Thursday, March 26, 2020


Dear All of Us,

Yesterday I saw presence, pure presence.
It happened  on the Red Line of the Metro  
right here in Washington, DC.

A young father and his little boy were sitting together.
And what a together.
There was a peace and calm about them,
a relaxed intimacy,
a subtle, gentle joy.
Amid all the riders, ear budded or cell phoned into elsewhere isolation,
was this little boy feet up on the seat,
snuggled into his dad,
the two of them absorbed into each other 
and in together reading a book.
It was pure presence.
It was divine.
It was what prayer is.

                        Prayer is presence

Prayer is presence - now, here, absorbed in God.
Prayer is presence so absorbed in God that it is intimate.
Prayer is presence so intimate that it is love.
Prayer is presence of such love that it is unitive.
Prayer is presence so unitive that the two are distinctly One. 

                        Prayer is presence

       God is present everywhere and in everything.

             Prayer is being present to the Presence

Prayer Presence is like that little boy and his dad on the Metro -
snuggling up and being absorbed into a unity.
That oneness can happen  wherever and however we are.
God is already there.
All we need to do is show up,
open up to the Presence of God.
In prayer we do just that.

                        Prayer is living in the Presence of God, 

                     anywhere, everywhere, always:
               - eating - sleeping - working - playing - suffering
               - achieving - creating correcting - helping
               - healing loving - forgiving - learning - teaching
               - touching - listening - speaking - dressing -
               - reading a book together on the Metro                      
                    anywhere, everywhere, always.

Let's all take a break here adding to the list more and personal
where's and when's of God Presence in our daily lives.
Then slowly sense how we can be present to the Presence -
                      anywhere, everywhere, always

By the way, to be present really isn't hard work.
It really isn't.
In all truth it's exactly the opposite.
Again, the little boy and his dad.
Like them we just need to ease into where we are and God already is.
We don't have to make anything happen.
We just need to let it happen,
and let ourselves be one with it.
God is Being Itself. 
All that "be's" is in God's Being.
All energy in every form is God Energy.
That God Energy presences in matter and spirit.
So wherever we go, whatever we experience is God Present
in one form, fashion or another.

It's not hard, but it does take time to relax enough
to accept God's presence and offer ours in everything from 

                     - taking a shower to going to work
                     - having supper to getting the car serviced
                     - dealing with conflict to having a party
                     - bailing hay to attending a concert
                     - striving for social justice to taking a vacation
                     - meditating to paying bills
                     - going to church to reading a great novel 
                              - just being quiet to savoring scripture.

We go to our room, close the door and be present to
the Presence that is our Father -
just as the little boy and his dad did on the Metro.

Next time you're in DC be sure to travel the Metro Red Line.
It's really a place of prayer, 
a place of presence.

God Loves You And So Do I,

           John Frank


Welcome to all new here.
Your presence is a blessing.

     "frankly speaking"
 spirituality for the street

- is posted Thursday evening
  east coast USA time

- is available by automatic email
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All sorts of things effect how we are

Prayer is conditioned by all of life,

                          our age and maturity
                          our upbringing and experience
                          our time and place in creation



Thursday, March 19, 2020


                                         16 March 2020
Dear All of us,

It's Monday morning.
Time to start the blog.
The start is always the hardest part.
This week way, way, WAY more so. 
On top of that, by the time 
this is posted Thursday evening,
it may need a complete restart.

Next to nothing is set and settled
in this time and experience of our
         Pan Problem.
So many and much is upset, 
upended like never before.
The only thing predictable 
     about this global 
         Pan Problem
is that there's going to be 
        a lot more of it -
a lot more that will unmoor us 
    and how we try to live 
   settled, safe and secure. 
A lot of us are going to get sick. 
Some of us are going to die.
Many of us are going to see 
our financial fitness fade to flaccid.
     Society is scrambled 
in structure and by paradox
    (trying to be communal
    through social distancing).
The poor will be poorer.
Governments, medical establishments,
financial systems, industries, 
transportation networks,
social support structures
are spun out and having 
a turbulent time trying to curb,
much less control, 
this spiral to who knows where. 

We stay on the surface spiritually 
          to our peril.
It will mean stress to desperation.
We not only need to deep clean, 
          we need to 
          Deep Soul.
Right now our spiritual lives 
     need to be deep,
      as in profound, 
 or they just won't hold up.

      We're having a 
        Soul Shake.
Hopefully it will shake off 
things false, casual, 
inattentive or superficial 
   in our spiritual lives, 
    and shake us free 
    all the way to our 
        Soul Core.
An uncomfortable blessing.

