Wednesday, February 21, 2024




      * Leave




Session I


Session II


are available by

scrolling down 

below this posting.


Dear All of Us,


we just have to

"Leave it alone."

That's what the 

Desert Mothers 



   had to do

   and did do



they left Sin City

to find and live



and they didn't stop

to close the door

on the way out! 

They left as is 

for what needs 

      to be 


     can be

These good folks 

were earnest,

high octane, 

full torque.

They took a pass 

on what passes for 

social and spiritual

systems and situations

that don't have 

even a shadow of 

sanity or realness.

From Dark Dodge 

to desert bright they went.

That pass relocated 

more than their address 

and how they dwelt there.

We don't have to go desert.

We do need to go new 

on how we address life.

Our Lenten Pause

    maps out

what we leave,

where we go,

how we transition

and relocate.

It does that so we can 

refresh and reset to

"Essential Christianity." 

We move away from

tolerance, support, engagement

in systems and situations

that darken, degrade:

- gauche, cruel entertainments

- tolerance of incessant wars

- excessive consumption

- media addition

- compromised governance

- culture warring

- intolerance 

     religious, sexual, 

     ethnic, racial

- spiritual shallowness and inertia

- demagogues and dictators








- being sacred shy

- anyone or thing soul dulling

- religiosity trumping spirituality

We move to 

systems and situations 

that enable, support, 


The Common Good:

- truth telling

- pristine air, water, earth

- free, fair elections

- stable marriage

- vigorous, full time family life

- equity in opportunity, housing, salary

- ethnic, racial, environmental justice

- disciplined, judicious media involvement

- education open, truthful, respectful

- embracing God given diversities

- spiritual earnestness and expansiveness

- social sharing

- Spirit Centered 

- Soul Liveliness

- Spirit Community 

- Genuine discipleship

- Deepest, most intimate prayer

Yes, our investing, 


voting, housing, politics, 

prayer, time allotments,

what, where and how we buy, 

with whom and how we socialize,

are at issue here.

Do they darken us, other, creation?

Do they Love Light us, other, creation?

Do we need to get a move on?

In our small group, 

or with a trusted other,

we pause to pray, ponder, 

skinny dip in scripture.

This week, 

   Matthew Chapter 3,

   Desert Dynamite

     The Message 


    - free online


            The Message 

    Book by Eugene H. Peterson

What's going on there?

What needs to go on here?

We listen, share and support.

      Spirit Led

 we retreat forward

      to locate in

        a life of 

"Essential Christianity."

Lent starts with smudge.

It ends sharing light from the

       Christ Candle

        symbols of 

     where to locate

     what to



Next Edition

Online Posting: Wednesday 

                       February 28, 2024

Email Delivery: Friday

                       March 1, 2024


This week we were blessed with 

many first time participants 

from the USA.


Great to 


together and toward ever more 

"Essential Christianity."

        frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

        Click title top left


Each Wednesday morning

East Coast USA time


Please scroll down beneath 

the current posting


Each Friday

Sign Up

Top right

online posting

Holding us all 

in prayer and love

as we migrate right.

    John Frank



A solid read and support, 

a superior one,

for leaving as is 

to find as can be 

with a radical, 

new focus is:

      Stolen Focus, 

      Johann Hari, 



      an imprint of 

      Random House












Wednesday, February 14, 2024






    Session I


is available by

scrolling down

below this posting


Dear All of Us,

What's with us?

We wouldn't be 

caught dead

with egg on our face, 

yet one Wednesday a year, 

and this year on

Valentine's Day to boot,

we go running around town

with this great big black 


  on our foreheads

         all day!

     What gives?


Well, it's a sign of 

what's on our mind 

as a we begin Lent,



It's a sign that

things need to be 

cleared up, 

cleaned up.

It's a sign 

that a lot has been 


     dirty dark.

It's a sign 

that we're pausing

six plus weeks

to face that dark

and embrace the light.

In a small way 

we are doing what 

    The Desert 

Mothers and Fathers 

   did big time.

