Thursday, October 31, 2019


Dear All of Us,

So, how do you get along with your relatives - all of them?
Blood and marital relatives for sure. 
Just as much, every other person, place, form of life, element of existence 
in all of creation - relatives all.
We're all related, intimately so - no degrees of separation involved.
Sure, there are all sorts of superficial separations.
At core, though, we are all manifestations of Being.
We are all together rooted in Ultimate Reality.
Put other ways, we are all like rays of the sun,
we are God emanations,
we are family.

Our spiritual living is relational.
We're in this business of existence together.
We're kin. 
And so we are kind, "kin'd" to all of existence.

The word kind speaks soul.
It come from the Old English "cynn", meaning "family".
Be it people, molecules, mountains, music, puppy dogs, 
energy and matter of all forms, we are family, 
we are kin and "kin-ness" is the manner of our spiritual living.

We live in a universe evolving, order coming out of chaos. 
We want to support that, care for it, be "kin"d to it
So we treasure it as we do ourselves, because we are one, we are "kin". 

e also live in a time and place painfully fouled by human evil.
Much of society worships in the Temple of Self, 
not in the Sanctuary of Kinship.
Self centered greed manifests itself in materialism funded by capitalism 
strong armed by militarism.
Family is fractured into factions of power gone astray and destructive.
Few have most.
Most have not enough.
Nature is raped.
Soul is stupefied.
Yet, in this mix we are blessed to live a life of kin-ness, of kindness
and so right the wrong.

Now, kindness is a lot more than holding the door for another.
It is living what we are - family, one, together.
It certainly is not some sort of soft, sappy, wimpy "nice nice ".
It is engagement with our engagement to all.
It is connection with our connection to other that isn't fundamentally other, 
with our kin -
people, place, energy.
It is being a being with all beings in Being itself - God.

Whatever the power brokers of this world 
and the politicians who work for them do, 
we get to live a life of relationship, a life of kinship, a life of kindness.

In personal and practical ways let's pray our way through this reflection:
      How aware am I of kinship with:
                    the unborn
              the terminal
              the marginalized
              the needy
              the gifted
              the ordinary
              the uncommon
       How do I  safeguard and nurture nature?
       How do I simplify my living so that others may simply live?
       How do I delight in the beauties of creation, meeting God there in love?
          How do I live kindness with people experiencing and responding to life 
          much differently than I do-culturally, religiously, politically?
       How do I live kindness towards the evil powers of this world, 
       Empire and its chieftains, even those in my family, 
       at work, in my neighborhood, church/synagogue/mosque?
       How do I see, encounter, respond kindly to people, places, 
       music, art, science, literature, energies  - 
       as the starburst of God's creativity, all of us kin?
       How do I get along with my relatives - all of them?
       How "kin'd" am I to us, One in splendid diversity?

Our spiritual living is relational.
It's family, kind to kin.
The privilege and joy of it is to live 
the mystery that we all together are 

            ONE OF A KIND

delightfully different.

Thanks for the kindness of your company.

Holding us all together, 

kin that we are, 

In The Love Who Is God,

       John Frank


                              FOR PONDER AND PRAYER


                   "Three things in human life are important:

                                 the first is to be kind,

                                 the second is to be kind,

                                 the third is to be kind."

                                       Henry James



                          "Love is patient, Love is kind..."

                                    I Corinthians 13:4 



                 "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."

                                  William Shakespeare

                                  Troilus and Cressida


                              "...we are all stardust."

                                     Carl Sagan


" For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of 

the body, though many are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit 

we were all baptized into one body..."

                              I Corinthians 12:12-13


                   "When I was young, I admired cleaver people. 

                    Now that I am old, I admire kind people." 

                           Abraham Joshua Heschel


      "Kindness is the language which the deaf hear and the blind see."

                                   Mark Twain


   "And this; our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, 

    books in running brooks, sermons in stone, and good in everything"

                               William Shakespeare

                                  As You Like It


"Francis ( of Assisi ) has been described as a nature mystic, one who finds God 

in the vast and beautiful fields of nature. Everything spoke to Francis of the 

infinite love of God. ...In this way, creation became the place to find God, and 

in finding God, he realized his intimate relationship to all of creation... 

For Francis, justice and peace are related to poverty, compassion, 

contemplation and on-going conversion by which we realize our familial bonds 

with all living creatures..."

