Friday, July 26, 2019


Dear All Of Us,

Over the span of your years and experience 
what would top your personal list of

        "Little Things Mean A Lot"?

You know, those unexpected gestures,
surprise delights, gracious occurrences,
often rather simple and at first blush 
not all that much, that end up meaning much.

They are usually little packages 
of words or deeds with a powerful payload 
of God Love in them.

They are often more sacraments 
than elements at a church service.
They make real and ready, 
right out here on the street of everyday living,
something at once human and divine.
They get right to our core, 
warm heart, encourage spirit.
There's a lift and lilt to them.
They truly are outward signs of divine goodness, 
and so practically, personally communicate that to us.

These Street Sacraments 
are administered by all sorts of 
"People Priests":
  - smiling babies, 
  - caring grandparents,
  - a considerate neighbor, 
  - the well mannered stranger 
    sitting next to us 
    on the flight to Phoenix, 
  - a cheery clerk at the supermarket,
  - the traffic cop who only gives 
    a warning ticket to 
    the harried and hurried housewife 
    with a van full of kids.

With them it's quality not so much quantity that counts -
  - an affirming note on a test paper from your teacher,
  - an unexpected pat on the back from the boss,
  - the parishioner who moves over 
    to let you and your family sit by the aisle at church,
  - the research librarian who goes 
    way out of the way for you 
  - a fellow shopper with a heaping cart of purchases 
    who tells you to go ahead of her
    because you only have diapers 
    and a jar of peanut butter to be rung up.

It is so Jesus:
 " Whoever welcomes you welcomes me...
     whoever gives a cup of cold water...
     truly I tell you, none of these 
     will lose their reward."
                       Matthew 10:40 and 42

We have it on that good authority 
that for sure

        "Little Things Mean A Lot."

Happily we not only get to be 
on the receiving end, 
but also on the giving end
of these everyday, anywhere 
Street Sacraments, 
these soul boosts.
A hefty charge of divine energy
circuits through us People Priests
in doing seemingly little things 
that turn out to really mean a lot: 

- quietly tipping at 30%
- sharing a book you know
  you'll never get back
- smiling at a stern sales person
- asking an old man how he is
  and really paying attention 
  as he takes the next twenty minutes 
  to tell you
- buying a box of Girl Scout Cookies 
  from each and every girl scout who 
  approaches you at church, on the sidewalk,
  at the supermarket, or comes to you door
  order form in hand and pleading hope in her eyes.
- going to your grandchild's hockey game 
  even though you'll be freezing the whole time
  and you really detest the sport.

It's so Jesus:

   " Whatever you did for the least 
     of these brothers and sisters of mine,
     you did it for me."

               Matthew 25:40

Again and powerfully we have it 
on that good authority 
that for sure

         "Little Things Mean A Lot."

Yes, they are the stuff of
a spirituality for the street,

one that really gets us all 
well on the way to 
Love In Person.

See you at the supermarket,
and I'll  do my best not to be
the little old man you ask 
"How are you?' and he takes
twenty minutes to tell you.
I can get it pretty well covered 
in about fifteen minutes!!!!

       God loves you 
     and I'm so happy 
       to get in on it!!

        John Frank

Something that appears little 
and means a lot is having new folks 
come join us each week.
What a goodness to have
our first ever participation from Cameroon
this past week.
Welcome and Thanks!


Postings go online by mid-day Friday,
east coast USA time.



Friday, July 19, 2019


Dear All of Us,

It comes down to ideas and experience.

On our spiritual journey ideas will get us from New York to Newark.

On our spiritual journey experience will get us from New York 

to California's Napa Valley and its heavenly wine.
                  Ideas and experience.

Theology is ideas about God.
                Faith is experience of God.

While complementary, theology and faith are as different as 

class in aviation school and flying for Delta.

Most western religions are grounded these days because 

theology has been passed off as faith -

                - ideas as the experience

                - concept as contact.

Theological insight gets packaged as doctrines, dogmas and rituals.

Believe/Practice them, even if blindly, and

you are "in," you are safe and saved.  

That's like the best first year med student sitting at his desk,

holding his new stethoscope 

and thinking he's a good doctor.

