Friday, September 14, 2018

CONTEXT I





  THIS IS THE FIRST OF

  A FOUR PART SERIES.

  IT ADDRESSES OUR

  CURRENT SOCIETAL

  CONTEXT AND ITS

  CONDITIONING OF

  OUR EVERYDAY

  SPIRITUAL LIVES.

              *****      






Hi There !

So, as a teen back in the '50's,

( No, not the 1850's!  )

I lived in a lovely,

large, old house

in Montclair, New Jersey.

My bedroom was

on the third floor,

attic surrounded

on three sides,

with a sloped

slate roof overhead.

Oh Man,Woman and Child!!,

was it ever hot summer nights.

That slate roof

and the trapped air

in the wraparound attic

held the day's heat

like a brick oven.

Brick ovens

are ideal for pizza,

but not so cool for sleeping.

To make it possible for sleep,

I replaced the whole window

with a homemade screen,

moved the bed right under it,

and aimed a fan directly on it.

          But wait.

       There's more.

I filled the tub

with ice cold water

and stayed submerged

 'til a credible lobster blue.

Then I jumped into bed

and fell asleep

before the arctic

reverted to the tropics.

Forget about reading,

listening to music,

even praying,

before bed.

It was too hellishly hot.

More than sixty years later

here I am before bed

writing this to you

in the cool, dry comfort

of an air conditioned townhouse,

and it's 97 degree outside

with matching humidity.

Soon it'll be bed

with some reading

and praying

before hand.

No need for

being iced to sleep.




Why this account

of my hots and colds?

Partly because

I like to tell stories,

but mostly to illustrate that

CONTEXT CONDITIONS.

It makes all kinds

of differences.

While it doesn't alter

our essence,

it surely does effect

our attitude and action,

the living out of that essence.

Context tones thinking,

feeling, eating, working,

making love, praying,

planning, playing, paying bills,

inviting you mother in law

over for dinner  -

the whole panoply

of human being and doing.





That's certainly so

with our spiritual lives.

CONTEXT CONDITIONS.

The myriad and varying contexts

of our lives condition

the terrain of our spiritual transit

from birth to death:

- upbringing and family life,

- educational and

  cultural endowments,

- ethical and religious heritage,

- health and wealth,

- geographic region,

- and miles more.

Cumulatively and immediately

they condition

the right here,

the right now

of our spiritual lives.

CONTEXT CONDITIONS.




Right here, right now

that is happening

in an upending way

in the United States

and many other

countries around

our global village.

This the context

where we try to live out

our spiritual lives.

Here in the states,

our shared

social/cultural context

is in seismic shift.

It's mind boggling

and soul shaking -

a point 12

on the Richter Scale

of societal shift.

Government, finance,

social discourse, religion,

mass communications,

politics, public ethics,

industry and finance,

ethnic groups roil.




A survey issued

this summer

by Rasmussen Reports

finds that fully one third

of likely American voters

expect a second Civil War

in this country within

the next five years.

That's maddening.

Imagine what that says

about our souls.



We are effected

in multiples of concern

as we try to negotiate

our spiritual lives

out here on the street

of everyday living,

one so jarred and

jarring spiritually.

For sure.

 CONTEXT CONDITIONS.



What kind of a future

do we have?

Do we have a future?

How do you live a marriage

and raise a family,

or navigate your final years,

in this kind of context?

Can youth and young people

establish a stable adult life?

How do you secure safety -

         can you?



The world order put in place

after the Second World War

      is crumbling.

Worldwide, masses want

the life style, prosperity

and benefits we and

many other nations have.

       However,

for the whole world

to live as we do

in this country

would require

the resources

of 4.1 planet earths.

We only have one!!!!

That' a context for conflict.

It "conditions"

all kinds of things.

It means migration,

militarism, rejections,

gates, walls, violence,

haves and have nots,

dictators,

aggressive nationalism

and the threat of economic

and nuclear war.

( See Popular Science, Daily Infographic:

"If Everyone Lived Like An American,

How Many Earths Would We Need,"

Emily Elert, October 19, 2012

for the resources matter noted above).



It is frightening.

How do you live

a wholeness,

a holiness,

in this churning, conflicted,

combustible context?

It certainly isn't by putting on

your Sunday best and

going to church every week,

sleeping  only with

your duly married spouse,

of the opposite sex of course,

working hard, raise a family,

be honest and eventually

make at least one pilgrimage

to Disney World

before you die,

and then go to heaven.

Nor is it to head

for a monastery

on some remote Greek isle.

Nor is it to stop thinking

and join others in

some sort of frightened,

fundamentalist bunker

of blind certainty seeking.

Nor is it to numb out

in some esoteric,

not so new age

spurious haze.

Can we be people of peace?

Can there be justice?

Can we gather into

communities of depth,

care and support?

What about meditation

and contemplation?

How be a mystic

in all this mess?



Next week Part II of this series

will focus on being real

in a context of unreality,

on loving in a hateful

social setting,

on being transformed beautiful

as we together seek

to be part of God's transforming

of evil into glorious good.

