Wednesday, August 4, 2021



Dear All of Us,

Time to start the blog.

It's a beautiful, 

clear, comfortable 

Monday morning

here in Washington.

But no it isn't!

There's scare in the air.

Like too many elsewheres,

we're experiencing a

significant Covid up tick

with the Delta variant

and its vastly wider reach.

Masks are mandated

yet again for all 

indoor gatherings

here in DC.

You can almost 

fear-hear doors 

threatening to close on 

churches, shops, offices, 

restaurants, schools.

Are we in for another 

winter of stressful 

discontent, dislocation 

and danger?

To double the trouble

for families, there's the 

early arrival of a 

more virulent RSV, 

threatening infants,

children and youth.

As our Jewish friends say,


Yet, they and we 

all know it's 

probably not yet

enough already.

So how do we get ready

for fearful possibilities?

Stocking up on can goods 

and bathroom tissue certainly

aren't buffer enough.

Here we are with 

all sorts of 

medicines and monies,


transport, production,

technologies galore.

And this complex that is 

modern mammon's god

is having the props 

knocked out 

from underneath it by

millions of mysterious

microscopic mighties.

A David and Goliath


With it goes much of our

accustomed and preferred 

assurance, life style and 

for many, livelihood.

We're up against something 

we can do some things about,

but not near enough 

to completely control 

the crisis, the chaos.

That's tough for us

"Can Do", "Have Done", 

now "Can't Quite Do" 

frightened sorts.

World-wide our 

secular gods are failing us. 

The are gods of control.

They preach and promise:

   "We can figure everything out."

   "We can produce all 

    you want and more."

   "We can control and direct

     everything - air traffic

     to criminal justice 

     to migration."

    "We can create a super safe

     everything - finance, health,

     government, transport, 

     defense, supply chain."

     "We are the gods 

      of the 'Good Life'

      you want and 

      we can deliver."

Going down with secular gods 

is a lot of faux religion:

      Feel good, comfy, 

      cozy religion.

      Fire insurance religion

          (just in case).

      Show up, pay up and

      up you go religion

      (pro forma that protects).

      We've got an answer 

      for everything religion.

      Play by the rules and 

      rule out suffering religion.

      Crown without 

      the cross religion.

Phony, faux just doesn't hold up,

secular or so called sacred.

So how do we hold up? 

We do what Israel did 

in the desert -

we keep on truck'n, 

dust storms,

thirst and all.

We do what Jesus did 

on the cross - we hold on.

We do what John, Mary and 

the holy woman did 

at the cross - we stick it out.

We do what Israel did 

every time they screwed up 

and ended in a ditch - 

we turn from our false gods 

and faux religion

and ask God to get us

back on the road to real.

We do what the 

white man's slaves

did in their misery - 

they clung together 

and lived hope.

We do what all the saints 

have had to do - 

we suffer 

the destruction of 

our false selves 

and our faux gods, 

secular to seemed sacred.

We let go the illusion

of all-round 

safety and security.

We accept the flow 

of God's creation, 

understood or not, 

comfortable or not,

as that creation 

works chaos 

to a heavenly harmony.

   All around us 

   we observe 

   a pregnant creation. 

   The difficult times of pain 

   throughout the world 

   are simply birth pangs.

         Romans 8: 22

         The Message

We do as my friend, 

Ma Willett, 

did in abject poverty 

there in rural Kentucky. 

Tough as nails,

she widow-mothered 

thirteen children.

She'd get mad 

as hell sometimes, 

but she absolutely 

would not quit.

She had a 

rough tough trust 

that God would 

get them through.

And God did!

Not comfortably, 

not easily,

not in a way she could 

understand or control.

In her own way she lived 

a trust prayer 

     Be good to me, God 

     - and now!

     I've run to you 

     for dear life.

     I'm hiding 

     under your wings

     until the hurricane

     blows over.

     I call out to High God,

     the God who 

     holds me together.

        Psalm 57:1-2

        The Message

Faith Flow was her go.

She lived her 

mailing address:

    New Hope, Kentucky.

