Friday, March 8, 2019


Dear All Of Us,

"So what'a yah gunna do?"

For forty years 
The United Methodist Church
has fussed and fought 
over same gender issues.
They just spent 
well over $3,000,000
for a Special Session 
of their General Conference
trying to find
    " A Way Forward."
For all their time and money
they ended up 
fighting and fracturing their
       "Way Forward"
to split and separation.
So much - again yet - 
for Christian unity.

Regionalized cultural values and
a preferred lens for reading scripture 
posturing as Gospel
won the day and 
lost the church.

Absolutizing the personal and
persuational trumped truth.
      The Not At All 
United Methodist Church
     could not find a
     Way Forward 
    so they are not.
    They splintered.
Some staying for what was.
Some staying in
Sacred Resistance.
Some separating all together,
while others are beginning
to find new forms
of federation.
It's beyond disappointing.
It's scandalous.

"So what'a yah gunna do?"

The Methodists are 
just the latest
poster people 
for failed religion.
Check out the
sexual scandal
in the Roman church,
the splits in the Lutheran,
Presbyterian, UCC,
Episcopal and Baptist churches 
over the last forty years.
They all are fighting for air
and self preservation
while society and planet 
are in peril.
It's scandalous.

The Jews, Moslems,
Buddhists and Hindu's
have their own variations
on the themes of
discord, dissonance 
and division.
It's scandalous.

"So what'a yah gunna do?"

It's perplexing and painful
because most of us got 
our spiritual start 
and still get a good bit 
of soulful sustenance 
from formal, 
institutional religion.
Our very spiritual lives 
are at issue here.
Where do we go?
What do we do?

First of all,
From the get go 
to right now,
most people 
have quietly lived 
a real, a genuine  
and rooted spiritual life within, 
and often in spite of,
formal, institutional religion.
Check out Italian Catholics.
They know what to take
and what to leave:
       "What's the Pope know
        about birth control?
        How many kids 
        is he trying to feed?"
But they have those kids 
baptized in the church!

Like them we must not let
church bureaucrats, 
church votes or regulations 
that cause harm and limits
slow, stop or exclude us 
or anyone else.

Jesus never gave a call 
to neat and tidy 
theology or polity.
But he did give 
an uncompromising call to
inclusion, acceptance, oneness.
Yes, those Italian Catholics 
know what to take
and what to leave.
They have a pretty good take on

    "So what'a yah gunna do?

So does Dianna Butler Bass.
She profiles the real situation
and history of Christianity.
As the cover blurb of her book, 
   A People's History of Christianity,
  The Other Side of the Story,
puts it so well:
        For too long, the history of
        Christianity has been told 
        as the triumph of orthodox
        doctrine imposed through power.
        Now, historian Diana Butler Bass
        sheds new light on 
        the surprising ways 
        that many Christians 
        have refused to conform
        to a rigid church hierarchy 
        and sought to recapture
        the radical implications 
        of Jesus's life and message."
That's the ticket and answer to

    "So what'a yah gunna do?"

To get back to the Methodists.
May they truly find a genuine
         Way Forward 
by getting back to their founder,
John Wesley, and his simple,
clear call to personal 
and social holiness.
Methodist or otherwise, 
let's all be guided 
by John Wesley's wisdom:
"In essentials we are one.
In all else we think and let think."

Even more, it's imperative that 
God's Love and Unity
be real, actual and vigorous in us
and among us,
not a concept or doctrine 
so much as an experience, 
an actuality. - personal 
and communal.
Jesus prayed for it.
The world waits for it. 
    "...that they may be one.
    As you, Father, are in me 
    and I am in you,
    may they also be in us,
    so that the world may believe 
    that you have sent me.
   The glory that you have given me
   I have given them, 
   so that they may be one
   as we are one,
   I in them and you in me,
   that they may become completely one,
   so that the world may know 
   that you have sent me
   and have loved them 
   even as you have loved me."
        ( John 17: 21-23 )

Current exclusions, 
distancing and division
based on denying people 
their unique, God given 
makeup and identity,
utterly fail to witness 
to a dreadfully needy world
God's Love and Call to Unity.
They are totally unjust.
They amount to apostacy.
They disqualify as Christian,
no matter how many hymns are sung
or how many scripture citations
cascade in conflicting harm,
or votes to exclude are cast at difference.

To exclude excludes the excluder.

As Ginger Gaines-Cirelli 
(Foundry UMC, Washington, DC)
so clearly and courageously 
says and leads, these are times for

to exclusion, discrimination, division.

As a truck driver friend of mine says 
about church people excluding, 
discriminating, trying to claim 
the church for themselves 
and their persuasions,
   "Don't let the bastards 
    ware you down.
    Tell'em to lighten up 
    and come have a good time 
    with all God's people 
    just like you and God are doin
    because you and God
    ain't goin nowhere 
    and they don't have to either."

As Jesus prays and the world waits,
these are times for rip roaring,
joyous inclusion and loving oneness,
freeing for personal and social wholeness
and it's going to require a health dose of


"Ecce quam bonum…"
"Behold how good and pleasant it is when 
 kindred live together in unity!"
                  ( Psalm 133:1 )

         "So what'a yah gunna do?"

In the Unity of God's Love and Justice,

                 John Frank


Please let me tell you how much 
you all mean to me and to all of us 
who gather here each week for 
Soul Share and Support.
This is quite a little community.


Here's a shout out to all of you
who have been introducing
friends and associates to
   "frankly speaking."
   You make a big 
and good difference.


Also, a great big welcome
to our newest participation
from Slovakia.


Please take this as it is offered, 
and that is in gratitude for blessings.
Over the weeks we now have 
participation here in our gatherings
from sixty seven nations.
Thank God and thank you!


      "frankly speaking"

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