - we are the body of Christ 
               - we live his life style in our circumstances
               - we share in his death and his resurrection
                 through "the downs and ups" of our daily living 
                 as we whole heartedly follow his lead to life
               - we participate in his work of helping and healing 
                 the hurt and the rejected - people and planet
               - we open to his working through us for justice
               - we experience mystical union with his Abba
               - we follow through on what he says and does.


To Follow the Leader, 
   Jesus The Christ, 
opens us so that 
his Spirit is the surge 
that electrifies and energizes us 
to the very heights, 
to divine and endless 
     Love and Life - 
           His 
       now ours!!

The qualifier here is 
just how "exactly" we 
   Follow the Leader
just how completely we do as
      Jesus Says.

Fifty plus years ago on our 
Ordination Retreat,
a soul savvy priest 
put the whole thing this way:
       
        "If you were on trial for being a Christian
         would there be enough evidence 
         to convict you?"

Now there's a 
Soul Search,
and lets be sure 
to so search regularly.


All things being at least a little equal next week,
let's launch the first of a summer Soul Series  
on following Jesus by following his lead in 
         The Sermon On the Mount. 


Whom we follow,
who/what has the telling "say" in our living, 
and how fully or not we follow along and follow through, 
determines where we go and how we get there.
Our spiritual life sure is the ultimate in
                     
                FOLLOW THE LEADER



   Let's prayerfully support each other as we
   follow along and follow through with Jesus.

            
             In The Love Who Is God

                     John Frank

                       *****





We've had many new folks joining us this past week,
with especially large groups from Germany, the United Kingdom 
and again Romania among them.
One and all please know you are welcome and we are blessed.


              "frankly speaking"
          spirituality for the street

-is posted online each Thursday before dinner,
 east coast USA time at
 johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

-is available by automatic email delivery 
 each Friday - sign up top of online posting

-past postings are available at Blog Archive,
 right column online.

                SEE YOU NEXT WEEK


___________________________________________________



                                                                       
                   
          
             

    

          




Thursday, June 25, 2020

DOING BEAUTY



Dear All of Us,

Next time someone asks us
       "What are you doing with yourself these days?"
how would we answer:
         "I have a level eight position in the Department of Labor"
       "I write poetry"
         "I don't have one hell of an idea!"
       "I teach second graders"
       "I drive for UPS"
       "I volunteer at the church food pantry"
       "I just had a baby"
       "I do portrait photography"
       "I am wasting away in a dead end marriage."
       "I cook hamburgers at McDonalds"
       "I read and travel"
       "I..."

If the follow up is
       "How much do you love what you do?"
how would we respond:
         "I grin and bear the grind"
       "Can't wait to do it"
       "It puts food on the table"
       "It's ok sort of some times"
       "It gets me firing on all eight cylinders"
       "I absolutely hate it"
       "Couldn't love it more"
       "I simply..."

Well, how about this response to both quires:
       
          "I do beauty and I love it."

That's the counsel of our delightful, sassy, 
down to earth and all the way up to heaven,
Sufi mystic and spiritual friend, Rumi.
His response is:

        "LET THE BEAUTY WE LOVE BE WHAT WE DO."

What wisdom!
How positive and alive!
It means that whatever we do, 
easy or hard,
we let it come from love, 
love of the beautiful,
even if that love is buried under a pile of pain at times.
Love merges us with the beautiful.
That enlivens, energizes.
Then whatever we do is a doing of beauty.
At the core of all is love and that love is God:
             "God is love." 
                                        I John 4:8
All our doing then flows from being in Love,
being in God,
loving the beauty of God all about and within
and the beauty we love is what we do:
       - raising a child 
       - absorption in Taize chant
       - cooking supper for the homeless
       - being awash in scripture
       - visiting the lonely
       - getting lost in the sunrise
       - writing to a friend,
       - forgiving an offense
       - caring for the marginalized
       - trying to make the best of a really bad situation
       - letting go in prayer
       - at work and at play
       - everywhere and always
and all that doing is beautiful.

