Thursday, January 16, 2020

LOCATION RELOCATION




Dear All of Us,

So, how is it with you?
Are you a stay put person,
or mostly mobile?
Do you prefer set and stable,
or lots of movement and vibe?
Where you conceived conservative
and plan to stay such right up to the pearly gates?
Or, from the get go has it been progression 
to ever new points and persuasions? 
Do you dance life in pretty much the same spot,
or all over town and countryside?

In other words, how do you deal with 
      location and relocation,
be it geographic, ideological, cultural, spiritual, social, 
political, relational, occupational - all and every?


The verve and tenor of our spiritual journey
are muchly effected by both location and relocation.
They are the "where' of it.
They contextualize and condition it.
Things like:

      - our tradition and upbringing - 
       embraced, rejected or modified
    - our maturing, evolving consciousness,
      or its regression 
    - our pain, pleasure, ennui 
      and where they "put" us -
      locate/relocate us
    - our current cultural context 
      ( compare the "safe and set" 1950's 
      to current cultural convulsing )
    - our health and wealth - 
      comfortable, compromised or ...
    - where and how we live - 
      Boston, Belfast, Bucharest -
        town, country, city - 
      our social and ecological environment
      - with whom we live - 
      terrific, toxic, or...
    - the kind and conditions of our work -
      obsessive, creative or ...
    - our spiritual community,
      or the lack of it.

The list is seemingly endless and the effects as well.
Those effects of location and relocation 
are both quite immediate and yet cumulative.
They have a significant impact on the condition and quality 
of our spiritual living:
     - is it best to hold on or move on?
     - staying too long stultifies
     - yet, often staying can stabilize
     - a certain spiritual practice may be a mainstay,
       or it could be a flame out if we stay with it too long
     - relocating can free and expand - example: 
       the spiritual authors we read,
       ( I read Thomas Merton the first half of my life 
        to great benefit and still do, 
       but Gerald May and Richard Rohr have had the eyes of my soul
       in this second half of life), 
     - do I adopt a more conservative/liberal stance -
       religious practice, moral evaluation, theological position, 
       political/social posture
     - be it moving on to a new religious community,
     - be it living out contemplation more actively, or just the opposite
       

Many have little choice about where they're "at"
and if/when/where  they are relocated.
That can be where they live, their health, relationships, work, 
finances, cultural context.
It's a matter of adjusting, maximizing 
where they are and/or are transported.

Many of us have some say about where we are "at"
and when we choose to transition to a new "at" (location/relocation).
We enter a new relationship, embrace a new spiritual experience,
change our political stance, we decide to move.

The latter is my current.
I just moved to Washington, D.C. to be closer to family.
It certainly has effected me spiritually  -
and financially and worn the live'n heck out of me - 
lost six pounds in a week!!
It meant letting go of the comfortable familiar 
and trying to deal with so much that was uncomfortably unfamiliar.
It was a "relocation" in all sorts of ways - friends, church, bank, doctor, 
letting go of a car and learning the Metro, unpacking hundreds of boxes 
to find and relocate everything from toothbrush to legal papers.
Worthwhile and exhausting.
It was a rough go to get here and here is a wonderful place to now be.

The transition, moving from one location and all that it had meant,
to relocation and this promising place, put me nowhere for a while.
That was  tough. 
Living in liminal space 
(liminus in Latin means doorway) - 
being totally in-between - neither here nor there was a stress.
Former and familiar were gone.
New and accustomed had yet to develop.
Vulnerability and chaos resulted for a painful period.
It caused me to constantly refocus and recommit to simply being in "Being", 
and that in the liminal nowhere of my here and now -
paradoxically a naked nothingness in All That Is.


Moving of any sort sure shakes up your soul.
That location to relocation makes it ever so clear that,
while we daily deal with the immediacies 
of all our "locations" and "relocations"-
physical, social, intellectual, value system and all the endless rest -
they are all part of a flow, partials on the way to the Ultimate
and our growth into It,
but in no way are the The Ultimate.
That's a good "Soul Shake".

