Friday, May 31, 2019


Sisters and Brothers,

A personal note and joy.
Please share my happiness 
and gratitude to God.
Fifty years ago today
I was ordained.

Deo Gratias!!

John Frank


               HELLO !














      THANKS !



HI There !

So, sex and soul

it's been for these six segments.

A lot of time and attention for sure.

Given the significant cultural shifts

occurring in both




in matters sexual/gender,

         Soul Health 

very definitely calls for 

their careful consideration,

and, pardon the play on words, 

and very definitely
calls for 

naked honesty -

no cover over of convenience

or tries at selfish justifications,

whatever one's sense and persuasion.

Soul and sex are zones for Love.

Doesn't get more pivotal than that.

Our spiritual life and health

are in play and at issue.

In this series we've seen 

some of the confusions 

and conflicts clouding


There's more and better

         for sure.


seeking and speaking,

there are a host 

of  truly beautiful,

expansive elements to

this flux and evolution.

Some are renewals,

some are quite new.

 - A new found joy that our

     human bodies are

     sacred images,

     incarnations of God,

     gender and sexuality

     very much included.

              "In the image of God
               they were created,
               male and female
               God created them."

                 Genesis 1:27

  - Jesus is God 

               we are too!!

               "In his body lives
                the fullness
                of divinity,
                and in him
                you too find
                your own

              Colossians 2:9

 - The divine indwells, 


    soul, mind, and body.

    Sense the divine passion

    of all that in the 

    erotic, biblical poetry of

       The Song of Songs.

 - Mystics, well know ones

   like Teresa of Avila,

   and little known ones

   like my mother,

   experienced a love movement

   from separation to divine union

   through all sorts of happenings,

   happenings way wider than conjugal.


   Sex from the Latin means separation.

   It is understood here in its widest sense.

   So is its resolution in union.

   The mystics give us a vast field

    of reference and hope.

    In it we can see the more specific

    sexual/gender matter

    of separation and union

    worked out beautifully.

   The mystery is that separations

    of all sorts between:

         -  people,

         -  elements of matter 
         -  segments of society,

         -  ideologies,

         -  artistic expressions,

          - religions,

          - earth care,

          - scientific understandings,
          - any and all separations

    are transformed into loving union

    through the dynamic

    of ongoing creation working wonder.

   That wonder is the working of all to


            COSMIC UNITY

        and that in splendid, 


             Mystery it is, 

          marvelous mystery.


 A simple and simply lovable example:

    My mother used to go

    for 5:30 AM summer walks

    around our neighborhood.

    She would filch a flower

    every few days

   from some neighbor's yard

   ( never the same neighbor,

    never caught either -

    we kids used to tease

    the living heck out of Mom,

    but assured her that if arrested,

    we would indeed bail her out!!!).

    Coming home, Mom would  put

    the flower in a vase on

    the kitchen windowsill.

    She would get lost

    in the beauty of it

    during the day,

    finding God in it


    being found in God

       through it.

   Creative union.

   Separation overcome,

   a divine unity right there

   in the kitchen

   on Park Street,

   Montclair, NJ

It's so freeing to see sex as

love wanting to be together,

person to person for sure,

and just as sure and widely

that there is no limit to it

in ongoing creation.

In other words, we are discovering

that what we call sex is part

of a vast dynamic of creation 

working separation to loving union.

That goes for people.

It goes for all and everything

as well, and well it sure is!

- The passion of divine love

  becomes wildly free in us.

  Many of us these days are

  warming open to the intensity of

        human/divine love

         as so powerfully,

    so wildly worded for us

  by the Sufi mystic and poet, 


You Left a Thousand Woman Crazy


" Beloved,
          Last time,
          When you walked through the city
          So beautiful and so naked,

          You left a thousand women crazy
          And impossible to live with.

          You left a thousand married men
          confused about their gender.

          Children ran from their classrooms,
          And teachers were glad you came.

          And the sun tried to break out
          Of its royal cage in the sky
          And at last, and at last,
          Lay its Ancient Love at Your feet."

  What passion.

  What a beautiful balance,

  integration there of

  masculine and feminine.

  Hafiz  knew what we are learning,

  that  gender matters are

             " ...fluid concepts that exist along a

              spectrum, rather than as

              fixed binaries determined

              by biology or genetic imprinting."

                   Incarnation: The New Evolutionary Threshold,

                   Diarmuid O'Marchu, Orbis 2017,  pages 126-127

This is a zone of greatest change

and challenge today.

We are sorting out changes

in our understandings of


and changes in how

those understandings

     are lived out.

