Thursday, January 30, 2020


Dear All of us,
                      "Silence is golden"
 and we are decidedly off the gold standard.

When I was young there was a high valuation on silence.  
Silent zones refreshed the landscape of daily life:
library, hospital, church, classroom, museum, doctor's office, symphony hall.
We had silent retreats and quiet hours.
There was the Great Silence in monasteries and seminaries dusk to dawn.
That silence allowed us to hear and honor 
the goodness of the moment and place.

Those silent zones bespoke a specialness, even a sacredness,
that would be missed without the expanse and settledness of silence.
Silence was a "focus fast" - foregoing lesser goods to feast on a greater one.

Silence is a lot more than a matter of decibels.
Silence is a sine qua non of our spiritual living. 
It stills our soul allowing us to be centered in the infinite plentitude that is God.
It distills awareness, purifying, extracting the essential meaning of things,
rendering that essence to its concentrate and allowing our concentration.
It diminishes distraction much as the night sky highlights celestial brilliance.
It frees from surface static.
That static interrupts a deep hearing of the divine.
That static can be auditory, mental, emotional, social, 
occupational, even religious.
It can be a "surround sound" of deafening activity and frenetic rushing 
that blunts depth and fullness, 24/7 news reports
that agitate to disquietude,  as not so well as  obsessive texting, tweeting,
and social media that is not at all social as it isolates and muffles 
a true hearing between us and of God.  

Buddha, the Sufi and Hindu mystics, native religious leaders, Jesus, 
all counsel by example and word to go off by ourselves 
and be still being in Being.
We can do that by going to our man cave, studio, bedrooms, back yard, 
front porch, a church, the park, beach, mountains, woods or farm fields.
There we close off to open up.
We get into comfortable position, limber up body and mind, 
focus on slow, deep breathing in and out.
We surrender our immediacies and controls to the Fullness. 
We let God be God God's way.
We don't fashion the experience.
We experience what God fashions.
At times gently, slowly repeating a sacred word or phrase 
is a help to get started, e.g."God is Love."
At times peacefully pondering a scripture verse or line of poetry, 
gazing at a work of art, or chanting can be ushers to silence.
If we are outdoors we quiet our monkey minds 
to hear the wisdom of the wind,
the divine babble of the brook, 
the Holy Spirit's squeals of joy from the playground.
Sometimes it's best to just sit in a park or walk through the neighborhood
and be lost in being with Being.
Throughout the day it is good every once in a while to just "chill still" 
and be at home in what is.

To support our venture into Divine Silence, 
a bundle of encouragement follows here.
Considering a bit each day
will help quiet us into the "whollyness" of 

               Divine Silence

Action and vigor are part of our encounter with God.
So are silence and stillness.
      "Be still and know that I am God"

                Psalm 46:10

Thanks for this chance to hear together 

         The Sounds of Silence.

                John Frank



                A TREASURE

Over time we choose one of the sharings offered here.

No rush, no hurry.

We quiet in a still setting of body and spirit.

Sometimes The Spirit speaks through the sharing.

Sometimes we gently reflect on what is the wisdom

at its core?

Sometimes we ponder on just what this sharing means

applied to our unique spiritual lives.

Sometimes we are simply in for a surprise.


"God is presence and the grace of silence takes us there."

"God is the Stillpoint. Silence stills us to that point.'

"Listen to silence. It has so much to say."

"It is better to have a heart without words 

 than words without a heart."

The closer you are to the truth, 

the more silent you will become."
                                                                           Naval Ravikant

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, 

 for my hope is from him."
                                                                           Psalm 62:5

"Silence is true wisdom's best reply."

"I have calmed and quieted my soul, 

 like a weaned child with its mother..."
                                                                           Psalm 131:2

"Silence sure is golden. High yield.

 Don't miss the investment opportunity"

"Silence isn't empty. It's full of answers."

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, 

 for my hope is from him.  He only is my rock 

 and my salvation, my fortress; 

 I shall not be shaken." 
                                                                            Psalm 62: 5-6

"The quieter you become the more you will hear."