They got out of 

   dark Dodge

to find space and place

to live the light.

They headed out 

    to live out

"Essential Christianity,"

  pure and simple.

Lent is a look around.

What's what with us?

As John Wesley put it:

"How is it with your soul?"


    Soul is core self.

So how is it with core






We each look, see 

and answer for


We all look and see

    and answer 






  The answer is

     too often

     too much

"Smudged dirty dark!"

   We can try to

  deny, dilute, duck


       we can

    face the dark

and look for the light.


Lent is truth telling,

    tough stuff,

    but we have 

    neutered it 

  by limiting it to

  religious rituals,

 commonized customs, 

 that don't come within 

 a galaxy of reality and need:

- give up candy for Lent

- throw a little cash 

  to the food pantry

- attend The Stations of the Cross

- purple up the church

        In the meantime, 

         and it really is 


- we tolerate to accept to support


          so horridly far

         being hideously 

         war slaughtered

           in Palestine.

  Cattle for our dinner table

        are slaughtered

        more humanely! 

          A quick shot

    to the head and done.   

  Not so Palestinian civilians. 

Babies to grandmas and grandpas 

  are right now slaughtered with

  raping, bombing, dislocation,

  starving, traumatizing 

      before the kill!!

- Christianity has become  

         Christ Lite


  Christ doesn't come that way!

  Lots of container, little content,

     "Essential Christianity" 

   is the Cinderella of church

- politics, governance, social order,

  culture, earth and atmosphere,

  abused to within inches of collapse.

- God is doing a beautiful job of Creation.

  Look at what we do to it.

- Jesus came and gave 

  to redeem, restore, 

  refresh and renew.

  How many of us have

  deeply and completely 

  bought in,

  taken God at his


 How many actually live

  "Essential Christianity"?

          It's a sin

          all of it

It calls for repentance.

Repentance means 


That translates into 


We depart dark.

We transition to light.

In our place, 

time and clime, 

we do as did as the

Desert Mothers and Father - 

we relocate, 

not so much 

our street address 

as our whole way 

of addressing life.

It's a core call.

It's an actual move 

beyond religiosity to 

hearty, joyous, 

practical living of

"Essential Christianity."

And it is outrageously 


This Retreat Week

we see and name

     the dark

we repent it all

we pray and purpose

to really accept 

and vigorously live

"Essential Christianity"

      as did the

   Desert Mothers 

    and Fathers

     They relocated 

    and did they ever 

    "Lighten UP!"

  We can as well and 

  well it sure will be!

Richard Rohr charts

four essential elements 

of how those pioneers

vacated Dark Dodge,

moved to, centered in on

"Essential Christianity" 

       with their

  Retreat Forward.

We'll "one a week" them




         Method (1)

We'll take a good look at


        next week.

This retreat week 

it is best

to see and name 

the far from best

in our personal lives


in our shared lives





What ties us down,

trips us upside down,

keeps us from running

with vigor and joy

in the light and land of

"Essential Christianity"

 What smudges things up

         to so sadly a 



In our group sharing,

or with a trusted 

spiritual friend,

we "soak in scripture"

choosing one or more

   of the following:


    Hebrews 12:1-3

    Matthew 25:31-46

What do they basically say?

What does that mean

for our daily, practical life, 

   individually and as 

     The Gathered?

How can we help each other 

        Live the Light?

It's no fun facing the dark.

   It's a liberating joy 

     to see the light,

     to light up in


       The Light 

     of the World,

    way too bright 

    for any sort of




   Online Posting: Wednesday

                          February 21, 2024

   Email Delivery: Friday 

                          February 23, 2024


    Warm Welcome

    to the groups

    joining in here 

    this past week 





How good to be together

      "In Christ"





       He works

  quietly, generously, 


     "doing digital"

   for us all here at

    frankly speaking.

