Thursday, November 12, 2020



     This is the seventh in our

              Fall Series


              living out

    The Sermon On The Mount


     Given the givens just now, 

     many of which we'd be 

     more than happy 

     to give a heave 

     but simply cannot,

     our sequence here 

     this week is altered.


     Those givens have a lot of us 

     worried sick, tied up in 

     restraining knots of worry.

     So this week we skip ahead to

     Matthew 6:25 -34 and focus on 

     worry and finding a freeing forth. 





                              November 9, 2020

Dear All of Us,

Here in Washington, DC this morning 

it is beautiful, clear, colorful  - autumn ideal.

Here in Washington, DC this morning

it is frightful, conflicted, dangerous -

dreadfully far from ideal.

The atmosphere is choked 

with a pandemic resurgence, 

economic jeopardy, culture war

a presidential transition that is 

neither presidential nor transitional,

but is constitutionally threatening,

concerns that the reactions and rhetoric 

may result in riot.

Here in Washington, DC 

it is Monday morning,

time to start this week's piece on

"spirituality for the street" 

 and to do so

"frankly speaking." 

Is it even worth a try?

So much is flashing at us so fast.

Will all this need to be 

revised and rewritten

before posting Thursday morning?

Well, you know what?

I'm not going to worry about it!

Way better, I'm going 

to write about being


It's critical to note that 

there's a vast difference 

between being freed from 

debilitating worry 

and fearlessly facing 

the strain of responsible 

concern and action.

The two are interlaced.

We darn well better be  

concerned and responsive 

to the societal issues before us.

We darn well better work 

to be freed from worry 

that renders us personally, psychically, 

socially, spiritually disabled.

The emphasis here today

is on the latter.

Let's see what we can see about

not being worried soul sick

and find ways to be 


in a most stressful 

and worrisome time.

As noted, 

the turmoil of the times 

sure is tripping up 

all sorts of us 

in all sorts of 

negative ways.

Right at the top of 

that pile of peril is


It robs many of 

a healthy spiritual freedom, 

imprisoning's them,

limiting then, 

restraining them 

in the grip of fearful worry.

They are anything but


So let's face and feel both 

the perniciousness of fear and 

the power of freedom in Christ.

    "It was for freedom 

     that Christ set us free;

     therefore keep standing firm

     and do not be subject again

     to a yoke of slavery"

                           Galatians 5:1

Our spiritual freedom and growth 

start to set in when we find out 

that the facts of life are

way more than about sex.

The real facts of life are that 

        life is lovely 


    life can be lousy.

     We "be" in, 

     we go and grow 

     through both.

We don't want to miss the one 

worrying about the other.

We deal with both as they come,

not as they might come.

To see this we do well to look at 

the lovely and the lousy

as they both played out 

for growth and greatness

in the lived experience of

Mohammed, Buddha, Jesus,

Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt,

Martin Luther King, C.S. Lewis

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jung,

my mother and probably yours.

In large part life is like a card game.

We only win if we make the best of 

the hand we are dealt.

In life, as in cards, 

it all comes down to

how we react.

So we don't play it safe 

because that isn't safe.

Rather we savor to growth 

through all the love in life -

having a baby, 

getting lost in a Monet,

hiking The Appalachian Trail, 

good wine with good friends,

reading Richard Rohr and Thomas Merton,

a SoulYes to being mystically 

enwrapped in GodLove,

going to a Springsteen concert,

a Dicken's novel, 

culinary euphoria dining at 

Suzanne McCarthy's table...

We also man up/woman up to 

all the "lousies" in life

rather than sitting in the corner,

thump in mouth, 

stilled to stupor by worry -

a possible birth defect, 

a love that may fall through,

a potential financial bust,

pandemic peril, 

career frustrations,

health concerns, 

our country coming undone 

at the seams...

We live spiritually real and well

when we do so 

in a spirit that embraces 

with vigor and gusto the lovely,

and damn well refuses 

to be wasted by worry

about the lousy 

before it shows up.

As the lovely and the lousy

show up we go at each with 

matching vigor and gusto.

Worry is a fake out.

It gets us stalled, even stopped,

by fear of what might happen,

but hasn't happened.

It steals positive life energies

and is thus life denying.

It gets us preoccupied 

with what is not actual,

what is not here,

paralyzed by possibilities.

In the meantime we sit out,

miss out, on vigorous living,

on deepening and expanding of soul.

Worry is a sucker game of the devil.

Hey, if you're too sophisticated 

for the term devil, try

"counter creative vacuum."


When we cave to worry,

we miss the lovely, 

lose the verve to wrestle 

with the lousy when it does show up.

Yes, we will hurt in life.

But literally for God's sake, 

why hurt early and more 

than has to be by worrying about it


Worry is diabolical because it derails

the enterprise of growing through

the "lovelies" and the "lousies" of life.

It saps soul.

It wastes, it limits living.

It misdirects attention and energies 

from good to good for nothing.

Tell it to go to hell, 

right there with the devil,

aka "counter creative vacuum."

The older I get the bolder I get.

To wit, here's more than 

is usually shared in a public forum.

I'm eighty, have significant prostate problems,

nasty arthritis neck to hips that is always 

uncomfortable and regularly painful,

and an aortic aneurysm. 

I refuse to waste time, attention and energy

on what any or all of that 

might/may mean some day. 

So I take my prostate meds 

and don't worry about a maybe metastasis.

I keep on keeping on with a daily walk,

even as there's more and more shuffle to it

and less distance covered lately,

rather than worry about a day when 

wheels will be necessary.

I put my whole heart into the glories of life 

before me right now rather than worry about 

an aortic blow out and a fast transition to Next.

I'm here, not in the nowhere of worry.

Please note the double negative.

We know what that means, right?

Here's an uncomfortable but 

hard to miss analogy.

Let's not fall for the disfigurement 

of being a Worry Wart.

A face full of warts would keep 

a lot of folks indoors 

and missing much of life.

Being a Worry Wart disfigures 

our soul and how we face life.

It locks us in and living out.

Remember the wisdom that says:

"A coward dies a thousand deaths.

The brave person dies once."

Don't die off from full force living

by worrying a lot about something that 

is not in the right now, 

may never be so, 

and if it is someday we take the hit once,

not a thousand unnecessary and 

life stealing times.

I've taken a bunch of words to say this poorly.

In just a few wonderful words 

Jesus says it so well:

         "Give your entire attention

         to what God is doing right now,

         and don't get worked up about

         what may or may not happen tomorrow.

         God will help you deal with

         whatever hard things come

         when the time comes."

                                    Matthew 6:34


                    WORRY FREED

                        sure is!!

               John Frank


This week we have again been blessed 

with another large contingent of visitors 

from Portugal. A hearty welcome to you

and all our other first time visitors.


                "frankly speaking"

        spirituality for the street

- is posted by mid-day Thursdays

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Here's  to our strength and stamina

in a tough and terrible time,

living the "lovelies" and the "lousies,"

             WORRY FREED