In the "mean" time,

and right now it is,

hang on tight and together.

Even better, let

Love hold us

and hold us

together.


Next Week: CONTEXT II

Hopefully and prayerfully,

   John Frank

      *****


                                            

A warm welcome

to our newest participants.

They hail from many lands.

New to that list this week are

Bulgaria and Chile.

Thanks for your welcome to us.

.

For all those new to our

weekly gathering here,

please do take a few minutes

       to get a bit of

       "soul sense"

     by considering

"What's Going On Here?"

             and

  "Consider Your Source,"

      right column.

They offer an orientation to

     "frankly speaking"


- It is posted online every Friday at

     johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

        and can be bookmarked

             for easy access.


- It is automatically delivered

       every Saturday by email.

           Sign Up above.




- Past postings available at

          Blog Archive,

           right column.

   

       
            *****

 


  


















Friday, September 7, 2018

WRITERS





Hi There !

Fair warning!

I'm excited!

I'm really dying to share

some truly good news

with you.

Let's make that

"enthusiastically living"

to share some truly

good news with you.



 Last Saturday I got

to go to a block party

like none other ever.

Actually, it was

a two city block,

300,000 square foot,

four level

block buster of a party!

Carla Hayden and

her superb staff from

The Library of Congress

treated over 100,000

of us to the

     National Book Festival

                    at

The Washington Convention Center.

It was the finest  program

I've been to in years, and

I have a lot of those years

piling up on each other!

Pardon the play, but

in every way and detail the

National Book Festival

was truly capital!!

Over eighty authors

presented across a

spaciousness of genres:

fiction, history, national

and international matters,

poetry and prose, biography,

children and young adult.

Forget "page turners."

These were "chapter turner."

Among others writers

I got to hear:

   - Justice Sonia Sotomayor -

      a love, so warmly wise

   - Doris Kearns Goodwin -

     candid, comprehensive,

     personable

   - Jon Meacham -

     encyclopedic exposition,

     discerning description

   - Brendan Kiely -

     so clearly gets it and

     so effectively gives it

   - Matt de la Pena softly says it,

     Loren Long gently draws it.




It was for sure a

Festival of Books.

Even more, it was a

Festival of Life.

All those writers

addressing

the same thing in

exquisitely varied tones,

each a unique articulation of

          LIFE

- the vastness of it

- the mystery, majesty,

  and sometimes,

  the mess of it

- the numberless

  experiences of it

- people and place

   evolving in it

- questions and

  conflicts about it

- its progress and potential

- the matter and spirit of it

- the dynamic of its

         ENERGY

        whatever the

  form, manner, mode

             of it.

      Those authors

     aptly an deftly

      Write Life.




Drenched in the art and craft,

the whit and wisdom,

the insightful expression

of all those fine writers,

something wonderful

occurred to me.

I realized that

all of us are writers.

We read each other and

 others sure do read us.

Sometimes the writing

        is in word,

always in attitude and act.

Whatever the script,

     we all write

          Life

    for each other.

 And we certainly

     do have a

following and effect

on our readers:

       family and friends

       neighbors

       co-workers

       fellow shoppers

       other drivers

       school mates

       religious congregants

       teammates

       Facebook Friends

       the mix at parties, games,

            art galleries, the theater

            and concerts

        any and all those who read us

        in our everywhere.

They "read us like a book,"

by our imprint  -

          our words

          our moods

          our values

          our aspirations

          our choices

          our actions

          our reactions.

Setting and style differ,

    but we all write

        Life large

  and are widely read.




Our spiritual lives

out here on the street

of everyday living

are in good part

getting the word out

about the mystery and

magnificence of Life,

even when there is mess.

Our shared stories become

    a block buster party,

    A Festival Of Life.




Every goodness

and blessing.

Holding one and all in

God's Dear Love,

the Love that is Life,

   The Love/Life

    we write out

    for each other.


      John Frank

         *****


A heartfelt welcome

to those new to

our little community

         here at

 "frankly speaking"

-It is posted online

  each Friday at

    johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

    and can we bookmarked

    for ready access.

-It is delivered by automatic email

  each Saturday - Sign Up,

  top of online posting.

-Past Postings are available at

         Blog Archive,

right column, online posting.

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





         

     .





   






















Friday, August 31, 2018

WORKPRAYER




Hi There !

So,

 "What kind of work do you do?"

Sometimes that's actually a question:

              "Butcher, baker,

               candle stick maker"?

Most times, though, it's a poolside,

a cocktail party conversation starter

             a la Joan Rivers:

             "Can we talk?"

Whatever the question or intent,

the fact of the life is we spend

      a lot of it working.

     "Work We Must,"

just as the Con Ed signage

used to read at work sites

on the streets of New York.

They wrote it right.

Freud wrote right as well.

He said that if you can work

and love you are normal.

Pius XII observed that

       " It's as natural
          for a person
          to work
          as it is
          for a bird
          to fly."

