Thursday, September 3, 2020


This is the eighth of our

    Summer Series


       on living out

The Sermon On The Mount


Dear All of Us,

Say, you want some fun?

You up for a good time?

Here goes!

    "Happy are those 
     who are persecuted 
     for righteousness' sake, 
     for theirs is the
     kingdom of heaven."


         Matthew 5:10

    "Happy are you 
     when people revile you 
     and persecute you 
     and utter all kinds 
     of evil against you falsely 
     on my account. 
     Rejoice and be glad, 
     for your reward 
     is great in heaven, 
     for in the same way 
     they persecuted 
     the prophets 
     who went before you."


      Matthew 5: 11-12


When was the last time 

this was read at a

church council meeting?

So, get kicked in the teeth 

for Jesus here and

get a stunning set 

of dentures in

the hereafter?

Be reviled,

be persecuted,

a barrage of evil, 

false utterances,

heaped on you?

"Happy," "rejoice" 

and be "glad"?

Is this some sort 

of spiritual


The Joy of Agony??

Happy Hurting 

hurling us heavenward?

Think I'll take another flight!

Ok, Ok so let's sort this out.

We're "happy",

we're "glad",

we "rejoice"

when things 

work out 

just right - 

career, garden, 

portfolio, vacation,


a work out,

the dinner party.

It takes hard work,

stretching, sometimes

even hurting, to get things 

          just right.

Well, "just right" is what Jesus means 

in the widest and fullest sense by




             REAL AND REALIZED.

Everyone and everything

is harmonized, is lined up

with God's Will and Creation.

When we are working with Jesus

to get everything right and real,

to establish the kingdom now

and the kingdom to come,

that is:

       God Good,

       Love Lived,

       Divinely Dynamic,

       Creation Flourished,

       Wrong Righted,

       Justice Realized,

well, we're going 

to get it in the neck,

and lots elsewhere,

just as Jesus did.

One way and many, 

it means some form of


No need to get  

persecution complex,

but we will get 

wronged for right.

So did the prophets.

A prophet's stock and trade

is wrong righted.

So is ours.

That often means 

being wronged,

being "persecuted."

That runs from 

being drawn and quartered

to being nickeled and dimed,

from being drawn

into controversy 

to being thrown out,

being out of favor.

My mother had eight children.

She was belittled by

neighbors and relatives,

ridiculed as "quite a breeder"

for living what she understood

to be God's Will for her.

Mom was not invited to join the

Daughters of the American Revolution

back home in Montclair, NJ,

even though her ancestors

settled the area and served in the 

War for Independence -

"Not quite our type, don't you know." 


Army Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman

spoke the truth about a wrong

in the White House.

It was his bonded duty,

the only right thing to do.

He was was bullied out 

of the service on the cusp of 

promotion to full colonel.


Teachers hold to truth.

Politicians honor principle.

Accountants refuse 

to "cook the books".

Doctors open practices 

in poor neighborhoods.

Pastors live what they preach.

People protest for racial justice.

Families stick with 

a terribly difficult relative.

All pay a persecution price.

But do they ever make so much 

            just right.

An older woman  joined those
demonstrating peacefully

for racial rightness

here in Washington, DC.

on August 28th.

As an older person 

she risked heat exhaustion,

contracting COVID-19,

and the danger of 

possible violence.

She ran the risk of persecution   

  "for righteousness' sake".

Even the risk of persecution

is a form of


Most of us like a nice, tidy, 

safe, middle class or better 

kind of life.

If we live Jesus Christ,

if we Follow Through on

The Sermon on the Mount,

ain't-a- gonna happen.

Like the late great 

    John Lewis 

we're going to get into 

  "Good Trouble."

Jesus did, 

the prophets did, 

and we will.

Some way or many,

In a paradoxical way, though, 

there is joy in the pain of

seeking righteousness.

We are like a fatigued runner

experiencing the high

of getting that second wind,

stressing ever more

to break free 
and win the race.

Pain and euphoria at getting it
          just right.
We are like the parent 

scrimping and sacrificing 

to get the kids through college

and missing out on an easier life.

A deep, deep joy and gladness 

at getting things for the children 

            just right.

