Saturday, April 22, 2017


Hi There !

So, please allow me to share a goodness.

Her name is Caly McCarthy.

I sense she is a young Mary Oliver in the making.

Like Mary Oliver, Caly has the gift

to see and say

what we need

to see and hear.

Caly calls her latest offering

Holy Obligations.

Truth to tell,

many of us chafe at, even resist,

any sort of obligation, holy or not:

"Don't fence me in,"

"I'm my own man,"

"I can't be tied down."

For sure, some obligations are toxic.

Others are enlivening.

Whether we chose to see it or not, though,

we all have obligations.

The word obligation

is rooted in the Latin obligatio,

which means " to bind."

The question is to what/whom do we "bind" ourselves?

                       - creativity

                       - hoarding

                       - untrammeled egoism

                       - altruism

                       - truth perversion

                       -  spiritual exercises

                       - nature nurture

                       - materialism and the militarism

                         that guards, even kills, for it

                       - cosmic concern

                       - police state or peoples' state

                       - environmental reverence

                       - economic/financial promiscuity

                       - spiritual awaking

                       - celebrating diversity/excluding otherness

Way long ago the question was crisply spoken in Deuteronomy 30:19

                                       " I have set before you

                                          life and death,

                                          blessing and curse:

                                          therefore choose life,

                                          that both you

                                          and your seed

                                          may live."

Holy Obligations also puts before us life and death.

May we embrace the opportunity of

Holy ( Holistic ) Obligations

binding us to life.

We must slow down.
We must cultivate the light touch,
the grateful heart,
the spirit that cries out in joy
for the sun upon a sycamore tree,
the toddling steps of a young one,
the sweetness of a sugar snap pea
harvested from the small patch near the mailbox.
We must stop on our busiest of days
to sit on a bench and be.
No phones,
no books,
no earbuds,
just us and the wind
that smothers us in kisses,
tussling our hair
and reminding us
that we are only the most recent
force of nature.

There is much beyond our control:
the weather,
the mystery of love,
the sacred acts of birth and death.
We must recognize the legitimacy
of these forces
and be mindful of our interventions.
We must forever strive
to be co-creators, not conquerors,
partners in conversation,
well-accustomed to the art of compromise.

Rather than force entry
into these areas where we’d best not meddle,
we must act where do have agency.
Conflict might be inevitable,
but war is not.
Rape is not.
Poverty is not.
Mass extinction is not.
These are choices we make
when we have denied dignity
to our brothers and sisters
in the name of God,
the free market,
national security,
and sometimes,
no name at all,
just because we felt like it.

We must stop normalizing violence.
We must start valuing life,
this feat of existence
which has persisted through supernovas, and comets,
and ice ages, and floods, and fires,
We simply must.

                             Caly McCarthy

After quiet stillness with Holy Obligations,

may I suggest that we take a day,

or a week of days,

to let surface in us

and then  journal

that to which we bind ourselves:

             - To what ideologies do I bind myself?

             - To what practices do I bind myself?

             - To what people and places do I bind myself?

              -To what things do I bind myself?

             - Do these bindings open

               to Fullness.

               to Reality,

               or do they



               even destroy




               and things?

This spiritual exercise can be a  healthy course corrective

as we move along the street of right here, right now life,

a spirituality for the street.

Many thanks to Caly and to you

for this chance to bind and bond here.

                   John Frank


New postings are toward the end of each week.