Friday, September 14, 2018











Hi There !

So, as a teen back in the '50's,

( No, not the 1850's!  )

I lived in a lovely,

large, old house

in Montclair, New Jersey.

My bedroom was

on the third floor,

attic surrounded

on three sides,

with a sloped

slate roof overhead.

Oh Man,Woman and Child!!,

was it ever hot summer nights.

That slate roof

and the trapped air

in the wraparound attic

held the day's heat

like a brick oven.

Brick ovens

are ideal for pizza,

but not so cool for sleeping.

To make it possible for sleep,

I replaced the whole window

with a homemade screen,

moved the bed right under it,

and aimed a fan directly on it.

          But wait.

       There's more.

I filled the tub

with ice cold water

and stayed submerged

 'til a credible lobster blue.

Then I jumped into bed

and fell asleep

before the arctic

reverted to the tropics.

Forget about reading,

listening to music,

even praying,

before bed.

It was too hellishly hot.

More than sixty years later

here I am before bed

writing this to you

in the cool, dry comfort

of an air conditioned townhouse,

and it's 97 degree outside

with matching humidity.

Soon it'll be bed

with some reading

and praying

before hand.

No need for

being iced to sleep.

Why this account

of my hots and colds?

Partly because

I like to tell stories,

but mostly to illustrate that


It makes all kinds

of differences.

While it doesn't alter

our essence,

it surely does effect

our attitude and action,

the living out of that essence.

Context tones thinking,

feeling, eating, working,

making love, praying,

planning, playing, paying bills,

inviting you mother in law

over for dinner  -

the whole panoply

of human being and doing.

That's certainly so

with our spiritual lives.


The myriad and varying contexts

of our lives condition

the terrain of our spiritual transit

from birth to death:

- upbringing and family life,

- educational and

  cultural endowments,

- ethical and religious heritage,

- health and wealth,

- geographic region,

- and miles more.

Cumulatively and immediately

they condition

the right here,

the right now

of our spiritual lives.


Right here, right now

that is happening

in an upending way

in the United States

and many other

countries around

our global village.

This the context

where we try to live out

our spiritual lives.

Here in the states,

our shared

social/cultural context

is in seismic shift.

It's mind boggling

and soul shaking -

a point 12

on the Richter Scale

of societal shift.

Government, finance,

social discourse, religion,

mass communications,

politics, public ethics,

industry and finance,

ethnic groups roil.

A survey issued

this summer

by Rasmussen Reports

finds that fully one third

of likely American voters

expect a second Civil War

in this country within

the next five years.

That's maddening.

Imagine what that says

about our souls.

We are effected

in multiples of concern

as we try to negotiate

our spiritual lives

out here on the street

of everyday living,

one so jarred and

jarring spiritually.

For sure.


What kind of a future

do we have?

Do we have a future?

How do you live a marriage

and raise a family,

or navigate your final years,

in this kind of context?

Can youth and young people

establish a stable adult life?

How do you secure safety -

         can you?

The world order put in place

after the Second World War

      is crumbling.

Worldwide, masses want

the life style, prosperity

and benefits we and

many other nations have.


for the whole world

to live as we do

in this country

would require

the resources

of 4.1 planet earths.

We only have one!!!!

That' a context for conflict.

It "conditions"

all kinds of things.

It means migration,

militarism, rejections,

gates, walls, violence,

haves and have nots,


aggressive nationalism

and the threat of economic

and nuclear war.

( See Popular Science, Daily Infographic:

"If Everyone Lived Like An American,

How Many Earths Would We Need,"

Emily Elert, October 19, 2012

for the resources matter noted above).

It is frightening.

How do you live

a wholeness,

a holiness,

in this churning, conflicted,

combustible context?

It certainly isn't by putting on

your Sunday best and

going to church every week,

sleeping  only with

your duly married spouse,

of the opposite sex of course,

working hard, raise a family,

be honest and eventually

make at least one pilgrimage

to Disney World

before you die,

and then go to heaven.

Nor is it to head

for a monastery

on some remote Greek isle.

Nor is it to stop thinking

and join others in

some sort of frightened,

fundamentalist bunker

of blind certainty seeking.

Nor is it to numb out

in some esoteric,

not so new age

spurious haze.

Can we be people of peace?

Can there be justice?

Can we gather into

communities of depth,

care and support?

What about meditation

and contemplation?

How be a mystic

in all this mess?

Next week Part II of this series

will focus on being real

in a context of unreality,

on loving in a hateful

social setting,

on being transformed beautiful

as we together seek

to be part of God's transforming

of evil into glorious good.

In the "mean" time,

and right now it is,

hang on tight and together.

Even better, let

Love hold us

and hold us



Hopefully and prayerfully,

   John Frank



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They hail from many lands.

New to that list this week are

Bulgaria and Chile.

Thanks for your welcome to us.


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     by considering

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  "Consider Your Source,"

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