Saturday, August 26, 2017


Hi There!

"So, where the heck is my underwear, and how about the Q-Tips?

Don't tell me they are boxed, sealed, stacked and ready to go!!"

It's like that right now.

I'm moving out of state in just four days.

It's rough not to know where things are,

and most of all where I am just now.

It's dislocation awaiting relocation.

It's like standing in a doorway.

You are no longer where you were,

and you're not yet where you're going to be.

This business of "Betwixt and Between,"

this Doorway  space can be about self-sense,

it can be relational, social, professional,

familial, financial, marital, psychic, a health issue.

Whatever the manifestation,

we often find ourselves in a "no longer, not yet" mode:

                       - no longer having kids at home,

                         not yet adjusted to just the two of us

                       - no longer climbing the corporate ladder,

                         not yet ready to step down

                       - no longer a child,

                         not yet an adult

                       - no longer hooking up,

                         not yet into a real relationship

                       - no longer playing tennis,

                         not yet ready for a walker

                       - no longer married,

                         not yet close to a significant other

                       - no longer trim,

                         not yet a bit comfortable with middle age,

                         middle body spread

                       - no longer my old self,

                         not yet whatever the heck

                         my new self will be.

 We regularly find ourselves spiritually in Doorway space:

                        - no longer praying the way we did for years,

                          not yet at home in a different experience of prayer

                        - no longer cock sure about who/how God is,

                          not yet comfortable with a less defined

                          and more spacious awareness of,

                         an "at-ease-ness" with The All.

                       - no longer obsessing to find God,

                         not yet relaxing as "found"-ed in God

                       - no longer sold on institutional religion,

                         not yet "at home" in a foundational, 

                         freer form of religious community

                       - no longer reading "devotional literature,"

                         yet not acquainted with a broader spiritual genre

                       - no longer clear and convinced on moral issues,

                         not yet ready for a new field of integrity

                       - no longer trying to please ( control ) God,

                         not yet ready to go to bed with God.

About now most of us get pretty itchy for an

All American, Get-a Grip, Pro-Active, What to Do About It, Game Plan.

Well, the saints and mystics all pretty much tell us the same thing about being in a


                                             Don't just accepted it,

                                                     Embrace it,

                                                     Better yet,

                                                Let it Embrace you


                                                    Envelope you.

                           See that when you are neither here nor there,

                                                        in fact

                                                    YOU ARE.

           Being in a  Doorway space puts in bold relief that we are not the sum of our

                understandings, activities, efforts, achievements, consciousness.

                                  We start, continue and always will


                                                    WE ARE

                   A two day old baby and a fifty year old mystic both


                                              They are held in



                                          EVER AND ENDLESS


                     No matter what the surface of their lives are like, they


                                          So, when you are in a

                                                 DOORWAY ,


                                       YOU ARE HOME SAFE

                                        If you allow yourself to

                                    ACCEPT AND THRILL TO


                           however it presents on the surface of life,

                        however in between things are on that surface.

                We evolve in our awareness of ourselves, and all else.

                                      It's a flow unto Fullness.

       The fundamental self is just that - an eternal constant, a mystery within

                                            THE MYSTERY.

          Its conditions, its manifestations, its way of being conscious of itself,

                   and how all that is put into practice, is lived out,

                                        are regularly in flux.

                           There is an essential difference between


                                              WE ARE

                                          HOW WE ARE.

                     The blessing here is to go deep and celebrate that

                                             " I AM "

                                         and that within

                                     " I AM WHO AM"

                                         ( Exodus 3:14 )

A humble example of all this.

A precious diamond is that when in the earth,

when mined,

polished and set,


and placed in a new setting.

It always is what it is.

Its manifestation and location

are set for a while,

and yet there is the inbetweeness

that eventuates in a new setting

for the constant diamond.

We people experience our Self Sense

on two levels at the same time;

                                                - foundational, constant

                                                - surface, evolving, often in Doorway space.

On the surface of things,

we go from set and settled

to a Doorway,

to set and settled

until the next transition

through another Doorway.