There are people, 

groups and systems

wronging individuals,

other groups and

our Mother Earth.

They, and what 

they do and undo,

will wrong us 

as we labor 

to right the damage 

and destruction inflicted, 

as we lovingly work for


God's Kingdom 

come and coming. 

But you know what?

It's rather wonderful 

    to get into


There's great company 
in being

     "children of God" 

and we get a head start on 

"the kingdom of heaven."

That sure beats anybody else's 

       rewards program.

Pretty "Blessed are those"!!!


             us all a 

     strong second wind,

           John Frank


Here's a great big



 Nick Minnich.

 He regularly 

   jumps in

    as our 

technical director

to make things here

    just right!!!




     The Message
     of these 
     two last 
     Be Attitudes

 You're blessed when 
 your commitment to God 
 provokes persecution.
 The persecution drives you 
 even deeper into 
 God's kingdom.

 Not only that -
 count yourself blessed
 every time people 
 put you down 
 or throw you out 
 or speak lies about you 
 to discredit me.
 What it means 
 is that the truth  
 is too close for comfort 
 and they are uncomfortable.
 You can be glad 
 when that happens 
 - give a cheer, even! - 
 for though they don't like it, 
           I do! 
 And all heaven applauds.
 And you know that 
 you are in good company.
 My prophets and witnesses 
 have always gotten into 
 this kind of trouble.


       How much does 
       your church
          get into
       Good Trouble?

Many churches do 
much good.
They are often kept from 
doing much more good, 
from getting into 
  Good Trouble,
because the are 
so institutionalized,
so highly structured,
have social standing 
and privilege to safeguard, 
careers, property and payrolls 
to protect and pay.

 Then Jesus called 
 the twelve together 
 and gave them
 power and authority 
 over all demons 
 and to cure diseases, 
 and he sent them out 
 to proclaim 
 the kingdom of God 
 and to heal. 
 He said to them:
 'take nothing 
 for your journey, 
 no staff, nor bag, 
 nor bread, nor money 
 - not even an extra tunic...

                               Luke 9:1-3

          The Message 
          translation of 
          this same passage

Jesus now called the Twelve 
and gave them authority and power 
to deal with all the demons 
and cures diseases. 
He commissioned them 
to preach the news 
of God's kingdom 
and heal the sick. 
He said,' 
Don't load yourself up 
with equipment. 
Keep it simple; 
you are the equipment...

Revelation 3:14-16

"And to the angel of the church 
in Laodice write: 
The words of the Amen, 
the faithful and true witness, 
the origin of God's creation:
"I know your works; 
you are neither cold or hot. 
I wish you were either cold or hot.
So, because you are lukewarm, 
and neither cold nor hot, 
I am about to spit you 
out of my mouth.

           The Message
           of this same passage

Write to Laodicea, 
to the Angel of the church. God's Yes, 
the Faithful and Accurate Witness, 
the First of God's creation, says:
"I know you inside and out, 
and find little to my liking. 
You're not cold, you're not hot 
- far better to be either cold or hot! 
You're stale. You're stagnant. 
You make me want to vomit.

What is to be heard here?

How much of it are we hearing?

How much of it are we embracing?

Many - most - churches 
are not being persecuted,
are simply being ignored 
and abandoned,
are not getting into  
          Good Trouble.



           Pope Francis


       Gaudete et Exsultate

     On the Call To Holiness 
         In Today's World

Jesus himself warns us that the path 
he proposes goes against the flow, 
even making us challenge society 
by the way we live and, as a result, 
becoming a nuisance. He reminds us 
how many people have been, 
and still are, persecuted 
simply because they struggle for justice, 
because they take seriously 
their commitment to God and to others. 
Unless we wish to sink into an obscure
mediocrity, let us not long for an easy life, 
for "whoever would save his life will lose it" 
(Mt 16:25).

              So, what to say?

             So, what will we do?


    We've had some 
    great company here 
        this week -
    a wonderful group of 
    first time visitors
    from Ireland, Moldova
    and elsewhere.
   "frankly speaking"
spirituality for the street

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This week let's see how much 
we can get into