Friday, February 22, 2019




Hi There !

So, here we are concluding

our three part look 

at how we look at God,

at what and how 

we see God,

our images of God.

Those images condition

our whole spiritual life.


  they are images 


   The Imageless.

  It would be good 

     to first read

       IMAGE I


      IMAGE II

- just scroll down,

       or go to 

    Blog Archive.

What follows here are 

more notes and notions,

unedited from the

Blog Notebook.

See what you and

The Spirit make of them.

What follows is 

a compilation.

Their composition is

up to you and The Spirit.





- Keep in mind that 

  our image of God

  is one thing, and 


  is quite a bit different, 

  more and vastly so...

- 1 Corinthians 13:12

 " Now we see 

   but a dim reflection

   as in a mirror,

   then we shall see 

   face to face."

- Images of God 

  are necessary

  to get us started,

  but not a place 

  to stop or stay.

- It's like orthodoxy 

  and orthopraxis

- ideas are fine (orthodoxy),

  they picture God for us,

  but experience (orthopraxis)

  immerses us in God.

- If we want to "find" God,

   we go to Jesus.

- He is the most perfect

  image of God,

  and the very person

  and presence of God

  as well.

- Yet image a relationship 

  doesn't make.

-It is a lead up to one.

-It conditions one.

-Jesus invites us 

  to move on in

  and live together,

  to be right at home,

  sharing in the love making

  that is God:

  "Abide in me as I abide in you...

  As the father has loved me,

  so I have loved you; 

  abide in my love."

  ( John 15:4 and 9 )

-"abide" means live here,

   let me be your "abode"

- " Oh, night that guided me,

     Oh, night more lovely

     than the dawn,

     Oh, night that joined

     Beloved with lover,

     Lover transformed

     in the Beloved."

      John of the Cross

-Yes, if we want to "find" God,

  we do well to find Jesus.

-Actually, we can't "find" God.

-God isn't lost,

but we are at a loss to awake

to our immersion in 

The Being that is God.

Images help us get a start.

-Jesus is "Emmanuel...

  a name which means

  "God is with us"

  ( Matthew 1:23 )

- We find Jesus in his 

   portrayals and teachings

   as shared in the Gospels.

- It is best to just let The Spirit

  bring us to him through slow,

  open immersion in the Gospels.

- There The Spirit images God

   for us in word, offers grace,

   moves us to insight, 

   then invites union.

- In fact, Jesus is The Word of God

  (see the Prologue to John's Gospel).

- His person is an articulation

  of God in a human way 

 - Check his life style.

  See what it "pictures"

- Check his teachings.

  They "bespeak" a

  Word Picture/Image of God

  and living in union with God

  Yes, Jesus pictures God for us.

  He and His words

  are enlivening,

  are life giving.

   " What has come

      into being in him was life,...

      and the life was

      the light of all people."

          ( John 1:3- 4 )

- We find Jesus

   as Paul and the other

   New Testament writers

   pictured him,

   imaged him for us,

   as the Christ

   in their various reflections,

   toned and conditioned

   by their life level,

   faith experience

   and the effects

   of their culture on them

 - We find Jesus as

   we let his life style

   be our life style,

   moving from image 

   to experience/union

   simple, traveling light -

   "One Tunic Living."

 - We find Jesus by hanging out

   where he hung out the most,

   and still hangs out the most,

   being with the poor,

   the needy, the hurt

   as they show up

   on the street of

   our everyday living

   and making sure

   that we don't cross

   to the other side:

     - the kid needing

       a foster parent

     - an old man/woman

       needing respect

       and company

    - a single parent needing

      someone to care

      for the child(ren)

      until he/she can get home

      from work

   - a Muslim, conservative,

     liberal, Latino/a, gay, straight

     trans, black, Asian -

     a "different" person

     at work/school moving

     into the neighborhood

     and needing a friend

     in an unfriendly setting,

     even if it costs us

     some "friends"

   - closer to home,

     right in our house actually,

     "actually"  listening to

      our spouse/partner/kids/roommate

      and not hiding behind a newspaper,

      TV show, sportscast, texting, video game -

      giving them clear channel attention.

    - regularly and generously supporting

      a homeless shelter, soup kitchen,

      financially and perhaps by jumping in,

      hanging out, rolling up our sleeves 

      and helping

    - contributing to a college fund

      for impoverished students,e.g.