"All men's miseries derive from not being able 

 to sit in a quiet room alone."
                                                                          Blasé Pascal

"But the Lord is in his holy temple;

 let all the earth keep silence before him."
                                                                          Habakkuk 2:20

"Now therefore stand still and see the great things 

 that the Lord will do before your eyes."
                                                                          I Samuel 12;16


This past week a significant number
of first time participants joined us. 

Many came from many lands. We are blessed! To you we say



                           "frankly speaking"
                       spirituality for the street

       -is posted Thursday evenings, east coast USA time
       -is available by automatic email each Friday
                        sign up above right
       -past postings are available at Blog Archive
                        bottom right column

                          SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!!





Thursday, January 23, 2020


Dear All of Us,

If I may,
how do you deal with the dark
       the dark outside
       the dark inside
               duck, deny, defy
            pull the covers over your head - or soul
            turn on every light you can find
            cry out for Mommy, somebody, God 
            try to pill it away
            wait it out
            attempt to outrun it
            let it drain and deaden you
            seek some, any, genuine enlightenment
            let loose a psychic, soul scream
            thrash about 
            drag others into it
            long for light to dawn
            embrace it
            let it highlight the starry heavens
            realize that the other side of the world, of reality, is bright  
                      and will soon dawn where you are
            light a candle and join others to spread the light?

These are dark days.
Where many of us live it is winter.
It gets dark early and light late.
Seasonal Affective Disorder darkens in more than in a few ways.
Our social, cultural, political, governmental, religious, planetary days are dark -
terribly, dangerously, destructively so, like never before in all human history.
Check the Doomsday Clock, just reset 
to 100 seconds to midnight and oblivion.
Our response and reaction to all that darkness is itself deepest dark.
So many are scared witless - just don't know what to do,what will become of us.
So, yes
           how do you deal with the dark
                  the dark outside
                  the dark inside?

In a way we are experiencing a shared Dark Night of the Soul.
It's also a personal darkness.
It's not comfortable.
It's not easy.
It's doesn't need to be our final fate, the end of the story either.
So, how then do we Lighten Up?

We start where we are and look to where we can go even if it isn't yet clear.
We admit the dark and look for the light.
We accept that both are personal and private as well as shared and social.
No pulling the covers over our heads - souls.

We do what we can where we are to comfort and care for others 
suffering the dread of darkness however it is experienced.

We love and pray for the Doers of Darkness - the Captains of Empire
in governance, religion, commerce, media -  so sick and sinister  
and making it that way for this planet and us its people -  dark and dreadful.

As we feel our way along in the nothingness of dark we are not blinded 
to the terrain of light as we encounter it - oasis like - 
all those million moments and motions of luminous goodness - 
the dear and good people moving through the dark day 
in brilliant, life giving ways and creation itself unfolding in radiant beauty. 

We begin to see the need to simplify our life styles - 
stuff weighs us down to dark earth -
we let go of our more than enough 
so we are light enough to lift to light.

Darkness can scare the life out of us.
Yet, in the dark lovers open, thrust and merge into a divine luminosity.
It's intensely, wondrously bright and warm.
Lovers  are in the flow of the Love that is God.
They are a magnificent reminder that no darkness can stop love
in whatever form people make love - newly weds, social justice advocates, grandma making raisin oatmeal cookies for her grandkids, 
the parent putting up with a less than thrilling job to finance the family,
an old pastor writing a weekly blog to support your spiritual life...
There are endless ways of love making in the dark.
They are dark defying.

We're not all alone out here on the crust of the earth in the scary dark.
Light or dark, countless numbers of us are together.
We have taken Jesus up on his offer:
                   "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 & 9 )
Talk about making love, being into each other!!!
What a Love Community!

Jesus reflected upon himself as the Light of the World.