It is a living through of

The Paschal Mystery.

We die to how it was.

We rise to a new how it is.

The in between time,

is like Jesus in the tomb,

and Jonah in the belly of the whale.

Well, I'll eventually find my underwear and the Q-Tips,

but it will be in a new place,

a new setting.

What stays,

and is staying,

is that

"I am,"

in this

Doorway space

between here and there.

All the best as you "are"

and are evolving in your understanding of that

and your living out that understanding

in changing times, places and ways.

Please pray for me

and those who have to put up with me

when I stress out about underwear and Q-Tips

in my current

Doorway space.

See you next week,

not in the same way,

but the same you and the same me.

Love to all!

   John Frank






Saturday, August 19, 2017


                                 THIS WEEK'S POSTING IS LENGTHY

                                         PLEASE TAKE TIME FOR IT,

                                             AND TIME WITH IT.

                            THE FOCUS IS ON GETTING THINGS RIGHT

                                                  RIGHT HERE

                          RIGHT NOW THINGS ARE NOT AT ALL RIGHT

                                                  RIGHT HERE..


Hi There!

So, Bruce Springsteen was "Born in the USA."

Lee Greenwood is "...proud to be an American."

Bruce Springsteen is "...embarrassed to be an American." ( Melbourne, Australia, 02-12-17).

How is it with you?

More widely, how is it with us as American people,

and the question isn't limited to embarrassment?

Nor is it a question about partisan politics -

this personality, these policies favored over that and those.

It is a core question.

When stripped naked, what does America look like right now?

Even deeper, it's a spiritual question ( not a religious one ).

"Spiritus" in Latin means " breath of life."

What "spirit," what non physical energy, animates us as a people right now?

How are you doing with all this?

It's a pivotal question because we live out our deepest selves,

our spiritual lives together on the street of everyday living called America.

So, again, how's that going for you?

Lots of people answer that right now in lots of different ways:

                        - We're "Loaded and locked," ( Donald Trump)

                           and so are the North Koreans.

                           Will Kim Jong-Il or Donald Trump actually pull the trigger

                            and ignite a global conflagration  way worse than the one in which

                            asteroids destroyed the face of the earth sixty six million years ago,

                            its sheer intensity making our planet's surface momentarily like liquid?

                            Put another way, do we have a future here,

                            not just in America, but on this planet?

                          - Can we agree to be different and disagree about it,

                            or will more 20 year old James Alex Fields, Jr.'s of Ohio

                            drive to Thomas Jefferson's backyard in Virginia

                            and plow into a crowd protesting

                            white nationalists, the Klu Klux Klan,  and neo-Nazis?

                         - Just how much are racism and violence a part of our American DNA?

                         - I'm doing quite nicely, thank you.

                           My investment portfolio prospers.

                         - How do we figure our way forward financially?

                           10 % of us now average nine times more than the bottom 90% of us.

                           Those in the top 1% of us average 40 times more than the bottom 90% of us.

                           (, "Income Inequality )

                           Will we, our children and grandchildren "Owe our souls to the company store"?

                           That sounds like Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" of worry weight.

                         - Whatever happened to truth, objectivity, beliefs based in fact and reality?

                            Will politicians, the media, the merchants, the academics ever tell it like it is,

                            or will they tell it like they want it to be.

                            Are we in now in Fantasyland forever?

                            Have a lot more than one cuckoo flown over the nest?

                           See the September issue of The Atlantic: "Believe" (Conspiracy Theories,

                           Fake News, Magical Thinking. How America Went Haywire).

                           See: "Is Truth Dead?" ( Time magazine, April 3, 2017 )

                           And to think Pilate wondered, "What is truth?"

                        - We live in a comfortable, safe neighborhood with good schools

                           and lots of sports for the kids.

                        - There are real issues before us, but this is "the land of the free,

                          and the home of the brave." We'll make it. We always do.

                        - I just can't deal with all the questions and conflicts in America right now.

                          I don't even watch the news anymore.

                          I want stability and serenity.

