Sunday, January 6, 2019









               IT IS ABOUT THE


                IT IS ABOUT



                 JOHN FRANK

Hi There!
“Ya wanna start somethin?”
That’s a common
playground/bar challenge to fight.
Let’s flip it real and right.

“Ya wanna start somethin”
that will save people and place,
probably the only thing
that will save us as a people and
this our place in the universe?
That’s not a vague rhetorical question.
It’s a question of continence,
to say nothing of prospering.
The current degradation of
     society and planet
     rushes both to peril.

No, my name is not Orson Wells
and no this is not
“The War of the Worlds.”
It is, though, about a war on the world
and those who people it.
And I do mean to name it.
It is a world catastrophe
in the making.
More accurately,
it is a catastrophe
unmaking us as a people and
this our planet place.

Now, you really don’t want to read this.
Quite frankly,
I don’t really want to write this.
We both better.
Dodging what’s going on
between us people and
all around us only hastens disaster.
We need to know and name the problem.
We need to know and name the hope.

First the hope.
And hope there is.
All the perennial spiritual traditions
are one in naming that hope,
in naming what it takes
to save,heal and flourish as
people and planet.
The one world word that speaks
our singular hope is


Compassion means to be so one that we are one.
Compassion means to love to union.
Compassion means full bore care/share.
Compassion means to fully feel/experience together.

OK, what’s that look like 
out on the sweaty street of everyday life?
What is its weave and texture in the fabric 
of our everyday spiritual lives,
be they spun extraordinary to quite plain?

Well, let’s take a look at 
Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz,a warm,
friendly family practice physician in Pittsburgh.
He spent all kinds of time with his patients,
reduced payments for the poor,
even made house calls.
Back in the 80’s he cared for an HIV patient,
actually touched his body (and soul)
when other doctors wouldn’t even see,
much touch and treat, an HIV patient.
Saturday, October 27, 2018 
Dr. Rabinowitz was downstairs 
in the synagogue when he heard 
shots up in the sanctuary.
He ran to help those shot 
and was himself shot to death.
A compassionate Jew just like 
the compassionate Jew, Jesus.
Life for life.
Compassion woven extraordinary.

OK, something a little closer to home, you say?
A compassion textured to everyday life?
My mother cared for, coped with,
helped, danced around, 
a good man, but also 
a particularly difficult man,
a disturbed and disturbing man:
her husband, my father.
She saved a man and a family.
A life-long, right at home compassion.

OK, too tough? 
Want something less intense?
Checkout Ann.
She’s a nurse, a single woman,
and she volunteers 
to work every holiday
so other nurses can be home 
with their children.
Compassion woven into 
the work-a-day world.

Then there’s Bob.
He lives in a pleasant suburb.
Bob spends a lot more time 
than his neighbors caring for 
his lawn,shrubs and garden.
That’s because he refuses 
to use any kind of a supposed
"miracle grow" substance
that is toxic to people and place.
His "round up" of weeds 
is environmentally safe,
most often done by hand.
Ecological compassion.

Consider Martha, 
a home bound elderly woman.
She keeps up with the day’s news,
and responds to it with prayer.
While the caravan from Honduras
was on its way 
to the U.S./Mexico border
she learned of Javier 
while watching the news
and she spiritually adopted him.
He is sixteen and 
on his own in that caravan.
Martha took him to her heart.
She holds Javier
in loving prayer and concern every day.
Caring, prayerful compassion.

For what it’s worth, there’s me.
In no way do I here tout politics
right or left, red or blue.
That said, I say I am appalled,more,
frightened by much of what
increasing numbers of public leaders
and their followers say and do –
the crudity, dishonesty, injustice, violence,
of so sadly much of it.
Rather than rant and rage about it,
I again and again
– a lot of “again and again” –
prayerfully hold them in God’s love,
join in God’s love for them.
I also vote and purchase as close to
The Common Good as I know how to get.
I contact public officials
urging justice to people and place.
I speak out, not for partisan positions,
but for basic humanitarian and just policies.
I financially support social justice
and environmental groups.
It costs comfort and sometimes acceptance.
That’s a bit of this old man’s compassion.

 “Ya  wanna start somethin,”
in fact the only thing that
will save us as a people and
this our place in the universe?
Hopefully we all are committed
and busy at that right now.
In addition, let’s do so together
right here at “frankly speaking.”
Those of us sharing here weekly
come from 62 nations worldwide.
If we continue to commit to a
we will be changed 
and we will change –
in both cases for the better.
This really is
 a matter of life or death,
of a dedication to life and being
in all their forms,
or settling for their demise.

