Friday, April 27, 2018


Hi There !

So, do you like to snuggle?

Hope so!

It's the ultimate way to be with another.

What's that???

Can you hear those wise acres among us

starting to chuckle and question

what kind of an intimate life I've had?

I sure can.

My response is a knowing smile and

the wish,

      " You should be so lucky!!"

Yes, yes, I know the going thing

in our culture is the goal of a red hot,

 "Hope the neighbors don't hear us,"

Fourth of July fire works sex life.

That's assumed to be

"the ultimate way to be with another."

Well, that's an illusion

of our sex soaked society .

The Fourth of July is once a year and

 folks are lucky if once a year ( or two )

their experience is anything like

the intensity of the fireworks

on the Fourth.

Sex has many moments and modes

like every other form of human closeness.

But it doesn't have the market cornered.

If it did, children, the celibate,

singles not in an intimate relationship,

many senior adults would be iced out

by nature ( God ) from

"the ultimate way to be with another."

At its best sex is one

of innumerable ways to snuggle.

Snuggling is acceptance.

Snuggling  is giving.

Such is comfortable,

safe and  secure. 

It is a "so closeness"

as to be a oneness,

oneness in in all its peaceful,

tender, beautiful variations.

We are serenely together.

Snuggling is not a head thing.

It isn't limited by thinking.

It is a matter of the limitless heart.

Our essential, sacred, deepest self

folds into that of another

as the other is hardly another anymore.



Calm stillness.

Free to relax into each other.

"Being Oneness."

It would be helpful here

for  each of us to consider

our foundational experience

of snuggling.

See it, feel it.

For me it was those

just perfect moments

in childhood when my mother and I

snuggled up in a soft chair,

 or on the front porch swing.

There was a quiet warmth to it.

A wonderful oneness.

No talk.

No thinking.

Just gentle wholeness transporting

to sheer goodness.

Most of us work hard at relationships,

at trying to be close to others.

That's appropriate, good, even necessary.

We need to learn how to read each other,

stretch and share generously,

to compromise when it's balanced.

There come moments, though,

when we grow past ideas, words,

plans, activities.

We mellow into mystery,

the mystery of life,

life enfleshed in the beloved.

We snuggle

one way or other of thousands.

I'm convinced that's what

Jesus meant when he invited us

to be right at home with him,

to snuggle.

       Live in me.

       Make your home in me

       just as I do in you...

       I have loved you

       the way my Father

       has loved me.

       Make yourself at home

       in my love.

                      John 15:4

                  ( The Message )

Yes, snuggling is the ultimate way

 to be with another.

Our spiritual lives out here

on the street of everyday living

are at heart just that -

a matter of the heart.

Snuggled in

The Love Who Is God,

we live out that love,

that union,

in all sorts of enfleshments,

times, places and ways.

God is a snuggle away.

For example:

- rocking a baby to sleep

- a meditative walk in the park

- having good food and drink

  with family and friends

- asking a lonely person how

  they are and listening attentively

 as they tell you for

 the next half hour ( or more )

-getting lost in the divine form and color

 of an English Garden

- curling up with your lover

  to watch the golden sun set

- blending into some really good music

- slowly savoring a poem by Mary Oliver

- gathering with others to work

  for the common good

  politically, socially,

  environmentally, economically

- uniting with others

  in a spirit freeing community

  of worship and service.

 Most of all, we go to a quiet place

by ourselves not to be by ourselves.

We close out everything,

opening to All.

Being "at home,"

snuggling up with God,

is the best of the best snuggles,

"the ultimate way to be with another"

who paradoxically is and is not  another,

but neither of us is paying attention to that!!

Thanks for the blessing of your company.

Holding you and all in love as

we snuggle with God.

    John Frank


We continue to be gifted

with new sharers here at

"frankly speaking."

Three new homelands are now part

of our union: Ghana, Japan, New Zealand

     Welcome !!

Also, thanks to so many

who have told friends

of our weekly sharing here,

and those who reference us

on Facebook or other media.

For those new here,

"frankly speaking" is posted

at the end of the week online at

and can be bookmarked for easy access.

It is also available automatically

by email.

Please see the sign up at the top right

of the online version.

Past posting are accessible from

the Blog Archive at the

bottom right of the online version.







Friday, April 20, 2018


Hi There !

So, how is it with you?

Do you prefer neat and tidy,

or just artfully dodge "accumulage"?

Do you hate and despise twenty connecting flight

to get from Newark to Topeka,

or do you just bring a lengthy novel along

as you bounce around the lower forty eight?

How about your car?

Do you wash it regularly,

or just leave that up to the rain?

And then the bills.

Are they paid upon arrival,

or just "whenever"?

