Thursday, November 7, 2019

MAKING CHANGE




Dear All of Us,

Cashiers have to be good at making change.

Their jobs depend on it.

We have to be good at making change.

Our lives depend on it.

The economy of living

means making all kinds of change,

under all kinds of circumstances, 

all kinds of ways,

all the time.

The bookends of life itself involve vast change -

from womb to world,

from world to the next world.

In between we change everything from 

diapers to tires,

jobs to relationships,

locations to waste lines.

Negotiate a change well and we prosper.

Botch a change and we pay for it.




Our spiritual living is woven into the warp and woof 

of daily life and its incessant change.

Resist it, ignore it, mishandle it

and it's more hell than heaven.

It's freedom and fullness missed.

Go with change and we grow. 

It's like breathing.

We breath in and then we breath out.

Those changes are live giving.

Sitting in a chair they are easy.

Running a marathon they are strenuous.

Praying in an accustomed manner and mode is easy for a while.

Things change when that kind of praying becomes arid and empty.

The change to an all together new form of prayer is hard.

That kind of change means passing through a prayer desert 

to a new oasis of communion.

We either change with the change,

or we become orphans to prayer.



"God is love", and
spiritual living is our love life.

We live the love of God, neighbor and self.

It has all sorts of modes and manners and they all change.




Loving God as a six year old is one thing.

Loving God 

as a conflicted pubescent,

as a partner and parent,

as one experiencing a mid-life drift,

as a mellow fellow of seventy five,

means change upon change.

Our sense of God changes.

Our response to God changes.

Our union with God changes in kind and depth.


So, too, loving neighbor and self.

As we awake to the mystery that we all are 

we accept ourselves and others

in ever changing and expanding degrees of love.

The conservative Baptist liberates to cherish a Moslem neighbor.

The liberal Methodist cherishes the anti-gay without agreeing on gayness.



In the very best sense of it,

our spiritual living is 

having a change of heart 

again and again.

W
e see, sense and love

God, neighbor and self 

in ever changing fullness.

Our spiritual living is 

the adventure of discovering 

the way and wonder of

   MAKING CHANGE.

       As always, 

so good to be with you.

  In God's Dear Love,

      John Frank


        *****


PS:

    Want to share this.

    Comes from an African American Looker Room Buddy at the "Y"

    this morning. Asking him how he was he roared out:

                  " Too blest to be stressed. "

                              Neat!!!



Welcome to all of our first time visitors this week.

Great to have your company.


                           "frankly speaking"

                       spirituality for the street

            is posted online each Thursday evening

                          east coast USA time

                     johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

     and is available for automatic email delivery each Friday

                            Sign Up above.


                       See you next week !!


____________________________________________________________________

        



           































Thursday, October 31, 2019

ONE OF A KIND




Dear All of Us,

So, how do you get along with your relatives - all of them?
Blood and marital relatives for sure. 
Just as much, every other person, place, form of life, element of existence 
in all of creation - relatives all.
We're all related, intimately so - no degrees of separation involved.
Sure, there are all sorts of superficial separations.
At core, though, we are all manifestations of Being.
We are all together rooted in Ultimate Reality.
Put other ways, we are all like rays of the sun,
we are God emanations,
we are family.

Our spiritual living is relational.
We're in this business of existence together.
We're kin. 
And so we are kind, "kin'd" to all of existence.

The word kind speaks soul.
It come from the Old English "cynn", meaning "family".
Be it people, molecules, mountains, music, puppy dogs, 
energy and matter of all forms, we are family, 
we are kin and "kin-ness" is the manner of our spiritual living.

We live in a universe evolving, order coming out of chaos. 
We want to support that, care for it, be "kin"d to it
So we treasure it as we do ourselves, because we are one, we are "kin". 

W
e also live in a time and place painfully fouled by human evil.
Much of society worships in the Temple of Self, 
not in the Sanctuary of Kinship.
Self centered greed manifests itself in materialism funded by capitalism 
strong armed by militarism.
Family is fractured into factions of power gone astray and destructive.
Few have most.
Most have not enough.
Nature is raped.
Soul is stupefied.
Yet, in this mix we are blessed to live a life of kin-ness, of kindness
and so right the wrong.