      
Work is natural and  normative.

Annie Dillard tells us that:

       "How we spend
        our days is,
        of course,
        how we spend
        our lives."



According to behavioral scientist,

Andrew Nabor of

The Rand Corporation,

over a lifetime

the average person

spends 90,000 hours working.

That's fully 1/3 of a lifetime.

Work is a fundamental fiber

 in the weave of daily life.

No lesser a light than

my Mother let me

in on that early on.

As a boy I'd occasionally fuss

about doing my chores.

Well, OK, a "little " more than

"occasionally" fuss

to be a bit more honest.

Gently and so clearly

Mom would tell me:

     "Learn to enjoy
      your work because
      you'll be working
      for the rest of your life."





Opps!



Time out.



I've got a little work

to do just now.

Need to water the flowers,

make the bed,

work on another blog posting,

do the dishes,

pay a few bills,

and meet two dear souls

for spiritual direction.

Be back in a bit.

       *****




 Back again and it was

a good bit more

than a "bit.".

Work's done,

well, for now.



You know, the work

I just did was actually

a very holy thing.

     In his Rule,

St. Benedict writes:

 "Laborare est orare."

 "To work is to pray."

   WORKPRAYER

Sure prayer can be at

communal worship,

chanting the psalms,

making The Stations

     of the Cross,

reciting formal words,

quiet intimacy with God,

but so can and is work.

That's because prayer

in one mode or many,

is being with/in

the energy field of Good,

more commonly writ,

       God.

 More exactly,

  prayer is a

    "Yes"

 to the flow

  of Good,

  of God

through us,

and that in

endless streams

of experiences.

At work we are

in the flow of God's

creative romp,

cascading through

time and space.

At work we are

co-creators with

  The Creator.

That's what Benedict

was reminding us.

            Yes.

"To work is to pray,"

 WORKPRAYER

is to be buzzy busy

with Good, with God

as that Divine Energy

takes all sorts of forms

through our shared work:

    - plants are watered

    - children are raised

    - bills are paid

       so the family

       has a place to live,

       food to eat and

       a car to get around

     - clean sheets are

       on the bed

     - conflicts are resolved

     - pipes are laid to get

       fresh water to all

     - instructional  manuals

       are compiled

     - farm fields are harvested

     - contracts are  negotiated

     - poems are penned

     - shoppers are checked out

     - diapers are changed

        ("Thank God!!")

     - courses are taught

     - patients are treated

     - justice is done

     - appliances are repaired

     - stone is sculpted

     - delivery trucks are driven

     - tares are stitched

     - customers are served

      - concerts are organized

      - and of course,

        supper is cooked!

              That's

 "spirituality for the street,"

 for the neighborhood of

 everyday, prayerful living.



Now, work's not always

    easy and smooth.

Sometimes it's downright

     hard and rough.

   WORKPRAYER

     can be a grind.

There's more than a bit of

inertia, chaos and damage

              to be

        "worked out."

"By the sweat of your brow..."
        (Genesis 3:19)

Easy or hard, though,

    WORKPRAYER

   is a labor of Love.

   We are employed

      full time in

The Love Who is God.

      "God is love."

      ( I John 4:8 )

What employment !!

It's not at all primarily

a matter of creating

our own private and

gated financial fortress.

It's so much richer than that.

        In the best sense

        of the term it is

"Workers of the world unite"

 as co-creators with God.

 Join in for the Common Good,

 for the expansion of creation,

for the evolution of endless, well,

         "Goodness.".

 God's on a delightful tare, and

 sure does want our company!



Put a whole other way,

it's like we are

twelve years old

and one day

our Dad asks us

to go to work with him,

telling us we'd be

a big help on the job.

How good (God) is that!!!



Behind the wheel or plow,

in the shop or office,

at the stove or the computer,

wherever and always ,

"Let's get to work."

         because

"Laborare est orare."

  WORKPRAYER



All the best as we

work/pray it forward.

Holding each

and all in

God's Dear

Creative Love,

       John Frank


         *****

A hearty welcome

to our newest participants.

There have been so many

of you this past week.

Thanks for welcoming us

to your WorkPrayer site!!

If you can spare five minutes,

please run eyes, mind

     and spirit over

Consider Your Source

    (right column)

It'll give an orientation to our

  weekly soul huddle here.

              Thanks !

               *****



     "frankly speaking"

                is

- posted Fridays online at

     johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

  and can be bookmarked

  for ready access


- is available Saturdays by

   automatic, weekly email

   Sign Up top right



-past postings are available at

       Blog Archive

        bottom right





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

               

















     

    











            







Friday, August 24, 2018

"BACKED BY THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT ..."



Hi There !

So, how safe and secure

is the money that

you have banked?

Well, the FDIC -

Federal Deposit

Insurance Corporation -

will cover up to $250,000.

CD's, checking, saving, and

money market accounts,

are safe and secure.