Well, whatever our preferences

(should that read "neurosis"?) ,

our spiritual lives out here

on the street of everyday living

are decidedly more like the latter - messy!

Sure, we can get from here to there spiritually,

but not quickly nor neatly.

There are no direct flights to holiness

( wholeness, enlightenment, Nirvana, perfection,

heaven, sanctification, or whatever we choose to call it ).

Paradoxically, though, we can be both be there

and far from it at the same time -

be swept up in contemplative ecstasy

and check out some porn all on the same day

( make that "lust in our heart" for those

afraid of a digital trail to "The Cloud,"

and not any heavenly one at that).

That's because our spiritual lives

are not a straight line experience,

but rather an expanding spiral

within spirals of yes and no, real and unreal,

light and dark, sin and grace, peace and turmoil -

all together a messy magnificence

as we zig zag our way along.

We not know this,

we discount this, at our own peril.

Way too many "spiritualities"

do that to folks - just a touch of this mantra

and a dab of that meditation technique,

the practice of these sure fire ascetical practices,

add in a few fail proof disciplines,

and in five easy steps you'll be a certified mystic.

         NO WAY


                                 NEVER EVER !!

To see and sense this ever so clearly

be sure to check out

one of the greatest  major-leagures

in the history of spirituality.

He and his clan both hit grand slams

and struck out all the way

to a championship season of the spirit.

The three monotheistic religions of the world

mark their foundation in the person and faith journey

of Abram become Abraham,

"Our Father in Faith."

It would be an eye opener,

indeed an eye popping experience,

to invest an hour reading the story

of Abraham and his clan

in Genesis 12:! - 25: 11.

Then go back over it a bit at a time,

and that for a long time.

It's definitely adult reading -


not the flannel board stuff of Sunday School.

Yet it is the story of heroic faith and trust.

There is a messy magnificence to it.

It is Survivors, All in the Family,

Sister Act, Let's Make a Deal,

 Sex in the City, assorted soap operas

and B Rated Movies, The Sound of Music,

Beauty and the Best, A Man For All Seasons,

Under the Tuscan Sun, Wonder,

I Can Only Imagine, all rolled into one.

There are divine call and genuine acceptance,

 wife sharing, bargaining with God,

family dysfunction and banishment,

inhospitablity, attempted group sodomy,

incest, land grants, blessings, sheer trust,

joyful surprises, rock solid faith,

faith with fissures,

covenant and commitment.

It's a Trust Walk that wavers but gets there.

So heads up, hearts open,

courage and hope, onward

as we spiral around, and

faithfully  and falteringly

zig zag our way to holiness.

Between here and there a

Messy Magnificence.


We welcome our newest participation

from the country of Czechia.

Thank you for the gift of union.

Let's continue to love and pray

for each other and all creation.

See you next week.

Holding you in

God's Dear Love,

   John Frank


This week we had an unusually large number

of folks  new to "frankly speaking"  join in.

Thank you for welcoming us and we are delighted

 to welcome you!

A new posting goes online at the end of the week.

If you wish, you can bookmark "frankly speaking"

for easy access each week, or 

automatically receive it each week by email.

The sign up is at the top right of the online page.

            Thanks for your company!

Friday, April 13, 2018


Hi There !

So, do you have a favorite board or card game - say

Monopoly, Parcheesi, Chinese Checkers, Scrabble,

Bridge, even Poker?

For me it's Uno.

In just about all games you win

by racking up the most

"properties," marbles,

chips, points, cards.

In Uno you win by loosing,

getting rid of all your cards

as fast as you can.

Our spiritual lives are one grand,

exciting game of Uno.

The object is to give away

every bit and all

of who we are

and what we have,

right down to our core selves.

Now in the market economy

out here on the street

of everyday living

that would mean being a looser,

going bankrupt.

Paradoxically though,

in a much higher math and economy,

we are invited

to be winners,

to be enriched by investing

all our energies, time, talent,

giftedness, possessions and privileges -

our total selves -

 in a life of

extravagant giving.

When we are "spent,"

when we have no cards left, it's


We are


"No Thing" seperates us from

pure  Oneness with All That Is.

We are like hot air balloons,

meant for the sky

and getting there

by letting go of what

keeps us were we are.

The lighter the higher.

In a spiritual life of


we have "cards"

 to give away for others:

   - a sense of humor

   - companionship

   - money and possessions

   - friendship

   - patience

   - parenting

   - leadership

   - team work

   - forgiveness

   - encouragement

   - care for the marginalized

   - patience

   - environmental respect and care

   - our self to our lover

   - talents like crafting, music,

     story telling, wisdom sharing,

     painting, poetry

   - mentoring

   - skills like business acumen,

     farming, technology,

     investigative reporting, teaching,

     archeological digs, forestry

   - nurture of plants, children, the arts,

     truth and justice

   - creativity - arranging flowers,

      managing finances,

      organizing a  kids' soccer league.