Faith isn't unthinking, but it isn't basically thinking.

It's about being a lover.

Lovers think about each other for sure.

That's not what makes them lovers, though.

It's the experience of each other.

It's contact so deep there is real union.

OK, so what is faith?

Let's check out Jesus on the matter.

The crowd presses in on him.

A woman hemorrhaging for twelve years 

reaches out and touches Jesus.

She's cured.

For all the bumping and jostling in the crowd, 

Jesus felt her touch and said,

"Who touched me?...

I noticed that power had gone out from me." 

They had connected center to center, 

person to person.

So complete was the contact that the very intensity of Jesus 

intensified the woman's body to health.

Jesus doesn't claim cure.

He credits the woman's complete giving of herself,

her willingness to experience the innerness of herself and Jesus as one.

That total trust, that contact center to center, 

that one to one to One,

that personal experience cured -

her faith.

"Your faith has cured you." ( Luke 8:42-48 ).

Faith/Belief is giving ourselves to God, 

and accepting God's giving to us, 

center to center, one to one to One.

Faith/Belief is openness to actually experiencing union with God.

Faith/Belief isn't primarily an intellectual nod but a mutual gifting.

Faith/Belief is the experience of shared life.

"Belief" means we  " be life "  together.

It is contact unto union.

So on our spiritual journey how do we get from New York

to California's Napa Valley and its heavenly wine?

Well, here are a few flights to book.


Feel the universe of wonders it is, 

the divine energy pulsating in it,

continually creating it

in your right here and now. 

e present to the Presence,

touch and be touched - 

experience contact.


Allow yourself to experience 

the goodness and beauty of God

deep down in art, music, 

science. literature, study, nature -

touch and be touched - 

experience contact.


Close the door to surface static,

strip spirit naked.

et The Love 

that holds you in existence

have you,

touch and be touched -

experience contact. 

          TOUCH NEED

In love give presence, care, help

to the hurt and needful.

raw close the pushed out.


The Love Who Is God

flowing through you to them

and from them to you,

touch and be touched - 

experience contact.

               TOUCH  LIFE

Dedicate your whole life to life, 

to giving life,

to supporting and protecting life,

to encouraging life.

et it emerge from the substratum 

of who you are at your contact point 

with the Giver of Life.

et it be your vocation and work.

et it flow through your talents, 

gifts, opportunities and energies.

ense God surging through you for others,

touch and be touched-

experience contact.

          TOUCH GOD

Practice the presence of God.

low down to see and sense God 

at the core and flowering of all that is,

of all people, all places, all things.

pen to the mystery of the limitless.

uiet to the experience of presence,

be touched by the divine -

touch and be touched,

experience contact.

                        A DISCLAIMER

All of this is in no way to denigrate theology.

I enjoyed all sorts of theology courses in high school and college.

I did six years of post graduate study 

and two post graduate degrees in theology.

Over fifty years there has been a plethora of theological pursuits:

seminars, continuing ed courses, workshops, journals, reading the classics 

as well as contemporary theologians, teaching theology courses.

Theology is fine as far as it goes.

It goes to Newark.

In our spiritual journey experience goes the distance -

goes beyond distance.

Assenting to doctrines and dogmas, 

practicing religious rituals, are like a movie trailer.

Hopefully they get you interested, 

but they're not the reel/real deal.

And that's the point here.

I don't pray that our western world  gets religion.

We have way too much of that for our own good.

What is needed in this spiritually starved west

are people actually experiencing God, touch to contact.

Our young people see that our religious emperor has no cloths.

They're not interested.

Let's offer them the reel/real deal.

That means continual conversion and growth for/on our part.

As it happens, we won't need to tell them about it.

They'll see and feel and want it.

They're waiting/ wanting to connect to a real experience,

to the reel/real deal.

So, our spiritual journey is way more than ideas about God. 

                       It is an experience of God -

                              real contact.

                      That's delightfully divine!!


                             "God is love"

                          and love sure is a 

                            Contact Sport!!!

       It's great to be in contact with you each week.

                        In God's Dear Love,

                            John Frank



Jesus Before Christianity, Albert Nolan, Orbis Books.

Excellent scriptural scholarship in a non-academic presentation.