So here’s what I ask and urge.
Attached at the end of this posting
are generous sharings 
of wisdom from our common
perennial spiritual traditions.
The say compassion
in all sorts of wondrous ways.
Let’s not commit 
their wisdom to The Cloud.
Rather, let us commit ourselves
to daily prayer and meditation
over their compassion wisdom
        -  lots and long –
a commitment that leads 
to working for justice,
justice for all 
people and all places!!
Let’s find ways to translate 
their wisdom words into
our attitude and practice.
Let’s see what’s threatening 
people and planet.
Then in our spheres 
and ways let’s see how
we can bring real, 
practical compassion
to our people and place.
Also, every day 
let’s consciously hold
each other in prayer,
in compassionate prayer,
in supportive prayer.
By our living,
and a bit by our words,
let’s invite others
to a life of compassion,
a compassion that
“loves to union”
people and place,
society and planet.
The alternative is
a shredding of society and
the demise of planet earth.

Let’s refuse to be 
intimidated or daunted
by the problem, the peril.
Yes, there’s pollution, 
demagogues, dictators, 
democracies collapsing, 
climate change,
aggressive nationalism, 
white and otherwise.
There’s the astrophysicist 
Stephen Hawkins telling us
we have reached 
the ecological tipping point
and have a hundred years 
before our plane is exhausted.
There’s economic cheating 
and manipulation,
civil liberties denied, hate radio,
nuclear warheads 
and war-heads of state
that can’t be trusted 
to head off an Armageddon,
incivility, starvation, 
slaughtering of innocents, injustice,
a media that finds it easy 
to broadcast and hard
to be real and truthful 
in the casting so broadly,
children maimed and abused in Yemen
(by some estimates 85,000 children
starved to death so far)
and in painfully plenty of other places,
truth perverted, racism, xenophobia
and, and, and…

When tempted to hide, to cave,
to capitulate, to despair,
let’s embrace the compassion of Jesus:
        “In the case of Jesus
         it was God’s feeling
         of compassion 
         that possessed him 
         and filled him.
         All his convictions, 
         his faith and hope
         were expressions of 
         this fundamental experience.
         If God is compassionate, 
         then goodness
         will triumph over evil, 
         the impossible will happen and
         there is hope for humankind.
         Faith and hope are the experience
         of compassion as a divine emotion.”
               Jesus Before Christianity
                      Albert Nolan
                      Orbis Books

We do well to bring to mind and heart
what Jesus and a tiny band of disciples did
to begin a community of Love and Life,
and what The Spirit of Truth
can do through even little old us
right where we are.  

In our place, let’s be sure
to band and bond with people
ready to put flesh and practice 
to compassion,
people willing to stretch,
to touch and connect in compassion.
That could be:
   *consuming less and recycling more
   *praying for the Javiers of this world       
   *taking in a foster child
   *being active in advocacy groups that
    work for social and environmental justice
   *emulating the attitude and action
    of the Pittsburgh Moslems in caring for
    the violated members
    of the Jewish synagogue there in Pittsburgh
   *being patient with the local loud mouth
   *modifying our life style:
                    -  having a more modest 
                       and efficient car
                     forgoing an expensive vacation
                       for a simpler one,
                       contributing the difference
                       to an inner-city
                       after school care center
                    -  organizing a neighborhood co-op
                       to share tools, yard appliances,
                       and labor
     *fact check policies and practices of
      government, financial, media, 
      religious and corporate leaders – 
      post the findings to them and 
      on your preferred social media.
     *in conversation and comment -
      verbal, written, digital –
      communicating in the accent and tones of
           Ephesians 4:29:
          “Do not let any unwholesome talk
           come out of your mouths,
           but only what is helpful
           for building up others
           according to their needs,
           that it might benefit
           those who listen.”

“Ya wanna start somethin”
something to save, 
to heal, and to open
us people and our place 
in the cosmos
to goodness without end?
Then let’s connect in a
here at “frankly speaking”
and right there where
we each find ourselves
here on planet earth.

Thanks for sticking with this long
        and straight up blog.
           Holding us all in
God’s Dear Compassionate Love,
            John Frank



Let’s listen to what The Spirit says to our spirits
as we meditate and pray over
these varied articulations of compassion
from the treasury of our shared Perennial Tradition.
Then let The Spirit show us how
they can be incarnate, practical, actual and active
in our person, our people and our place.

