Friday, December 7, 2018


Hi There !

So, a bit back I posted the blog,
        (May 25, 2018 )

Well, I took my own advice,

selected a quote from the collection offered,

wrote it out on an index card

and carried it with me as suggested.

I spent a lot of time and soul with it,

and that way more than the recommended day.

                  It rocked me.
                  It saddened me.
                  It delighted me.
                  It opened me.
                  It confirmed me.
                  It settled me.
                  It challenged me.
                    "a lot"

Please allow me to share that powerful

 "a lot" quote with you,

the one that wouldn't leave me alone.

Doing so, I wonder what

it will do to you way down inside.

Frankly, I hope it will

            " a lot "

                    you !!

            " Please remember,

               it is what you are

               that heals,

               not what you know."

                                      Carl Jung

Do really take time and soul with that.

Stay with it awhile and let it stay with you.

See what it does to you

and what you will do with it.

Now, as for me, here's what it does.

As I look back at a long life

of ministry and in education,

I fall into the old man fantasy

of wishing I could redirect,

recompose wide swaths of both.

I missed the mark

so often and so much.

Yes, I worked hard and long,

brought all sorts of

professional competencies

to that work,

administered effectively,

got great reviews.

          Sadly though, the what I

            powered way too much

                   of what I did.

               I forgot that what we


          makes the critical difference,

        and I just left it in the back seat

           for far too much of the trip.

What I "know" was up front

doing most of the driving,

and not all that effectively.

As I survey my past,

I so wish what I am,

my personal incarnation

of what we all


was more genuine and real,

deeper, warmer, freer

as God gave it,

not limited by my cloudy,

ego harness.

So many looked to me

for "healing" of one sort or many,

and sadly too often

I gave them just diligent efficiency,

professionally presented.

Such an old age fantasy

and realization

chastens and humbles.

That's good.

But it's not good to stay there.

I need to recall that the


     of who I am,

     my experience

    of what we all


 is  rooted in

The Love Who Is God.

For all my immaturity

and my self centered halter,

that Love flowed through the

       "what" of me

            and the

     the what I "know"

to the healing of many,

   and that in varied

   and multiple ways.

  Thanks be to God !!


So, for me it is

definitely a  mixed bag.

Here's another old man fantasy.

If I got to be a despot for a day,

a dear old benign one of course,

I would require that

        "Please remember,

         it is what you are

          that heals,

          not what you know"

be emblazoned over the doorway of every

       - birthing center

       - family home

       - school and university

       - seminary

       - church, synagogue, mosque, temple

       - political and social justice


       - counselor and mentor

       - preacher, teacher and spiritual guide.

I would also decree that any

in the helping professions with tattoos

would be required to have the quote inked

on their arm for ready and regular reference.

Now, just for the record, in no way

do I mean to denigrate or downplay

professionalism or the intellectual life

in the helping professions or right at home.

They are marvelous and helpful competencies

in the hands of a healer.

For all that, they don't heal.

It's "what you are" that heals.

Professional competencies are

as paints to an artist,

as rhythms and tones to a musician.

Sadly and too often today,

tool and technique

trump the genius that is healing.

Lots of paint,

                 no artist,

                            no masterpiece.

Lots of rhythms and tones,

                no musician,

                               no symphony.

It can go the other way as well.

It should also be remembered that

not everyone has all the "paints."

all the "rhythms and tones,"

to heal any or all.

There are people whom

we are not able to help or heal.

We just don't have

the requisite competencies

or chemistry.

When we can be a vehicle of healing, though,

 it is not what we know that heals.

It's what we are that heals

through what we know.

Please allow me to reference clergy

as an example of how

what you are heals, not what you know.

I've been a clergy person for over fifty years.

These days clergy journals, conferences, websites

abound in marketing techniques, demographics,

catchy to engaging worship media,

ever newer programs and pastoral strategies.

Tools like analytics become normative

rather than references for reflection.