Good read. Jesus before he was outfitted in doctrines, 

dogmas and ritual. Jesus in Realtime - his.


It's just plain good to have new folks join us here each week



                       "frankly speaking"

                   spirituality for the street


- is posted online each Friday by mid-day, 

   east coast USA time

- is available by automatic email delivery each Saturday -

  sign up top right online

- past postings are available at Blog Achieve,

 lower right online.


                      to all who are sharing word about 

                                   "frankly speaking"

                  by word of mouth and through their social media.






Friday, July 12, 2019


Dear All of Us,

So, how good are you at making love?
No, I am not a wannabe Dr.Ruth,
nor am I doing a sex survey
for some sleazy tabloid.
The question is perfectly pure.

Ultimate success in life 
is getting ever better and better 
at making love,
and that's much, much more, 
and way, way wider than bed.

Our spiritual life is one great big, 
wonderful, nonstop love making.
It is simply and literally "divine."
               "God is love."
From that Love we come.
In that Love we live love with
we let God and neighbor love us
and join them in the experience
by fully loving and embracing 
the love we are.
It's a giving and receiving.
It permeates every moment and motion 
of our being and doing.
Our spiritual life is 
a love making unto union
everywhere and always.

All this isn't just something
"poetic pretty" for sunny days.
It's immediate, practical -
a constant for every right now
whether sunny or not.

The Love Who Is God
flows into and through us.
Accepting and sharing that
        LOVE FLOW
is eternal love making in 
our right here and now.

Everything we are and do is engaged.
Nothing is "secular."
Everything is sacred - everything.
Everything is experienced 
and done God and us together.
Everything is the now and here 
of divine love making.
One in God we
    - brush our teeth
    - go to work
    - are imaginative and creative
    - forgive
    - welcome and embrace
    - work for community
    - enjoy a glass of wine
      (or a cold beer if you prefer)
    - reconcile
    - hurt and suffer
    - get lost in mystical oneness
    - do diapers (child/elder)
    - read and study
    - worship
    - drive (loving and trying 
      to get out of the way 
      of that tailgater)
    - do creation care
    - host a cookout
    - pray and meditate
    - work for social justice
    - and endless more and other.
Everything we are and do is engaged.
Everything is the here and now
of divine love making - everything!

Sometimes our love making means 
intense passion and awareness.
Other times it is a quieter togetherness.
Good lovers that we are, though,
we're always one,
be that mystical transport
or taking out the garbage.

Quite John Frankly this takes some getting used to.
It takes teaching head and warming heart
and that again and again.
As an aid let's try this:
Draw from the list of descriptors for divine love making.
Pray and ponder over one slowly and broadly.
Then write a word or phrase next to it that indicates:
        - an instance of it that is easy and regular, and/or
        - an instance of it that is difficult and avoided, and/or
        - an instance of it that is new and challenging.
Pray and ponder over it slowly and broadly yet more.
Every once in a while, come back to it 
and praying and pondering what it raises in our spirit.
Take one or a few a day.

                     A LIFE OF DIVINE LOVE MAKING IS

- vigorous: __________________________________________________  

- surprising: _________________________________________________

- gentle: ____________________________________________________

- sensitive: __________________________________________________

- strong: ___________________________________________________

- generative: ________________________________________________

- compassionate: ____________________________________________

- creative: __________________________________________________

- generous: _________________________________________________

- contemplative: _____________________________________________

- receiving: _________________________________________________

- giving: ___________________________________________________

- aware: ___________________________________________________     

- caring: ___________________________________________________

- appreciative: ______________________________________________

- pure: ____________________________________________________

- cooperative: ______________________________________________

- sharing: _________________________________________________

- free: ____________________________________________________

- freeing: _________________________________________________

- open: ___________________________________________________

- imaginative: ______________________________________________

- joyous: __________________________________________________

- patient: _________________________________________________

- long suffering: ____________________________________________

- supportive: _______________________________________________

- forgiving: ________________________________________________

- encouraging: _____________________________________________

- centered: ________________________________________________

- grateful: ________________________________________________

- playful: _________________________________________________

- full of awe and wonder: ____________________________________

- steady: _________________________________________________

- your descriptor: __________________________________________

- your descriptor: __________________________________________

- your descriptor: __________________________________________

Too many people think that bed is the only place for love making.
We get to make love everywhere and always.
It's simply divine.