Now, kindness is a lot more than holding the door for another.
It is living what we are - family, one, together.
It certainly is not some sort of soft, sappy, wimpy "nice nice ".
It is engagement with our engagement to all.
It is connection with our connection to other that isn't fundamentally other, 
with our kin -
people, place, energy.
It is being a being with all beings in Being itself - God.

Whatever the power brokers of this world 
and the politicians who work for them do, 
we get to live a life of relationship, a life of kinship, a life of kindness.

In personal and practical ways let's pray our way through this reflection:
      How aware am I of kinship with:
                    the unborn
              the terminal
              the marginalized
              the needy
              the gifted
              the ordinary
              the uncommon
       How do I  safeguard and nurture nature?
       How do I simplify my living so that others may simply live?
       How do I delight in the beauties of creation, meeting God there in love?
          How do I live kindness with people experiencing and responding to life 
          much differently than I do-culturally, religiously, politically?
       How do I live kindness towards the evil powers of this world, 
       Empire and its chieftains, even those in my family, 
       at work, in my neighborhood, church/synagogue/mosque?
       How do I see, encounter, respond kindly to people, places, 
       music, art, science, literature, energies  - 
       as the starburst of God's creativity, all of us kin?
       How do I get along with my relatives - all of them?
       How "kin'd" am I to us, One in splendid diversity?

       
Our spiritual living is relational.
It's family, kind to kin.
The privilege and joy of it is to live 
the mystery that we all together are 

            ONE OF A KIND

delightfully different.


Thanks for the kindness of your company.

Holding us all together, 

kin that we are, 

In The Love Who Is God,

       John Frank


         *****


                              FOR PONDER AND PRAYER


_____________________________________________________________



                   "Three things in human life are important:

                                 the first is to be kind,

                                 the second is to be kind,

                                 the third is to be kind."

                                       Henry James

        



_____________________________________________________________



                          "Love is patient, Love is kind..."

                                    I Corinthians 13:4 

_____________________________________________________________

                      

                 "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."

                                  William Shakespeare

                                  Troilus and Cressida

______________________________________________________________________________


                              "...we are all stardust."

                                     Carl Sagan

______________________________________________________________


" For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of 

the body, though many are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit 

we were all baptized into one body..."

                              I Corinthians 12:12-13

______________________________________________________________


                   "When I was young, I admired cleaver people. 

                    Now that I am old, I admire kind people." 

                           Abraham Joshua Heschel

______________________________________________________________

     
      "Kindness is the language which the deaf hear and the blind see."

                                   Mark Twain

______________________________________________________________

 
   "And this; our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, 

    books in running brooks, sermons in stone, and good in everything"

                               William Shakespeare

                                  As You Like It

______________________________________________________________


"Francis ( of Assisi ) has been described as a nature mystic, one who finds God 

in the vast and beautiful fields of nature. Everything spoke to Francis of the 

infinite love of God. ...In this way, creation became the place to find God, and 

in finding God, he realized his intimate relationship to all of creation... 

For Francis, justice and peace are related to poverty, compassion, 

contemplation and on-going conversion by which we realize our familial bonds 

with all living creatures..."

                                  Francis of Assisi 
                                  nature's mystic

                                     Ilia Delio                                                    

                               The Washington Post

                                  March 20, 2013

_____________________________________________________________



"...that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I am in you, 

  that they may be one in us..."

                                      John 2:17

_____________________________________________________________


                                          *****


                 Welcome to all being one with us for the first time.

                             Like at The Olive Garden, 

                       "When you're here you're family." 



                                   "frankly speaking"

            is posted online Thursday evenings, east coast USA time at
                                  johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

            and is available be automatic email on Fridays - sign up above.


                                  Have a great week. 

                Looking forward to being together next week.

______________________________________________________________

    
     
              



        



















       






Thursday, October 24, 2019

STAY IN TOUCH




Dear All of Us,

Right now, right here, it is a perfect Fall day -

warmly cool, clear skyed bright, harvested fields

looking like they all just got a buzz cut,

front stoops autumn garbed, stalks, straw  and all, 

trees a kaleidoscope of richness deep, 

an apple picking day (and pie when you get home),

pumpkins smiling orange happiness everywhere.  

What a wonderful day for us to be in touch. 

And staying in touch is well worth a touch of Soul Study just now.



You know, there are ever so many ways to stay in touch.