So shaken, moved and refocused,
we will be spot on, secure in the 
         Source and Center 
of all that is and has no bounds.

So centered we are empowered:
    "I can do all things in Christ
       who strengthens me."
                       Philippians 4:13

       So strengthened in Christ, 
     there's a lot to do:
     - surrendering supposed control
       and sureties that aren't
     - supporting the fallen
     - suffering the demise of illusions
     - seeing structures bend and break
     - stepping up to a life of courage
       in the face of unknowns and difficulties
     - seeking shared ways to a renewed
           "spirituality for the street".

Many good and healthy things
          - real gifts -
 are threatened/compromised 
             by this 
         Pan Problem:
           - health
           - farmers' markets
           - education
           - socializing
           - employment
           - libraries
           - hospitals/medical care
           - religious services
           - baseball games
           - transportation
           - commerce
           - a beer at the local pub
and so many manys in the galaxy of our
                God Gifts.

Sometimes we miss the giver for the gift.
        Missing the gift for a while
can be another uncomfortable blessing. 
   It can makes us seek and see 
              The Giver
         anew and gratefully. 
  It can make us go right to the
         Source and Center
of all that is and has no bounds.
    It can make us spot on, 
          Soul Strong
 and do we ever need to be 
      just that just now.   

                                      Thursday Morning
                           19 March 2020

Well, "restarts" for this week's blog
there have been - aplenty -
and here's another.
Restart and rewrite after
restart and rewrite.
It's been struggle
morning, noon and night
to get it right - whatever that is.
That's been the dilemma.
What needs to be said,
and what does not need to be said?
Like so much of what so many of us 
        are experiencing
     - confused, powerless -
     - prayer and waiting -

Then i
n the wee hours this morning 
   a peaceful awareness that
      we are experiencing
   - really going through -
     The  Paschal Mystery

     death and resurrection
    in our now and here. 

   This Lent it's not 
routine, ritual, reading.
          It's real.
Real death-  real resurrection.
Right now the death part.
Death to supposed control,
invulnerability, invincibility.
Our bodies and our body politic
are sick and some are dying.
What was isn't, can't be.
What is is suffering.
What will be is new life in a new way.
It's Winter about to Spring.
And it's one hell of a hard winter right now,
no matter what the calendar says.

How do we power through?
Certainly not on our own.
  That's a power outage.
   We accept, embrace, 
         connect with,
      are jump started 
     and juiced by the 
      Power Source 
          at the 
    Center of Things,
   that "IS" the very  
    Center of Things - 
       The Center 
 With No Circumference.
         We are 
    Center Sourced
     and no matter 
     the deadliness 
    of the moment, 
 there's no stopping us.
  Death Be Dammed!!

  In those blessed moments 
this morning in the wee hours,
  clarity and empowerment.
     It was resuscitation, 
        heart to heart.
The Spirit was all over me,
pulsed, powered all through me.
Enlightenment in the dark of night
seeing, hearing, feeling, accepting
the embrace offered in truly 
           Good News        
        Gospel for Sure
I spent a lot of time and soul hearing
             John 14 -17

          It's so now.

Whatever season, day, time 
 it is where you are around 
      our shared orb,
     hush your head,
     open your heart,
let The Spirit get all over you,
pulse, power all through you,
enlighten in the dark of now,
see, hear, feel, accept the
   The Good News
   Gospel for sure

       John 14-17


   It will take time.
   It will give life.

We have one hell of a 
      Pan Problem
We have one heaven of a 
      Pan Power.

A few Soul Supports follow
for the coming week.

"God is our refuge and strength,
 a very present help in trouble."
                             Psalm 46: 1

    With you all as we 
    hurt, hope, hear,

        John Frank


                             SOUL SUPPORTS

Suggestions, resources, supports for this week and later as well.

- Richard Rohr's daily online meditation for today, March 19th. on COVID-19.
  Go to Center For Action And Contemplation.
  Richard sure is a Soul Brother. He speaks Spirit.

- For your kids, grandkids, neighbor kids, any kid connects:
       What Do You Do With A Problem?
       Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom
       Compendium, Seattle, WA 
       ISBN: 973-1-943200-00-9
       Says it simple.

       The Good Egg
       Jory John and Pete Oswald
       HarperCollins Children's Books
       New York
       ISBN 978-0-06-286600-4
       How to be good when things go wrong.

- The Road Less Travelled
  M. Scott Peck
  Simon & Shuster
  Avoidance avoids resolution.
  The only way ahead is straight through.
  Another saying of death and resurrection.