      The American Indian College Fund,

       Berea College Scholarship Fund,

     - teaching Sunday School,

       religious instruction classes at

       our synagogue, mosque,

       spiritual community

     - helping out with a youth program,

     - tutoring a struggling student

    - sticking with a "twenty something"

      while they sort themselves out

      and what adult life really is all about

    - vigorously sharing what we're good at

      with people that need just that
    - Jesus/God is imaged, and if we buy in, 

      experienced,  beyond image 

      in these and so many other people/needs

- We find God in the closeness of quiet,

   private prayer.

   Like Jesus, we go off to

   a quiet solitary place and let Abba

    move us beyond image and

   hold us in his love.

- Check out the book/movie 

        " Wonder."

  A great story - painful and beautiful -

  a good icon/image of suffering

  through pain and evil

  to freedom and joy -

  death and resurrection motif -

  a lot of Jesus/God image there.

- Get a copy of Richard Rohr's book, 

               "just this"

          CAC Publishing 2017

  a short compendium

  of his seminal

  insights and sharings. 

  He paints a fine portrait 

  (word image)

  of God/Jesus/Christ/Spirit.

- Everything said, sung, painted,

   sculpted, ritualized,

   philosophized, theologised, 

   dogmatised about God 

   is but a finger pointing 

   to the sun.

 -Too often religion 

   has played God

   about God 

- Theological/dogmatic constructs 

   may image God in a helpful way.

   At best they are minuscule and partial.

   At worst they obfuscate, e.g. 

   "How many angels can you get 

    on the tip of a pin?" 

   That was actually a medieval,

   scholastic concern!!! 

   (angels were seen ad

   an extention/presence of God)

   Angels don't hang out on pins and

   we shouldn't get pinned down with such 

   arrogant, wasteful image questions.

- Before his death Thomas Acquinas

  ("Summa Theologica") -

   the all time Hall of Famer of

   Church Theologians - said that

   all he had written about God 

   was so much straw. 

   He had moved from image of God

   to enfoldment in God.

- "All spiritual language 

   is by necessity

   metaphor and symbol." 
        Richard Rohr

      Falling Upward. 

- Best of all God images 

  after Jesus are ritual,

  music, art, creation, 

  scripture, nature,

  the poor and needful,

  having a baby,

  making love

  (ok, reverse the sequence!!).

-We start with image,

 move to experience,

 end up wrapped up,

 beyond image, in union.

-Our spiritual lives start

 with images of God.

 May they end in God.

Holding each and every in

    God's Dear Love,

        John Frank


New folks are joining us 

here each week. 

In good part that 

is because people 

like you  have told them of
     "frankly speaking" 

and recommended it through 

their social media contacts.

         THANKS TO ALL


        "frankly speaking"

- Is posted online each Friday

  and can be bookmarked

  for ready access

- Is available by automatic email

  each Saturday - Sign up at the top

  of online posting

- Past Postings are available at

  Blog Archive - right column,

  online version

            Thank You


Friday, February 15, 2019



      Hi There !

So, straight from the

  Blog Notebook

      to you

  we continue

 what we began 

    last week:

notes and notions



      OF THE


These jottings are UNEDITED,

random, incomplete, 

right from the Blog Notebook

as is for you and The Spirit 

to sort and shape.

A different take on 

what is here to take.


   Our spiritual lives 

   are conditioned

   by our images 

        of God.

     Stand by for

   more and more 


          IMAGES I 

is available by scrolling down 

            or at

       Blog Archive


We continue from

The Blog Notebook:


- Interestingly, of the three

   monotheistic religions,

   only Christianity has

   images of God

   such as statues, icons,

   paintings, stained glass.

- What do the Jews

   and the Muslims

   know that Christians don't,


   what do Christians know

   that Jews and Muslims don't?

- Or do all three come

  at the same thing

  variously because of our limits

  and God's unlimitedness?

- Yet the three do have all sorts of,

   and voluminous at that,

   word images of God,

   necessarily and limitedly so,

   given the human

   condition and capacity

- It is crucial to get lost

   in The First Bible

- Nature is just that.

   Before any religions

   or sacred writings,

   God was and is

   reflected, revealed,

   indeed present in nature.

- See Genesis.

- Check out the life and sharings

  of Francis of Assisi -

  he met God in nature

-Get immersed in the sayings

  and rituals of nature religion

- The spirituality of

  The Original Americans

  is especially helpful here.