All sorts of traditional things,

and quite new ones as well,

are sensed and experienced

  in  evolving ways.




words meaning the beautiful tones

and touches, hues and intensities,

energy and mystery of

                  DIVINE LIFE

                  alive in us,

                  moving us all from

                  separation to union,

                  and that in a cascade

                  of combinations,

                  often varying

                  over time and expression.

                  For example, 

                  strength and  tenderness

                  are not seen and sensed as

                  the reserve of

                  one gender or another

                  Rather they are understood

                  as moving across

                 a freeing and fluid spectrum

                 not limited by one's sex/gender.

                 Other examples/instances:

                   - caring for a baby

                   - challenging injustice,

                   - being rational

                   - feeling deeply,

                   - expressing

                     our intuitions

                     and imagination,

                   - nurturing

                  - defending,

                  - penetrating/being penetrated

                    in all sorts of loving,

                    unitive  bondings;

                     - letting a child's love

                       really get into us,

                     - intervening to save

                       a drug addict
                     - lovers getting

                       into each other

                       body and soul,

                     - joyous abandon

                       to God's enfoldment

                       in mystical union,

                     - leading and following

                     - freely passive, freely active

                       to note so few of so many

                       that ebb and flow

                       in us over time and growth.

Another way to see and sense

the sea change in


as understood

and lived,

is to lightly touch

the sense and expression

of the masculine and feminine

as found in mythologies

and in archetypal psychology,

and to realize that

they are no longer

the exclusive purview

of one sex or gender:

     " ...the feminine principle

      has greater interest

      in the inner, the soul, the formless,

      intuition, connection, harmony,

      beauty, and relationality in general...

     The masculine principle...

      is more interested in

      the outer, the mental, exterior form, idea,

      the movement or action of things,

      the naming and differentiation of things

      one from another; solar clarity

      of individual things as it were,

      as opposed to the relationship

      of one thing to another...It often moves

      toward "agency" and action

      before relationship or intimacy."

            Richard Rohr, daily email,
    Center for Action and Contemplation,
            Sunday, April 22, 2018

      "...Even as we acknowledge

      the sacredness

      of gender and sex, we also need

      to realize  there's something deeper

      than our gender, anatomy,

      or physical passion:

      our ontological self,

      who we are

      forever in Christ.

      As Paul courageously puts it,

      "There is neither male nor female;
       for you all are one in Christ Jesus"
               (Galatians 3:28)...

      Both sexuality and gender are mysteries

      much broader than genitality

      and intercourse. It is the inner drive

      toward the other and beyond

      the small self, which some call eros."

            Richard Rohr, daily email,
 Center for Action and Contemplation,
             Monday, April 23,2018

Eros is divine love creatively uniting,

energizing separation into union.

That's the core of our spiritual lives.

Our spiritual lives are always full of

surprise and mystery.

These days we are in the midst of

surprising and mysterious evolutions

of gender as channels of eros.

It helps me to see that as I see the sunrise.

Masculinity and Femininity are like a

palate of rich colorations in the vast sky

blending in ever various beauty

as they morning move.

Our core self, our spirit,

is embodied in 

a male or female manner

for the majority of us.

Our core self, our spirit,

lives and loves

in a gendered manner.

That is culturally specific.

Our culture is split and contentious

about a lot of that just now.

Whatever our gender understanding

and experience, authentic spirituality

is the flow of Love through us.

It is essentially the same 

and specifically unique be we 

single, married/partnered,

widow/widower, celibate,


We honestly face the separation

that is all through and about us.

That's  sex, "secare."

We joyfully let the Love Who Is God

course through us bringing all into One

through our living/loving.

Not only us, but all matter and spirit

are evolving forward into the mystery of 

       Divine Diversity in Unity.

That's what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

highlighted as the evolution 

of our universe to the

             Omega Point

  That's creation, and it is sure is 

           simply divine!!

So, two people wrapped in love 

        are wrapped in God, 

       because "God is Love." 

So,  i
n soul stillness God possesses us 

       in the Limitless, Cosmic Love 

       that is Very God. 

          Mystical rapture.  

So, our partners in being, elements and energies, 

       move and merge in the paradox and mystery of

             Cosmic and Diversified


             Every blessing for 

               SOULFUL SEX 

          as we face separation


            embrace creation 



In God's Dear, Creative Unifying Love,

                John Frank


Thanks to all who hung together here 

the six weeks of this series.

Cake it was not.

Protein - I hope so!!