                                  Francis of Assisi 
                                  nature's mystic

                                     Ilia Delio                                                    

                               The Washington Post

                                  March 20, 2013


"...that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I am in you, 

  that they may be one in us..."

                                      John 2:17



                 Welcome to all being one with us for the first time.

                             Like at The Olive Garden, 

                       "When you're here you're family." 

                                   "frankly speaking"

            is posted online Thursday evenings, east coast USA time at

            and is available be automatic email on Fridays - sign up above.

                                  Have a great week. 

                Looking forward to being together next week.





Thursday, October 24, 2019


Dear All of Us,

Right now, right here, it is a perfect Fall day -

warmly cool, clear skyed bright, harvested fields

looking like they all just got a buzz cut,

front stoops autumn garbed, stalks, straw  and all, 

trees a kaleidoscope of richness deep, 

an apple picking day (and pie when you get home),

pumpkins smiling orange happiness everywhere.  

What a wonderful day for us to be in touch. 

And staying in touch is well worth a touch of Soul Study just now.

You know, there are ever so many ways to stay in touch.

Most all of us have concentric circles of connections,

ways and means of staying in touch.
Some are central, some are close, some not so close,

some are occasional, some frequent, some sporadic, 

some are casual, some intense,

some mean a Christmas card, 

some are soul to soul sacred, 

some closer than first time lovers in the Spring of Their Joy

and seasoned seniors in the Autumn of their Bounty.

Being in touch, being connected, are central to our spiritual living.

are channels right to God,

and of God right to us.  

All creation springs from God.

Staying in touch with creation connects us to the Source and Center of All. 

You want to touch God, stay in touch with God's creation.

You want God to touch you, God does it through God's creation.

Everyone and everything is so Godly, has such staying power through touch.


As I write this the sun is dusking westward,

pacious, peaceful, touching soul to rapture.

I am savoring delightful crudites cum crackers, 

and a happy, hearty cabernet sauvignon -

Creator's earth fruits with an intoxicating  touch of The Love Who Is God.

The aroma of a homemade chicken stew and oatmeal bread for dinner 

wafts upstairs here to this cell and study.

It's  another telling touch of God's creative largess and love.

Earlier today Michael and I shared.

He's a scientist.

I'm a, well, a bit of a space cadet.

We both stay in touch with God in different ways.

A bit ago I texted with a Soul Son.

He's in the agony of birthing adult love.

Being in touch with Michael and Soul Son means being In Touch with God.

We presence God to each other in quite different ways, 

but we do it by staying in touch. 

All touch is divine.

We awake to this with time and delight.

There are moments when the touch, 

the connection with God, 

comes in the quiet of contemplative prayer,

mystically merging in prayer with Love Itself,

and certainly in shared worship and Communion.

Touch with God happens in the immediacy of our right nows.

A baby in the supermarket smiles at us,

scripture reveals Reality, 

working shoulder to shoulder with the needful,

letting ourselves be held by our lover,

tutoring inner city kids on Saturdays,

a walk in the woods,

penning a poem, 

embracing a new friendship.

With math, microscope, test-tube, word, brush,

be it immediate and close, 

be it occasional and rare,

we are touched and we touch.

Whatever the degree of connection,

we slow down, simplify, sensitize, as we

        STAY IN TOUCH,

so wondrously in a living connection.

Saying in touch with the goodness of our Creator

could be watching a Ken Burns documentary,

foregoing a an expensive vacation 

so an impoverished Syrian family

may use those funds to stay alive,

spending a weekend in retreat at a Trappist monastery

in  contemplative quite,

sharing  an hour with a lonely old person,

being deeply in touch with Vermeer's "The Milkmaid."

A fine prompt and guide here is to make use of the tutorial

Richard Rohr offers in his "Practice: Eating One Raisin: Mindful Eating".

(Daily email, October 19,2019). Go to The Center for Action and Contemplation.

If you aren't into raisins, substitute any goodness you choose

and modify.

Thank you for the blessing that it is for us to  

                STAY IN TOUCH,

for our connection, our Soul Share here

each week.

       Holding One and All Close In,

              Ever so truly in
         The Love Who Is God,

               John Frank


It's  a blessing to connect 

with new folks and then

     "Stay In Touch" 

   each week here at

   "frankly speaking"

spirituality for the street.