                          I (that's the fourth "I") do things that make me feel good, and so do a lot of others.

                         I ( that's number five ) favor socially acceptable things to make me feel good.

                         With others its sometimes other:

                                                      - yoga                     - Bourbon

                                                       - religion                - volunteering at The Thrift Shop

                                                       - Tai Chi                 - porn

                                                       - vacations              - drugs

                                                       - hours of T.V.        - collectables
                                                       - texting, tweeting, SnapChatting

                                                         Instagramming, Facebooking

                                                         my way to numbness and nowhere fast, sad to say.

And on and on it goes.

 All this is quite pertinent to our spiritual lives.

We are people living among people in a place called America.

 People and place are not only our context, they affect us and we them.

It's make or brake, more likely some of both for our soul selves, our core selves.

In the " For What It's Worth" department, a few notions:

                    - What we are going through right now is the "right  now"

                      of the American Phenomenon.

                      As  in A Tale of Two Cities, it is "...the best of times, the worst of times."

                     - some days more of one than the other.

                      That's our pattern and history.

                      There was the horrendous genocide of the Civil (???) War.

                      We Americans slaughtered 750,000 of ourselves ( Guy Cugliotta,

                       04-12-12, The New York Times ).

                       Contrast that with the American standard of living during the Eisenhower Era.

                       In the 1950's the economy grew by 37%.

                       The median family had 30% more purchasing power

                       at the end of the decade than at the beginning -

                       lots of Chevrolets in the driveways of Levittown.

                   -  The American phenomenon has many moments and motions - positive and negative.

                      They are the living out of both our Original Blessing,

                       freedom and justice for all, well, ok, not quite all,

                       and our Original Sin, slavery and greed.

                       Right now we are have a cultural crisis

                       We're not all that united as states of mind and heart.

                       "E Pluribus Unum" right now is more "pluribus" of persuasions and pushes
                        than "Unum" of spirit and practice.

                    - We do well to remember that those who do not remember history are bound to repeat it

                       ( Edmund Burke ).

                       Right now we are an empire.

                      So were the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Russians and the British.

                      All are gone.

                      Like the many Chinese Empires, most tended to last a few hundred years

                      and then fall apart.

                     Brings to mind the notice of Paul: " You have here not a lasting city." ( Hebrews 13:14 )

So how do we get our bearings, stay upright, move forward as "spirited" people

in this current American context?

Some thoughts and approaches:

                     - Live in the "now."  It's all we have.

                       We can't live in the past, air brushed or otherwise.

                       We may/may not have a future.

                        But we do have a "now."

                        Make sure to be there.

                      - "Bloom where you are planted."

                        It's there, or not at all.

                      - "Be wise as a serpent, and as guileless as a dove." ( Matthew 10: 16 )

                         Be smart.

                         Be pure.

                      - "Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven,

                          and all else will be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

                          (Kingdom of Heaven = Fullness of Being).

                       - Be willing to be spiritually lead ever deeper, ever wider, ever higher -

                         smart enough to open to endless enlargement - beyond immediasies

                         into the unending.

                       - Take to heart and practice the wisdom of Gandhi:

                         " Be the change you want to see."

                       - Live "real," spiritually and socially.

                       - Learn from Martin Niemoller.

                         He was a German clergyman and theologian.

                        Niemoller spoke out vigorously against the racism and evil of the Nazis government.

                        That lead to solitary confinement in a concentration camp.

                        In his cell there is this quote:

                                         First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -

                                         Because I am not a Socialist.

                                         Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -

                                         Because I am not a Trade Unionist.

                                         Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -

                                         Because I am not a Jew.

                                         Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.


                      - Social media yes, but people meeting more.

                      - Use freedom to free those trapped by:

                                                                                   - fear

                                                                                    - anger

                                                                                    - ignorance

                                                                                    - disadvantage.

                         -  Be alone regularly in reflection.

                         - Be together regularly in communal sharing

                           ( neighborhood groups, religious gatherings, extended family, social action groups )

                          - However you do it, pray.

                            Allow yourself to be embraced, absorbed by  Limitless Love (a.k.a. God).

