Friday, June 8, 2018


         PLEASE NOTE

           The Friday,

           June 15th.

             issue of

       "frankly speaking"

      will be posted online

  Saturday Evening

                          June 16th.

   It will be available by email

   Sunday Evening

                          June 17th.

             Thank You!

Hi There !

So, when was the last time

you heard a really good sermon

about being  prophetic,

about giving unflinching

to a significant wrong?

For that matter,

when was the last time

you caught yourself

just itching for

such a sermon anyway?

For most of us

it's at least a  -12

on a scale of 1-10.
Truth to tell,

and that's what prophets do,

who the heck wants it,

the bald, bold, unwashed,

(as in not watered down),


We're rather adept at

dancing around sheer truth.

In (not so) good part,

we prefer to play/pretend truth

down to a shadow of itself.

For all our protestations

to the contrary,

we're not all that fond of truth.

Just check out what we get and take

from advertisers and politicians,

and how we handle a personal critique

pointing out an uncomfortable truth

about ourselves.

When I get caught out like that,

say about my sermon

being way too long,

I usually play "nice, nice"

on the outside about the


but you shouldn't hear

what I say inside!!

It sure isn't "nice, nice."

I/We shouldn't really get

all hot and bothered

about those kinds of

   a low intensity


Turned around the other way,


 we sure as heaven should get

hot and bothered enough to


when there is evil loose among us.

A good example of a bad

                    that needs a vigorous


         right now

is the horrific practice

                        in our country of

separating immigrant children

      from their parents.

Yet, how many of us

and our political leaders

are hot and bothered enough

to be giving a vigorous


    to such a blatant




That sin should make us forget

being bothered over the likes of

     "Nice try, but your sermon

       went about fifty miles too far,"


    " Haven't seen you in months

       and where ever did you pick up

        all the new fullness?"

Way more, though,

it should make us

so  hot and bothered that

we make a lot of noise,

         take a stand,

until the truth about the evil of

separating children

                  from their parents

     is faced and corrected.

It is a hideous, violent practice.

         According to

The Department of Health

and Human Services,

10,773 migrant children

 are in government custody this week,

     torn away from their parents.

This travesty comes from

an administration that talks

       "family values,"


          "right to life."

Make that "double talk."

How about the right to family life?

How about upholding

"the God given natural order of things" -

mom, dad and kids together

as a family unit?

The administration claims that

          "it's the law."


            "the law"

    is wrong and immoral

         and must face


 Jesus was murdered under

             "the law."

 White people founded this nation

with enslaving black people

built into its foundation and

          "the law."

The killing  of women

attempting to marry outside

their caste or religion is

          "the law"

in sectors of our world right

     to this sad day.

   "The Law"

is not necessarily,

           nor essentially moral.

Consider laws protecting

       slavery and segregation

  in our country's past.

When law is not moral,

it needs a strong, clear,

non-compromising and



In terms of our current and

pernicious immigration practice

of severing children

                    from their parents,

I'll bet one of those

           record breaking,

           high profile,

          much touted

       executive orders

    from the White House

could make a saving difference,

could uphold family values and

the right to life as a family,

make adjustments to the practice

of stealing children away

from their parents until

           "the law"

           is righted.

To expel immigrants is one issue.

To violate the natural order

in the process is a devilish other.


Being prophetic, standing up,

and often standing way out

on a limb to do that,

to speak for truth and justice,

is not only a bother, it can be costly.

       As a newly ordained,

I was asked to be right up front,

a white man in a black clerical suit,

     in a civil rights march

in segregated southern Maryland.

        That was  in 1968.

Martin Luther King

                  and Bobby Kennedy

had recently been shot to death.

       Civil rights workers

were beaten and even killed.

It was an angry, violent time.

We got a death threat just before

 we left church that morning for the march.

      I was a clear, easy target.

I feared I might be shot by evening.

   Leading that march was a


    I didn't want to give,

        but I had to give.

Years later I was working

in the Chancery.

The bishop and I

were in daily contact.

We were quite friendly.

He was also my superior.

He buckled under pressure

and countermanded my decision

to hire a properly laicized,

highly recommended priest

with a doctorate in theology.

That man had a family to support.

The bishop denied him

the chance to do that in his field.

     I had no choice but to


           the bishop.

     It strained a friendship

         and threatened

       my clerical climb

        ( shame on me!).

A caution.

In a run up to the crucifixion of Jesus

          the soldiers involved,

          the one's torturing

     and preparing to execute him

            did so under

             "the law,"

    They taunted him:

      "Prophesy to us.

          Who is it that struck you?"

                       (Matthew 26: 68)

      Jesus kept silent.

Sometimes saying nothing,

not playing into a contrivance,

withholding a recommendation,

and other forms of silence

are the appropriate 


There are other times,


  when to be real,

we "real"-ly must be




    loud and clear


 "...speaking the truth in love."

                     (Ephesians 4:15)

It gets up front, personal

      and practical for

spouses, partners, children,

parents, business associates,

pastors and congregants,

police and military, politicians,

advertisers, merchants,

coaches and teachers,

citizens and neighbors.

All of us do well

to heed the wisdom and


            of Jesus


"The truth will make you free."

           ( John 8:32 )

That does not mean we are free

to mount our own, personal Inquisition

every time something is wacky or annoying

      It does mean we need

to accept a prophetic word or action of


            addressed to us


  to give such when truly necessary

              to others.

Either and both can be difficult.

Either and both are fundamental

to our spiritual life and health out here

on the street of everyday living.

By the way, I recently visited

a wonderful United Methodist Church

                 and heard

         "... a really good sermon

         about being prophetic,

         about giving unflinching


                  to a wrong."

It in part was the prompt for this blog.

The pastor gave a principled, balanced,

scriptural reminder that we need

to take a stand for the truth -

              Jesus is

            " the way,

           THE TRUTH,

            and the life."

         (  John 14:16 ) -

even if that stand for the truth

costs us money, friends, position.

That sermon was refreshing and itself a


one we too rarely hear in church,

but one essential to our spiritual lives.

By writing all this  I run the risk

of loosing friends and followers of this blog.

Well, that is a risk this

                  not so brave me just has to take.

          Every once in a while,

               we all need to


                 and to be


It's not an every day, all the time matter.

Nor is it a matter of being

                       prickly and judgemental.

It's a matter of  taking a stand

                              so others can stand.

Teresa of Avila fleshes out

taking a stand for others,

standing in in the Truth of Jesus.

     "Christ has no body now, but yours.

      No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. 

      Yours are the eyes through which

      Christ looks compassion into the world

      Yours are the feet

      with which Christ walks to do good.

      Yours are the hands

      with which Christ blesses the world."

Spirituality for the street

in one way or many means

"We are all just walking each other home."

                                                    Ram Dass

Thanks for considering all this today.

"The truth will make you free."

That's the promise and the


       Holding each and all

      In God's Dear Love,

            John Frank


Each Friday

(except next Friday )

"frankly speaking"

is posted online at

and can be bookmarked for easy access.

Each Saturday

(except next Saturday)

"frankly speaking"

is available by email.

For automatic, weekly delivery

please see the email sigh up

at the top right of the online version.

Past postings are available at

Blog Archive,

which is located at

the bottom right of the online version.