 Again, many thanks




(1) Daily Meditations,

     Center for Action 

     and Contemplation

     May 4, 2015


Welcome all to our

Lenten Retreat

here at

      frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street


      Click title top left


Each Wednesday morning

East Coast USA time


Please scroll down below 

the current posting


Each Friday

Sign Up

  top right

  online posting


frankly speaking

with others


 Even now, 

 says the Lord God,

"return to me 

with your whole heart"

       Joel 2:12

Praying for our 

whole hearted

Retreat Forward.

Love to all.

John Frank



Wednesday, February 7, 2024



Dear All of Us,

  Let's Lent


 "Try this on 


  Soul Size."

Life is a dynamic

an alternation

a pulsation

a back and forth  

  Action- Pause

    We work

    We sleep

    We give

    We receive

When things  

are balanced, 

we are.

Such certainly 

spiritual life.




that gives needed 

spiritual balance.

It's like a team 

taking a time out

to further a win


  to find one.


  "The pause

 that refreshes"


   an annual


      to go 


   If that's a fit, 

we're all invited to




  together here 

in our weekly huddles

    during Lent

Our theme and approach

        come from 

        The Desert 

  Mothers and Fathers

Now, please don't reach for 

your water bottle and 

head for the doors.

Yes, they were 

long ago, 

far away and 

big time different

from us in our 

here and now.

They also knew

and modeled

a near perfect 


They lived it  

in a mix up

much like our

right now





They had  

to step out

to step up.

We do too.

Let's follow 

their good lead 


retreat forward.

Richard Rohr maps it out for us. 

Speaking of the Desert Mothers and Fathers and their time he says:

"They were surely bona fide Christians and yet knew none of the 

doctrines which many of us today take as essential orthodoxy, such as 

the two natures of Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity, the inerrancy of the 

Bible, and on and on. This early period is a clearing house for 

                          essential Christianity." (1)

                    (emphasis mine and I hope ours))

Over time Christianity got complicated, compromised and corrupted. 

To go forward we really need to get back to basics -

                             Retreat Forward 

The Desert Mamas and Papas take us back to our future. 

They had the basics down cold out there in the hot desert. 

They didn't fuss. 

They focused. 

It was no frills, no fooling.

It was an essential experience of living Jesus the Christ.

It was Love Lived. 

It was Kingdom coming, 

It was wonder-full.


In our Now:

    Are we really and ready for that?

    In what kind of packaging have we received Christianity?

    What's core, and what's later conditioning and current container? 

    How taken and/or troubled are we with the condition and container of 

    current Christianity?

    How willing are we to make adjustments to live  

                   "essential Christianity"?

    Given the particulars of our life setting, how can the practical living of 

    the Gospel be the core and center of our daily, actual, living?

    Are we genuinely wrapped in with a for real Christian community?




We are invited to join in/gather together a small group, 

or covenant with a trusted Soul Friend.

If neither is possible, we fly solo.

We open wide to The Spirit.

We focus on 

"essential Christianity"

       What is it?

      We want to 

       "for real" 

     commit to it.

    We skinny dip 

in a sea of scripture.

We Spirit Soak in Matthew 


      The Sermon 

      on the Mount

What/how is that to be lived

in our here and now?

         We use

     The Message


    (free online)


     We pray a lot,

     settle into scripture

     listen a lot, 

     speak some,

     support greatly.


   We begin with Spirit Prayer and then silence. 

   We slowly read a portion of

   Mathew three times.

   We pause in silence for a few minutes 

   after each reading.

   We then share.

   We seek one focus per reading:

     (1) What is the core message here?

     (2) How can that be lived here and now?

     (3)  How can we help each other live it?

Let's do a practice run with 

        Matthrew 4:17

         After Jesus 

   went through his own

       Retreat Forward

        in those forty 

   desert days and nights

    he was out and about


    We do well to begin 

    where Jesus began with

    his inaugural theme:

      "Change your life. 

  God's kingdom is at hand."

Following the prompts above;

    (1) Jesus says we need to change how we live.

          That's a lot more than to stop sticking our bubble gum 

          on the underside of the pew when we go to church.

          Jesus is saying we need a life re-set.

          Do we hear it?

          Will we do it? 

          Jesus says God's Kin-Domain is here.


