Thursday, January 14, 2021

TRUE CITIZENSHIP

      This is the twelfth

          and final 

    of our ongoing series

      FOLLOW THROUGH

           living out

 The Sermon On The Mount

     Matthew 5:1 - 7:28

           *******



Dear All of Us,

So, how about this?

It seems some of the rich and famous 

among us here in the States

are buying up country villas in Italy

and applying for Italian citizenship.

Nice work if you can get it!!

For sure that's top of the line 

dual citizenship.


Come to think of it, 

we of more modest means and of lesser note 

also have something of a dual citizenship.

We live at once in two zones.

They are named and 

experienced variously:

  - the sacred and the secular

  - Empire and the Kingdom of God

 - the world and the reign of God

They overlap and intertwine.

That can trip us up.

Country and commerce 

can become a national religion,

flag and finance for cross.

Or it can flip us the opposite way

into bunker religion, 

disengaged and isolated.


All this gets dicey doubled.

That's because it's impossible to be 

         total to two.

That goes for love of person

or allegiance to domain.

    A split heart means a death.

   "You cannot serve two masters."


Jesus prioritized domain/citizenship

by word and example. He lived 

       Kingdom Life 

simply, generously, 

redeeming damaged potential,

intimate with Abba, caringly close to all,

drawing separateness to union. 

He did that in an occupied country under

unjust, corrupt, violent domination.

He dealt with it, but he didn't 

pledge allegiance to it.

He did not worship at Empire's altar of ultimate.

Heart and soul he lived and preached 

     The kingdom of God.

He didn't try to reform the system.

Empire cannot be reformed.

It can be replaced by Kingdom. 

Until then live Kingdom in the midst of Empire.

That's what Jesus did.

He stopped for red lights and paid his taxes for sure, 

but his life and alligence was centered in

           The Kingdom Of God.

    "Render unto Caesar the things 

      that are Caesar's and unto God 

      the things that are God's." 

He spoke Kingdom Life in word and living.

He prayed to Abba that

       "Thy kingdom come on earth 

        as it is in heaven." 

        

This is where we come in.

This is where we accept or reject.

This is where we kick into gear or stall out.

And it's hard because most of us grew up 

in terribly compromised churches

that didn't even know they were.

Before ever Constantine stole the church

and sold it to Empire,

the Gospel had been shrunk

to a sliver of itself, passed off 

   - as ideas (doctrines)

     - a belonging system -

     club membership

       active or otherwise, 

       but dues paid,

     - prescribed practices (ritual),

    - a spirituality of personal salvation 

      and private piety.

We have a lot of religion

(Richard Rohr recently termed it

 "Junk Religion," as in junk food -

feel good but not good for healthy living).

A "step back and take a good look" survey 

of many religions sadly sees little actual, for real, 

sweaty, sweet Kingdom spirit 

and the "go for broke" living of it.

Hey, that's a bit challenging!

OK, it's darn strong!

Sure is and we need to face the flaw.

Just check out The Sermon on the Mount

and see how close many-most religions come to it.

It's the gold standard.

It is Jesus' description of disciples alive 

in the Kingdom now and to come. 

We do well to check our priorities, 

our values, our life styles.

Where do we really land and live?

Where is our allegiance and primary citizenship?


Kingdom Life is to be lived right here, right now

in the midst of Empire, radically and really so.

It means big time change in valuation and practice.

It means being counter cultural and taking hits for it

It means coming at life angled by the Beatitudes

not poetically but practically: 

     - simple, uncomplicated (poor in spirit), 

     - non stressed and non stressing (meek),

     - working to get people, place, and

       society turned right and real (righteous),

     - always giving others a break (merciful),

       knowing it'll ultimately come back at us, 

     - putting the pieces back together

       rather than slamming everything and one

       to pieces (peacemaker),

    - taking it on the chin, in the gut, 

      even in the pocketbook, 

      working to right wrong (persecutions)

It means being changed and being a change agent -

     "salt of the earth, light of the world" - 

     "disciple different" and it shows.

It means allowing God to convert the energy of anger 

      to the dynamic of love, 

     hurt experienced to healing returned

     (anger management, non retaliation). 

It means honest plain talk true -

     "Yes, Yes, or No, No",

     not the phony, slick takes and double talk 

     of advertisers, bureaucrats and politicians.