If you wish a fuller consideration

of the interfacing of sex and soul,

please see;

    - Richard Rohr's daily email, free,

      Center for Action and Contemplation,

      ( ),

       "Gender and Sexuality,"

         April 15 - 27, 2018

      - Incarnation  A New Evolutionary Threshold,

        Diamuid O'Murhu, Orbis Books, 2017,

         chapter seven, Sex and Gender

       - Sex God, Rob Bell, Zondervan, 2007


Welcome to all joining in here for the first time.


Please share the news about

       "frankly speaking" 

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                   THANK YOU!





Friday, May 24, 2019



            JUST A REMINDER:

                "FRANKLY SPEAKING"

                 IS POSTED EACH FRIDAY

                 BY MIDDAY

                 EAST COAST USA TIME.




              SOULFUL SEX V


          THIS IS THE FIFTH 



                WELCOME !








              ALL THE BEST.

               JOHN FRANK


Hi There !

So, at the actual moment of birth

things go pretty fast,

vital things.

Once it's obvious

that the baby is alive,

it is immediately labelled

as to how it will live that life.

It is not at all an "it."


          "It's a boy !"

          "It's a girl !"

How wonderful.

How challenging.

Even before the Apgar Test,

the baby is assessed as

male or female.

It's just that primary.

That primal and

sexual assessment

is based solely on

one of two

specific body parts.

The baby is to be raised

in terms of

that sexual specific

according to

the values and manner

of its society.

Sex specific rearing

is determined

by place, time in history,

tradition, religion -

in short, its culture.

That varies from

time to time,

place to place,

people to people.

It does so a lot more

than most of us know,

or want to know.

             Cultural construction of gender
             emphasizes that different cultures
             have distinctive ideas
             about males and females
             and use those ideas to define
             manhood/masculinity and

               Humanity: An Introduction to
               Cultural Anthropology,
               Peoples and Bailey

Vavenda and Schultz in
Anthropology What Does
It Mean to Be Human?
reference "sex"
as genital capacity for procreation and
"gender" they say

           ...refers to a way of talking about
              all those expectations and beliefs
              we load onto people with certain
              physical (genital) characteristics.

Sex is physical - genitals.

Gender is cultural,

how a sexed person 

is raised and expected 

to live out that sexed life.

The former does not necessarily translate 

to binary absolutes for the latter, though.

Of course, cultures do 

very much factor 

physical, sexual capacities 

into their constructs of

masculinity and femininity.

Most cultures will only permit 

opposite sex intimacy.

There are obviously people 

whose nature and manner do not fit 

the gender expectations and demands 

of their cultures.

the vast majority of people

are drawn to sexual love and union

with people of the opposite sex.

There are, however, those people

whose nature and make up  

is such that they can only enter into 

intimate union with another of the same sex.

There are yet other people who are 

by nature and make up 

drawn to both sexes.

Across history and globe various cultures 

have and do respond to the above 

all sorts of tones and touches.

By the way, it is important 

to remember that

what a culture publicly requires 

and  privately accepts 

are often not the same, 

yet both are culturally condoned.

Leonardo Di Vinci and his young male lover 

are a clear example.

It was a Renaissance version of 

"Don't ask, don't tell."

So we have 

    - physical make up- 

      male/female (sex),

    - cultural patterns/norms 

      assigned for each sex (gender), 

    - individual nature and make up

      ( an actual and unique person).

It's not as simple and singular

as Archie Bunker had it:

"When a man was a man 

and a woman was a woman"!!

For example
, some cultures 

have openly accepted 

same sex intimacy.

The Greek warriors

and their youthful lovers 

are yet another example

as are the relaxed  

same/opposite  sex relations 

in many of the South Sea Islands

that Margaret Mead canvassed.

In the spirituality of

the Original Americans,

this was recognized,

accepted and experienced.

They named it

The Two Spirits.

That meant that

over a lifetime

people might love

and make love

with people of

the opposite sex

and with people

of the same sex, 

or with both.

It is an example

of gender fluidity

and a recognition of

individual make up.

It is an example 

of what is understood, 

described and lived out 

as gendered,

as masculine or feminine,

is culturally based,

with more than 

a nod to physicality 

and one's unique nature 

and manner for sure.

In the current cultures of

North America and Europe, 

and to a lesser degree 

in other lands and ways,

we are now experiencing changes

in the understanding

and expression

of masculine and feminine.

That certainly impacts

our spiritual lives,

our way of living 

centered in God's Love.

Hormones and genetics

enter into play here as well.

Physically based, 

they determine

secondary, physical,

sexual characteristics,

things such as: body mass,

strength, hirsute, voice,

ambulation, skin texture.