          Do we hear that?

          Will we move in?

          Or are we on hold til heaven?

          Do we hear that God is ready for 

          a whole new way of life for us 

          and for world order?

          Or do we "theologize" and "spiritualize" it inert?

     (2) How do we put flesh on those bones?

          Are we really ready for "essential Christianity" and the major change of 

          mentality, values, lifestyle that it means for -

               the wheels we drive and the address where we park them? 

               our relationships with "The naughty and nice" in our orbit?

               betting the farm on Gospel not Empire values and ways?

               accepting profound divine intimacy?

               blending and bonding with others in sweaty/sweet community

               as The Gathered (L."eccelesia"), The Body of Christ?

               sticking our neck out for social justice and realizing we may get more 

               than a body chop for it?

       What are the top two things we need to do/undo to be for real in response?

     (3) Will we hang in there with others as they work out this changed, 

          Kin-Domain life even when it stretches every tolerance and supportive 

          muscle we have?

          What scares us about that?

          What could that look like?

          When we stumble fumble will we let others pick us up?

          What are the top concerns we face?

          What are a few approaches we are willing to try?

What do we say?

          Are we really ready/willing for a life reset?

          Or, will we settle for a little light dusting 

          of what is and how we are?

                                       "ALL IN" LENT

    Let's daily, lots, and from the heart, pray for each in our shared 



       frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

(click top left for current posting)


Each Wednesday morning

East Coast USA time


Please scroll down

below current posting


Each Friday

Sign Up

top right

online posting

Thanks for the goodness 

of doing Lent together.

See you next week.

    Much love

    John Frank



Almost forgot. 

Chaulk it up to me being 

on the shady side of 

eighty three

(1)  Daily Meditations, 

      Center for Action 

      and Contemplation, 

         May 4, 2015



Wednesday, January 31, 2024


        NEXT WEEK

          here at

    frankly speaking

we share an invitation to


    as we prepare to


      our seven week 


    The wisdom and ways 

              of the 

Desert Mothers and Fathers

     will help spring us free 

       from captivity to


     diabolical delusions

    and relocate us in the

          KIN DOMAIN


          GOD GOOD 


  Our focus and quest will be


We are invited to form a small group

or commit to a trusted spiritual friend,

sharing together each week 

of the retreat.


Dear All of Us,


  Look out!

I'm on a bit of

 a tare today.

       It's this.


    really don't!

    We all know 

    it's wrong.

    and it is

    and too often


    the wronging,

    the sometimes 

    not so good 



Let's face it.

We're  doers

and too often, 

and too much,

that doing 

doesn't do so good.

It amounts to faux good,

as in phony 

and that neither computes, 

adds up or counts.

Yet our egos and culture 

team up,

come at us with 

Moral Misinformation,

pressures and persuasions

such as

-"Do good in school, 

  in sports, in business,

  and you'll be a real success

  and happy in life"

-"You can do anything 

  you put your mind to do."

-The self-made man

 does it on his own.

-"We do the difficult 

  right away.

  The impossible takes 

  a little longer to do."

-"Rugged individualism does it."

-John Dewey's doing direction,

  the philosophy of 

  American Pragmatism, 

  a cult of doing 

  not well tethered to 

  a healthy and reality rooted 

  sense of being.

Quit frankly all that doing

is often 


Quite frankly all that doing 

is often our 


That's because the motivation, 

the energy, the direction,

the measurement,

the evaluation,

the output

come from solo self.

We're just not up to it.

It wares the heaven out of us.

There's hell to pay

because we have set up

a false god - ourselves.

We ware ourselves and 

a lot of other people out 

because we have to come up 

with the good to do.

Where do we get it?

Where do we know 

to lavish it?

It all comes from ourselves.

So, we stress away

drawing from our

surface energies

and them directed 

by our egos.

The reservoir is shallow 

and stagnant the seep.


Glad we're all still here.

Enough already with "tare".


we need not be 

drought dry dead

and deadening 

do gooders.

