Saturday, January 28, 2017


                                       When its stabilizes don't, an airplane crashes.

                             Right now we are experiencing all sorts of destabilization

                                          in the manner, mode and movement

                                     of national/international life and governance:

                                         hacking, terrorism, trade, immigration

                                        fake news, foreign policy, health insurance,

                                        environmental protection,  " alternate facts,"

                                                   and way too much more.

                                    Gorbachev says the world is preparing for war.

                                               So, do we go to the bunkers,

                                                       move to Canada,

                                       or just get resigned to going to hell?

                                                  None of the above,

             but what can we do out here on the street  of accelerating destabilization?

                             For starters,

                                                   as best we can

                                           individually and collectively.

                                                Here are a few " stabilizers "

                                                    from people rooted in


                                                 Let's take each one,
                                           slowly meditate on what it

                                                        " Really "

                                            means in our here and now,

                                  and what we need to be and do about it.

                              " If the doors of perception were cleansed,

                                    everything would be seen as it is. "

                                                                               William Blake

                       " Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. "


                        " Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing

                                         because he could only do a little."

                                                                                  Edmund Burke

                                  " I ask everyone with political responsibility

                                                to remember two things:

                                                        human dignity


                                                      the common good."

                                                                                    Pope Francis

                                               "  The great need today
                                               is for Christians who are

                                                   active and critical,

                                            who don't accept situations

                                               without analyzing them

                                                 inwardly and deeply."

                                                                                    Oscar Romero

                                " Lord, make me an  instrument of you peace;

                                     where there is hatred, let me sow love,

                                          where there is injury, pardon,

                                            where there is doubt, faith,

                                           where there is despair, hope,

                                          where there is darkness, light,

                                          and where there is sadness, joy.

                                                 O Divine Master,
                                        grant that I may not so much seek

                                          to be consoled as to console,

                                      to be understood as to understand,

                                              to be loved, as to love,

                                      for it is in giving that we receive,

                                   it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

                                 and it is dying that we are born to eternal life."

                                                                                Francis of Assisi

                   Remember Twitty Bird, the tiny, frail, little cartoon character?

                   Well, one day a friend found Twitty Bird on her back

                   her legs pushing upward.

                   Twitty Bird said, " Hurry, get down here and help.

                   The sky is about to fall."

                   They friend said, " What difference can a puny little thing like you make?'

                   Twitty Bird responded,

                   " One does what one can."


                                                 Blessings on you and yours,

                                                 Holding you in

                                                 God's Dear Love,

                                                                         John Frank

Thursday, January 26, 2017


                                                DROPPING KEYS 

                                                   The small man
                                         Builds cages for everyone



                                                  While the sage,

                                          Who has to duck his head

                                            When the moon is low,

                                    Keeps dropping keys al night long

                                                        For the




Friday, January 20, 2017

The "Ones" Have It

"We are already one.
         But we imagine we are not. 
                  And what we have to recover is our original unity.
                                   What we have to be is what we already are."

                   Thomas Merton
(The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, New York: New Directions, 1973)

"Our ambitions must be broad enough
                     to include the aspirations and needs of others,
                                                  for their sakes and for our own."

                                                                                Cesar Chavez

"Individually we are one drop;
                              together we are an ocean."

                                                                                Ryunosuke Satoro

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Glad we can share.

If this is your first visit, please consider checking out two previous posts:
                                      "What's Going On Here"

They will provide a sense of things here at "frankly speaking."

You can access them through Older Posts at the bottom of this page.

A major piece is usually posted sometime around the first and fifteenth of the month.

Other pieces are posted ad random.

Thanks for connecting.

                                             John Frank


All sorts of us "SAY WHAT" is going on inside us in all sorts of ways.

Place, time, setting, culture and untold more  craft and tone our "SAY WHAT."

Consider English literature, and the varied "SAY WHAT" of
Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats, and e. e. cummings.
These writers' "SAY WHAT" is important to them,
and say it quite variously, again, toned and crafted by
their persons, time, place, culture, and untold more.
Stammering to "SAY WHAT" is ultimately WHAT
prompts various faith creeds,
again, so tellingly influenced by
the people involved, the times, the setting, the culture, and ever so much more. 
For example, the Athanasian Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Apostles' Creed.
Let's run our eyes, minds, and hearts over the most familiar of these:

Original Apostles' Creed (390 AD)
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
      creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
      who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
      and born of the virgin Mary.
      He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      he descended to hell.
      The third day he rose again from the dead.
      He ascended to heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
      From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy catholic church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting. Amen.
Now, let's fast forward to our time and place,
and again run our eyes, minds, and hearts over
a right here-and-now creed.
Caly McCarthy put pen to paper, well, actually, finger to keyboard,
and scripted her spiritual "SAY WHAT," her creed. 
Caly is a college senior, and a lifelong Methodist. 
Caly's "Preface" gives context to the crafting and toning of her creed.