These vary person to person

and span a wide spectrum

as do gender characteristics.

They are sexually based.

Popular culture recognizes them

as proper to one or other 

sex and gender.

There are variants here 

in how life is lived out, though.

I have counseled and

heard the confessions

of many, many

beautiful, soft women

and big, burly men

who have been in love with,

and made love to,

often partnering with,

persons of the same sex.

Predominance is just that,

but not exclusive.

Sex, culture, 

personal nature and 

make up are not 

always in sync.

That's a critical distinction.

It factors into our self sense

and our shared, social sense

and the living out of those

in our spiritual lives.

I hope all this isn't

getting to be

too much like a term paper.

But, quite  frankly and really,

much of our living out 

of who and how we are

comes from our culture.

My simple, home grown

definition is that

        Culture is how

        a given group of people

        understand and do life.

Culture is communal consciousness.

It's how a society sizes up 

life and meaning .

Society puts that consciousness

into play and practice.

Values, morals, clothing, hygiene,

work ethic, art and music, family,

eating practices, governance,

science, architecture, religion,

treatment of children and the elderly -

literally every attitude, custom,

arrangement, activity are

culturally based and conditioned.

           Culture is how

          a given group of people

          understand and do life.

That varies from people to people,

from time to time.

It's doing that right now and here,

just as it has over the eons

and everywhere always

and variously.

That variation is certainly 

the case with the conjunction of

sex/gender and spirituality.

An example or more.

Polygamy was practiced by

the people of the Old Testament,

and most likely

by some in the early days of

the New Testament

   "...let a bishop be
    a man of one wife."

     I Timothy 3: 1-2

Divorce was allowed among

the Chosen People of Israel.

Jesus and Paul, however, 

allowed for it in only 

a very, very limited way.

( Matthew19:9 and I Corinthians 7: 10-16)

Today polygamy is not allowed

among Jewish people or

in Christian churches at all.

Divorce and remarriage, however,

are widely accepted  

among many Jewish communities 

and in Christian churches,

way more than Jesus and Paul allowed.

In fact, the strictures

on divorce and remarriage

that Jesus required ( Matthew 19 )

are over ridden in most

Protestant churches today.

As a pastor I had 

to work through that.

I came to understand that 

sometimes marriages die 

before the parties do.

Death frees for remarriage.

In other cases,

the marriage didn't die, 

but one or both the parties 

abandoned the marriage

and killed it.

Death frees for remarriage.

Understandings and

consequent practices

are indeed culturally conditioned

and both change -

gender and spirituality included.

We are living in the midst of

a seismic cultural change.

One sector of us

is working with that.

Another is vigorously

digging in its heals

in opposition to it.

Check out politics and governance,

family life, education, athletics,

finance, social justice, religion,

environmental matters,

politeness and civility,

treatment of the needy,

social media, fake news...

Be sure to add to the list

all sorts of sex/gender

understandings and practices.

It is in the midst of these

changes in understandings

and the practices

that come from such changes 

that we live our spiritual lives

on the street of everyday experience.

These changes call for

rethinking, reevaluating

as we seek to authentically live out

our spiritual lives.

Some of the questions

before us in today's

changing cultural setting are :

   - casual, recreational sex

   - co-habitation

   - same sex love and marriage

   - "sexually explicit" content

      in mainstream media

   - the role of women in business, military,

     church and government -

     formerly the exclusive domains of men

   - the role of men in child rearing,

     house holding, nursing -

     formerly the exclusive domains of women  

   - transgender matters

   - #Me Too

   - what is sexual abuse

     and what is consensual sex

   - divorce and remarriage

    - these and ever so many more.


A particularly telling

sexual/gender/cultural shift 

that calls for careful evaluation is

a largely silent,

but extremely pervasive one.

It certainly effects

the spiritual living

of way many more

than we care to see and say:


There's always been pornography,

although I'm admittedly not clear

as to whether Cain and Abel

had copes of Playboy,

or was it Playgirl,

hidden under their mattresses?

I am sure, though,

that pornography is

a whole lot more pervasive

now than ever before in history. 

Today it is estimated to be a

 $ 97 billion dollar business.

 That's enough to feed

 4.8 billion people a day.

 Hollywood produces

 about 600 movies

 a year at a profit of

$11 billion dollars.

 By comparison,

 the Porn Industry produces

13,000 movies (videos) a year

at a profit of $15 billion annually.

In 2017 Pornhub had

28.5 billion visits.

The Porn Industry makes more than

Major League Baseball, the NFL,

and the NBA combined.