When all of who we are and have

is gone, is spent, we just


and "are" free enough

to expand in

          All That Is,

to blend universally

( just for starters ).

While being our our unique selves,

we free flow into an

ever expanding  oneness

with and in



                             Life and Love

in all creation,

in all beings and beyond without end




We realize we are one with babies,

the stars, enemies, strangers,

animals, ocean waves, a glass of wine,

beautiful art, mountain heights,

as well as the hurt, the left out,

the sick and pained,

with the abused environment,

with our lover,

with the Limitless Good we call God.

It helps ever so much to see all this


as it evolved so freely and freeingly,

really and personally, 

as we take a long, loving look at

 Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi,

 Buddha, Mother Teresa, Francis of Assisi,

Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day.

By not holding on to,

not clinging to,

any one thing

they became




May it be so for us!!

May we get freed


dance with the universe!

It's  "ONE"

               ( der)






We are blessed with a bevy of new members

to our weekly sharing here.

Joining in this week are new friends

from the Philippines and Honduras.

 Welcome and thank you for welcoming us!

Here's a prayer that we and all

Spring Free.

Holding one and all in

God's Dear Love,

   John Frank


"frankly speaking" spirituality for the street

is posted toward the end of each week.

It is available online at

and can be bookmarked

for easy access,

and also  available automatically each week

by email (please see the top right of this posting).






Thursday, April 5, 2018


Hi There !

So, just how sensual are you anyway?

Say, on a scale of one to ten,

where do you show up sensually?

As a matter of fact, let's get more basic

and start from scratch.

Even better, let's start from itch.

What's the very first,

completely unfiltered, sense/image

that pops up when you hear the word "sensual"?

Come on now, let's be honest and candid here.

Does "sensual" pretty much register as "sexual,"

and/or some sort of sloppy to suspect self indulgence?

Put another way, could you be

unabashedly and enthusiastically sensual

in front of the children,

or your local librarian?

I hope so!

No, I haven' gone over the edge

and fallen into demented hedonism.

But too many of us have fallen away

from a vigorous,

jubilant, holy sensuality.

That's a pity !

We are way to much disconnected

from five marvelous channels

of engagement with the divine creativity:

sight, sound, taste, touch, smell.

Way back with the Greeks

the unity of creation

was split up into matter and spirit.

Often matter didn't matter,

 or did matter as an obstacle,

if you were after "higher" things.

The Stoics insisted on the necessity

 to escape matter, the sensual,

as much as possible in the pursuit of perfection.

 Augustine was a wild, flagrant hedonist

 until his conversion.

Then he did a 180 and

shut down on the sensual.

He even insisted that married couples

could only have intercourse

when they were trying to get pregnant.

Otherwise, sexual love was seriously sinful.

How non-sensual, nonsensical.

Origen, a Father of the Early Church,

castrated himself.

"So much did he flee from pleasure..."

  ( Jerome )

A lot of western spirituality

over the cnturies,

Roman Catholic and Reformist Protestant,

fearfully convulsed, decrying the sensual.

It talked centuries of Christians

out of holy, comfortable sensuality.

A sorry example close to home were the Puritans.

Contrary to their name

they made dirty pure sensuality.

In my early seminary days

we were taught to "Mortify the senses."

We were also taught Latin and in Latin

"mors, mortis" means "death."

So, death to the senses.

You were well on your way to holiness

if you slept on a hard bed, took cold showers,

didn't  look at pretty girls, and all but mixed ashes

into your mashed potatoes.

We were pushed away from sensual delight.

Well, once in awhile there was a cold beer,

"But don't enjoy it too much!"

Then there was The Discipline,

a cat o' nine tails

to whip our bodies to painful numbness,

deadening the sense of feeling,

and our spirits as not so well.

It was downright nutty.

We were to practice "Modesty of the eyes."

Free translation, look down if you want to go up.

Holiness was a disembodied thing.

Now, all that in a seminary

supposed to be based in Jesus.

Well, check out Jesus.

He didn't back off from good food and drink.

No ashes in his mashed potatoes.

In fact, the Pharisees accused him  of being

a glutton and drunkard. ( Matthew 11:19 )

He made sure folks had plenty to eat

with the multiplication

of the loaves and fishes. ( Matthew 14: 13-21 )

He made sure the daughter of Jairus

had something to eat

after he raised her from the dead.

( Mark 5:21-43 )

He partied at the wedding feast in Cana

and jumped right in, well,

with a healthy nudge

from his dear Jewish mother,

when they ran out of wine.