It is posted online each 

Thursday evening,

east coast USA time,

and is also available weekly 

on Fridays by automatic email

(sign up top right above). 


      See you nest week!!!


Thursday, October 17, 2019


Dear All of Us,


"Wee Little Ones" and old timers like me have to work at it.
Otherwise, down we go.

Given the terrain of the times, everyone has to work hard for balance
these days so as to stay upright and move forward. If not, down we go.
And a lot are down, and some sadly out, 
from a loss of spiritual/social/psychic balance.

Yes, i
t's tough to negotiate today's terrain, to keep balance and not go down.
There are such severe slopes to the right and to the left, 
partisan potholes deep and wide, 
division's detritus and debris tripping us up, 
uneven stretches of inequity and injustice, 
rocky roads of misinformation and trust lost. 
Here in the not at all "United" States of America we aren't too far from 
slipping into the ditch of constitutional crisis and variants of a Civil War. 
Some lands and peoples already have.
Untamed technologies run serene calm and common sense off the road.
Climate change makes for perilous travel conditions. 
Guardrails of civility, religion, ethics are severely compromised.

How keep your balance?
How keep from going down, even out, here on the road of real living,
a road littered with crippled spirits, their balance lost?

The best balance and response I know is Jesus.
He is "the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:16)
He gives us a way to go, offers bedrock truth and shares life, 
hopeful and balanced -  his!
Taking him to heart gives us strength and balance 
to negotiate today's rocky road of unreal.

To do that we need to hear him again for the first time.
We need to hear him in his cultural context, speaking to ours's.
He lived in a culture different from ours's 
only in locale, time and manner of chaos. 
Empire dominated and despoiled as it does today. 
Religion was flaccid as it is today. 
Faction fought society into fragments as it does today.
In that muddled to mad context, Jesus kept balance.
He showed and said it.

From the get go he invited companions and community.
"Come follow me." 
   (Mark 1:17)
Some did and some refused, but he didn't go it alone.
We must not either.
Jesus and his community lived, shared and traveled together. 
To keep balance it is essential for us also to be in deep community.
If you can't find one, start one.

One way and many our Jesus community is where we help each other 
get real about living the Love Who is God. 
We keep balance by loving God, neighbor and self. 
That embraces everything from the most immediate and practical 
to the most mystical and unitive.
That span of embrace braces for balance in the turmoil of the times. 

Jesus tells like it needs to be told.
   "Be wise as serpents and as guileless as doves." 
           (Matthew 10:16)
In our vernacular:  
   "Know what's coming down. 
    Plan and maneuver for it.
    Don't be a misty eyed dumb butt. 
    While you're at it be pure and genuine.
    Don't let the corruption around you corrupt you.
    Keep your balance by dealing with evil, not by more evil,
    but by doing ever so much better and purer."

Keeping our balance on the slippery slope of society just now 
requires bench pressing spiritual vigor.
It means bulking up on The Spirit.
It means by all means connecting with the Source of Good.
Like Jesus we go to a quiet place by ourselves and pray.
We let ourselves be loved to life by Life.
Again, the vernacular: 
     "We let God love the socks off us."
We open all the way and let the realness, the energy, the power of God
(aka Grace) pour into every bit of who and how we are.
It balances us out just right!!! 

How do I keep balance and try to change the world for the better?
Well, Jesus didn't change the Evil Empire of his day.
At the risk of stunning activists, left or right, Jesus didn't even try.
He invited us to a new way, his kingdom and approach.
Instead of top down, Jesus uses a bottom up approach.
Jesus changes hearts to change the world, 
this one and to usher in the next.
He spent himself on the poor and marginialized.
He did the deal this way:
     "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."
                 (Mark 12:17)
     "My kingdom is not of this world..." 
                 ( John 18:36)
In the vernacular yet again:
     "Do what you've got to do in the secular realm.
      Make the best of it.
      Just bet you buttons my kingdom is all together different. 
      There's a lot more and better than
      than the immediacies of just now power and privilege."
Jesus didn't try to change the social structure in a juridical fashion.
He centered on the heart.
He invites us in on his approach and work.
      "Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, 
       and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, 
       and  learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart, 
       and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, 
       and my burden is light." 
                            (Matthew 11;28-30)
It is not ours to save the world.
It is ours to Soul Shoulder in our place our portion of the yoke.
        "Bloom where you are planted."