About now I can hear,
           "Oh yeah? 
         Sounds great, 
         pretty poetic and all that,
         but what about
         the person working a deadening assembly line to support the family,
         the woman in labor for twenty hours,
         the dedicated social worker dodging bullets in Chicago,    
            the politician at risk for playing it clean and principled?"
Not ease, but those folks sure are in Love with something beautiful
and what they do because of that Love sure is a beautiful doing,
even if painful.

Over the next week 
let's savor these scriptures,
sensing The Spirit,
seeing ever more how we can 
let the beauty we love be what we do.
It might help to spell it out in our journal:
           
           how do/can each of these three scriptures
           get lived out in our actual, daily doing?
           
         " Do everything in love."
                                                              I Corinthians 16:14
         " Whatever you do, do with all your heart,
           as working for the Lord..."
                                                              Colossians 3: 23
         " So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
           do it all to the glory of God..."
                                                              I Corinthians 10:31

While reflecting on all this, 
one of our community here 
at "frankly speaking" drew a word tree. 
The trunk and branches 
are words reaching upward and outward, 
bespeaking the beauty/love doing in her life.
Here's her's in the hope of encouraging us 
to draw out ours.

                                friends  
                            family  invite  
                         entertain  culture  
                   awe   museums  watercolor  
                                 yoga
                                service  
                                reading 
                                worship 
                                spiritual  
                                      church home 
                          cooking classes
                         create community


          
      "LET THE BEAUTY WE LOVE BE WHAT WE DO."


               Great to be doing this blog with you.

                               I love it!

                     In The Love Who is God

                             John Frank

                                *****


             Every week we have new members 
             joining our little gathering here.
             Among others, we were graced 
             this week with a large number
             of new folks from The United Kingdom.
             We count ourselves blessed 
             by your presence and sharing.
                              WELCOME!



                       "frankly speaking"
                   spirituality for the street

      is posted Thursday before dinner, east coast USA time
               johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

      is available by automatic email Fridays
              sign up top of this posting

      past postings are available at Blog Archive
                         right column 

                     See you next week!!

****************************************************************
  

       





        
    

                      













         
















Thursday, June 18, 2020

HOW TO "B"?




       A FOREWORD

"frankly speaking" is all about
 spirituality for the street,
 the actual, practical living of it.

 Right now our "streets" 
 are rough and rocky.
 They are clogged 
 with confusion and conflict -
 it's a hard way to go.

 What follows addresses that.
 What follows is not a quick 
 nor an easy read,
 but then our way forward
 is neither quick nor easy.

            *****






Dear All of Us,

I went to church twice last Sunday.
No, I'm not a Baptist, but I was
           BLITZED
    and that Big Time!!

My head and heart were like 
two ping-pong ballsl
being slammed back and forth
ever faster and harder
across a table of trouble.
          I was had!

Those two Sunday sermons
paddled soul and psyche 
more painfully than 
any Victorian headmaster.

One sermon was pastoral.  
The other was prophetic.

The combination epitomizes
the fix we're in 
and its challenge 
to our spiritual lives.
With a pandemic that 
just isn't going to go away
for too terribly long, 
with economic havoc
in lock step,
with ethnic/racial injustice
demanding foundational redress,
with the civic sector
more a battlefield 
than a unified field 
of competent cooperation,
vexing, taxing concerns -
will I die,
will there be enough food,
will there be a fair election,
can leaders lead?
How make spiritual sense of it all,
in the midst of it all?
What do we do 
and how do we do it?
Society is blitzed,
Our souls are blitzed.
Soul and society seek balance.

How do we go from 
Blitzed To Balanced?

How TO "B"?

So, let's check out those Sunday sermons.

The first sermon was from 
the pastor of our local church.
In his deliberate, kindly way 
he spoke of the fatigue 
we all are feeling.
Months of plague and now protest
are a double whammy
wearing us out.
How long?
So many limits!
The economy?
Will governance hold?
Readjustment after readjustment!
They tire our psyche and soul.
We are worry weary
and we know there's a lot more to come.
The pastor urged self care,
encouraged being faithful disciples,
counselled patience and hope.
The sermon was pastorally 
sensitive and honest. 