                            In that intimacy, embrace all people, especially the most difficult.

                            Be full of gratitude for all the blessings of America.

                            Seek health and healing for America.

                            Put prayer to practice by doing what you can, where you are

                           to counter ignorance, fear, and violence, injustice,

                           to open dialogue, work for justice, seek reconciliation,

                           champion unity in diversity

                                                                 America! America!

                                                                  God shed His grace on thee

                                                                  And crown thy good with brotherhood

                                                                  From sea to shinning sea.

                                                                  America! America!

                                                                  God mend thy every flaw,

                                                                  Confirm thy soul in self control,

                                                                  Thy liberty in law!

                                                                   America! America!

                                                                   May God thy gold refine,

                                                                   Till all success be nobeleness,

                                                                    And every gain divine!

                                                                                              America the Beautiful

During this week let's reflect on us, on America:

                             - the people and place we are

                             - the current condition and context in which we live

                             - its effect on us and our effect on it spiritually

                             - how best to "be" right now in America, because

                               "to be, or not to be (sure as heck) is THE question."

As we reflect, please help yourself to the  Meditation Markers that follow.

Last of all, let's draw from that ancient wisdom

                               Illagitimi non carbourundum.

                               Don't let the bastards get you down.

For those of our Blog Community who live in countries other than America,

what does this blog say about where and how you are?

Be blessed!

See you next week.

Holding America and all people in

God's Dear Love,

    John Frank


                                              MEDITATION MARKERS

From the Sufi Mystic, Hafiz

- "Fear is the cheapest room in the house.

    I would like to see you living in better conditions."

- "I felt in need of a great pilgrimage, so I sat still for three days."

- "When all your desires are distilled, you will cast just two votes: to love more, and be happy"

-"What is the difference between your experience and that of a saint?

    The saint knows that the spiritual path is a sublime chess game with God

     and that the Beloved has just made a fantastic move

     that the saint is  now continually tripping over joy and bursting out in laughter

     and saying: 'I surrender!' Whereas, my dear, I am afraid you still think

     you have a thousand serious moves."

From the Christian Tradition:

Give Center Self to attitudes on how "to be,"

The Be-Attitudes

as translated into our contemporary, American English.

Google:  Matthew 5;1-12,

               The Message

               (that's the translation)

From contemporary literature:

To better understand the genesis of the frustration and anger that begets nativism,

and white nationalism read

The End Of Eddy

by Edward Louis.

The story takes place in France,

but the experience takes place right here in America also.

From the Sufi mystic, Rumi:

- "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."

-" Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.

    Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

-"Raise your words, not your voice.

   It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder."

-"Yesterday is gone and its tale told.

    Today new seeds are growing."

-" Run from what is comfortable.

    Forget safety.

    Live where you fear to live.

   Destroy your reputation.

    Be notorious."

-"As you start to walk, the way appears."

-"Why are you so enchanted by this world, when a mine of gold lives within you?"

-"When you do things from your soul,

   you feel a river moving in you, a joy."

From the media:

Check out

"Conversations with People Who Hate Me."

  It's a podcast by Dylan Marron.

  He is a delightful Venezuelan American, gay, young man.

  Dylan has a great way of connecting and communicating with quite hostile folks

  The podcast are on YouTube.








Saturday, August 12, 2017


Hi There!

So, it's ritual for lots of families where I live to have pizza on Friday nights.

The Friday night ritual  at my home might include pizza, but is almost always centers

on the last ten minutes of the CBS Evening News and Steve Hartman's On The Road segment.

It's Americana at our best - people, places, projects - positive and heart warming.

A few Friday's ago Steve  and his weed fixation were the focus of the segment.

It was taped at his five acre country home.

Seems Steve in his kind hearted, caring, warmly deep way was trying to develop

a  hillside meadow of beautiful wild flowers, but all sorts of weeds were growing up with the flowers.

Many evenings Steve politely pulled away from family activities to pull up weeds till dark,

and sometimes into the dark. He wanted a weed free, flowering meadow.