Ultimate success in life is getting better and better at lovemaking,

                      so much so that 

              when days give way to forever
                           we are 

                     Perfectly In Love.

                   Holding one and all in

                   The Love Who Is God,

                          John Frank



RETURN TO THE CENTER, Bede Griffiths, Templegate,

Springfield, Illinois

Spirituality East and West meet and merge. 

A modern mystic speaks the soulful journey to The Center, 

by sharing from the wisdom of his lived experience, East and West.

Save the airfare East and make a retreat at the ashram of this fine book.


This week we were blessed with many, many visitors 

from Russia and from the Ukraine. 

Welcome and thanks for the goodness of your company. 

Thanks, too, to all our other first time participants.


                                  "frankly speaking"

                     Spirituality for the Street


- is posted online each Friday,

  mid-day east coast USA time

- is available by automatic email delivery each Saturday

  sign up top right online

- past postings are available at Blog Archive, 

  lower right online.

         Thank You!!



Friday, July 5, 2019


Dear All of Us,

You know what?
Sometimes, the stars actually do line up just right.
You ever so reluctantly agree to a double date 
and end up meeting the love of your life.
Your twins graduate from their colleges a week apart.

Well, things haven't been all that neat, 
and certainly not a bit tidy, 
around here this week.
Things were not lining up at all right.
Example: my back gave out big time,
and did so with a dump truck of pain.
Example: I couldn't find one.
Any kind of apt example, illustration, suitable simile, 
for this week's "frankly speaking"
just hid out, refused to show up 
on mind or monitor.
Nada!!  Lots and Long!!  Nada!!

In the meantime, 
which was just the opposite of mean,
comes this lovely watercolor original, 
a gift from its painter.
Painting and painter so beautiful!!
Pictured is an arched oak door,
centered in a gray white stone wall,
cascading greens above,
a terracotta planter flowed full to the side,
red pavers happily hosting 
tiny green immigrant greens between them
(yes, that was on purpose!!).

Well, I get excite about beauty.
That beautiful painting just had to be placed prominent.
As I set it up in my "shop" (cell/study),
the stars just popped into place, 
lined up just right.
There it was - the longed for example/illustration/simile:
                      THE DOOR

Our soul has a door.
Everything hinges on it opening both inward and outward,
otherwise The Spirit is locked out.
Our spiritual life can never be one directional 
and be at all viable.
There is an in and an out to it.
Our Soul Door opens to deep inside.
Our Soul Door opens to far outside.
Duo dynamic.

A few lites from that starry alignment,
shedding light on the sacred swing 
of our Soul Door inward and outward.

We leave behind and shut out the moment's "busies," 
its preoccupations, absorptions, distraction and concerns.
We enter the still, sacred sanctuary of inner self.
In that still sacredness we yield to
The Love Who is God,
to the passionate embrace, penetration blending us One.
In that still sacredness 
The Love Who Is God
yields to our passionate embrace, penetration blending us One.
It is an intimacy divine, beyond image or word.
We are literally and actually "in" Love.

That Love is hot stuff, intense, dynamic, 
doesn't know how to sit still, doesn't stay put.
So off we go, swinging our Soul Door outward.
God-Us is out and about for run and romp.
It's a heaven of a great time seeing, sensing, savoring as One
the goodness in God's Creation Garden.
Together we delight in:
      - a Bruce Springsteen concert
    - a Sicilian pizza
    - a day at Longwood Gardens
    - the observations and thoughts of evolutionary cosmologist,
      Brian Swimme in The Universe
    - getting down on the floor and playing with a one year old
      ( those of us "plused" of years may need a lift from that lift)
    - a week hiking in the mountains
    - the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins
    - taking kids to a baseball game and having altogether too many hotdogs
    - getting lost in the art of Giotto
    - star struck at the planetarium
    - a free fall in the swell and lift of a Bach chorale
    - and the endless venues, experiences, manifestations 
      of simply divine creativity.