Local church to "Denomination Central"

are being structured to the corporate model.

Clergy education is predominately academic.

All of the above certainly deserve

way more than a nod.

They are what clergy "know."

They are a toolbox.

As the standard fare,

the common core of pastoral ministry,

though, they are flaccid.

Much ado about way too much

that just isn't that much,

and certainly doesn't heal.

What heals is way deeper,

requires a lot more of us.

It requires the hard work

of getting out of the way,

of not playing God,

of giving way to God,

accepting intimate absorption in

    The Love Who Is God.

Healing comes through a person

immersed in the flow of divine love.

That divine love is personalized,

humanized, touches,

through one awash in it.

It heals.

Honestly, I'm not a cranky old man.

I am a concerned old man.

We clergy don't

"Need to get religion."

We've got way too much of that already.

We clergy need  to get past devotional religion

and reliance on organization and technique.

We clergy need real and robust union

with God, Spirit to spirit.

We clergy need to get in bed with God.

The situation of clergy replicates

in parenting, education, counseling -

all the helping, healing vocations.

Our society has all sorts of systems,

protocols, procedures, expertise, competencies.

It's like a beautiful body.

It just needs soul.

Sad to say,

a body without soul

is a corpse.

Happily, fortunately, there are

wonderfully in love,

spirited souls  among us.

Real healers.

Please permit a personal example.

I had a terrible time when puberty hit,

and I didn't keep it to myself.

I made things quite terrible for others.

Every week, though,

I had time with my pastor,

Father Joe Sheehan.

He was an athlete, an intellectual,

a man's man, a deeply spiritual man.

He knew a lot.

He was a lot,

a lot more than he knew.

He was centered in

The Love Who Is God.

Being in the flow,

healing flowed from him.

He cared about me.

He believed in me.

He listened to me,

and that with

way more than ears.

He saw soul.

I let him into my troubled soul

and he went there with his.

The realness, the steadiness,

the centeredness, the strength,

the presence of God

that was at his core

cared about me, flowed into me.

A way too hookie metaphor would be

that his caring connected

the way jumper cables do and

the energy, the juice, the charge,

the voltage in him,

the Reality at his center,

jolted me, jump started me to aliveness.

What Father Sheehan was way down deep

powered a healing in me.

He gave me great counsel.

He gave me way more.

He gave what he was.

That powered me so that

I could live out

the counsel he gave.

He was way more than a tactician.

He was in the flow of Divine Love,

of grace and it graced me,

it flowed into me.

It healed me.

Please take time and attention

to recall such souls

that were healers in your life.

Let's join them,

get in the flow,

and let healing

flow through us.

There's more and it's good!

Healing is wider than curing a malady.

It can mean helping others to grow,

develop, mature, imagine, create.

It  can be evangelizing,

leading, teaching, modeling, enthusing, inspiring.

Whether we are clergy, parents,

educators, a friend, neighbor,

we can really help in proportion to what we


                 Our spiritual lives are

                     "what we are."

They "are" the engine that powers us,

and empowers others through us.

Our spiritual lives are our first priority.

That's where we get Real,

and then really can be

 a healer for others.

So, let's develop every competency we can, for sure.

Let's notice those

all around us that wait,

that long for healing

in so many, many ways:

      - children and teens adrift,

        needing a full time parent,

        role models,

        foster parents,

        a Big Brother/Sister

      - the lonely and isolated elderly

         who need inclusion and respect

      - neighbors, co-workers

        who simply need a good friend

      - students needing a full education,

         not just passing tests,

         but opening to  the vastness of learning

       - the sick needing technique infused with soul

       - twenty somethings trying to sort themselves

         and adult life out

       - all sorts stuck on the surface, money and media driven

In other words, we are they,

longing for help and healing.

As we see and respond let's live the truth that:

                  "Please remember

                    it is who you are

                    that heals,

                    not what you know."

Thanks for letting me share this.

Holding you all in

God's Dear Love,

     John Frank


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