In the words of the FDIC

           they are

 "Backed by the full faith

and credit of the U.S. government."

        Should a bank fail,

should there be a run on a bank,

  the FDIC has a reserve fund.

                 BUT,

        here's the hick up.

Those FDIC reserves amount to

2% of  its total liability.

That means there is $2

of real coverage for every

$100 of the FDIC's

real and total liability.

If you were a Texas rancher

and only 2 out of every 100

of your cattle

were safe and secure from

a deadly storm ...???? 

If the stock market crashed

and investors did a run

on the banks...????

Should we go to cash and

put it under the mattress????

Yes, yes, the government

could borrow and/or

start printing  money

"Full Faith And Credit" ????

We  sure could come up short

           as in being

           "shorted."




Sad, so sad to say,

that very thing

is happening right now

to those highly invested in

another institution

dealing in value -

the institutional church.

There is a run on it,

more accurately,

a run from it.

Its valuation

and credibility

are bankrupt for

multiples of many.

Huge numbers of

   "the faithful"

took church leaders

    at their word.

Those leaders claimed

that trust/faith in them

 was not only requisite,

          it was

    safe and secure.

They assured that it was

 backed by the full faith

 and credit of the divinely

 guided and guaranteed

       bible, or papacy,

 or doctrine, or dogma,

or council, or apparition,

ordination, or,...

Growing numbers of those

who gave such trust

feel that it has been

heinously betrayed

and misappropriated.

        They feel

 a moral devaluation, a

          "crash"

      of confidence.





That's traumatic on a lot of levels.

Most basic of them is that people

trusted the institutional church

and its leaders with their very souls.

Nothing but nothing is

of greater valuation than

 our deepest self,

our unique spirit,

our Soul Self.

The institution and its leaders

have been inept at best

and devilishly destructive

and dishonest at worst

in the squandering

the trust given them

in way too many ways,

way too many times.

The "faithful" have been

spiritually short changed,

down right defrauded.



What to do?

Where to go?

Well, first off

we must never

ever again put our

   "full faith "

     in an all

too human institution

and its manifestly fallible

    board of directors,

no matter how

spiritually sound

they claim to be

or they present

themselves to be.

We must never again

bank our souls on such.

We never should have done so

in the first place.

Faith goes to God,

not to religious tribe.

Soul goes to Spirit,

not to religious practitioners.

Neither ever belongs to

any organization no matter

how lofty it and/or its authorities.

The Spirit may or may not flow through

a religious institution and its leaders.

Mother Teresa and her community

of servant sisters are

a stellar example of the former.

The German hierarchy and church

that refused to face down

Hitler and the Nazis

are a lethal example of the latter.

Hopefully this current crash

of the institutional church

will convince us to be

      soul selective.



        Some soul is is

       one on one with

           The Spirit.

      It's what lovers do.

 Some soul is a communal,

  a shared experience of

           The Spirit.

      It's like family life

and what the institutional church

           should be like.

           We need both

        to breath The Spirit

           freely and fully.



An essential distinction

in all this is between

   "The Church"

and any particular

religious institution

that may participate in it.

That is always

a matter of degree

and never of fullness.

    "The Church"

             is

The Body of Christ,

and it is never

fully embodied

in any one denomination

or its leaders.

Yes, I well realize

some denominations

make absolute claims

about themselves.

That's something

they need to get over.

If they do they will be

refreshed and revalued.

Those very claims

have had a lot

to do with the

supposed immunity

that has caused

a lot of the current crisis.




       We got over

"the divine right of kings"

      a long time ago.

We are terribly tardy about

   getting over claims to

     "the divine right

     of church leaders."

    They are called

     to be shepherds,

         servants,

     not potentates.



    "The Church"

is a community in

      The Spirit.

If we can find a bit of it

at the corner church, good.

If not, we need

to move on down

the street and check out

other corner churches.

Two big helps in assessing

the spiritual valuation

of any religious institution,

any "church" with a small "c":

      - are they living

        The Beatitudes

        and the rest of Matthew 5 - 7

        in a flesh and blood,

        person to person,

        sweaty real way?


    - "By their fruits

       you will know them."

       Are they ripe

       with the fruit of the spirit:

      "...love, joy, peace,patience,

        kindness, gentleness,

        and self-control,"

        not in theory or words,

        but in enfleshed living?.

              Galatians 5:22

If we can't find such a "church,"

we need to huddle and found it.



For the more cautious

and conservative among us,

for all of us really, I hope

this will be of help.

It references the current crisis

in the Roman part of the church.

I suggest it applies to the crisis

among the ( Not So )

United Methodists

and numerous other

mainline churches,

to Willow Creek and

many other mega-churches,

to any and all churches

that are coming up short

because they have shorted

trusting souls:




   The sex abuse scandal cannot

    be understood (apart) from

   a wider church crisis of corruption

   - sexual and otherwise -

   and loss of institutional authority.


   This general crisis was foretold

   by a surprising prophet.