- Get into biology, archeology,

  geology, anthropology,

  chemistry, cosmology,

  so much of God imaged there

- Have a pet

- Grow a garden

- Farm

- Most of all, get outdoors!!

- Images and presence

  of God all over the place!!

-  A principle:

      "As the image,

       so the relationship."

- True re. our relationship

  with self, other, all of existence,

  and  indeed with God.

- Images: how we see,

  feel, sense, understand 

  self and other.

- Images made up of sensations,

  experiences, ideas, associations,

  emotions, thoughts, feelings,

  instinct and intuition,

  and who knows what else.

- A negative image leads

  to a negative relationship.

- A positive image leads

   to a positive relationship.

- RE. Image of God:

  consider the image of God as 

  judge, police officer, record keeper,

  a universe or many away, warrior,

  creative and inclusive ( see Genesis ),

  merciful and tender ( see psalms )

  lover ( see Song of Songs)  , 

  "daddy" (literal meaning of "Abba" -

  the image of God Jesus shared )

  and the kind of relationship

  with God they cause and foster.

- God, like everything

   and everyone else,

   is "imaged"  for us by others

   ( parents, teachers, peers, )

   as well as by ritual, text, 

   teachings, cultural coloration .

  That imaging is done

  in terms of the imager:

  their maturity, depth,

  level of consciousness,

  not exhaustively in terms 

  of what is imaged.

  We don't get God from them.

  We get a thought/feeling/

  perhaps experiential

  picture of God composed

  from other peoples' experience base.

- This is true of biblical images of God.

  They are toned by how evolved

  that biblical writer,

  and that writer's culture was.

  Thus the vindictive,

  violent God imaged in some

  Old Testament portrayals.

  They often say a lot  more

  about the writer

  and the consciousness level

  and culture of the times

  than about an accurate and fuller

  portrayal of God.

-They and we "speak" God

  and attribute to God

  how we are and what we know.

- Evolving consciousness

  ( personal/societal ),

   evolving images.

- They and we talk about everything,

   including God, in our limited,

   often cockeyed terms.

 - "Our idea of God says more about

     ourselves than about Him"

           Thomas Merton

          (That's for sure !! )

-Always consider your source

-So critical in scriptural "revelation."

-Approach scripture as Jesus did -

 selectively - employ Jewish Midrash:

 types/levels of understanding

     - literal

     - deep meaning: symbolic

       or allegorical applications

     - comparative: combines different texts

       to explore entirely new meanings

     - hidden: gets at the Mystery itself

- "Jesus consistently ignored or even denied 

  exclusionary, punitive, and triumphalist 

  texts in his own inspired Hebrew Bible

  in favor of passages that emphasized

  inclusion, mercy, and honesty."

  Richard Rohr, 01-07-19, daily email,

 Center For Action And Contemplation

-Jesus: " You have heard it said,...

 but I say unto you..." ( Matthew 5:38-42)

 Jesus rejected Exodus 21:23-24,

 Jesus actually rejected sections of scripture -

 that is is not commonly known, 

 and knowing it is critical

-Early Fathers of the Church encouraged

 as many as seven "senses" of scripture

 seven "takes", as in take on scripture -

 prominent were:
     - literal
     - historical

     - allegorical

     - moral

     - symbolic

       - eschatological

- Great help here:

   "What Do We Do With The Bible?"

       Richard Rohr, 2018,

      CAC Publishing

  It is a gem!! 

  If image and meaning are concerns, 

  this little book is probable the best help 

  for the general reading public

- " If you can comprehend it,

             it isn't God."


   ( That's for sure for sure l!!)

- Need to pry free

   the core insight/revelation

   from its cultural coloration,

   how it is imaged.

 - See "A Testament of Violence?",

   Christian Century, November 8, 2017.

That's it for today.

Next week we'll continue all this.

Our whole spiritual life is so dependent

on our image of God.

    All the best !

Holding one and all in

God's Dear Love,

     John Frank


It is so good of you to recommend

       "frankly speaking"

  in conversation and through 

your connections on social media.

        It's a big help 


   it's greatly appreciated.

A sincere word of welcome

to those joining us for the first time.

This week we greet new participation 

from Turkmenistan.

Thank you for your good company.

Please see




            ( to the right online )

       for a bit of orientation to what 

             we are all about here.


            "frankly speaking"

         spirituality for the street

-Is posted online each Friday at

 and can be bookmarked for ease

 of weekly access

-Is available by automatic email

  each Saturday - sign up is at the top

  of the online version.

