Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Dear All of Us,

  Truth to tell

we all have our


our prized people,

our favorite folks,

our "go to's"

who prove true,

our "count on's",

our "come on over's"

our "tight in's."

Jesus sure has his: 


and age has nothing 

    to do with it.

One day, actually

many days, 

the disciples

were jockeying for

standing and status,

one upmanship,

(Yes, they were all men)

being top banana,

kind of like the 

gang of teen-terrors

in the Clown Car 


The Common Good in

The House of Far From

Representative of 

America's best

just now.

When the close-in's, 

got out of whack,

pumped up on 

self-supposed superiority,

Jesus popped their

pomposity balloons

on the spot.

He let them know 

they were rushing 

hell bent the wrong way,

needed to do a three sixty,

a complete

         SOUL SHIFT

   At that time the disciples 

   came to Jesus and said,

  "Who is greatest in 

   the kingdom of heaven?" 

   And he called a child 

   to Himself and set him 

   before them, and said

   to them:

  "Truely I say to you

   unless you change

   and become like children,

   you will never enter

   the kingdom of heaven.

   Whoever then 

   humbles himself 

   as this child, 

   he is greatest in 

   the kingdom of heaven."

      Matthew 18:1-4

How do we translate 

that then to our this now?

We really need 

to figure forward.

For a variety of economic,

cultural and social reasons,

nobody was more a 


than children were 

where and when 

Jesus lived. 

Children had

no standing 



Jesus stood a


in their midst 

and measured  


Counter intuitive then.

Counterintuitive now.

What's so great 

about children 

for God's sake?

Why do they have 

the greatest standing?

Well, because they live 


and we will only be great 

and part of the

kingdom of heaven 

if we do as well.

It's not a matter of groveling, 

not about being put down.

It's living a dear down,

a simple start,

created to grow up

  (L) humus 

an earthiness

of dependence, 

of potential,

a need that 

God can nurture,

fill to unending fullness,

true greatness.

It's living Soul Free,

truly dependent

on God,

an uncomplicated and 

uncompromised openness,

a willingness to be 

growth given.

There's spontaneous

playfulness and joy to it,

centered in true trust.

Children live that 

from the ground ("humus") up

Put another way, 

even God can't grow a

    "just started" 

to its potential fullness  

when it deems itself 

already and 

independently such. 

Only an emptiness 

can be filled.

Only a lowly seedling

can grow up,

lifted to the heights,

certainly not one 

posturing as already

grown greatness.

Put yet another way, 

we're invited to the

Kin-Domain of Goodness, 

The Kingdom of God,

a garden of wonder 

upon wonder,

God's Love 

creatively unfolding,

too God to ever stop.

All we have to do is

stop strutting about on

stilts of arrogant illusion 

and attempted dominance.

God wants to grow us 

to real greatness,

and will if we heed




       have the  


      of a child

with its gleeful openness 

and spacious simplicity.


So, we let God sprout us,

delighted with our unique 

body, personality, spirit,

strengths and giftedness,

our special place in

the garden of Creation.

We go with 

the growth given.

We don't try to tower over, 

but glory in God Good

spread all around 

and shared with  

our fellow children

of whatever age,

sprout-starts all.

We totally depend on God.

We are truly one with the 

        "No Bodies"

of our state, station, location -

geographic, economic, social.

All this seems like

   "Kid's Stuff"

       It is!

    That's the 

point and possibility.

Jesus isn't out 

to impoverish 

or demean us.

Living in the midst of 


has already done that -

deluded, doped, deprived us.

Jesus countermands 

the word, way and world

of Empire with its 

perversion of 

power and position,

its arrogance and posturing,

degradation of nature,

demeaning and death dealing,

dispossessing the poor,

dominance of the 

many by the few,

denial of justice.

Jesus offers us

The Realm of Real.

A hard question and

challenge for us is,

how much of 

our lifestyle

and manner

and means

are sad such,

products of Empire's 

dominating, destructive 

steel fist, 

cloved in the velvet 

of unreflected 

dominance and privilege?

In the best sense of the word, 

Jesus puts us in our place.

A place of 

freeing dependence,

trusting openness, 

joyous simplicity,

spacious growth,

genuine, unpretentious


accepting and accepted,

alive in love of 

God, neighbor, self

So "placed,'" 

we take our place

in life free and real,

be it as a day laborer,

an executive,

chef, teacher, 

partner, parent,

builder, artist.

We are happy to be 

a nobody in Empire

to be a somebody 

in the Kingdom,

delighted to be people




For those open to it, 


Lord, this is tough stuff.

Hard to take.

Hard to be given.

Free us in your embrace

to take to heart and street,

to open wide to your givenness.

"For here we have

 no lasting kingdom, 

 but we are looking for 

 the kingdom that 

 is to come."

   Hebrews 13:14

How much of what 

goes on with us is,

however disguised,

really an attempt 

to establish our own 

heaven on earth?

- career-wise,

- comfort-wise

- as a nation

- as a church


"Do you see 

what we've got? 

An unshakable kingdom!

And do you see 

how thankful 

we must be?  

Not only thankful,

but brimming 

with worship, 

deeply reverent 

before God. 

For God is not an 

indifferent bystander. 

He's actively 

cleaning house, 

torching all that 

needs to burn, 

and he won't quit 

until it's all cleaned.

God himself is Fire!"

Hebrews 12:28-29

  The Message

The heat sure is 

turned up here!

How fully invested 

are we in this 

"unshakable kingdom"?

Any hedging going on?

What kind of thanks 

do we have cooking?

How "brimming"

is our worship 

these days?

Are there things 

in our set up 

that need to be 


Such as...


"So Jesus 

got them together  

to settle things down. 

He said 

'You've observed how 

godless rulers throw 

their weight around, 

how quickly 

a little power 

goes to their heads. 

It's not going to be 

that way with you. 

Whoever wants

to be great 

must become

a servant. 

Whoever wants 

to be first among you 

must be your slave. 

That's what 

the Son of Man 

has done.

He came to serve, 

not to be served - 

and then give away 

his life in exchange 

for the many 

who are held hostage.'"

  Matthew 20: 25-28

     The Message

What are ways we 

throw our weight around?

How power happy/grappy 

are we?

Does that show up in church?

How sold are we 

on being "servants"?

With us is it more fact 

or more fiction?

How do we and 

our church serve 

rather than seek 

to be served?

What are some 

for real examples?

What are some 

for real calls

to serve?


 We welcome each other,

     Kingdom Kids All

          here at

     frankly speaking

spirituality for the street

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You know, 

turns out

humble pie

is really

pretty darn 


Looking happily ahead 

to our gathering here 

next week.

Love to all.

John Frank