He changed barrels of water,

not into Welsch's Grape Juice,

but into the choicest vintage

of the celebration.( John 2:1-11 )

Jesus regularly connected

with people suffering sensual,

bodily  impairments,

restoring sight, hearing,

bodily integrity,

as well as smell and touch

for those with leprosy

( Matthew 8:1-3, 12:10, 15:30 )

The beautiful goodness here is that God

created our material universe

 and us as part of it

"...and saw that it was good."

( Genesis One )

We're given five sense

to see, taste, touch, hear and smell,

that goodness.

They connect us with God, each other

and all of creation.

What a sin to shut down

that kind of sacred sensuality.

It's basically a sick perversion

that fouls a free, exuberant  flow

between us, God, others and all creation.

Sure, we could flip wrong and unreal,

becoming selfish hedonist.

In many ways, sadly way too many ways,

our current culture has done that,

flipping from the mistake of puritanism

to the mistake of the prurient.

Well, we are free

to be happily counter cultural

in response to both "mis-takes."

Way better is to live a free,

flat out, joyous

and sacred sensuality.

As I write early this spring morning

the sky is a vast quilt of ruffled blue gray

with a gentle, soft, luminous edge to the east.

                ( Ten Minutes Later )

Now that edge has warmed to a creamy red.

How wonderful to spend these moments

"sensing" magnificence  in Creation's Studio.

 There's so much God  to sense:

- get down and dirty potting

  some pansies for the front porch

- sink into a symphony

- let the morning shower

   baptize us unto freshness

- hold a baby and feel sweet newness

- watch middle schoolers playing

   a vigorous game of soccer

- chew every mouthful of food

    twenty five times

   just like Mom said,

   tasting every texture and tone

   of flavor anxious to delight our palate

 - listen to the joyous babble

   of  spring runs out on the back forty

 - let our ears catch the crack of the bat

    at a baseball game

 - hear the trees singing their heaven reach

  - bask in the warmth of spring sunning

 - slowly sip and savor every tannin, sweetness and oak

    ready to share their euphoria with us

 - feel the fibers and textures as we fold the laundry

 - take in all the layers of aroma as supper is cooking

    ( especially the garlic in the marinara sauce !!)

 - listen to the spring rains doing  their sound dance.

Hey, don't let any anal retentive, churchy, scaredy cats

stifle or steal your soulful sensuality.

We started out questioning just how sensual you are.

Hope to heaven you are wonderfully,

wildly, soulfully sensual

no matter what the Stoics, Augustine, Origin

( in his neutured falsetto voice ),

the impure Puritans,

much "mis - taken" western spirituality,

and the prurient  hedonism of our culture

say is the matter with matter.

We have it on the best of authority

that matter matters beautifully, divinely -

that body and all creation " good."

( Genesis One )

God has endless ways to make love to us.

Five of them are Spirit sensitive senses.

So, let's slow down to be enfolded

into the bliss of divine intimacy,

free opened in the

            Sacred Sensual.

Hope Spring is doing just that for you.

If you reside in a different atmosphere

than I do here in the mid-Atlantic USA,

may your special atmosphere mean a season

that enlivens with its unique goodness.

Most of us have never met face to face,

yet we have this marvelous soul union each week.

Thanks for the gift of you in union.

A joyous welcome to new folks

joining in with us here

from Kenya,Pakistan

Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.

Holding all in

God's Dear Love,

   John Frank


For those new to our sharing here,

"frankly speaking"

spirituality for the street,

is posted toward the end of the week.

It is available online at

and also automatically each week by email

if you chose that delivery.

( please see the top right of this posting

  to subscribe to the email option.


Sunday, April 1, 2018


                                                        THE STONE

                                              The Myrrh Bearers came

                                        ( with what fear and trembling? )

                                             trudging alone in darkness

                                                       worrying about

                                                          the stone.

                                                   Everybody worries
                                                     about the stone,

                                                 that great impediment

                                                         between us

                                                    and what we seek,

                                                     the great burden

                                                          we carry

                                                       like Sisyphus


                                                   up and down the hill.

                                                        The sun rose.

                                                  The women looked up.

                                                         The stone,

                                                 which was very large,

                                                   had been removed.

                                                   No wonder they ran

                                                       to tell Cephas.

                                            Someone should tell Sisyphus:

                                                   ' Put it down, man,

                                                      and dance on it.'

                                                                              Bonnie B. Thurston


                        How wonderful that we can put it down and dance on it
                                    Easter Blessing and Love to You All,

                                                      John Frank

(The Stone, From Darkness to Eastering, Bonnie B. Thurston, Wild Goose Publications, 2017)