Most all of us have concentric circles of connections,

ways and means of staying in touch.
.
Some are central, some are close, some not so close,

some are occasional, some frequent, some sporadic, 

some are casual, some intense,

some mean a Christmas card, 

some are soul to soul sacred, 

some closer than first time lovers in the Spring of Their Joy

and seasoned seniors in the Autumn of their Bounty.




Being in touch, being connected, are central to our spiritual living.

They
are channels right to God,

and of God right to us.  

All creation springs from God.

Staying in touch with creation connects us to the Source and Center of All. 

You want to touch God, stay in touch with God's creation.

You want God to touch you, God does it through God's creation.

Everyone and everything is so Godly, has such staying power through touch.

   

As I write this the sun is dusking westward,

s
pacious, peaceful, touching soul to rapture.

I am savoring delightful crudites cum crackers, 

and a happy, hearty cabernet sauvignon -

Creator's earth fruits with an intoxicating  touch of The Love Who Is God.

The aroma of a homemade chicken stew and oatmeal bread for dinner 

wafts upstairs here to this cell and study.

It's  another telling touch of God's creative largess and love.


Earlier today Michael and I shared.

He's a scientist.

I'm a, well, a bit of a space cadet.

We both stay in touch with God in different ways.

A bit ago I texted with a Soul Son.

He's in the agony of birthing adult love.

Being in touch with Michael and Soul Son means being In Touch with God.

We presence God to each other in quite different ways, 

but we do it by staying in touch. 



All touch is divine.

We awake to this with time and delight.

There are moments when the touch, 

the connection with God, 

comes in the quiet of contemplative prayer,

mystically merging in prayer with Love Itself,

and certainly in shared worship and Communion.

Touch with God happens in the immediacy of our right nows.

A baby in the supermarket smiles at us,

scripture reveals Reality, 

working shoulder to shoulder with the needful,

letting ourselves be held by our lover,

tutoring inner city kids on Saturdays,

a walk in the woods,

penning a poem, 

embracing a new friendship.


With math, microscope, test-tube, word, brush,

be it immediate and close, 

be it occasional and rare,

we are touched and we touch.

Whatever the degree of connection,

we slow down, simplify, sensitize, as we

        STAY IN TOUCH,

so wondrously in a living connection.

Saying in touch with the goodness of our Creator
 

could be watching a Ken Burns documentary,

foregoing a an expensive vacation 

so an impoverished Syrian family

may use those funds to stay alive,

spending a weekend in retreat at a Trappist monastery

in  contemplative quite,

sharing  an hour with a lonely old person,

being deeply in touch with Vermeer's "The Milkmaid."




A fine prompt and guide here is to make use of the tutorial

Richard Rohr offers in his "Practice: Eating One Raisin: Mindful Eating".

(Daily email, October 19,2019). Go to The Center for Action and Contemplation.

If you aren't into raisins, substitute any goodness you choose

and modify.



Thank you for the blessing that it is for us to  

                STAY IN TOUCH,

for our connection, our Soul Share here

each week.

       Holding One and All Close In,

              Ever so truly in
        
         The Love Who Is God,

               John Frank

                 *****



It's  a blessing to connect 

with new folks and then

     "Stay In Touch" 

   each week here at

   "frankly speaking"

spirituality for the street.

It is posted online each 

Thursday evening,

east coast USA time,

and is also available weekly 

on Fridays by automatic email

(sign up top right above). 

              *****


      See you nest week!!!


______________________________________________________________________















































Thursday, October 17, 2019

BALANCE



Dear All of Us,

Balance.

"Wee Little Ones" and old timers like me have to work at it.
Otherwise, down we go.


Given the terrain of the times, everyone has to work hard for balance
these days so as to stay upright and move forward. If not, down we go.
And a lot are down, and some sadly out, 
from a loss of spiritual/social/psychic balance.


Yes, i
t's tough to negotiate today's terrain, to keep balance and not go down.
There are such severe slopes to the right and to the left, 
partisan potholes deep and wide, 
division's detritus and debris tripping us up, 
uneven stretches of inequity and injustice, 
rocky roads of misinformation and trust lost. 
Here in the not at all "United" States of America we aren't too far from 
slipping into the ditch of constitutional crisis and variants of a Civil War. 
Some lands and peoples already have.
Untamed technologies run serene calm and common sense off the road.
Climate change makes for perilous travel conditions. 
Guardrails of civility, religion, ethics are severely compromised.


How keep your balance?
How keep from going down, even out, here on the road of real living,
a road littered with crippled spirits, their balance lost?