                   "I am the light of the world.
                    Whoever follows me 
                    will never walk in darkness
                    but will have the light of life"
                                                               (John 8:12)

That wasn't some sort of self sell.
It was and is Self Share.
Jesus the Christ is intensity itself, 
the intensity of Divine Love, 
Reality Incarnate, 
higher voltage than anybody's calibration.
In company with him and each other, 
no matter than darkness, 
we together will have the light of life. 
The paradox here reminds me of John of the Cross describing 
The Dark Night Of The Soul as 

                         "luminous darkness".

Jesus goes on to widen the wealth:
                      "You are the light of the world...
                       let your light shine before others, 
                       so that they may see your good works 
                       and give glory to your Father in heaven."
                                                                    (Matthew 14 and 16)

How about them apples?
Our light received and shared will brighten to glory giving.

From the get go of creation  the Word (articulation) of God,
has spoken into being all that is and no darkness will blot it out.

                       "What has come into being in him was life,
                        and the life was the light of all people.
                        The light shines in the darkness, 
                        and the darkness did not overcome it."
                                                                         ( John 1: 3-5)

Yes, these are terrifyingly dark days.
Yet, as dark as it is these perilous days, we sure can  
                         Lighten Up 
         "The light shines in the darkness

      and the darkness(will) not overcome it.""

       So good to be together sharing life and light,

                         John Frank



"When the soul is plunged into the fire of divine love,
 like iron, it first loses its (coldness and dullness),
 and then growing to white heat, it becomes like unto fire itself.
 And lastly it grows liquid, and, losing its nature, 
 it is transmuted into an utterly different quality of being...
 As the difference between iron that is cold, and iron that is hot, 
 so is the difference between … the tepid soul
 and the soul made incandescent by divine love." 

                                                           Richard of St. Victor


"Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of this world.
 All things break. And all things can be mended.
 Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
 So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
 The broken world waits in darkness for the light that you are."

                                                            L.R. Knost

                                                            Passed on by my friend,
                                                            Michael Byler

 "No matter how deep the dark look to the stars."

                                                            John Frank


A bright, warm welcome to those new to our weekly gathering here at

                             "frankly speaking"
                          spirituality for the street

-It is posted online each Thursday evening, east coast USA time 

-It is available be automatic weekly delivery each Friday - 
                          sign up above online

- It offers past postings at Blog Archive - right column online.

                            SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!!!



Thursday, January 16, 2020


Dear All of Us,

So, how is it with you?
Are you a stay put person,
or mostly mobile?
Do you prefer set and stable,
or lots of movement and vibe?
Where you conceived conservative
and plan to stay such right up to the pearly gates?
Or, from the get go has it been progression 
to ever new points and persuasions? 
Do you dance life in pretty much the same spot,
or all over town and countryside?

In other words, how do you deal with 
      location and relocation,
be it geographic, ideological, cultural, spiritual, social, 
political, relational, occupational - all and every?

The verve and tenor of our spiritual journey
are muchly effected by both location and relocation.
They are the "where' of it.
They contextualize and condition it.
Things like:

      - our tradition and upbringing - 
       embraced, rejected or modified
    - our maturing, evolving consciousness,
      or its regression 
    - our pain, pleasure, ennui 
      and where they "put" us -
      locate/relocate us
    - our current cultural context 
      ( compare the "safe and set" 1950's 
      to current cultural convulsing )
    - our health and wealth - 
      comfortable, compromised or ...
    - where and how we live - 
      Boston, Belfast, Bucharest -
        town, country, city - 
      our social and ecological environment
      - with whom we live - 
      terrific, toxic, or...
    - the kind and conditions of our work -
      obsessive, creative or ...
    - our spiritual community,
      or the lack of it.