 Preface to “This Apostle’s Creed”
In pre-school I was a reluctant drummer boy in the Christmas pageant.  In first grade I learned the names of the disciples.  In third grade I received my own Bible, complete with a translucent blue carrying case.  In fifth grade I declined to memorize the Beatitudes, despite the lamentations of my Sunday School instructor.  In sixth grade I became a Sunday School dropout and instead participated in a weekly simplicity circle.  In eighth grade I was confirmed.  In ninth grade I started worshipping at an Episcopal church. 
In twelfth grade I articulated my worldview to my favorite high school teacher.  It largely consisted of the cosmos, and evolution, and consciousness.  He asked me if I was an atheist, knowing full well that I was brought up in the church.  I blanched, feeling that accepting the word expunged any sense of the sacred, while also acknowledging that I had grown deeply unsatisfied with the creeds and prayers that I read each Sunday.  Stalling, I asked him how he would define an atheist.  His stare indicated that mine was an unnecessary question.  He answered, “One who doesn’t believe in God.”  I shifted uncomfortably.  I realized later that I should have asked him how he would define God.
Since that point I have continued to ponder both my understanding of God, and my place in the church. 
In an effort to articulate my philosophy of life and my religious development, I have revisited the Apostles’ Creed.  I hope that the sentiments expressed in the Creed help to explain my calling to protect the dignity of all beings and to mend the broken systems of food, labor, and environment. 

This Apostle’s Creed
(Updated by a present-day disciple of the Cosmic Christ)

I believe in God, the Mother Almighty,
creator of Heaven and Earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen. 
I believe that humans are the Universe aware of itself,
and that with this realization come the responsibilities
to honor the dignity of all beings,
to practice humility,
and to contextualize human history in deep time.

I believe in Goodness, personified through Jesus Christ,
the first person to be recognized as a child of God,
who was brought into this world by the Holy Spirit,
born of an unassuming young woman,
suffered under abuses of power,
was put down, put out, and put away.
When despair ran rampant he made himself known,
teaching that life persists, and love wins. 
He once walked this Earth,
and he comes again each day, made manifest in different vessels. 
I believe that metaphors are concentrated truths,
too often diluted by literalism,
and that Christian rituals
are one articulation of the Ultimate Reality.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the whole universe,
the presence of life-giving persons,
the forgiveness of errors,
the restoration of harmony,
and the life everlasting.  Amen. 
So, the ancients, Caly, and now you and I. 
How do we "SAY WHAT" is ultimately WHAT
as we experience that?
How do we script our creeds?
Well, let's have a go at writing them out.
Let's "SAY WHAT" is in our minds and hearts about
the Ultimate as we sense that.
It will be more than a statement for others.
It will be a revelation to us.
Of course, our real creeds are not concepts papered.
What we really believe is not so much scripted in our words,
as it is articulated in our attitudes and actions.
"By their fruits you will know them."
(Matthew 7:20)
That's our "SAY WHAT."
To help us get a true read on that
it would be a big boost
to regularly huddle with a for-real friend,
one who will honestly read us to ourselves. 
What fruits are we producing? 
How do our attitudes and actions write us real?
It is not at all comfortable.
It is incredibly helpful. 
Great being with you.
Til soon,
John Frank
P.S. Each of her four years in college
Caly has submitted a written piece about her faith
as part of an application for a Methodist college scholarship.
She received those Methodist scholarships
for three years of college. 
The year she submitted her preface and creed
she did not receive a Methodist college scholarship.


"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.  We have guided missiles and misguided men."

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Right Now


Flipping the calendar finds a lot of us pretty much 
flipped out ourselves!
Seismic social, political and spiritual shifts are
disrupting, even destroying, 
the way things are, 
or we thought they were,
or at least what we thought they should be.
That goes for the price of gas to the threat of
trade, if not nuclear, war.

The toxin of fear pollutes our spirits.
It destabilizes self and society.
Can’t we settle down into the safety and security
we had back in the 90’s, or was it the 70’s, 
surely not the 60’s, perhaps the 50’s?

We can’t and it wasn’t!

So, can we stabilize at all out here 
on the street of Right Now?
Is there anything that can support spirituality for street life 2017
in our exile?

Well, being centered in the “right now “
would be a big help.
We can’t stabilize in a past or a future.
They don’t exist “right now.”
So, it really is “now or nothing.”
That means recognizing and dealing
with what’s coming down “right now.”
That’s where we are and how it is,
a mix of terrible and terrific.