   In 1969, a priest named

   Joseph Ratzinger made

   a startling prophecy

   on German radio.

   Four years after the end of the

   Second Vatican Council,

   he predicted that the Catholic Church

   was at the beginning of

   a great and wide-ranging catastrophe,

   one that would destroy its wealth,

   power and status.

   Father Ratzinger did not mention

  clerical sex abuse per se,

  but his remarks indicate

  a recognition that contrary

  to the official post-conciliar optimism,

  the church would not survive

  in its then-current state

  the cultural revolution

  shaking Western civilization.

  "From the crisis of today,

   the church of tomorrow will emerge -

   a church that has lost much," he said.

   "She will become small

    and will have to start afresh

    more or less from the beginning."


   The future Pope Benedict XVI went on,

   "The future of the church can

    and will issue from those

    whose roots are deep and who live from

    the pure fullness of their faith."


   This is a challenge and a counsel of hope

   not just for the Catholic Church of our time,

   but for all churches, and all Christians.

  None of us can afford to be

  proud and complacent.

  Many of the old verities

  are tumbling down,

  like scales from our eyes.

  As painful as it may be,

  it is far better to see the painful truth

  than to avert our gaze from things

  that disturb our false peace.


  This crisis is systemic

   and will not be resolved by

   new policies and procedures,

   as hapless episcopal bureaucrats

   want to think.

   Pope Francis is not going

   to swoop in to save

   the Catholic Church,

   and heaven knows that by now,

   the bishops cannot be relied on

   to reform and restore the church.


   If the church is to be rescued,

   it will have to happen

   in the everyday lives of the faithful,

   no longer deceived by illusions

   or false promises of faithless shepherds.


      Rod Dreher, Op Ed piece, NYT,

            August 15, 2018




Perhaps the corner church

will turn out to be

in your living room,

just like it was for the

first and fresh Christians. 



We have a real problem.

We have a marvelous potential.



We exist in the wondrous

energy field we call God.

         It is Love.

   We can be as well.

Our spiritual lives are

a participation in that

energy field of Love.

    That's where we put our

          FULL FAITH.

     That's where it will be

     SAFE AND SECURE.

     That's where it will be

      BACKED BY THE

FULL FAITH AND CREDIT

        OF THE SPIRIT.




Holding you in  hope,

   Your brother,

     John Frank

        ****


A hearty welcome to those

newly joining in here

Thanks for welcoming us.


 Please do take a few moments with

        Consider the Source

          right column here.


          "frankly speaking"

- is posted online each Friday at

    johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

    and can be bookmarked for ready access

- is available each Saturday by automatic

   email delivery - Sign Up above right

- past postings are available at the

  Blog Archive - right column here.

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

















  



:


























































Friday, August 17, 2018

BABEL




Hi There !

So,

       BABEL

     is a new try

     at an old limit.

        BABEL

is the latest thing in

language learning programs.

I sure could have used it the other day.

I was trying  to buy a new I Phone.

The store staff were young,

lovely and eager to help.

But did we ever have a devil

of a time trying

 to communicate about

an instrument of communication.

It was pumped up paradox.

The staff were in their 20's and

I am precious, if not perilously,

close to 80.

We speak different languages.

They talked about megabytes.

I puzzled over what

really big mosquito bites

have to do with a new cell phone.

Those lovely young staffers lost me

when they asked if my old cell was

     "backed up in The Cloud."

I wondered if that was some sort of

"Blessed Assurance" about stored up

sanctifying grace in the heavenly realms.

Somehow we stammered, stuttered,

gestured,"metaphored" along and

I was able to walk out of the store

with a new phone.

It all ended well.

In fact, twenty of those

lovely young staffers

walked me to the door

and waved as I departed.

Silly, but true story.

Well maybe embellished just a bit,

or is that byte ??



In a wider sense, we all find ourselves

tongue tied at the base of today's

        Tower of  Babel.

We find it distressingly difficult

to communicate and cooperate:

politics, governance, economics,

social and environmental issues,

life style and gender matters,

The Common Good and on and on.

Right at the top of the list is our

articulation of what life is all about,

communicating about

the core of reality  -  Soul Share.

So sadly often

trying to communicate

about the spiritual life ends up

a confused, often conflicted,

and failed try at communication.

So many say it so variously.

So often we just don't get it,

and too often we even get it wrong.

We speak so many

different spiritual languages.

That language problem can

frighten and frustrate.

It can lead to a spiritual mud fight

 or worse -  the ultimate

      communication

conflict and contradiction,

         a so called

         Holy War:

       " My religion is the only
         true religion."

       "Those (Catholics, Muslims -
         fill in the blank -
         (...........................................)
         are all going to hell
         in a basket."

       " Those.(.................................)
          are spooky and suspicious."

          A young white male
          shooting up a black
          Bible Study in Charleston,S.C.
                      (2015)

          Planning board blocking
          the construction of a mosque.
         (Basking Ridge, NJ 2011-2017)


         The jihadist massacre
         of 300 worshipers
         in the mosque
         at Rawda, Egypt
         (December 2017)



Our survival and prospering

depend on learning

each other's spiritual language.