                 " Cast all you cares upon the Lord.
                    and He will sustain you..."
                                          Psalm 55:22

                  "The Lord will keep your going out 
                    and your coming in 
                    from this time and for evermore."
                                          Psalm 120:8

See you next week, 
wherever we are located or relocated.
Holding us all in 
The Love Who Is God,

        John Frank


A warm welcome to those joining in here for the first time.
It's a blessing to have your company.

                             "frankly speaking'
                                 spirituality for the street

- is posted online each Thursday evening,
  east coast USA time at
  johnfrankshare.blogspot.com

- is available by automatic email delivery each Friday,
  sign up above

- past postings are available at
  Blog Archive,,
  right column online.

                            Have a great week!

___________________________________________________________

     












Thursday, January 9, 2020

UNDERSTAND



Dear All Of Us,

How do you understand
evil and pain?

The kind that happens when 
a thirteen year old girl 
trying to escape 
the horrors and violence
in El Salvador 
is gang raped into pregnancy.

The kind that happens 
when tornados and earthquakes devastate.

The kind that happens when 
a gentle old lady writhes in pain
on her death bed.

The kind that happens when 
a teenage boy is told 
he is not welcome in a church 
because he is gay.

The kind that happens as 
this planet is plundered and polluted into peril.

The kind that happens 
when no matter how hard you work
you just can't support your family.

The kind that happens when 
your spouse gives 
body and preference
to another.

The kind that happens when
media and political people
spew hate talk and lies 
that polarize and fracture.


The kind that happens when 
anxiety and depression
force a person into 
a hell hole of dark despair.


How do you understand
evil and pain?


That's what I puzzle,
what I try to understand,
but I just can't.


Paradoxically this 
plays off against 
what I do and 
don't understand 
about God.


Please stay tuned!!


I do understand 
that none of us 
can ever or even come close
to figuring out the fullness,
The Love Mystery, 
Who is God.
But happily 
I do realize that
what we can't intellectually understand 
we can deeply experience.
It's like a baby 
being greatly loved
by its mother.
Not much rational understanding involved, 
but what an incorporation and experience it is.
By comparison, though we don't intellectually understand 
all that much about God, 
we sure can accept the experience 
of immersion and enfoldment
in God and in God's beautiful, 
cosmic, evolving creation.



I understand that God,
the Energy of All That Is,
is incarnate in creation,
Being Itself holding all in being :
    people, place, spirit,
    elements, occurrence 
         -embryonic life to an
              Olympic gold medalist,
         -a Spring sprout 
              to Shakespeare,
        -specks of matter 
              to mighty mountains.



I don't understand how,
but I do understand so.



What I don't understand is this.
Given God's goodness, 
how is it that 
evil and pain
plague us 
and all creation?

Yes indeed, and for sure,
that's a question as old as 
the first mosquito bite and 
Cain's murder 
of his brother Abel.



I just can't figure out
the mix of good and evil,
the mix of God, creation, 
chaos, delight and pain -
 can't figure it out 
but sure do experience it
as does all creation.



I don't understand how,
but I do understand so.



In no way am I alone
with this inability. 
It's a universal puzzlement.
And that's important 
to know as we try 
to live our spiritual lives
in good times and bad times,
with things understandable
and not at all so,
out here on 
the street of everyday 
occurrence and experience.
There's more mystery than not.
To experience it is one thing,
to attempt to fathom 
it is quite another. 



All kinds of think sorts
over the span 
of human experience 
have had a try 
at explaining
the mystery 
of good and evil.
Sure, some  have
come up with 
helpful insights,
but no one nails it,
no one can figure it out.


Creation is evolving.
That's beautiful
and good.
But it still hurts 
to birth a baby.
        
      WHY?


In our spiritual lives
many of us are trying 
to accept the life invite 
of Jesus become The Christ.
That very Jesus experienced 
all sorts of good and evil
in his day and way,
just as we do in ours.


Our spiritual lives 
are a living out of this
Jesus become The Christ,
and of God's evolving creation,
and both in our way and place.
We experience 
good and evil
as we grow, 
groan and glow
with all into All.



I don't understand how, 
but I do understand so.



