Thursday, June 18, 2020



"frankly speaking" is all about
 spirituality for the street,
 the actual, practical living of it.

 Right now our "streets" 
 are rough and rocky.
 They are clogged 
 with confusion and conflict -
 it's a hard way to go.

 What follows addresses that.
 What follows is not a quick 
 nor an easy read,
 but then our way forward
 is neither quick nor easy.


Dear All of Us,

I went to church twice last Sunday.
No, I'm not a Baptist, but I was
    and that Big Time!!

My head and heart were like 
two ping-pong ballsl
being slammed back and forth
ever faster and harder
across a table of trouble.
          I was had!

Those two Sunday sermons
paddled soul and psyche 
more painfully than 
any Victorian headmaster.

One sermon was pastoral.  
The other was prophetic.

The combination epitomizes
the fix we're in 
and its challenge 
to our spiritual lives.
With a pandemic that 
just isn't going to go away
for too terribly long, 
with economic havoc
in lock step,
with ethnic/racial injustice
demanding foundational redress,
with the civic sector
more a battlefield 
than a unified field 
of competent cooperation,
vexing, taxing concerns -
will I die,
will there be enough food,
will there be a fair election,
can leaders lead?
How make spiritual sense of it all,
in the midst of it all?
What do we do 
and how do we do it?
Society is blitzed,
Our souls are blitzed.
Soul and society seek balance.

How do we go from 
Blitzed To Balanced?

How TO "B"?

So, let's check out those Sunday sermons.

The first sermon was from 
the pastor of our local church.
In his deliberate, kindly way 
he spoke of the fatigue 
we all are feeling.
Months of plague and now protest
are a double whammy
wearing us out.
How long?
So many limits!
The economy?
Will governance hold?
Readjustment after readjustment!
They tire our psyche and soul.
We are worry weary
and we know there's a lot more to come.
The pastor urged self care,
encouraged being faithful disciples,
counselled patience and hope.
The sermon was pastorally 
sensitive and honest. 

Next up on live stream was 
the service from
The National Cathedral here in DC.
The guest preacher was
William J. Barber, 
co-leader of The Poor Peoples' Campaign.
He read from Amos  
    The Message Translation.
Then it was a half hour plus of
prophetic preaching
that had all the power and punch
of Amos, Ezekiel, Isaiah and Jerimiah
and their entire prophet clan.
Barber masterfully painted the plight
we face as a people and how we got here,
what we need to be and do,
and the tremendous stretch all that requires 
                  - read -


He held before us the fact that 
from our start we were founded 
with a lethal admixture 
of death dealing and injustice to,
and in contradiction to, noble principles 
of democracy and equality.
The poison has yet to be lanced and let.
It's killing us, 
especially if we are black or brown.
Yet it is killing us in a different way 
if we are white.
Our very souls are compromised
by benefitting from privilege 
at a horrible cost to others.
Most of us don't intend, nor see it,
but we are part of the problem.
We live in a system
that favors some,
denies others
and does so systemically
in deadening to deadly ways.

Barber gave voice to God's cry for lament.

     "Go out into the streets and lament loudly!'
                      Amos 5:16

Barber just plain boomed God's demand for justice.

     "Do you know what I want?
      I want justice - oceans of it.
      I want fairness - rivers of it.
     That's what I want. That's all I want."
                      Amos 5:24

Those two sermons represent 
the vice grip
squeezing us spiritually.
How can we grow past 
the death dealing and injustice,
that poison our society spiritually, 
racially, economically, governmentally.
How do we work for justice?
What can one little old me do?
How do we keep our heads above water 
dealing with all that plus 
the on-going pandemic, 
protests and civil upset?

How do we go from 
Blitzed to Balanced?


Here are a few
that might help us get started with that.

More than anything, we let 
     The Holy Spirit
have us top to bottom,
all way round, inside out, outside in. 
We let 
     The Holy Spirit
free us from fear, 
guide and strengthen us.
We quit any efforts to be 
Lone Rangers, to play God,
or the opposite by resigning
from active duty 
on the field of our Conflicted Now.
We joyfully give over and let 
     The Holy Spirit 
flow freely and fully through us,
        giving us
the light to see, 
the way to be and go,
the energy to do that,
changing us,
vivifying us,
transforming us,
showing us how to move from

Blitzed to Balanced


Privilege we have.
We use it to help others 
come to justice and parity.
Privilege for all.

From across the racial/ethnic spectrum 
we need to gather 
      as citizens
      as neighbors
      as corporations and unions
      as religious bodies
      as schools
      as political parties
      as clubs, interest groups, teams.