The list is seemingly endless and the effects as well.
Those effects of location and relocation 
are both quite immediate and yet cumulative.
They have a significant impact on the condition and quality 
of our spiritual living:
     - is it best to hold on or move on?
     - staying too long stultifies
     - yet, often staying can stabilize
     - a certain spiritual practice may be a mainstay,
       or it could be a flame out if we stay with it too long
     - relocating can free and expand - example: 
       the spiritual authors we read,
       ( I read Thomas Merton the first half of my life 
        to great benefit and still do, 
       but Gerald May and Richard Rohr have had the eyes of my soul
       in this second half of life), 
     - do I adopt a more conservative/liberal stance -
       religious practice, moral evaluation, theological position, 
       political/social posture
     - be it moving on to a new religious community,
     - be it living out contemplation more actively, or just the opposite

Many have little choice about where they're "at"
and if/when/where  they are relocated.
That can be where they live, their health, relationships, work, 
finances, cultural context.
It's a matter of adjusting, maximizing 
where they are and/or are transported.

Many of us have some say about where we are "at"
and when we choose to transition to a new "at" (location/relocation).
We enter a new relationship, embrace a new spiritual experience,
change our political stance, we decide to move.

The latter is my current.
I just moved to Washington, D.C. to be closer to family.
It certainly has effected me spiritually  -
and financially and worn the live'n heck out of me - 
lost six pounds in a week!!
It meant letting go of the comfortable familiar 
and trying to deal with so much that was uncomfortably unfamiliar.
It was a "relocation" in all sorts of ways - friends, church, bank, doctor, 
letting go of a car and learning the Metro, unpacking hundreds of boxes 
to find and relocate everything from toothbrush to legal papers.
Worthwhile and exhausting.
It was a rough go to get here and here is a wonderful place to now be.

The transition, moving from one location and all that it had meant,
to relocation and this promising place, put me nowhere for a while.
That was  tough. 
Living in liminal space 
(liminus in Latin means doorway) - 
being totally in-between - neither here nor there was a stress.
Former and familiar were gone.
New and accustomed had yet to develop.
Vulnerability and chaos resulted for a painful period.
It caused me to constantly refocus and recommit to simply being in "Being", 
and that in the liminal nowhere of my here and now -
paradoxically a naked nothingness in All That Is.

Moving of any sort sure shakes up your soul.
That location to relocation makes it ever so clear that,
while we daily deal with the immediacies 
of all our "locations" and "relocations"-
physical, social, intellectual, value system and all the endless rest -
they are all part of a flow, partials on the way to the Ultimate
and our growth into It,
but in no way are the The Ultimate.
That's a good "Soul Shake".

                 " Cast all you cares upon the Lord.
                    and He will sustain you..."
                                          Psalm 55:22

                  "The Lord will keep your going out 
                    and your coming in 
                    from this time and for evermore."
                                          Psalm 120:8

See you next week, 
wherever we are located or relocated.
Holding us all in 
The Love Who Is God,

        John Frank

A warm welcome to those joining in here for the first time.
It's a blessing to have your company.

                             "frankly speaking'
                                 spirituality for the street

- is posted online each Thursday evening,
  east coast USA time at

- is available by automatic email delivery each Friday,
  sign up above

- past postings are available at
  Blog Archive,,
  right column online.

                            Have a great week!



Thursday, January 9, 2020


Dear All Of Us,

How do you understand
evil and pain?

The kind that happens when 
a thirteen year old girl 
trying to escape 
the horrors and violence
in El Salvador 
is gang raped into pregnancy.

The kind that happens 
when tornados and earthquakes devastate.

The kind that happens when 
a gentle old lady writhes in pain
on her death bed.

The kind that happens when 
a teenage boy is told 
he is not welcome in a church 
because he is gay.

The kind that happens as 
this planet is plundered and polluted into peril.

The kind that happens 
when no matter how hard you work
you just can't support your family.

The kind that happens when 
your spouse gives 
body and preference
to another.

The kind that happens when
media and political people
spew hate talk and lies 
that polarize and fracture.

The kind that happens when 
anxiety and depression
force a person into 
a hell hole of dark despair.

How do you understand
evil and pain?

That's what I puzzle,
what I try to understand,
but I just can't.

Paradoxically this 
plays off against 
what I do and 
don't understand 
about God.

Please stay tuned!!