The Jews had to do that

kind of painful trust living

during the Holocaust.

The poor have always 

had to do it.

We are going through 

rough terrain.

We are forced 

face to face 

with limit.

Yes, that throws us in 

with the vast majority 

of people world wide

as they struggle with 

ambiguity, vulnerability,

insecurity, danger 

and need.

We are also pushed 

to face up to just 

how much do we  

hear promise 

and live trust.

    Do not fear, 

    for I am with you;

    Do not anxiously 

    look about you,

    for I am your God.

    I will strengthen you,

    surely I will help you,

    Surely I will uphold you 

    with My righteous right hand.

               Isaiah 41:10

Rough terrain.

The only way through is

trust the promise.

Life for now is like

making love and 

having a baby.

It is beautiful and ecstatic.

It hurts like hell.

It breaks out in new life.

One day it will be

infinitely more than



With you on our 

retreat forward,

   John Frank



      One and all.

      A High Five

     to our many, 

    many visitors

 from France this week.


      "frankly speaking"

   spirituality for the street



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If you choose to meditate 

and pray about all this, 

some starting points follow.


What we are going through 

just now knocks the hell 

out of easy religion.

We're pushed into 

a cosmic mix and stir.

The controlling mind can't!

We find ourselves like  

an element 

in a vast Mix Master,

pulsed all over the place

until everything blends.

We can't control or figure it -

just experience it,

and that in trust.

"I saw Heaven and earth


Gone the first Heaven,

gone the first earth,

gone the sea.

  I saw Holy Jerusalem,


descending resplendent 

out of Heaven,

as ready for God 

as a bride for her husband.

  I heard a voice thunder 

from the Throne:

"Look! Look! 

God has moved into 

the neighborhood,

making his home 

with men and women!

They're his people,

he's their God.

He'll wipe every tear 

from their eyes. 

Death is gone for good - 

tears gone, crying gone, 

pain gone - all the 

first order of things gone."

The Enthroned continued,

"Look! I'm making 

everything new.

Write it all down -

each word dependable 

and accurate."

   Revelation 21:1-5

     The Message

For here we do not have 

a lasting city, but we 

are seeking the city 

that is to come.

   Hebrews 13:14

I love you, God -

you make me strong.

God is bedrock 

under my feet,

the castle 

in which I live,

my rescuing knight.

My God - the high crag

where I run for dear life,

hiding behind the boulders,

safe in the granite hideout.

I sing to God, 

the Praise-Lofty,

and find myself 

safe and saved.

     Psalm 18:1-3

     The Message


Since everything here today 

might well be gone tomorrow, 

do you see how essential 

it is to live a holy life? 

Daily expect the Day of God, 

eager for its arrival. 

The galaxies will burn up 

and the elements 

melt down that day - 

but we'll hardly notice. 

We'll be looking the other way, 

ready for the promised 

new heavens and 

the promised new earth, 

all landscaped 

with righteousness.

       2 Peter 3:10-13

        The Message

God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,

though the earth should change

And though the mountains     

slip into the heart of the sea...

           Psalm 46:1-2


Grateful for our wonderful 

little community here.

Looking forward 

to being together 

next week.






In my family we puzzle.

Can our daughter do 

in person teaching 

this Fall?

Can we have 

a church baptism

for little Ollie?

Will our other 

two daughters

and our son-in-law

be working remotely?

Do we need again 

"to bubble"? 

And we are among 

the most protected

and most prosperous.

How ever will all 

the essential workers do?

What about the poor

here and worldwide?

In our own ways,

and to varying degrees,  

many/most of us 

are in a fix like Job.

He and his soars

just had to sit it out 

on that pile of

difficult disgust.

He tried to look 

the other way.

It didn't work.

He couldn't miss 

the mess, 

nor could he do 

anything about it.

His support system 


He got angry.

His version of God

turned out to be 

a faux god,

one of his own concocting

and it fell through on him.

Job receives all 

when he surrenders all.

We're up against something 

we can do some things about, 

and simply cannot completely control.

That's tough for "Can do" sorts like us.