The ancient Israelites knew the mix and spelled it out in
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens
a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Most of us wouldn’t want it or wouldn’t write it like that,
but like that it is!
The big question is
are we here and now
in the middle of the muddle
as it is?
As Walter Cronkite used to say
at the end of the CBS Evening News:
“And that’s the way it was…”
O.K., you never heard of Walter Cronkite,
but do hear what he
and the writer of Ecclesiastes said about how
the agony and the ecstasy,
the pain and pleasure of it,

The shrinks tell us
the hardest thing to deal with is
It floods us with fear.
As we awake to the right now of2017
there is ambiguity and fear all over the place:
How stable is my job (if I have one)
and my savings (if I have any)?

What will the new president’s
personality, character and modus operandi
mean for American life and world order?

Will North Carolina have a bathroom for

Will Baptist, Methodist and Catholics
ever get around to celebrating and supporting
marriage and family life for all gender people?

What will happen to the 40% of millennials
still living with their parents?

Will we stay stuck in strident
black and white or can we move and merge
to full color transmission of national life?

Will terrorists drive a truck through
the Fourth of July Parade or
blow up our church next Christmas Eve?

Will all the ill get care?

Can we get civil, or do we bully on?

Its like running a marathon
in the smog of ambiquity and fear.
It destabilizes and stalls.

So, the choice is to go into depression -
financial, personal, spiritual, social -
or be like the heroes of history and
deal with the shifting sands of fearful ambiguity
knowing that underneath all that is
Rock Solid Reality.
It is our base of operations no matter
the fearful ambiguity
cluttering the surface of things.

Paul was so right.
Referencing that Rock Solid Reality
and identifying
Ultimate Goodness
( long for g-o-d)
He said:
“In him we live and move and have our being.”
Acts 17: 28
We are not adrift and baseless.
We are rooted in Being,
anchored in Reality,
alive in an Energy Field
whose center is everywhere
and whose circumference is nowhere.
( Bonaventure )
Talk about finding yourself!
And find ourselves we must.
That’s essential spiritual growth.
As contemplatives,
we recognize, accept, exalt
in who we are and how we are.
We are life in Life.
In that Life we do, as Paul says,
come alive,
are energized into movement
of every sort,
and we “be’ in Being Itself.
That’s indestructible, and unmovable,
Rock Solid Reality,
no matter the fearsome ambiquity on the surface of
our everyday life out here
on the street of Right Now.
So based, we are of a piece
and draw from
The Source.
Aware, connected and open
we are enspirited.
Spirituality for street life 2017:

Not only do we go deep, or go under,
we go together
we go broken and breaking
all by ourselves.
Being part of a for real community
is essential
for a spirituality up for life
out here on
Right Now Street
We just will not make it trying to live as
crowed strangers.
By nature we are
social individuals.
That’s real as in
Yet, we have pushed
the individualism button
so hard and so often that we end up in an
isolation ward,
in self-imposed
solitary confinement
and it is maddening.
A small community in which
to be and do
life together
is a sine qua non
for spiritual viability
in today’s conflicted, ambiguous
and frightening environment.
To be real means
That’s a community in which
we are invited to be
who we are and how we are
and we invite others likewise.
We get together frequently.
We regularly share meals.
We do Soul Share and Care.
We help each other out.
We recreate together.
We generously work together
for the good of for those beyond our community.
We share Word and Sacrament.
in the Right Now,
connected to the Source
based on the bedrock Reality ,
life in community
-a 2017 Street Spirituality-

So, we flip the calendar to 2017 and
find ourselves pretty well flipped as well.
Will somebody somewhere push the nuclear button
and “fast backward”  what’s left of us to
primitive cave dwellers?
Will our racial rift tear us to sharp shreds,
or will we weave a tapestry of delightful diversity?
Will we get real about our planet,
or will we continue to sow seeds of destruction
for our children’s inheritance?
The new administration is set to change a whole lot.
Will that whole lot mean “Hole” or “Whole”?
Will our economy
Fly or crash,
ShopRite or breadline?
Can we outgrow
our adolescent babble, fluff and bullying
and mature ourselves and our media
to the point of being really “social”?
Well, it depends on our base.

Jesus tells a lot of good stories
( Irish genes, no doubt! ).
What a message in this medium.
He shared a great story one’s base.
A man built a house on sand.
The wind and rains came and
down went that habitation.
Another man built a house on rock.
The wind and rains came and
that habitation stayed stable and solid.
So will we if
we live in the now,
are based on the Rock of Reality,
share life in community.
build a habitation that is
Rock Solid
no matter the social, political spiritual shifts
and the consequent
ambiguity and fear
that fog the immediacy of things.

Hey, thanks for the company.
As you go through all this please know that
this little old man
prays for you all each day
(not on my knees anymore, but so surely from my heart).
Holding each and everyone of you in
God’s Dear Love,

John Frank