That Love is hot stuff, intense, dynamic, 
doesn't know how to sit still, doesn't stay put.
So off we go, God-Us swinging our Soul Door outward to:
     - see and serve those pushed to the margins
     - those needing notice and nurture
     - the lonely longing for inclusion
        - lifting those laid low by life's trouble
     - comforting the damaged and violated
     - actively advocating for them,
       and that in a personal and practical way:
        So, I urge each of us to vigorously oppose the contemporary abuse
        that separates migrant children from their parents, terrorizing, 
        even deadening their young psyches, often forcing them 
        to live in squalid encampments, setting too many up for sexual abuse.
        The effects of this inhuman and evil violation of family and children                   will haunt and harm for life.
        Migration is a global issue that the nations are far from addressing, 
        much less working to a new synthesis.
        There are political as well as moral matters to a hugely complex concern. 
        These incarcerated children are innocent victims of failed governmental
        approach and policy.
        Their plight is not essentially a political matter.
        It is essentially a moral matter.
           I would doubt our love union with God if we sit by 
        in the comfort of middle class living and do nothing for them.
        After lots and lots of love and prayer, we need to get busy contacting 
        our legislators, heads of the government agencies involved and most of all
        President Trump. He lives on Pennsylvania Avenue with his child 
        in a manner far from those children in location and quality. 
        Let's tell him we are praying for, "campaigning for," his change of heart. 
        Lovingly and ever so clearly let's remind him 
                        - "Whatever you do to the least, you do to me." (1)
                 - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  (2)

                                         Jesus Christ 


                               "We have been given eyes to see,
                                but the question becomes,
                                do we let our hearts
                                be broken by that reality,
                                and then do we act?"
                                         Dorothy Day

References for the contacting the governmental  leaders cited above can be found in the Addendum at the end of this posting.(3)

Our spiritual realness and health depends on the openness of our Soul Door.
So we open it wide and invite into the sacred sanctuary of self
the "in breathing" of The Holy Spirit through:
         - sacred writings and wisdom texts
         - times of meditation and prayer
         - the counsel of a spiritual director
         - shared worship and sacrament
         - living in the presence of God
         - a contemplative notice and gratitude
         - the lived experience of a genuinely spiritual community.

Jesus highlights just how indispensable inward/outward openness 
is to soul viability and vigor.
When we open our hearts to love even our enemies 
our hearts are really opened to be loved.
So, too, forgiving others from our center, 
opens the way for us to be forgiven all the way in.
Not judging others out there means 
not being judged in here at soul center. 
What a deal!!
I'm in!! 

       "The measure by which you measure
         will be measured back to you." (4)


To have our Soul Door open 
is a two way dynamic for sure.
It's sort of like electricity.
Current flows if we have two poles.
So we open The Door 
inward and welcome.
So, we open The Door 
outward and welcome.
It's electrifying.
We are juiced.
We are hot wired.
The current flows.
We are ablaze in 
The Love Who Is God.

So, you know what,
sometimes the stars 
really do line up just right.
They sure do 
as our Soul Door opens
inward and outward.

Thanks for your openness.
Holding one and all in 
The Love Who Is God.

      John Frank



Three quite different and quite good 

supports to living our spiritual lives

out here on the street of everyday living:


   - Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations (email).

     Spiritually spacious awareness and practice.

     Go to Center for Action and Contemplation,

     click Daily Meditations to sign up.

    - Joe Cece's:  eCatholicism.

      Resources and reflections for any 

      with a truly "catholic" ("universal") spirit.

   - Rob Bell's The RobCast - weekly podcast.

     deep wisdom in a right now way.




                  (1) Matthew 25:45
                  (2) Luke 6:31
                  (3) Google: 
                           Elected Official/USA Gov
                  (4) Luke 6:38


What a gift to welcome new folks 
to our weekly sharing here.
We celebrate first time sharing here 
from Cyprus this past week.
Thank you for you!!

           "frankly speaking" 
is posted online each Friday, 
mid-day east coast USA time
and remains up til the following Friday.

Please do invite family, friends, 
congregants and associates 
to our gathering here.

Please consider:

-bookmarking for ready access

-signing up for automatic email delivery
 Saturday mornings ( see top right online)

-past postings are available at
 Blog Archive (bottom right online)

           THANK YOU!