It means loving the socks off the people 

     who would steal the shirt off you back,

     those who plague - pillage us the most.

It means prayerful intimacy with Abba.

It means stock piling in the bank of share and gift

     not with running after Chase or Bank of Anything.

    "For where your treasure is, 

     there your heart will be also."

It means not being a Worry Waste,

     addictively stockpiling stuff.

It means being in Kingdom flow 

    and trusting Abba to provide.

   "But strive first for the kingdom of God 

       and his righteousness 

     (his getting things "righted")

          and all these things

            (our real needs) 

       will be given to you as well."

It means the deal of a lifetime.

      "Don't judge, so that 

       you may not be judged."

       (after the way I've lived, I'm all in!!).

It means the best you want in life 

       is just exactly what you do for others.

      "Do unto others..."

       You'll become the gift you give.

It means being more than talk.

It means being the real deal.

      "Not everyone who says to me

      'Lord, 'Lord'

      (will be in on the win)

      ...but only the one who does 

      the will of my Father..."


Yes, in some ways we have Dual Citizenship,

but in all reality we have only one real homeland,

The Kingdom of God.

Jesus invites us in and active.

He shows and tells how good it is, our

          TRUE CITIZENSHIP

oh so good for sure,

             John Frank

          ******


A WARM HEARTED WELCOME

    to our first timers here at

       "frankly speaking"

    spirituality for the street

- it is posted by mid-day on Thursday

  east coast USA time

  johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

- is available by email delivery on Friday

  sign up above right

- past postings are available from

  Blog Archive

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             ******

   "The Kingdom of God 

    is among you."

          Luke 17:21

            ******


Again I ask prayer for us here in the USA.

We are in crisis.

Please pray that we may move free from

these times of turmoil.

Counting on you!

        Thanks!

    ******












 





Thursday, January 7, 2021

DOWN THE HALL

 

Dear All of Us,

As little kids we knew just what to do and where to go.

When a terrifying dream would wake us up in the middle of the night

we'd do a quick "get go" right 

    DOWN THE HALL

to Mon and Dad's room and safety.

They'd have us hop in bed with them, 

hold and hug us as we cried out our plight.

Embraced and snuggle steadied, we calmed.

Mom or Dad would carry us back to our bed.

Tenderly tucked in, we had our parent resting right next to us.

We were lulled into restful sleep -the gentle cadence of a story softly told, 

our hair stroked, the recitation of the rosary, a soothing song - calmed to peace. 

We were safe and secure in our parents' presence.

Their strength was ours.


Lately we big kids have suffered scary dark nights of soul and society.

We have been terrorized - nightmares of disease, confinement,

curtailment, civility and governance demonized, social disorder,

instability all round and Mom and Dad aren't just 

               DOWN THE HALL

Some of us are in denial.

Some of us just simply say and show it.

Camouflaged by denial or not, 

we are weary, worried, scared, disoriented. 

There is a longing for answers, for safety, 

for a return to a past normal 

that down deep we know we'll never have.

Even if things lighten up, we now and painfully realize that  

we stand on a trap door of insecurity 

and that it can fall out from under us any time.

That's the biggest "dis-ease" of our PanProblems.

Social order can corrode and crumble.

The lies we've been told by a sanitized history

are "outed", hard as heck to hear, see, admit.

We have to face our social construct exposed:

genocide, enslavement, racial abuse,

financial inequity, the hoodwink and hoax of capitalism, 

the binge of materialism and consumption, 

political corruption and the prospect of despotism,

a tower of ideological Babel tipping to conflict and chaos,

our planet plundered, microbes that can cripple at will, 

media that egregiously misinforms.


For all those monster nightmares, though,

we big kids do know what to do and where to go. 

          It means a real "get go" 

              DOWN THE HALL

                  of living

to the Source and Center of all that is -

seeking sheer Reality, seeking rock solid Truth and Security.

It means stabilizing by a radical personal and social reorientation -

it's go deep spiritually or stay in the dark alone 

and come unmoored and cascade to chaos.

Routine religiosity won't do - never really has.

It doesn't have enough tread on its tires

to grip the road of REAL and be a "go."

And so we do go, hop in, snuggle up.

  We're welcome and wanted.

       "Are you tired? 

        Worn out?

        Burned out on religion?

        Come to me.

