Friday, March 2, 2018


Hi There !

So how do we keep our balance 

when so many and so much 

are flipping out all around us:

   - 25 school shootings since Columbine 

     (Shepard Smith, Fox News, 02-15-18 ) 

    - 64,000 drug death in 2016 

      (The latest yearly total now available -

      National Institute on 

      Drug Abuse and the CDC) -

      more deaths in that one year from drugs than

      all the deaths of American military during

      the entire Vietnam War of 58,220 

      (National Archive, Military Records)

      The entire current issue of Time magazine

       (March 5, 2018) is a report on 

       this worst addiction crisis in US history

    - a stock market that threatens to

       "bubble burst"

      (pick your economist)

     - unthinking extremism left and right 

    - "America's boys are broken. And it's killing us"

      (see "The Boys Are Not Alright ", 

      Michael Ian Black, The New York Times,

      02-21-18) on our lost generation of boys

    - hate and fake news outlets

    - expanding fascism and neo-nazism,

      nationally and internationally

    - sinful lying and histrionics across social media 

    - international cooperation unraveling -

      a cold war heating up - 

      check Putin's new nuclear rattling

    - way too many politicians, media and

      financial moguls, lacking 

              clarity, character, moral courage

    - artificial intelligence close to directing 

      much of our living

    - family life fraying

    - a social media that has yet to grow up

    - nuclear threats and brinkmanship

      (make that "brinkboyship") 

    - hacking that steals our privacy and imperils 

      our democratic election process

    - education that doesn't -

      teaching to the test that gets an "F."

It goes on and on.

It's pretty chaotic, quite frightening, 

terribly difficult to keep our balance 

out here on the street of everyday living.

How many will be left standing,

and how long?

Most of us are middle and 

upper middle class people,

and we are having 

the patina of order and safety

ripped off our way of life.

It exposes terrifying flaws and fissures 

in our situation, as well as 

a questionable future. 

We now know and feel that 

we are endangered,

and that on many fronts,

as indeed the poor and marginalized 

among us, and most of the world,

have been for every so painfully long.

A metaphor for our moment

might be that we are like a couple 

that worked hard,

mortgaged themselves to the hilt,

and finally got their own pricey house 

in a pricey place only to find 

it sits on a toxic dump.

A poignant, telling icon of our plight was 

a father sharing

with his pastor friend over lunch

that he dreaded putting his son

on the school bus each morning

and wondering if he would ever see him again 

(Sermon of Rev. Rob Myallis, St. Paul's Church,

Lititz, PA, 02-25-18 ).

So, yes, how do we live out our spiritual life,

keep our balance, 

in this fearsome time out here on the street 

of everyday living?

What do we say 

to that fearful father, and to all of us 

who have had our middle class patina 

of order and safety so perilously pealed away? 

The troubles aren't going away nor can we.

The only way ahead is through and that's 

 going to be a rougher and rougher road.

So, how do we  go ahead and get through

on that rough road ahead?

Buddha and Jesus have been down that road.

They got through and can guide us through.

The Buddha had the patina of privilege ripped off  

his plush, princely life as he encountered 

the harshness of illness, old age and death.

He walked away from the illusions

of comfort and indulgence - literally.

He set out to find enlightenment.

It was a long, painful journey,

but it brought him to a life of compassion:

    - "A generous heart, kind speech and a life

       of service and compassion are 

       the things which renew humanity."

    - "Our sorrows and wounds are healed

       only when we touch them

       with compassion." 

Jesus, the poor man of Nazareth, rich in love,

spent it all in a life of compassion:

    - "Jesus went through all the towns and villages,

       teaching in their synagogues,

       proclaiming the good news of the kingdom

       and healing every disease and sickness.

       When he saw the crowds, 

       he had compassion on them, 

       because they were harassed and helpless,

       like sheep without a shepherd."

       (Matthew 9:35-36)

"Harassed and helpless, 

like sheep without a shepherd."

Try that shoe on the foot of today's walking

out here on the street of everyday living.

Spot on!!!

Jesus' way ahead was through disorder and pain 

and that meant active embrace and support 

as he taught, encouraged, helped and healed

the hurt and needful.

That kind of active compassion

for the the masses brought him

into the crosshairs of the power elite

and they went gunning for him.

Eventually they nailed him - literally.

It broke him, broke him wide open

and let flow a current of reality and power

(aka Grace)

that lifts from deadly entombment,

that soars beyond the shy,

uniting all in the pulsating realness

of love and life without limit. 

What a "Springing" is Resurrection.

Compassion and community.

The Latin root of the word compassion

tell the tale.

"Compati" means "to suffer/feel with."

A life of compassion gets us right and tight

with our true selves,

with every being in creation as it evolves,

with every frightened parent,

with war ravaged Syrians,

with every molecule of every tree,

with every hurt,

with every beauty,

with every potentiality,

with every enemy, 

whether they realize it or not,

with ALL,

so much so that we are one with them.

Yes, that's such a "lift" 

it sure does mean resurrection.

That's what compassion does.

The "lift" of compassion elevates us into unity,

into community with All.

Again, the Latin roots help.

"Cum" meaning "with" and

"Unio" meaning "one" -

Community - one with.

Community means 

        "Other is me otherwise,"

us united and me wise enough 

to embrace and be embraced 

by every other form of

who we are - Love.