-Past Postings are available at

              Blog Archive

     located at the lower right 

        of the online version.

             Thank You 


Friday, February 8, 2019



Hi There !

So, I think of you a lot,

and a lot of you.

Every day,

and many times a day,

I wonder what might

be offered here in 

" frankly speaking " 

to help, to encourage,

to clarify and to support us

in our spiritual journey out on

the street of everyday living.

That wonderment eases into

a gentle notice of good concept,

a seeking for clear insight,

trying to pinpoint helpful practices

and certainly a search for

examples that clarify and encourage.

It happens in bed at 2:00 AM

It happens in the shower,

when "people watching," 

reading, slugging through 

the "news" of the day,

driving, in the supermarket,

at concerts, in prayer  -

pretty much anytime,

pretty much anywhere,

    certainly much.

Early mornings it's

 "Coffee Prayer"

   over all this,

  jotting down

all sorts of elements,

reflections, references,

   expressions in

the blog notebook

(hot coffee at hand and lip).

Then it's just let it all

be still in The Spirit

for a goodly while.

Stirring sensed,

time to sort and shape

those jottings

over a few days

in mind and heart,

letting them form as they will

Where it starts is never

where the blogs ends up.

Always Spirit Surprises.

Well, this week

and the following two,

there's a twist to all this.
   "frankly speaking"

  will be not so much 


          but be a 


of the actual jottings on


These jottings are unedited,

     random, incomplete, 

   not yet fully marinated
          The Spirit.

Unfinished, unarranged,

right from the blog notebook as is,

here they are for you

to prayerfully ponder and puzzle

as you and The Spirit will.

Hopefully a different approach

this time round might help and refresh

what we do together here each week.

Please let The Spirit sort them out,

shape them for you, with you,

in your unique setting

over the next few days

while relaxing in your own

"Coffee Prayer,"


  if you prefer

  in your own

 "Tea Prayer."

  Here goes !!


    Note and Notions 




- Our image of God

  conditions, effects, directs 

  our spiritual lives,

  and that for better or worse,

  depending on the image

  of God present and operative

- Always a paradox:

  an apparent contradiction

         that isn't!

-  God is beyond image

-  yet we need images

   to connect with anything,

   including God,

   at least for starters

-  Always paradox

-  image contains

 - God can't be contained

 -  yet, we need images

    to "picture" anything

    a millimeter beyond our nose,

 - we need images to



          for us.

- God is Reality

-  our images of God 

   are like what

   Matthew Brady did

   with Abraham Lincoln

-  they do connect us with a picture

   but not with the actual one pictured.

 - images are helpful, limited, partial,

   certainly so for images of God

- that all changed with Jesus

- he is not only the best image of God,

  he actually is the presence of God,

  God not only "pictured,"

  but  God "personified,"

  personalized, humanly present,

  but God not limited

  and yet in a way,

  our human way, limited -

  Jesus had to grow up, 

  was localized geographically, 

  culturally, religiously, bodily.

- Paradox again and always

- Emmanuel, God with us

- Always paradox

- Always paradox

- it's like lovers

- we have ideas, feelings

   about the beloved - images

 - those images fall off

   as do our cloths

   when we get between the sheets,

   and merge in love's oneness

 - we don't contain the beloved,

 - we let lose and and

    get lost in the beloved.

  - so with God.

  - Jesus is not only

    an image of the imageless

    ( Always paradox ),

         better yet,

     being personally 

       one with him

       immerses us

  in the limitless ocean 

   of love we call God

 - after a while,

   lovers are so busy being one

   they don't have time for images!


And the image on my phone 

   indicates we are about

          out of time.

More on  Image next time.


All the best to each and all.

      Holding you in

    God's Dear Love,

        John Frank


  Please continue to share 

      "frankly speaking"

        with others by 

word of mouth and through

      your social media.

            THANKS !

    For those new to

    "frankly speaking"

 spirituality for the street,

  please give a touch of

   time and attention to




    (right column online).

Hopefully they will provide

an orientation to what we are

all about here each week at

      "frankly speaking"

- It is posted online

   each Friday at

   and can be bookmarked

   for easy access

- It is available by automatic email

  each Saturday - sign up at

  the top right of the online version

- Past Postings are available at

  Blog Archive, lower right side,

  online version.

                WELCOME !