World wide we need to invest in

the latest and best

language learning program, a

         BABEL

to free up our babel,

one that will enable us

to decode our current

Tower of Spiritual Babel,

our communication confusion.

Then we can Soul Share.

There is just so much good

to give each other.

It's costly, though:

       - open minds, hearts and doors,

       - respect

       - sensitivity

       - the conviction that God, Being

         The Ultimate, Reality

         - chose your preferred name-

          is way too vast to be

         seen and said in only one way

       - comfortableness in our own

         spiritual articulations matched

         with joyful, even eager,

         readiness for a wider hearing

         and voicing of Goodness.



I can personally vouch for

the  widening of

our spiritual broadband.

I am a grateful and happy Christian.

I have been wonderfully

deepened, widened, lifted

by the Soul Speak of Jewish,

Buddhist, Hindu,

Native American and many more

articulations of the spiritual.

They have a slant and say

on things spiritual I don't.

Finding a way to communicate

has brought all of us into

a much fuller, indeed

a holy, communion

with each other and with What Is.





Richard Rohr shared two magnificent

helps in all this.

They appeared in the August 5, 2018

issue of his daily email

and follow here in our

MEDITATION MARKERS.

They are a treasure trove

from which to draw

in prayerful meditation

during the course of the next week,

and hopefully often thereafter.




Thanks for the joy of your company.

         I hold you and all in

          God's Dear Love,

              John Frank

                 *****



  MEDITATION MARKERS


 As we ponder let's ask:

     - What does all this mean

        to where I am spiritually,

        to where I can go spiritually,

        to where we are and can be as a people?

                      *****



From the Jewish mystical teacher

Rabbi Rami Shapiro:


To me, religions are like languages:

no language is true or false;

all languages are of human origin;

each language reflects and shapes

the civilization that speaks it;

there are things you can say

in one language that you

cannot say as well in another;

and the more languages

you speak, the more nuanced

your understanding

of life becomes.

Judaism is my mother tongue,

yet in matters of the spirit

I strive to be multilingual.

   http://rabbirami.com

               *****



From Mirabai Starr:


Taoism offers context for

the entire spiritual enterprise

in the opening lines of the

Tao Te Ching:

         The Tao that can be told

         is not the eternal Tao.

 Buddhism affirms

that there is only one of us,

and therefore we are each

responsible for every link

in the web of being.

Christianity offers us

 the unconditional mercy

of an incarnational God

who permeates the whole

of creation with love.

Judaism urges us

to demonstrate our love

for God in the way

we treat each other

and care for creation.

Hinduism kindles the fire

of devotion for reunification

with the Beloved who is

no other than our own true self.

Islam shares the peace

that comes with

complete submission

to the One.


  The World Wisdom Bible:
  A New Testament for a
  Global Spirituality,
  Rami Shapiro, ed.
  (Skylight Paths Publishing: 2017),
  vii-viii

             *****



A warm welcome to our newest

     participants here at

     "frankly speaking"


- It is posted online each Friday at

      johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

        and can be bookmarked

            for ready access.


- It is available each Saturday

   by automatic email delivery.

          Sign Up at the top

       of the online offering.


- Past posting are available from

            Blog Archive,

            right column,

          online offering.

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



















.



 










.




      




















Friday, August 10, 2018

FIND




Hi There !

So, how is it with you?

How do you find God,

               or 

whatever name you use: 
 
     
    Tao                   Being
     Mother             Existence 
     Allah                Reality
     YHVH              Ultimate
     Dharmakaya    Fullness
     Brahman          All
     Great Spirit      Cosmic Energy

                     ?

What works best for you?

         A book, nature, Yoga, sacrament,

         helping the marginalized, stillness,

         making love, music, family, friends,

         meditation, journaling, community, 

         efforts for social and environmental 

         justice, chanting, drumming, running,

         fasting, spiritual direction, retreats,

         recollection, alms giving, travel,

         intellectual pursuits, literature, art...

 

Holy Cow !!!

That's just a page from 

an encyclopedia of possibilities.

.

But wait a minute.

Not every question 

should be answered as asked.

"How do you find God?" 

is one of them - a critical one.

That's because we can't find God.

God's not lost!

God's not out there somewhere

for us to find him.

God's right here, right now,

and so are we.

What we need to 

          FIND

      is not God, 

            but 

     OURSELVES

 where we already are -

        in God.

   "In him we live, 

      and move, 

  and have our being."

     Acts 17:28

And we're not alone.

Everything and everyone 

is in the marvelous mix.

 "All things hold together 

            in him."

       Colossians 1:17

Let's take five right now

with those two truly divine 

        " LOCATORS"

and for a lifetime after that.


          ( Take Five )



Our spiritual life isn't a stressful 

search for anything,

most of all for God.

It's an awaking to ourselves.