In our meditation and prayer 
as we ponder all this, 
more in our heart than in our head,
we are steadied and assured by
The Spirit:  

       I consider that the sufferings 
       of this present time 
       are not worth comparing 
       with the glory about 
       to be revealed to us...
       for creation was subjected 
       to futility...in hope that 
       the creation itself will be 
       set free from 
       the bondage to decay...
       We know that 
       the whole creation 
       has been groaning 
       in labor pains until now...
       We know that all things 
       work together for good
       for those who love God, 
       and are called
       according to his purpose.
  
       Portions of Romans 8: 8, 20 ,21, 22

                          *****

         Then I saw a new heaven
         and a new earth...
         (God) will wipe away every tear
         from their eyes.
         Death will be no more,
         mourning and crying and pain
         will be no more,
         for the first things 
         have passed away
         "See, I am making all things new.

          Portions of Revelation 21: 1, 4, 5

                           *****



We actually understand 
just a bit
of the mystery of 
good and evil 
as we grow into ALL,
and yet into ALL 
we do grow!



I don't understand how,
but I do understand so.



Right after I die, when God 
and I have had our hugs 
and settled into some
good wine and cheese,
I'm going to lead off with
"So, why mosquitos?"


Thanks for your good company.
God loves you and so do I !!

            John Frank

                 *****

Each week new folks join us here
and it is great to have your company!!
             Welcome!!

                  ******

Please keep sharing "frankly speaking"
with friends and colleagues.
It's the main way we connect with
new folks as we gather here each week.

                    *****


               "frankly speaking"
           spirituality for the street

* is posted online each Thursday evening
  east coast USA time 
        johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

       ( bookmark for easy access )


* is available by automatic and free email
   each Friday - sign up top right above

* past postings are available at 
   Blog Archive - bottom right column


           See you all next week!!!!

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









        


         
       















           








Thursday, January 2, 2020

"OH MY GOD!"


Dear All of Us,

                "Oh My God!!"
Used to be we weren't allowed to say that.
Now it's common currency.
See a terrible automobile accident:
               "Oh My God!"
Your kid gets a full ride to Harvard:
            "Oh My God!"
Hear something surprising, shocking, delightful, dirty:
            "Oh My God!"


The casual use of God's name is one thing.
But guess what - which really means I'm about to make a statement, 
not ask a question -
             "Oh My God!"
as an attitude of soul,
as a spiritual approach and way,
is totally wrong and wacky.
There's no "MY" to it.
We don't own, possess, or control God.

            God is not mine.

              I am God's.

Let's spend a month with that for starters
and then come back to it every day of our lives.!!!


Way too
much religion, spirituality and theology 
have got it dead and deadeningly wrong.
They set us up for idolatry - worshipping a false god -

                     "My God."

They fabricate and fashion a god of their persuasion and preference.
It's not a golden calf,
It's worse, way worse.
They design a divinity to their specs and thus control.
Cobble together a few self selected absolutes,
prescribe a few moral mandates and "Wala",
they are safe and set from here to eternity with their

                       "My God". 

In the fundamentalist Christian sphere it looks something like this:
    They've  made their decision for Christ, are saved,
    and just need to stay out of bed with another's spouse,
    go to church some, feed a few charities and they're all set.
    No need to fuss with all that social activism of those liberal churches.

For the more liberal sorts it presents something like this: 
    They do a little Lectio Divina, read progressive spiritual writers,
    back homeless, gay rights and environmental causes
    from the comfort of their head and home, 
    don't fret about enjoying expensive vacations 
    and middle/upper middle class amenities, 
    The Beatitudes not withstanding.
    Something of a free wheeling Cadillac Christianity.
     

That pretty much outlines the fault lines, spiritual illusion and idolatry of

                           "MY God".

