Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Hi There!

So, remember Flip Wilson?

If you do, I'll bet you're already lightning up

and starting to smile just at the mention of his name.

If you don't, " Get thee to a YouTube."

so you, too, can lighten up

 and start to smile a bit more.

Flip Wilson was an African American comedian.

His show on NBC ran during the early 70's and was immensely popular.

Flip was something of a modern day court jester

( boy, could we use him today!!).

He pointedly poked fun at our pomposity and picadillos

by playing a variety of hilarious characters.

There was The Reverend LeRoy, pastor of The Church Of What's Happening Now

( " What see is what you get!" ).

There was Herbie, The Ice Cream Man with an attitude.

And then of course, there was Geraldine,

 a sassy, assertive, and  delightfully misbehaving woman

and her boyfriend, Killer.

Geraldine would regularly go off the rails and do naughty.

When confronted, she would just rear back

and let you know rather vigorously

"The devil made me do it!"

Way before Flip Wilson, Matthew wrote a gripping story

 about the adventures of a Palestinian Jew named Jesus.

Well into mid-life ( life expectancy in those days was about 45 ),

Jesus emerged into an intense public life for three years.

His kick off was a symbol of solidarity with us and

 the messier parts of our human experience.

Jesus joined the crowds and hiked down to the Jordan River.

There he got dunked in purifying waters by his cousin, John.

As he emerged from the Jordan,

Jesus experienced an intense affirmation

of who he was and what he needed to do.

Before he took off for all that,  he went through a rigorous test flight.

All alone, that took place in a vast desert area over a 40 day period -

reminiscent of Moses's 40 year desert exile as well as

the 40 years his ancestors wondered around in the desert

during their test flight,

trying to work out the kinks as a chosen people.

Jesus' test fight was electrifying.

Negative challenges brought forth positive affirmations.

Put simply, Jesus was tempted not to be who he was and

 not to do what was his to do.

Unlike Geraldine, the devil couldn't make him fall for it.

Jesus' metal was tested in the same ways ours is.

For him, as for us, that testing, those temptations,

are in some form or other an urge  to be unreal

by the misuse of





TEMPTER:    Hey, Jesus, let's face it, you're hungry.

                        Enough already!

                       You've been through a lot.

                       You deserve to feel good.

                       "  IF "
                       you are who  you think you are,

                       just cut short this fasting business,

                       and chow down.

                       Use your app there

                       and in no time a Papa John's Pizza

                       will be delivered  by drone.


                      Get real!


For us it isn't turning stones to bread, or ordering out for pizza.

For us it's being destabilized,

disconnected from our true selves and our life task

by trying to antidote our stresses

with an opiate of misplaced pleasure:

                     Things are pretty chilly in the bedroom most nights,

                     and  is my coworker ever hot and raring to toss the salad.

                     I work hard, so I deserve a lot of toys.

                     I'll feel good if I shop till I drop.

                     I could stop over eating/drinking, even smoking, if I wanted to.



                     Hey Jesus.

                    " IF "

                     you really are who you think you are,

                     let's get some big time media exposure.

                    We pull a number no one else has thought of.

                     We get all the media outlets here.

                    So you jump out of a plane

                    with no parachute.

                    You have this celestial expression on your face.

                     We'll supply the media with sound from Handel's Messiah.

                    We can arrange to have cameras in the plane,

                    on you, and at the, what will it be, "crash/landing" site.

                   There's thousands of feet of free fall.

                    You bless the crowds below.

                   Then a thousand feet from splatter,

                   your team flies under you with a huge net

                   slung between their two planes,

                   and scoops you up at two hundred feet above the crowd.

                   We ramp up the sound track to the Allelulia Chorus.

                   I mean you'll get more coverage  and comment than even Trump.


              Get real!


              I'll take everything I can get as a white male.

             Because I am a big contributor to this

             (church, club, political party, cause ...... )

             I want you to ................,

             or not to..........................

             Hey, I pay the bills around here,

             so I call the shoots, got it?



               Let me tell you Jesus,

               I have enormous holding,

               I out buffet Buffett,

               so I'll deal you in big time,


               sign over who you are and what you do to me

               and my organization.



               Get real!


              You'll have to fit in time with the kids when you can,

              but I need you here early to late, and on call 24/7.

               I know we're cutting a few corners,

               but it has really bumped up revenues big time,

               so just stifle your questions about product safety.

               Hey, those ( name your minority )

               will work their toes off for way less

               than other people I could hire.

                Kiss my, ok, "ankle,"  and I'll move yo to the top of our

                ( church, party, company, college...).

Jesus passed his rigorous flight test.

Basically, he told the tempter  to go to hell!!

He went steady and straight, stayed the course.

He then was able to really take off and soared

doing what he was all about,

because he held true to who he was and what was his to do.

The same can be true for us.

It might be helpful during our

Lenten Work Out

to chronicle the actual temptations we face,

being specific and honest as we do this in our journals.

(Don't forget to keep them securely away from nosy eyes.

It's a mixed metaphor and it happens!!).

We should note:

                    Where do I tend to get unreal?

                    What are my soft spots?

                    When do I tend to cave?

Then to each of those temptation bring an affirmation of

                    WHO YOU REALLY ARE,

                    WHAT IS REALLY YOURS TO DO.

Make them specific and practical

                     " Sure I want to take good care of my family

                        and make a lot of money,

                        but I will not sell my soul to the company store.

                       So, if a different company and a lesser salary

                       means I'm home nights and weekends  with the family,

                       then let's barbecue!!

Our journal entries should be statements of how we express our own

                                 " GET REAL!"

in the face of temptations to misplaced




We all have a unique and sacred self

as well as a creative flow from that center.

A good part of our


is the exercise of affirming them against the temptations

to get talked out of ourselves.

So come on Geraldine!

The devil can't make you do it!!

Here's celebrating the real you

and all the good that flows from you!

I'm praying for all of us.

May we bring vigor to our


So good to be with you!!

Holding you in

God's Dear Love,

   John Frank


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