I do understand 
that none of us 
can ever or even come close
to figuring out the fullness,
The Love Mystery, 
Who is God.
But happily 
I do realize that
what we can't intellectually understand 
we can deeply experience.
It's like a baby 
being greatly loved
by its mother.
Not much rational understanding involved, 
but what an incorporation and experience it is.
By comparison, though we don't intellectually understand 
all that much about God, 
we sure can accept the experience 
of immersion and enfoldment
in God and in God's beautiful, 
cosmic, evolving creation.

I understand that God,
the Energy of All That Is,
is incarnate in creation,
Being Itself holding all in being :
    people, place, spirit,
    elements, occurrence 
         -embryonic life to an
              Olympic gold medalist,
         -a Spring sprout 
              to Shakespeare,
        -specks of matter 
              to mighty mountains.

I don't understand how,
but I do understand so.

What I don't understand is this.
Given God's goodness, 
how is it that 
evil and pain
plague us 
and all creation?

Yes indeed, and for sure,
that's a question as old as 
the first mosquito bite and 
Cain's murder 
of his brother Abel.

I just can't figure out
the mix of good and evil,
the mix of God, creation, 
chaos, delight and pain -
 can't figure it out 
but sure do experience it
as does all creation.

I don't understand how,
but I do understand so.

In no way am I alone
with this inability. 
It's a universal puzzlement.
And that's important 
to know as we try 
to live our spiritual lives
in good times and bad times,
with things understandable
and not at all so,
out here on 
the street of everyday 
occurrence and experience.
There's more mystery than not.
To experience it is one thing,
to attempt to fathom 
it is quite another. 

All kinds of think sorts
over the span 
of human experience 
have had a try 
at explaining
the mystery 
of good and evil.
Sure, some  have
come up with 
helpful insights,
but no one nails it,
no one can figure it out.

Creation is evolving.
That's beautiful
and good.
But it still hurts 
to birth a baby.

In our spiritual lives
many of us are trying 
to accept the life invite 
of Jesus become The Christ.
That very Jesus experienced 
all sorts of good and evil
in his day and way,
just as we do in ours.

Our spiritual lives 
are a living out of this
Jesus become The Christ,
and of God's evolving creation,
and both in our way and place.
We experience 
good and evil
as we grow, 
groan and glow
with all into All.

I don't understand how, 
but I do understand so.

In our meditation and prayer 
as we ponder all this, 
more in our heart than in our head,
we are steadied and assured by
The Spirit:  

       I consider that the sufferings 
       of this present time 
       are not worth comparing 
       with the glory about 
       to be revealed to us...
       for creation was subjected 
       to hope that 
       the creation itself will be 
       set free from 
       the bondage to decay...
       We know that 
       the whole creation 
       has been groaning 
       in labor pains until now...
       We know that all things 
       work together for good
       for those who love God, 
       and are called
       according to his purpose.
       Portions of Romans 8: 8, 20 ,21, 22


         Then I saw a new heaven
         and a new earth...
         (God) will wipe away every tear
         from their eyes.
         Death will be no more,
         mourning and crying and pain
         will be no more,
         for the first things 
         have passed away
         "See, I am making all things new.

          Portions of Revelation 21: 1, 4, 5


We actually understand 
just a bit
of the mystery of 
good and evil 
as we grow into ALL,
and yet into ALL 
we do grow!

I don't understand how,
but I do understand so.

Right after I die, when God 
and I have had our hugs 
and settled into some
good wine and cheese,
I'm going to lead off with
"So, why mosquitos?"

Thanks for your good company.
God loves you and so do I !!

            John Frank


Each week new folks join us here
and it is great to have your company!!


Please keep sharing "frankly speaking"
with friends and colleagues.
It's the main way we connect with
new folks as we gather here each week.


               "frankly speaking"
           spirituality for the street

* is posted online each Thursday evening
  east coast USA time

       ( bookmark for easy access )

* is available by automatic and free email
   each Friday - sign up top right above

* past postings are available at 
   Blog Archive - bottom right column

           See you all next week!!!!