There is a vast, 

unlimited reservoir 



"God alone is good"


     Mark 10:18

A full bore, free and 

freeing spiritual life is 

letting God's Goodness

flow through us.

We are conduits, 

not the source of good.

The Source is our 

   Self Source


No need to play God.

We already have one, 


there is only one

and it's not us.

Given our circumstances, 

our gifts and graces,

we get our ego out of the way


    "Let the good times" 

and every other dynamic of 

          God Good 

       roll through us,

   through our attitudes,

   through our evaluations,

   through our actions 

   and reactions,

   through our speech.

We don't originate

    God Goodness 

We accept it and share it.

We be and do the good 

that God gives us

to be and share.

We live the lesson of 

  "I am the vine, 

      you are 

   the branches."

     John 15:5

We bare

  God's Good  fruit.


  God Sourced,

 we do our doing.

   "Be doers 

    of the word

    and not 

    hearers only..."

     James 1:22  


       God Sourced

  "Do all the good you can,

   by all the means you can,

   in all the ways you can,

   in all the places you can,

   at all the times you can,

   to all the people you can,

   as long as ever you can."

          John Wesley

          Self Sourced

          doesn't do it.

          God Sourced

          it's Good Going

          it's God Doing


Each week folks 

from all round our spin

cycle in with us.

Among many others

this past week  

we had large groups


  South Africa







Welcome one and many

It is so good to share here at 


          frankly speaking

     spirituality for the street

Click top left for current posting


          Every Friday

            Sign Up 


            top right 

            online posting

            Email contact info

            is never shared


         Just scroll down

   through the current posting


           Each Wednesday

             By mid-day

        East Coast USA time


     to all our visitors this week.

     Hope to see you next week.


            to all who share

           frankly speaking

             with others.

     You are our one and only

      Advertising Department

              Bless You!


        GOD GOOD TO DO

    With a smile in our hearts,

          lets have to as



       See you next week

        as we set up for


         Love to all,

         John Frank




Wednesday, January 24, 2024





          here at 

     frankly speaking

begins in just two weeks

with a week of preparation

and seven weeks of seeking

   "Essential Christianity"


        The ancient 

Desert Mothers and Fathers

   model for us how to


     from the futility of 

      Empire's Life Lie

     to joyous Reality in

  The Kin Domain of God,


   "Essential Christianity"



   FEBRUARY 7, 2024

   Please share the news 

   and invite




   folks from church or no church,

   to gather each week as a 

   Lenten Small Group to






Dear All of Us,

It's been a while. 


    my little 



(Ollie and Mom the other day)

is a bright, happy, 

active, most lovable, 

card carrying toddler,

two and a half now.


Yah, I'm nuts about him!


Among his endless 

favorite things is

a beginner's version of

Hide and Seek

It always calls for 

at least four encores!

Hide and Seek

is fun as play 

with children.

It's absolutely 

no fun at all 

when it's at play 

in our spiritual lives.

It drags us into 

a futile fix.


we hide both 

our true self and 

our false self 

from ourself and 

everyone else 

so faux-fully that 

no seeking finds 

the hidden self.

It is too often 

so with nations, 

religions, corporations, 

institutions of 

all sorts and strips. 

It's a Hide and Seek 

that is impossible 

and in which no one wins.

The worst of the worst 

is getting drawn into 

the futility of seeking 

     a hidden God.

It's like a Road Race 

to find what's right there 

in front of us.

God isn't hidden.

Rather, we aren't focused 

on seeing God 

in plain sight 

right there in that

  "front of us"

 in us, in others, 

 in all Creation.

Over time just about 

all religions have 

posited and positioned 

         a god 

up there, out there -

hidden somewhere we aren't. 

Thus, distance and division

with consequent and futile 


seeking a far out 

and hidden god.

This god they created is 

"made in the image 

and likeness of" us,

is a sort of 


Since this god 

creates and controls all, 

we need to seek him/her 

and make "Nice Nice" 

for our protection and

our hoped-for prosperity 

here and hereafter.  