Next up on live stream was 
the service from
The National Cathedral here in DC.
The guest preacher was
William J. Barber, 
co-leader of The Poor Peoples' Campaign.
He read from Amos  
    The Message Translation.
Then it was a half hour plus of
prophetic preaching
that had all the power and punch
of Amos, Ezekiel, Isaiah and Jerimiah
and their entire prophet clan.
Barber masterfully painted the plight
we face as a people and how we got here,
what we need to be and do,
and the tremendous stretch all that requires 
                  - read -

                  LAMENT 
          
  REPENTENCE and CONVERSION.

He held before us the fact that 
from our start we were founded 
with a lethal admixture 
of death dealing and injustice to,
and in contradiction to, noble principles 
of democracy and equality.
The poison has yet to be lanced and let.
It's killing us, 
especially if we are black or brown.
Yet it is killing us in a different way 
if we are white.
Our very souls are compromised
by benefitting from privilege 
at a horrible cost to others.
Most of us don't intend, nor see it,
but we are part of the problem.
We live in a system
that favors some,
denies others
and does so systemically
in deadening to deadly ways.

Barber gave voice to God's cry for lament.

     "Go out into the streets and lament loudly!'
                      Amos 5:16

Barber just plain boomed God's demand for justice.

     "Do you know what I want?
      I want justice - oceans of it.
      I want fairness - rivers of it.
     That's what I want. That's all I want."
                      Amos 5:24


Those two sermons represent 
the vice grip
squeezing us spiritually.
How can we grow past 
the death dealing and injustice,
that poison our society spiritually, 
racially, economically, governmentally.
How do we work for justice?
What can one little old me do?
How do we keep our heads above water 
dealing with all that plus 
the on-going pandemic, 
protests and civil upset?

How do we go from 
Blitzed to Balanced?

HOW TO "B"?

Here are a few
observations/possibilities 
that might help us get started with that.

More than anything, we let 
     The Holy Spirit
have us top to bottom,
all way round, inside out, outside in. 
We let 
     The Holy Spirit
free us from fear, 
guide and strengthen us.
We quit any efforts to be 
Lone Rangers, to play God,
or the opposite by resigning
from active duty 
on the field of our Conflicted Now.
We joyfully give over and let 
     The Holy Spirit 
flow freely and fully through us,
        giving us
the light to see, 
the way to be and go,
the energy to do that,
changing us,
vivifying us,
transforming us,
showing us how to move from

Blitzed to Balanced

HOW TO "B"

Privilege we have.
We use it to help others 
come to justice and parity.
Privilege for all.

From across the racial/ethnic spectrum 
we need to gather 
      as citizens
      as neighbors
      as corporations and unions
      as religious bodies
      as schools
      as political parties
      as clubs, interest groups, teams.

From across the racial/ethnic spectrum      
      we meet
      we engage
      we stay open and vulnerable
      we listen
      we share
      we face the problem
      we search for justice
      we stay no mater the discomfort
      we struggle to solidarity
      we together learn
          
           HOW TO "B"
      

We work for political candidates
with a proven tract record 
of justice seeking for all.

We develop cross ethnic/religious 
dinner groups that will let people 
get to know each other 
and their families as we really are.

We share cultural and ethnic celebrations, 
meals, parades, rituals .

We get two different kinds of people
focused on a third experience,
say developing a neighborhood garden, 
sharing a community tool shed.
We mix it up to enriched inclusion.

We honestly embrace a life style 
that provides us enough,
but not an excess.
We drive an adequate, 
but not high end car.
We select vacations that refresh,
but are not excesses
of pampered self indulgence.
We dress neatly and tastefully,
but skip a closet of extravagance.
We don't corner capital. 