             “In everything do to others 
              as you would have them 
              do unto you…”
                       ( Matthew 7:12 )

              “It is your duty to be 
               exceedingly kind to every human being,
               and wish that person well; 
               to work for the upliftment of society…
               until you change the world of man 
               into the world of God.”
        Abdul-Baha: Selections From the Writings 
                        of Abdu’l-Baha, p.90 )

               “Rage is a powerful energy 
                that with diligent practice 
                can be transformed
                into fierce compassion. 
                However much we disagree 
                with our enemies,
                our task is to identify with them. 
                They too feel justified 
                in their point of view.”
                            ( Buddha )

              “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 274 )

              “Have benevolence towards 
               all living beings,
               joy at the sight of the virtuous,
               compassion and sympathy 
               for the afflicted,
               and tolerance towards 
               the indolent and ill-behaved.”
                  ( Tattvarthasutra 7.11 )

                “What is hateful to you, 
                 do not do to your neighbor.
                 this is the whole Torah;
                 all the rest is commentary.
                 Go and learn it.”
              ( Hillel, Talmud, Shabbath 31a )

                 “Never criticize a man until
                  you’ve walked a mile
                  in his moccasins.”
                        ( Proverb )

                “I am a stranger to no one;
                 no one is a stranger to me.
                 Indeed, I am a friend to all.”
               ( Guru Granth Sahib, p.1299 )

                “Regard your neighbor’s gain 
                 as your own gain
                 and your neighbor’s loss 
                 as your own loss.”
           ( Lao Tzu, T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien, )

                 “Do not do to others 
                  whatever is injurious to yourself.”
                   ( Shayast-na-Shayast 13.39 )

                  “Conquer anger by love.
                   Conquer evil by good.
                   Conquer the stingy by giving.
                   Conquer the liar by truth.”
                      ( Dhammapada 223 )

                    “Therefore, as God’s chosen people,
                      holy and dearly loved,
                      clothe yourselves 
                      with compassion,
                      kindness, humility, 
                      gentleness, and patience.
                      Bear with one another and
                      and if anyone has 
                      a complaint against another,
                      forgive each other;
                      just as the Lord has forgiven you,
                      so you must forgive.
                      Above all, cloth yourselves with love,
                      which binds everything together 
                      in perfect harmony.”
                           ( Colossians 3:12-14 )

                       “Listen with ears of tolerance!
                        See through the eyes of compassion!
                        Speak with the language of love.”
                             (  Rumi – Sufi Mystic )

                        “Radiate boundless love
                         towards the entire world –
                         above, below, and across –
                         unhindered, without ill will,
                         without enmity.”
                              ( The Buddha )

                        “One should not behave 
                         towards others
                         in a way which is 
                         disagreeable to oneself.
                         This is the essence of morality.
                         All other activities are due to selfish desire.”

                         “Though the mountains be shaken
                           and the hills be removed,
                           yet my unfailing love for you
                           will not be shaken,
                           nor my covenant of peace be removed
                           says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
                                      ( Isaiah 54:10 )

                            The Story of the Prodigal Son 
                                         and the
                               Compassionate Father.
                                     ( Luke 15:11-32 )

                            “Compassion and caring 
                             are the ties
                             that bind us together
                             in mutual understanding
                             and the unified attempt
                             to uncover the Divinity 
                             in each other.
                             Compassion is the most gentle
                             of all human virtues,
                             for it is the outpouring of
                             Divine Givingness through all.”
                                   ( Ernest Holmes )


                            “The necessary detachment 
                             from this ugly and injurious 
                             present political climate
                             depends upon 
                             our inner attachment
                             to the mystery 
                             of God’s unbounded
                             grace and divine, 
                             creative love.
                             That is the foundation 
                             from which we can 
                             witness to truth,
                             nurture community,
                             and build essential bonds 
                             of solidarity
                             with those who suffer.
                             More than ever, 
                             politics which offers redemptive hope
                             will begin with mysticism.”
                           (Richard Rohr, November 15, 2018 email,
                            Center for Action and Contemplation)
                            Richard speaks of mysticism as  
                            an actual awareness/involvement/experience 
                            of/with God
                            as contrasted to just 
                            religious ideas and practices)

 From the heart, welcome to those 
 new to our weekly gathering here.
 Thank you for the gift of your presence.
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