          ( St. Francis De Sales)
        "Do all the good you can.
         By all the means you can.
         In all the ways you can.
         At all the times you can.
        To all the people you can.
        As long as ever you can."  

              (John Wesley)

It will be blessed balance.

The times are tough. 
It's hard not to go down in depression, despair and defeat.
It's hard to stay standing, 
to keep our spiritual/social/psychic balance.
Paul had to get knocked off his horse to get his balance.
He then found out that: 
       "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
                               ( Philippians 4:3)
May we as well.

One last time the vernacular: 
        "We keep our balance, stay standing, 
         by taking our shots of Spirit straight up!!"

It's great to brace, to balance each other here each week.
                                Love you all!!

                                 John Frank


    As the weather here chills our welcome warms ever more 
    to you joining in here for the first time.

    A special greeting to the 85 folks from Russia 
    who joined in with us this week.

                             "frankly speaking"

                         spirituality for the street

      is posted Thursday evenings, east coast USA time at


      and is available by automatic email delivery each Friday

                   (sign up top right online delivery)

                          See you next week!!!


Thursday, October 10, 2019


Dear All of Us,

So, come on now.
Be honest.
Just how deep
are you into


You know,
those ubiquitous
smartphone self snapshots?
The ones that get pictured
all over Instagram, Snapchat,

Well, one way or a bunch more,
with or without a smartphone,
we're all into


They are how we
    in public 
for the public.

 This kind of

 is more commonly called our


Just like the smartphone Selfie,
it shows just a little
of who and how we are.
It portrays not our face,
but how we face other people.
To push the metaphor
beyond regulations,
in public we put
our best foot forward,
a carefully crafted portion
of who we are is shared.

This is where it gets critical.
On the one hand,
most people aren't
at all close to prepared
to deal with all of us,
so we portion out
an appropriate bit
of ourselves
in social exchange.
Getting a snow cone
on the boardwalk
calls for a pleasant exchange
and a bit of cash.
It does not call for
a profound
personal exchange,
     " I Thou"
sharing the depths
of ourselves
with others.
What's critical here
is that what we picture,
the self snapshot we share,
is both an honest representation
of the portion of ourselves we share,
and one appropriate to the
What sickens our soul is when we


a "Selfie "of ourselves that bares
little resemblance to our 
         True Self.
That pollutes and prevents
any real sharing of self.
It undercuts authenticity.
Our spiritual living is degraded.
Its viability and zest
are at stake here.

At it's best, our


is a smidgen of
who and how
we really are,
of  our
   True Self.

At it's worst,
it's inauthentic,
phony and fake -
  "False Self"
projected, expressed.

The word and notion of


comes from
the ancient Greek theater.
There were only one
or two actors in a drama.
Each would play a variety
of characters in
the same presentation.
Costumes, as we know them,
were minimal.
To differentiate the varied roles
the actor was portraying,
he would hold a mask
of the character
in front of his face
and speak the character through it.
He would then hold other masks
for yet other characters
and "speak" those characters
through those masks.
The mask in Greek was called a


  (All this kept prices down
        at the box office!).

Fast forward to us.
We use a mask, a


to speak a portion
of ourselves
to each other.
It is the public face
we show - 
customer, student,
crew chief, performer, parent,
sauna buddy, bus driver,
casual friend, neighbor.
That's fine as long as
an honest and appropriate portion
of our
           True Self
is spoken through our

That's a great exposure,

     a true to life


          Every goodness and blessing

                    be yours.

            Holding you and all in

              God's Dear Love,

                 John Frank


Again and always thanks for sharing

           "frankly speaking"

with family and friends through

word of mouth and your selection

of social media. It's the main way

people find out and connect

with us here each week.

Welcome to those joining us for the first time.

Thank you for the gift of your presence.

Please consider a bit of orientation by reading

             What's Going On Here?


             Consider Your Source.

           ( right column above )


                "frankly speaking"

             spirituality for the street 

*is posted online each Thursday evening,

  east coast USA time at 

 and can be bookmarked for ready access

*is available by automatic email each Friday

     ( sign up, right column above )

*past postings are available at Blog Archive

             ( right column as well )

                      Thank You

Looking forward to seeing you next week!!