A spirituality of compassion and community

means things like:

    - caring about every other driver 

      on the road during rush, 

      and rushed, hour

    - clearing space for a life of 

      lived and actual community 

      with our nuclear and extended families,

      and with our neighbors

    - caring and sharing in 

      our religious or ethical circles,

      really mixing it up into a vibrant 

      community of compassion - truly a 

      Holy Communion

    - in that community, a welcome nurture 

      for the left outs of our sphere:

           - lonely old people

           - overwhelmed single parents 

             and their children

           - querkie oddballs

           - the unemployed

           - the homeless

           - gay children and teens

           - inner city, suburban, rural poor

      one way or fifty to get in close and tight,

      to touch, to more and more find ways

      as a compassionate community 

      to throw block buster parties of

      care, support and unity

    - for fathers to learn how to raise a son

    - for men to mentor boys adrift in their

      fog of nowhere, walking with them 

      into a healthy manhood.  

     - to refocus, reconfigure our life styles

       to be Gospel compatible -

       chemicals aren't the only addiction

       drugging us into soul stupor.

       For those of us in the 

       Christian Tradition and Life,

       Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

       We delight to accept him loving us to life,

       a life of compassion in community,

       one that makes that life and love of Jesus

       present and personal for others through us. 

       We model ourselves and our living on him.

       Of all our current difficulties, this one

       is perhaps the most frightening as many of us 

       in the middle/upper middle classes

       have quiet some miles to go 

       from comfortable religion 

       to catching up with the real Jesus

    - to eschew every vestige of violence,

      violence of thought, attitude, word, 

      action, reaction,e.g. a bumper sticker:

             "Get behind our troops, 

              or get in front of them."

      - as we would never allow liars, predators,

        perverts, the im or amoral, 

        the characterless, valueless deal makers

        to influence our children,

        to do the same for ourselves

        as we carefully discern

              the media we select

              the groups we join

              the leaders we follow in







                   life style.

These are days for some really deep meditation

and prayer.Without them we will loose balance, 

fall and fail, careen into ever more chaos.

With them we will be clarified and strengthened

to go "through" the perils and pains

of our vulnerable now and the nows ahead,  

and that by The Source and Center of All. 

That will lead us to compassion and community.

They will give balance.

A few Mediation Markers follow this.

Please use them and the considerations 

offered in above in this posting,

or anything else/other that helps you

over the course of the next lenten week.

Inertia and inaction will take us down 

when so many and much are flipping out

all around us.

Please know this posting has been difficult 

to compose and fashion.

What is offered here is not pleasant or easy,

and let's be honest:

             We want pleasant and easy.

It's not going to be pleasant or easy ahead.

Too much unrealness for too many years

in too many ways has brought us to the edge.

That unrealness has corrupted into the breakdowns 

all around  and underneath.

Our social structures will continue to cave.

Some will stay on top of the pile for a while,

have "nice' a bit longer,

and that may seduce too many into 

more comlpacency and slide.

The hard fact is that 

a lot is falling apart, and more will.

Sit still and we will fall through.

Let The Source draw us into intimacy

through prayer and meditation.

With the clarity and strength that comes 

from that embrace, community and compassion

will germinate and flower.

In small groups of 

genuine community and compassion

we will balance out and help 

our society regain its balance.

I am an old man who loves you

and all of God's Creation rather passionately!!.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you.

Looking forward to seeing you all next week.

Committing all to All, 

holding you and all in

God's Dear Love,

   John Frank


                            MEDITATION MARKERS

As we pray and ponder over the above and the following, 

let's be sure to ask what does that look like

in the practically of our right now, right here?


- "In compassion lies the world's true strength."


-"Therefore, as God's chosen people, 

   holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves

   with compassion, kindness, humility, 

   gentleness and patience." 

                                            Colossians 3:12

- " They will neither hunger nor thirst,

     nor will the desert heat or the sun

     beat down on them. 

     He who has compassion on them

     will guide them and lead them

     springs of water."

                                          Isaiah 49:10

- "Conquer anger wit non-anger.

   Conquer badness with goodness.

   Conquer meanness with generosity.

   Conquer dishonesty with truth."


- "As you know, we count as blessed

   those who have persevered.

   You have heard of Job's perseverance 

   and have seen what the Lord 

   finally brought about. 

   The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

                                                James 5:11

"In the beginning compassion is like the seed

    without which we cannot have any fruits;

    in the middle compassion is like water

    to nourish the seed you have planted.

    In the end compassion is like the warmth

   the sun that brings the fruit to ripening.


- " This we know, all things are connected.

     Like the blood which unites one family,

     all things are connected.

     Our God is the same God,

     whose compassion is the same to all."

                                         Chief Seattle 

- "What sort of religion can it be 

   without compassion?

   You need to show compassion to all living beings.

   Compassion is the root of all religious faith."


                                      Basavanna, Vachana 247

- "In everything, do to others as you would have them

    do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.:


                                                      Matthew 7:12

- "In this earth,

   in this immaculate field,

  we shall not plant any seeds

  except for compassion,

  except for love."


                       Sufi Mystic 

- "Radiate boundless love towards the entire world -

   above , below, and across - unhindered,

   without ill will, without enmity."


- " Praise be to the God and Father 

    of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    the Father of compassion 

    and God of all comfort,

    who comforts us in all our troubles,

    so that we can comfort those

    in any trouble with the comfort

    we ourselves receive from God."

                      2 Corinthians 1:3-4