His charming wife mused about being a weed widow.

Eventually Steve caught himself and just let the weeds grow with the flowers,

accepting that's just how it is.

The segment wrapped up with Steve sharing that his energies were needed, not to pull up weeds,

but to nurture three gorgeous little flowers.

There on the screen were Steve's three darling little ones, the flowers in his life's meadow.

In our spiritual lives out here on the street of everyday life we have a bit of a parallel experience.

In our life zone there's this mix of flowers and weeds.

As a matter of fact, it is so pervasive and troubling that Jesus tells a folk story about it

( Matthew 13:24-30,36-43 ). It goes like this.

A farmer planted wheat. When it sprouted up so did weeds in the midst of the wheat.

Seems an enemy planted the bad seed under cover of dark.

The farm hands wanted to pull up the weeds. The farmer said that wouldn't work because

the roots of the wheat and the weeds were so intertwined.

He decided to let them grow together, then at the harvest to separate out

the weeds for burning and the wheat for the barn.

Jesus uses this little story to make a major point about our spiritual landscape -not pretty, but there.

As things are now in our lives and world, wheat and weeds,

positive and negative opposites coexist:

                                   - good and evil

                                   - real and unreal

                                   - healthy and sick

                                   - beautiful and gross

                                   - holy and sinful

                                   - true and phony

We see it:

                                  - in governments

                                  - in churches

                                  - in the art world

                                  - in entertainment

                                  - in sports

                                  - in our families

                                  - at work

                                  - in the media

                                  - internationally

                                  - in business

                                  - in our neighborhoods

                                  - in education.

                               SO IT IS AND WILL BE,

          just like the flowers and weeds in Steve Hartman's meadow,

         and the wheat and weeds in farmer's field that Jesus describes.

                                  BUT NOT FOREVER.

For us, there will be a wrap up to our  growing season in  this world-field,

a harvest of sorts, and it will mean a definitive sorting out.

The good and real will transition to a new fullness.

The evil  and unreal will vaporize into the nothingness that they are.

Jesus ends his folk tale with a blunt challenge.

Basically he says:

                  " Hey, be sure you get it, because you will get it."

         A Take Away:

Right now we are in process


we will be forever what we grow into now.

Put another way,

what's going to be left of us after the harvest?

So, be the wheat you are.

Grow freely to fullness.

Don't let yourself be discouraged

or slowed down by the weeds of this world.

Just because there are stinkers around doesn't mean we can't smell great!!

Another Take Away:

Equivalently Jesus tells us " No weed whackers allowed."

Our social complexity means we are all intertwined and growing in the same soil for now.

Uproot the weed means uprooting the wheat.

So often in the effort to get ride of the evil the good gets destroyed - weed whacked.

Syria is a horrific example today.

The Protestant - Catholic " Holy Wars " ( ?????? ) after The Reformation are a terrifying example

from a shameful past.

                                 WEED AND WHEAT - AN EXAMPLE

As a newly minted Deacon I was first called " Rev."

And was I ever "revved" up to get going in ordained ministry.

And go I did as a Deacon Intern into two different parishes.

The first was a prosperous, large church.

The pastor was an alcoholic.

He got drunk every night and regularly let go on me.

"The people like you and your preaching better than me and my preaching.

You're not preaching anymore, and you can't stand at the door and greet people after Mass."

The  other parish was a poor, country church with a wonderful "people's priest "

by the name of Charlie Wilk.

He welcomed and wrapped me right into a vibrant team ministry.

He said, "I want you do everything a deacon can do.  You preach better than I do,

so we'll split the sermons. My preaching will count for the first stage of purgatory for the folks!!"

                      Weed and wheat, and in the church at that!

Charlie encouraged my growth and kept me from being  discouraged by Pastor Weed.

Let's all be sure not to let the weeds discourage us, talk us out of ourselves, steal our souls.

Let's go ahead and be all we are called to be,

growing into a harvest of greatness.

Let's also help others not to be discouraged,

to be talked out of themselves, 

nor let the weeds steal their souls.