The game is lost 

from the start 

as we scramble seeking 

a god not at all hidden,

and not created, 

much less made in our

human image and likeness.  

Yet, too many priests, 

pastors, philosophers,

gurus, theologians, 

shamans, rabbis 

and imams 

have created a cult, 

made career 

and cash 

of this 

"hide and seek."

It's fundamental flaw 

        is that 

  dreadful distance, 

       us here,

       God there,

and thus that 

    dreadful "art of the deal"

with the divine. 

It falls and fails into


    not transformative 


Look what and where 

all that hidden god 

has gotten us!!

We're at a crisis time 

in history.

There's a call on 

what's what.

We are finding 

we have come up 

spirituality short 

for centuries.

Our spiritual 

health and growth, 


civilization's survival, 

depend on a 

refocused spirituality.

Let's give it a go,

starting right where we are.

Be advised:

      heavy lifting required.

There simply is what


We're born into it, 

actually of it. 

That is true of all -

be it universal and

probably beyond that 

energies, vegetables, 

puppies, planets, people, 

elements of matter 

in the mountains 

and elements for 

tonight's supper, 

music, media, concept, ...

        All that is 

      exists in this 


All that exists (ex "is" ts) 

is an instance of this 


All that exists is part of 

      what really



That's really good, 

and we delight to call 

this unlimited good 


God doesn't exist

in existence. 


    God is existence. 

    All exists in God 


         God "IS" 

more than pretty close, 

   and endlessly so!

         God "IS" 

what, where and how all


We are part 

of that Good, 

part of what 


Of course, 

there's a heaven of 

a lot more than 

we see, figure, fathom, 

know, or experience 

of God just yet.

It's not hidden. 

It's that we are not yet 

tall enough, 

evolved enough,

matured enough,

to see more of 

the God Good Horizon 

as it ever out-goes. 

There's plenty of


in which we can 

meet and mix

with God

right where, 

as and how we "is".

We are gifted to be 

immersed in it, 

in God.

God is not hidden 

out there somewhere.

Go inward, go outward - 

       God "IS."


 Our spirituality is 

 immersion in what


   immersion in


"God is my deepest self" (1)

"God is closer to me 

 than I am to myself. (2)

"It is in him that 

 we live and move 

 and have our being." (3)

God is the "IS" 

of every person, 

thing, power, pulsation 

in which and with which 

there is and we "is." 

We are family -

same last name, 

different first names.

The physicist,

Neil de Grasse Tyson 

notes our solidarity.

He says we are all

fundamentally connected 

to each other biologically, 

to the earth chemically, 

and to the rest of 

the universe atomically.(4)




  splendidly diverse.

Our spirituality is 

to be present to God 

in all within and 

in all about us.

It is not to be 

chasing after

a hidden, far out, 

a somewhere else God.

God is right 

in front of us, 

all around us, 

all the way inside us.

That's where 

we commune with God -

  Everywhere Always

What about the evil

in existence?

Sadly, some spoilers 

there are. 

They try to fracture what 


grab pieces of it to fashion 

cult of isolated 

and isolating self. 

It's their hellish efforts 

at dominating what 


It causes chaos and pain.

We suffer that evil.

Evil is a violation of what 


Evil is Good disordered.

We are part of 

challenge to that.

We work at the 

redemption of evil,

to rightness as it really


Our spirituality is 

to live in God.

We work, play, pray, 

love, share together 

in God Good.

Rather than stress after 

a god somewhere 

out there,

we are immersed in God 

right here, right now.

It's our milieu.

Chardin calls it

The Divine Milieu.

It's where we 

encounter God.

No hide and seek to it.

There's so much more 

to see and say, 

so some time down the line,

perhaps after Easter, 

let's do just that.

Thanks for plowing through 

           all this.

Hopefully that next time

will be a lighter lift.


   (1) Catherine of Genoa

   (2) Augustine

   (3) Acts 17:28

   (4) Referenced in 

 Richard Rohr's 

 Daily Meditation,

 The Center for 

  Action and 


   July 4, 2023



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       Love to all,

      John Frank