It is like a child waking 

to a delightful day with grandparents -

awaking to all sorts of surprises,

discoveries, gifts and adventures,

love and liveliness.


 
God is about as close as 

right here, right now,

as close as 

      everything 

         and 

     everybody.

That includes us.

What a wonder to

      AWAKE

        and

       FIND.



In relaxed reflection,

in gentle openness,

we awake to wonder, 

    we awake to

          God 

           - in us

           - in others 

           - in nature

           - in music and all the arts

           - in the marginalized,

             the needful, the hurt

           - in making love

           - in community 

           - in solitude

           - in playfulness

           - in service

           - in contemplative notice

           - in friendship

           - in learning

           - in worship 

           - in our

                 Right Here

                 Right Now.

              We awake to

                    Good

                         God.

What a find!!



We rejoice that folks from

Singapore have found us 

here at "frankly speaking." 

Thank you for joining in with us.

           Welcome!


Many thanks to Nick Minnich,

our tech support here at 

"frankly speaking." 

Without his expertise, 

I'd be trying to get this 

to you each week 

by smoke signal.

  


Holding each and all 

In God's Dear Love,

    John Frank

          *****

     


        "frankly speaking"


    - Online Fridays at

      johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

      (bookmark for easy access )


    - Email on Saturdays

      for automatic, weekly delivery.

      Sign Up at top right of online version.


    - Past Postings at bottom right of

      online version.

                       *****


    -

 





           



          

         

         

    

Friday, August 3, 2018

ALL FOR NOTHING

Hi There!

So, how are you with numbers?

Can you do on the spot,

spot on computation

in the produce section of the supermarket -

    four avocados for $5.00, but you only want two?

    Answer, $2.50, but I had to ask for help!!

That's because, even before

 politically correct  language

 ( what kind of correct? ) ,

I have always been " numerically challenged, "

 ( is that correct enough?).

Checking accounts, taxes, interest rates,

surely Comcast  offers and contracts,

and all their numerical cousins

really do "challenge,"

really do confuse the liv'n heck out of me.



Not so value, though.

Happily, I can spot value on the spot.

That's a blessing because our spiritual life

 out here on the street of everyday living

depends so critically on

getting evaluations right,

and that right away.




A big help here is Jesus.

He names and nails value

quicker than the best on Wall Street.

Check out his evaluations

in Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52.

It's parables on steroids for sure,

but all six of them underscore

the same bedrock value:

                           
        ALL FOR NOTHING.
                                          

Jesus applies this value to getting

to a good place in life,

to getting located for value living.

He calls it The Kingdom of Heaven.

It's for start up right here, right now,

not just when we die.

It's a transition, a transaction if you will,

to a new way of life.

It's being in a new place and space in life,

 a truly new realm.

You could compare it

to moving from the worst inner city

to The Hamptons, and that in spades.

Scattered all across the New Testament

are beautiful  references to

the grandeur of this Kingdom Living. .

When all moved in, it means:

        - pervasive peace

        - satisfaction unlimited

        - profound  joy

        - infinite love

        - cosmic harmony

        - everything the deepest parts

          of our down deep center self longs for -

                   Oneness

           and that endlessly.

It's value beyond computation.

All we have to do is remember

          ALL FOR NOTHING.



 It's as simple as this.

If my hands overflow with pennies,

I can't accept a check for ten thousand dollars.

Jesus shares that letting go

of what we are and have

makes room for everything.

God wants to give us All.

All we have to do is let go

of the little we have.

It's free and full,

      ALL FOR NOTHING.

Naked we will be gloriously clothed.

Penniless, we will be enriched beyond count.



In these  Gospel passages from Matthew,

typical of the Jewish tradition of midrash,

there are all sorts of levels,

angles, tones of meaning about the Kingdom:;

         -  it is a treasure

         -  it seems insignificant at first,

            but then grows to largeness

         -  it starts one way and differentiates

            as it matures to magnificence

         -  it has to be discovered

          - it means deliberate, significant selection.



Here we focus on the surrender of the little

so as to be to be gifted

with a lot more than a lot.

      ALL FOR NOTHING.



Jesus tells of

       - a mustard seed

:      - yeast

        - hidden treasure                    
                               
        - a pearl                              

        - a catch of fish

               - the mustard seed has to let go

                  of being a little seed to become

                  a great big tree

                 - the yeast has to let go of being

                   a collection of one celled organisms

                   mixed into flour to become

                   a big, delicious loaf of bread

                 - an investor has to let go of

                   low yield assets to realize

                   a high yield one, a treasure

                   hidden in the field of finance

                - a pearl merchant has to let go,

                  has to cash in, all he has to buy

                  that rare find of greatest value

              -  the fisherman has to let go of

                 the low grade part of the catch

                 to market the high  grade yield

                 part of the catch.


There is a necessary impoverishment

to be enriched.

Jesus straightforwardly tells us

we need to let go to get.