From across the racial/ethnic spectrum      
      we meet
      we engage
      we stay open and vulnerable
      we listen
      we share
      we face the problem
      we search for justice
      we stay no mater the discomfort
      we struggle to solidarity
      we together learn
           HOW TO "B"

We work for political candidates
with a proven tract record 
of justice seeking for all.

We develop cross ethnic/religious 
dinner groups that will let people 
get to know each other 
and their families as we really are.

We share cultural and ethnic celebrations, 
meals, parades, rituals .

We get two different kinds of people
focused on a third experience,
say developing a neighborhood garden, 
sharing a community tool shed.
We mix it up to enriched inclusion.

We honestly embrace a life style 
that provides us enough,
but not an excess.
We drive an adequate, 
but not high end car.
We select vacations that refresh,
but are not excesses
of pampered self indulgence.
We dress neatly and tastefully,
but skip a closet of extravagance.
We don't corner capital. 

We encourage our religious body
to indeed "embody" us as we are, 
to open heart and door 
to people of various shades 
and hues of color and culture,
to incorporate a richness 
of language, music, art, ritual 
in a soul sharing faith family.
We get excited to stretch and change 
for expansive inclusion
and mutual mission.

We adjust our portfolios 
to the gold standard 
of just enterprise. 

We frequent ethnic and minority 
stores and restaurants.

We might have a try at learning Spanish.

Justice means "Justus" - 
    "getting it right".
That starts right at the heart
and grows out from there 
to all kinds of 
just and delightful expressions.
We join God in getting excited 
about each other and us together.
We lighten up, open up,
and let God show off his children to us, 
the delights of her heart 
in all our uniqueness
and oneness in God.
We do all we can, 
where we can, 
when we can
to let God's Rightness, God's Justice,
flow through us, our very souls, 
our life styles, our work, 
social life and community.

We model ourselves on Jesus.
He lived in a horribly unjust 
and violent society, 
under the domination 
of the evil empire 
that was Rome.
Jesus didn't let that side track him.
He didn't blitz out.
He was balanced.
He stayed upright 
and went right ahead  
in the Love that he is.
He lived what he spoke,
healing the sick and hurt.
In him we now look out for 
the hurting "left outs"
at school, at work, in town.
That could mean getting friendly 
with the bus driver of color 
and eventually having 
our families get together
for picnics and games.
It could mean quietly covering 
the health insurance premium
of a migrant family
through the agency 
our religious community.

"A person is known      
by the company they keep."
Jesus kept company with 
the "throw aways" of his time:
prostitutes, lepers, children,
foreigners, the poor -
those pushed to the edge.
We embrace and interact
with all pushed to the sidelines: 
gays, trans, minorities, migrants,
the "other", the quirkie and odd balls
at the office, down the street.

Like Jesus, we are zoned.
Like Jesus we live
a love expressed in justice
right where we are.
We think globally.
We act locally.

Jesus went off for regular 
huddles with his Abba.
We do the same.
In those huddles we are 
steadied and strengthened.
We see a way forward,
we are graced to live 
our spiritual lives
in the midst of mess, 
working for things 
to be just right - Justus.

A big help here is to get 
an Accountability Group going.
Up to ten or so of us covenant 
to meet regularly, ask and listen:
"How is it with your soul?"
We help each other stay the course
to a deep interior life 
and a ministry of mercy.

BLITZED we will be.

BALANCED we can "B"

"Come Holy Spirit"

    John Frank



          This week we had 795 first time visitors from Romania.
          That's a first time in a number of ways!
          What an honor. A warm welcome to you all, 
          as well as to our other first time visitors.


                             PRAY AND PONDER

This week it might be helpful to slowly go over the above posting, 
a little at a time each day . There's a lot there for prayerful pondering
and personal as well as shared application. In fact, perhaps a sharing 
with a Soul Friend, or in a small group setting, would ne worthwhile.

The same is true and more so of William Barber's sermon. 


                               June 14, 2020

                       The Rev. D. William J. Barber II


The Message is a translation of the scriptures from the street words
of when and where they were written to the street words of our here and now.

                                AMOS 5: 20- 24

                 At God's coming we face hard reality, not
                                    fantasy -
                 a black cloud with no silver lining.

                 I can't stand your religious meetings.
                   I'm fed up with your conferences and
                 I want nothing to do with your religious projects,
                      your pretentious slogans and goals.
                 I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes.
                     your public relations and image making.
                 I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
                      When was the last time you sang to me?
                 Do you know what I want?
                     I want justice - oceans of it.
                 I want fairness - rivers of it.
                      That's what I want. That all I want.


                                "frankly speaking"

                           spirituality for the streets

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                            COME HOLY SPIRIT