Well, God is way too big to fit in any "my's" pocket, 
head, articulation, experience, ritual or religion.
Head for the hills when someone says 
"I found God."
Any god that can be found isn't God -
God's way too vast for discovery and capture.
And "capture" is what's attempted and what fails with

                          "My God" 

religion, spirituality, theology.
They are fashions of control.
Be it Hindu, Moslem, New Age, Buddhist,
be it Methodist, Lutheran, Roman, Southern Baptist,
when there is a claim or practice that attempts 
to determine, define or dogmatize about God it's basically demonic!!
They're playing god handlers and they just can't handle it!!!.
Adam and Eve were doing really well 
until they decided to play god handlers.
Christianity was doing pretty good 
until it started playing god handler, using Greek philosophy,
in an ill conceived effort to define too much about God.

 
Bet by now you're wondering what the heck I had for breakfast!!
Honestly, all this is so critical to our spiritual journey.
Set out in the wrong direction and you'll eventually fall off the cliff of "My".
Get it right from the get go and you do just that - 
you go and you go good, good as in God.
Way too often, though, we are like little children 
who feel they are the center of everything - 
my toys, my clothes, my everything -
for those with delayed infant spirituality, it's

                           "My God".

In all truth we're not the center of things.
Actually it's infinitely better than that.
We are centered in The Center.
We are God's.
We just need to wake up to that, 
grow up to that so we can blossom outward and upward
to limitless fullness "en Christo" as Paul puts it so often.


God Centered religion, spirituality, theology
delights and describes 
rather than defines and dogmatizes.
It lives the reality that

                     God is not mine.

                         I am God's.

It delights in the wonder of being God's,
of being centered in God.
It describes that as it grows in its experience of it.
It ritualizes it.
It shares it.
It does so happily aware that all of it is but a beginning, 
is so partial,
that we're just getting started 
and there will never be an end.
It accepts that God isn't a mystery to be solved, possessed or controlled.
It joyfully embraces the truth that God is a mystery to be lived,  
the mystery that

                        "God is love".

                          I John 4:8 

It rejoies that we don't have to, we can't, hold things together.
We are held together.

So much of the soul crisis today is a cry for righted religion, 
simple, straight spirituality, descriptive not prescriptive theology.
A clue:  the real masters of the spiritual life almost always use metaphor,
are poetic, employ free form in their sharings, and don't much dogmatize.
They are free and open, freed from trying to possess or control God.
They are ecstatic at being centered, enwrapped in God.  
Check out Rumi and Hafiz, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross,
Kierkegaard, Francis of Assisi, Chief Seattle, Buddha, John the Evangelist,
Paul, Meister Eckhart, Rabia, Kabir, and most of all, Jesus of Nazareth.


        
Instead of finding God we find ourselves in God.
                    The heck with "Oh My God".

            "Oh God, the wonder of being yours!"



Thanks for this chance to do a bit of Soul Share together.
               Centered in The Center With You,

                           John Frank


                             *****


A ton of new folk have joined in with us in the past few week.
Welcome to all! It's wonderful to be together and share here.


                          "frankly speaking"
                      spirituality for the street

            is posted online each Thursday evening,
                        east coast USA time
                johnfrankshares.blogspot.com 
  and is available by automatic email delivery each Friday
                    sign up top of this posting
         past postings are available from Blog Archive
                     right column online posting.


                       Have a great week.

Looking forward to all of us being together here again next week.

________________________________________________________________





































       

Thursday, December 26, 2019

RIGHT NOW ALWAYS




         Dear All of Us,

  
From my heart and pen,
   a New Year's Gift for you.
       In this new year
          may we all be 
"Having the time of our lives"
     RIGHT NOW ALWAYS

                     *****

                             A NEW NOW

                                       Never had
                                 NOW
                         Like this before!
                                Never
                     "Been here, done this"
                               Sure is  
                            A New Now
                             But then
             They just don't come any other way
                             do they?

                           Need to live it
                             Right Now
                              Really is 
                           Now or Never
                            There's only 
                            Forever Now
                             Right Now.

                "Now is the time of God's favor,
                      Now is the day of salvation."
                                                       II Corinthians 6:2

                                 *****



                          MOMENT ETERNAL

                         
Time lined living 
                                        Embrace
                           Moment moved
                          Right now always.

                                 *****




         HAPPY NEW YEAR !

          Holding us all in

          God's Dear Love

          Right Now Always

 
             John Frank


________________________________________________________________