.Drawing from these parables

 and other spirit indicators

 throughout scripture,

it looks like this:

     - to let go of our self centeredness

       so as to be spiraled

       into a universal inclusivity

     - to let go grasping greediness,

       to let go of being possessed

       by our possessions,

      so as to be gifted with practical sufficiency

      in a field of psychic freedom

    - to let go of lust and be in love

    - to let go the prison of narrow mindedness

      for the freedom and spaciousness

      of endless exploration and discovery

    - for old people like me, to embrace

      diminishment into Fullness

     - to let go

            - frantic hurry

            - destructive distractions

            - being entertained to death

            - being drowned in surround sound noise

            - a mind full of jumping monkeys

       - to let go such for

             - soulful steadiness

            - tranquility

            - spirit enrichment

            - peace

            - Divine Union.


No matter how old we are,

we all must lay down our security blankets

to be freed up for hands on,

full bore kingdom living.



So, what's what with  this kingdom life, 

what is it not,

what is it in lived experience?

What's the little that has to go

to get the lot of it all,

of it ALL?

Galatians 5:16 -6:6 helps us parse out

the works of the flesh,

of self centered living,

that have to go

so we can get

the fruits of the spirit,

free, creative, inspirited gifts

that animate Kingdom living.

Using the Meditation Markers that follow,

let's give slow, soulful reflection

over the next week or so

to Galatians 5:19 through 6:6.

Using The Message translation,

let's quiet our mind,

open our center self,

take a deep breath of body,

and even more so of soul self,

and hear The Spirit speak,

Spirit to spirit.

To mix the metaphor,

see what The Spirit says to our spirits.

What has to go so All can come?

Let's be very honest, clear and specific.

What/Who/How are the works of the flesh

as they are current with me?

What/Who/How are the fruits of the Spirit

as they are current with me

                 AND

           need to be so?

It would be best to take one section

of Galatians 5:19 through 6:6

each day of the week and focus on that.



As always, it is so good to be together here each week.

Every blessing and goodness!

In God's Dear Love,

     John Frank


      *****




                                          MEDITATION MARKERS



                                   
            
Galatians 5:19-26; 

Galatians 6:1-6 MSG


19 It is obvious what kind of life develops 

out of trying to get your own way 

all the time: 

repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; 

a stinking accumulation of 

mental and emotional garbage; 

frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; 

20 trinket gods; magic-show religion; 

paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; 

all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; 

a brutal temper; an impotence to love 

or be loved; 

divided homes and divided lives; 

small-minded and lopsided pursuits;  

21 the vicious habit of 

depersonalizing everyone into a rival; 

uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; 

ugly parodies of community. 

I could go on. 

This isn't the first time 

I have warned you, you know. 

If you use your freedom this way, 

you will not inherit God's kingdom.  

22 But what happens when 

we live God's way?

 He brings gifts into our lives, 

much the same way 

that fruit appears in an orchard - 

things like 

affection for others, 

exuberance about life, 

serenity. 

We develop a willingness to stick with things,

a sense of compassion in the heart,

and a conviction that a basic holiness 

permeates things and people. 

We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments,  

23 not needing to force our way in life, 

able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. 

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; 

it only gets in the way. 

24 Among those who belong to Christ, 

everything connected with getting our own way and 

mindlessly responding to what everyone else 

calls necessities is killed off for good - crucified.  

25 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, 

the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that 

we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads 

or a sentiment in our hearts, 

but work out its implications in every 

detail of our lives. 

26 That means we will not compare ourselves 

with each other as if one of us 

were better and another worse. 

We have far more interesting things 

to do with our lives. 

Each of us is an original.


1 Live creatively, friends. 

If someone falls into sin,

 forgivingly restore him, 

saving your critical comments for yourself. 

You might be needing forgiveness 

before the day's out. 

2 Stoop down and reach out 

to those who are oppressed. 

Share their burdens, 

and so complete Christ's law. 

3 If you think you are too good for that, 

you are badly deceived. 

4 Make a careful exploration of who you are 

and the work you have been given, 

and then sink yourself into that.

 Don't be impressed with yourself. 

Don't compare yourself with others.  

5 Each of you must take responsibility 

for doing the creative best you can 

with your own life. 

6 Be very sure now, y

you who have been trained 

to a self-sufficient maturity, 

that you enter into a generous common life 

with those who have trained you, 

sharing all the good things 

that you have and experience.



Yes, it's

    Let go of the little,

       be gifted with lots and lots of life,

                                           Kingdom Living.

                                        
             ALL FOR NOTHING


                       *****


Many thanks to all who are letting

family, friends, associates know about our

weekly sharing together here at

          "frankly speaking."


For those new, "frankly speaking"

                      - Is posted each Friday at

                        johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

                       and can be bookmarked

                       for ready access


                     - Is available each Saturday

                       by automatic email delivery -

                      Sign Up is found at the top right

                      of the online offering


                     - Past postings are available at

                       Blog Archive -

                       bottom right of the online offering.


                                      WELCOME !



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

                     



                                          
            





.