The best balance and response I know is Jesus.
He is "the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:16)
He gives us a way to go, offers bedrock truth and shares life, 
hopeful and balanced -  his!
Taking him to heart gives us strength and balance 
to negotiate today's rocky road of unreal.


To do that we need to hear him again for the first time.
We need to hear him in his cultural context, speaking to ours's.
He lived in a culture different from ours's 
only in locale, time and manner of chaos. 
Empire dominated and despoiled as it does today. 
Religion was flaccid as it is today. 
Faction fought society into fragments as it does today.
In that muddled to mad context, Jesus kept balance.
He showed and said it.

.
From the get go he invited companions and community.
"Come follow me." 
   (Mark 1:17)
Some did and some refused, but he didn't go it alone.
We must not either.
Jesus and his community lived, shared and traveled together. 
To keep balance it is essential for us also to be in deep community.
If you can't find one, start one.


One way and many our Jesus community is where we help each other 
get real about living the Love Who is God. 
We keep balance by loving God, neighbor and self. 
That embraces everything from the most immediate and practical 
to the most mystical and unitive.
That span of embrace braces for balance in the turmoil of the times. 



Jesus tells like it needs to be told.
   "Be wise as serpents and as guileless as doves." 
           (Matthew 10:16)
In our vernacular:  
   "Know what's coming down. 
    Plan and maneuver for it.
    Don't be a misty eyed dumb butt. 
    While you're at it be pure and genuine.
    Don't let the corruption around you corrupt you.
    Keep your balance by dealing with evil, not by more evil,
    but by doing ever so much better and purer."


Keeping our balance on the slippery slope of society just now 
requires bench pressing spiritual vigor.
It means bulking up on The Spirit.
It means by all means connecting with the Source of Good.
Like Jesus we go to a quiet place by ourselves and pray.
We let ourselves be loved to life by Life.
Again, the vernacular: 
     "We let God love the socks off us."
We open all the way and let the realness, the energy, the power of God
(aka Grace) pour into every bit of who and how we are.
It balances us out just right!!! 



Scope.
How do I keep balance and try to change the world for the better?
Well, Jesus didn't change the Evil Empire of his day.
At the risk of stunning activists, left or right, Jesus didn't even try.
He invited us to a new way, his kingdom and approach.
Instead of top down, Jesus uses a bottom up approach.
Jesus changes hearts to change the world, 
this one and to usher in the next.
He spent himself on the poor and marginialized.
He did the deal this way:
     "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."
                 (Mark 12:17)
     "My kingdom is not of this world..." 
                 ( John 18:36)
In the vernacular yet again:
     "Do what you've got to do in the secular realm.
      Make the best of it.
      Just bet you buttons my kingdom is all together different. 
      There's a lot more and better than
      than the immediacies of just now power and privilege."
Jesus didn't try to change the social structure in a juridical fashion.
He centered on the heart.
He invites us in on his approach and work.
      "Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, 
       and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, 
       and  learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart, 
       and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, 
       and my burden is light." 
                            (Matthew 11;28-30)
It is not ours to save the world.
It is ours to Soul Shoulder in our place our portion of the yoke.
        "Bloom where you are planted."

          ( St. Francis De Sales)
     
        "Do all the good you can.
         By all the means you can.
         In all the ways you can.
         At all the times you can.
        To all the people you can.
        As long as ever you can."  

              (John Wesley)

It will be blessed balance.



The times are tough. 
It's hard not to go down in depression, despair and defeat.
It's hard to stay standing, 
to keep our spiritual/social/psychic balance.
Paul had to get knocked off his horse to get his balance.
He then found out that: 
       "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
                               ( Philippians 4:3)
May we as well.

One last time the vernacular: 
        "We keep our balance, stay standing, 
         by taking our shots of Spirit straight up!!"


It's great to brace, to balance each other here each week.
            
                                Love you all!!

                                 John Frank

                                   *****


    As the weather here chills our welcome warms ever more 
    
    to you joining in here for the first time.

    A special greeting to the 85 folks from Russia 
   
    who joined in with us this week.


                             "frankly speaking"

                         spirituality for the street

      is posted Thursday evenings, east coast USA time at

                      johnfrankshares.blogspot,com

      and is available by automatic email delivery each Friday

                   (sign up top right online delivery)

                
                          See you next week!!!

**************************************************************