        Get away with me 

        and you'll recover your life.

        I'll show you how to take a real rest.

       Walk with me and work with me -

       watch how I do it.

       Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

       I won't lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you.

       Keep company with me 

       and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

                        Jesus

                Matthew 11: 28- 30

                    The Message


                    That's what's 

                 DOWN THE HALL

              from our nightmares.


It reminds me of some farm families I've meet in Kentucky

and the Amish families I've seen in Pennsylvania.

There is a slow steady to the rhythm of life.

They bond closely, generationally.

They secure each other.

They model and mentor for the young.

The elders share lived wisdom.

The young spill with energy and enthusiasm.

They do it all this better and different than most, much of both.

They're radically rooted in The Real and they live it.

It's a fine analogy for what Jesus is ready to give us.


It means we need to "come" to him - 

a definitive "get go" from the dark of our terror

to his welcome embrace.

It means getting away from the phony bologna 

of arrogant surface rush, grab and stress.

We really will "Get A Life" - God's.

It makes a radical difference.

Like good down to earth and up to heaven farm parents,

Jesus paces us as we walk and work daily living with him,

watching how he does it revealed to us in

scripture, meditation and prayerful reflection.

We catch the Rhythm of Real.

We aren't loaded down with unreal values and practices. 

In company with him, we learn to live freely and fully,

not burdened with the lies and pressures of Empire and ego,

no matter the fright that threatens.

We many not have it easy or trouble free.

We will have strength and stability in the Community of Real.


So we "come" to Jesus.

We come in the genuine closeness of unitive prayer.

We come in a spiritual community of difference.

We come in the slow savoring of the Gospel

and letting The Spirit speak it, apply it in our here and now,

however trying the times.

It's a conversion to a life that will hold up here and lift to heaven,

one not standing on a trap door of ultimate insecurity.

We are safe and secure in God's Presence.

God's strength is our strength.


Yes, we are weary and warn down.

Yes, we've had the trap door 

of social and functional insecurity 

sprung out from under us. 

Yes, we have day and night frights and fears aplenty,

personal and collective.

Yes we can't control much of the conflict and chaos

that scares and terrorizes us.

AND YES, we are stabilized in the midst of instability.

Not easy nor comfortable,

but rock real.

We can be real in the throes of terrifying unrealness.


               ******


All of the above was composed beginning last Friday ( 01-01-21).

As I type this late Wednesday afternoon (01-06-21)

the capital here in Washington is under siege.

Our way of shared life, The Common Good, is being raped.

This is not how we are family, how we are in all this together.

There is evil loose in the land.

That trap door of insecurity has sprung open 

yet again and more - horrifically so.

And yes we big kids know just what to do and where to go

to be steadied, center safe and secure at the real core.

I'm not sure how things are where you are and how you are.

I pray for you and us all world-wide.

to get past fear of difference.

Let's help each other be what in Reality we are,

and what sin denies - we are in all reality

                              ONE

Let's  pray and ponder the promise and power, 

not to escape, but to be enfolded, snuggled, 

secured and strengthened in Oneness with God.


Troubled we are.

Alone we are not.

Sure and steady we are

in the safety and strength just

     DOWN THE HALL.

 

In love and companionship,

         John Frank

           ******


     PRAY AND PONDER


We let The Spirit take us through 

the print on the page 

to the power and promise of scripture.

What do we hear at our deepest?

How can it be actual, practical, lived 

in our dangerous, freaky, frightening here and now?


- " Abide in me, and I in you...

     Just as the Father has loved me, 

     I have also loved you; 

     abide in my love."

                                  Jesus

                           John 15: 4 and 9


- " I am the way, the truth and the life..."

                                   Jesus

                               John 14: 6


- " Do not let your hearts be troubled; 

    believe in God, believe in me..."

                                   Jesus

                                John 14:1


- "... I live no longer I, but Christ lives in me..."

                                    Paul 

                              Galatians 2:20


- " In him we live and move and have our being."

                                    Paul

                                Acts 17:28


- " ...That they may be one; just as we are one; 

    I in them and you in me..."

                                   Jesus 

                                 John 17: 22-23


                           ******


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and stay with us here at

             "frankly speaking"

         spirituality for the street

- it is post each Thursday by mid-day

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- past posting are available at

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  May we all blossom even if it's winter wherwe are planted.

                                  ******