We encourage our religious body
to indeed "embody" us as we are, 
to open heart and door 
to people of various shades 
and hues of color and culture,
to incorporate a richness 
of language, music, art, ritual 
in a soul sharing faith family.
We get excited to stretch and change 
for expansive inclusion
and mutual mission.

We adjust our portfolios 
to the gold standard 
of just enterprise. 

We frequent ethnic and minority 
stores and restaurants.

We might have a try at learning Spanish.



Justice means "Justus" - 
    "getting it right".
That starts right at the heart
and grows out from there 
to all kinds of 
just and delightful expressions.
We join God in getting excited 
about each other and us together.
We lighten up, open up,
and let God show off his children to us, 
the delights of her heart 
in all our uniqueness
and oneness in God.
We do all we can, 
where we can, 
when we can
to let God's Rightness, God's Justice,
flow through us, our very souls, 
our life styles, our work, 
social life and community.

We model ourselves on Jesus.
He lived in a horribly unjust 
and violent society, 
under the domination 
of the evil empire 
that was Rome.
Jesus didn't let that side track him.
He didn't blitz out.
He was balanced.
He stayed upright 
and went right ahead  
in the Love that he is.
He lived what he spoke,
healing the sick and hurt.
In him we now look out for 
the hurting "left outs"
at school, at work, in town.
That could mean getting friendly 
with the bus driver of color 
and eventually having 
our families get together
for picnics and games.
It could mean quietly covering 
the health insurance premium
of a migrant family
through the agency 
our religious community.

"A person is known      
by the company they keep."
Jesus kept company with 
the "throw aways" of his time:
prostitutes, lepers, children,
foreigners, the poor -
those pushed to the edge.
We embrace and interact
with all pushed to the sidelines: 
gays, trans, minorities, migrants,
the "other", the quirkie and odd balls
at the office, down the street.

Like Jesus, we are zoned.
Like Jesus we live
a love expressed in justice
right where we are.
We think globally.
We act locally.

Jesus went off for regular 
huddles with his Abba.
We do the same.
In those huddles we are 
steadied and strengthened.
We see a way forward,
we are graced to live 
our spiritual lives
in the midst of mess, 
working for things 
to be just right - Justus.

A big help here is to get 
an Accountability Group going.
Up to ten or so of us covenant 
to meet regularly, ask and listen:
"How is it with your soul?"
We help each other stay the course
to a deep interior life 
and a ministry of mercy.


BLITZED we will be.

BALANCED we can "B"

"Come Holy Spirit"

    John Frank

      ******

NEED TO NOTE:

          This week we had 795 first time visitors from Romania.
          That's a first time in a number of ways!
          What an honor. A warm welcome to you all, 
          as well as to our other first time visitors.

                                    ******


                             PRAY AND PONDER


This week it might be helpful to slowly go over the above posting, 
a little at a time each day . There's a lot there for prayerful pondering
and personal as well as shared application. In fact, perhaps a sharing 
with a Soul Friend, or in a small group setting, would ne worthwhile.


The same is true and more so of William Barber's sermon. 
       
                 https://cathedral.org/worship/service-archive 

                                    Sermons

                               June 14, 2020

                       The Rev. D. William J. Barber II

                                       ******


The Message is a translation of the scriptures from the street words
of when and where they were written to the street words of our here and now.



                                AMOS 5: 20- 24

                 At God's coming we face hard reality, not
                                    fantasy -
                 a black cloud with no silver lining.

                 I can't stand your religious meetings.
                   I'm fed up with your conferences and
                               conventions.
                 I want nothing to do with your religious projects,
                      your pretentious slogans and goals.
                 I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes.
                     your public relations and image making.
                 I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
                      When was the last time you sang to me?
                 Do you know what I want?
                     I want justice - oceans of it.
                 I want fairness - rivers of it.
                      That's what I want. That all I want.

                                       ******


                                "frankly speaking"

                           spirituality for the streets

-is posted each Thursday, usually well before dinner

 east coast USA time

johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

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                            COME HOLY SPIRIT