Money talks in our culture.

Hear what it says

about sex/gender/spirituality 

as it is today

in the world where

we must walk and work

our way to wholeness (holiness).

I am not making a moral call 

one way or another at the moment,

but simply putting a spot light 

on a current cultural condition 

that is both somewhat 

in the shade of popular notice/admission 

and yet involves large numbers of us

and effects our spiritual lives more than a little.

Why is pornography so prevalent?

Is it a symptom or substitute, 

and if so, of what?? 

What effect does it have 

on the spiritual lives of so many millions?

Discounting predatory, violent pornography

are there enhancing or stunting elements, or both,

coming to cultural awareness and acceptance?


        - "Fight the New Drug," April 2,1018
        - "How Big is the Porn Industry?"

           Strange But True - Medium, Feb. 19, 2017

        - "Porn industry's billion dollar new frontier,"

           Market Watch

Lutheran Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, in an interview with

Johnny Walsh, does offer a moral evaluation,

one that certainly bears on Soulful Sex:

       Noting and rejecting exploitation

       in some forms of pornography, she sees

       a natural goodness at play in yet other forms.

       "People have viewed erotic imagery since

        we could scratch it on the inside of caves...

        Our bodies are wired to have

        empathic responses to others,

        and it includes erotic ones. To say you should

        have shame for that is problematic. If we took

        shame out of the fact that people like to view

        erotic imagery, the compulsive behavior around

        consuming pornography would decrease. We have

        a perverted relationship to pleasure."

How does what she says correlate with erotic/nude art

considered classical and on display

in museums, art books and such, 

and our experience of it, our pleasure in it?

The interview is in the November/December 2018 issue of

Out In Jersey, "Nadia Bolz-Weber", written by Johnny Walsh.

For sure what it means to be a

sexual/gendered person,

and one of integrity,

is very, very much,

part of the cultural flux

referenced in all of the above.

Our spirituality is

certainly in play here.

Given the tremendous shift

in break through understandings,

and I would say sometimes


and consequent behaviors

in the realm of sex/gender,

both openness and caution

are the order of the day.

As we conclude here,

let's take time and honesty

to assess just where

we personally are

in this mix.

Shutting down and out

is not the answer.

Being indiscriminately open

to any and all new understandings

and practices is not the answer.

Honesty, study, prayerful reflection,

and often good solid counsel

are essential to a healthy

sexual/gendered  spiritual life, to 


Does the old bromide factor here:

   "Be not the first by whom 
    the new is tried,
    nor yet the last by whom
    the old is laid aside"?

What does factor here for sure 

are the simple norms of 

of honesty and love.

Am I growing in 

realness and expansiveness

or am I taking a step into 

dishonest self indulgence?

Am I living and growing in 

the Love that is God?

Is what I am doing centered in

and animated by love of 

God, neighbor and self

as we really, honestly are?

Am I ready for sex sinner Augustine

become loving Saint Augustine's 

radical honesty on divine love:

     "Love God and do what you will"?

There's a lot of sexual/gender energy

loose and active in our culture right now.

What energy is destructive?

What energy is creative?

Yes, our spiritual living requires 

honesty and love.

PHEW!!! We sure got a work out

here this week!!!

Thanks for hanging on!!!

As noted at the beginning of this series,

there is no claim that 

what is presented here

is without limit and flaw.

It comes from a man 

limited and flawed

offering the best I know

for the best possible spiritual living.

If this material helps, let it.

If it fails you, leave it.

But in either or both cases,

let's be sure to ask why.

See you next week.

By the way.

Given the length and intensity 

of this series, I just want 

to let you know that a lighter,

even a bit playful posting 

will follow this series.

It is scheduled to go online

Friday, June 7th. through 

Friday, June 14th.

It's entitled "Kidding Around."

Time to lighten up a bit,

for sure!!.

In God's Dear Love,

    John Frank


A grateful welcome to all

newly joining us.

This past week we had 

first time participation 

from Cameroon. 

That is wonderful!

Over the weeks and months

as we gather here 

we now come from

seventy countries 

plus my homeland here 

in the USA.

In our own way we are

overcoming separation,

working to a unity 

of inmost to inmost.

It's a wonderful

Holy Communion.

Let's continue to invite others 

to join in here at

       "frankly speaking"

-It is posted online 

 by mid-day east coast time 

 USA each Friday at

  and can be bookmarked

  for ready access

-It is available for automatic delivery

  each Saturday - Sign Up is at the top

  of the online presentation

-Past Postings are available at

 Blog Archive, right column,

 online version.