Good to be together today.

Looking forward to the pleasure of your company again next week.

( A new post goes up toward the end of each week.)

                      GO WHEATIES!!!

                         John Frank


   A number of folks didn't have a chance to see the post, "Gifting."

   Please do just scroll down for it ( July 22, 2017 ).

Friday, August 4, 2017


Hi There!

So, this young college student, who is on the autism spectrum, lost his student I.D. card.

He feared he'd be in trouble and he  became highly agitated.

His roommate told him to chill.

All he had to do was go to the Student Life Office,

do a little song and dance for them,

and they'd give him a new I.D. card.

That threw the young, autistic student into a full blown panic.

He yelled, "I don't know how to do a song and dance!"

Because of his autistic literalism, he just didn't get it.

All too many European and American people

are like that when they read sacred texts

from other peoples and places.

They don't get it, 

they certainly don't get it right.

Take the Jewish and most of the Christian scriptures.

They certainly are "true,"

true to themselves,

and true in their cultural context.

But they don't ring true,

are not "true" in the cultural context of Europe and the Americas

when taken on our terms rather

than on those of the ones who composed them.


My mother was a student nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital

in Paterson, NJ during the early 1930's.

A woman was rushed to the E.R.

She had chopped off her right hand.

Yah, pretty horrid!!

Once stabilized, she explained that she used her right hand

to steal and to hit her children

and that The Bible says,

                     "If your right hand is an occasion of sin,

                      cut it off..."

                                    ( Matthew 5:30 )

So, she got a hatchet and did just that.

She didn't get it big time!

Then, how about all those self identifying Christians

who have never cut off their right hands

( for once "lefties" have it better )

and yet they have used said right hands

to over feed themselves,

slap, hit, hurt,

falsify accounts and records,

script fake news,

to caress one other than their spouse?

They don't get it, either, just the other way round.

Jesus was Jewish.

He eat, drank, dressed, thought and talked Jewish.

In that culture, exaggeration was an preferred manner of speech

when you  wanted to emphasize something really important.

In this case, Jesus was emphasizing by exaggeration..

He was addressing things close in, intimate,

part and parcel to how we live,

yet things that ruin and wreck, e.g.

dishonest  business practices that make us a lot of money,

smoking, cheating on our partner.

Jesus was talking about things that poison us and others.

So if there is something,

or someone, or some behavior

as much a part of how we live as our right hand,

and yet  it is toxic,

cut it out for your own psychic, spiritual health

and the well being of others.

Yes, sacred writings need to be contextualized.

That shows in another critical way.

In the case of Jewish and Christian scriptures, as noted, that context is Jewish,

not French, American, Canadian, etc.

In the Jewish culture even to this day,

any card carrying, rabbi would tell you

that a given scripture text

could mean this, but then it could mean that,

but then again, it might mean yet something else.

This is not rampant relativism.

It's midrash, the interpretive method that addresses

      - the plain, or literal meaning,

      - the deep meaning,

      - the comparative meaning,

      - the hidden meaning.

It is because God/Reality/Existence

is limitless, and any scriptural text is like a little mirror.

It reflects but a tiny bit of that vastness.

Turn it this way, and it reflects another tiny bit of that vastness.

Turn it yet another way, and it reflects a different bit of that vastness.

It is a lot like good poetry.

There are all sorts of tones, hues, textures, dimensions

way beyond the literal articulation.

To "get it "we need to take it as it is given.

To pull ancient sacred texts of any of the world's great religions

through the filters of our cultural notions

of historicity, factuality, literalism

is to smash the little mirrors that they are.

Well, here are two tiny writings,

not at all in the same league as ancient, sacred writings.

That's because they come from little, old me.

Hopefully, though, they are little mirrors

that can reflect a bit of God/Reality/Existence

as you pray them through this way and that:

                    - When we let go of everything we are gifted with Everything.

                    - Relax into the Enfoldment of Love.

So good for us all to be together.

Look forward to seeing you next week.

This you can take literally,

God loves you and so do I,

        John Frank