                          THE WORD'S WORD
                              John 14 -17

  Yes, that's a spread.
  So, let's 
             Go Slow In The Spirit.

 For starters: 
           - be in a quiet/comfortable place and way 
        - don't look for anything
        - see surprise
        - clear the lens of consciousness to quiet
           - identify what/how you are/feel just now
        - unload/decompress
        - stretch body/mind/feelings to calm
        - breathe gradually slower/deeper - in/out to calm
        - breath air, breath Spirit to a still fullness
        - ask for presence - yours to The Spirit
        - speak you heart - all of it
        - listen as The Spirit speaks - heart to heart
        - see/hear The WORD's WORD
        - freely stop when stopped to ponder
        - context:
                     Jesus was in the beginnings of his Pan Problem
                     He was getting ready to suffer through bad to good
                     He was about to die through to new life.
                     He spoke to his followers on how to follow.
                     He speaks that to us in our here and now.
                     Hear Him.
                     Hear as he speaks to your now.
                     Hear as he speaks to our shared, social now.
                     Ponder it.
                     What's he saying?
                     How does that touch who/how you are right now?
                     Let The Spirit set the pace.

             Here are a few prompt for prayer, understanding, application.
             Please use/not use them as is best for you.
             Please focus on your own prompts as you sense The Spirt Say.

                                      John 14

       - what are our troubles?
       - at heart how troubled am I?
       - separation/loss/a new now - how am I doing with all that?
       -"believe" is more a lived experience than a head proposition/position-
         it is to "be-life" in God/in me - how much do/don't I accept the offer?

vs2 - 14  
       - place of union/intimacy promised going forward
       - Thomas/us - a question of direction 
       - offer: a way to go, foundational truth, real/unlimited life - my response?
       - Father and Son tight - invited into their enterprise - yes/sort of/check                with me latter?
       - how big an "ask" will I make?

vs 15-17 
       - love so close we're on the same page
       - The Spirit of truth: how much do I want/will I live the real and right?
       - do I invite the Advocate to take my case?
       - today's Pan Problem and "the world" not accepting - what do you see?

       - what does "orphaned" say to me?
       - "because I live you, you also will live": am I a "YES" to this and the other          words of intimacy/union here?

vs 25- 
      - will I hear the Advocate in the particulars and practicals of this now?
      - "peace" so unique - Jesus's ordering and harmony of life -
         will I go with his flow?

                                     John 15

      - connection - a shared life energy
        - "abide in me as I abide in you" - have we moved in together?
      - will I accept this BIG LOVE of Father and Son?
      - am I hearing unto joy?
      - so, how about loving others as Jesus loves us - ready for the intensity?
      - how cool to be "chosen" for the team!!
      - how am I with the hatred of the world coming my way as I go Jesus' way?

                                    John 16

vs 1-19
     - will I hear and stay standing, or no,t and stumble?
     - fair warning about the heat for daring to follow Jesus,rather than                       the world/Empire     
     - a promise that the Advocate will make the winning case 
     - a promise that the Advocate will explain as we go

vs 20-24 
      - "this is gonna hurt" but oh what a delivery!!

                                   John 17

vs 1-
     - "eternal life" - am I invest in a timeless share?
     - "what's the word?" the world can't/won't hear?
     - a tight team - a "one" - unity 





In a sense what is going on right now is
like the shock of being in reality therapy,
    the fright when we lose power 
          and things go dark.
  Globally in scope and geography
   we are going through a shared
      Dark Night of the Senses,
      Dark Night of the Soul.
It is uncomfortable to threatening.
It calls for spiritual strength and solidarity.
It clears for a new brilliance.
    John of the Cross could see in the dark.
             He called The Dark Night
               Luminous Darkness.
That's a paradox to ponder for sure and long.


In the dark,
            seeking the light,
             we draw close
       in mutual love and support.
        As hard and frightening 
        as things are right now

            Pan Promise of Jesus:




Thursday, March 12, 2020


Dear All of Us,

It seems the sky is falling in on us 
and the ground is falling out from under us.
We all know/feel the stress
behind those metaphors for our right now:

    Just how close and bad 
    will the coronavirus pandemic be?

    Will the financial markets'
    wild roller coaster ride 
    cause the world economy
    to go off the rails?

    How many more governments 
    will cave to chaos?

    Is a clear and clean election possible?

    Will white power skinheads, inept leaders,  
    dysfunctional institutions, 
    nuclear warlords, cyber satans, 
    hack society to pieces?

Not nice!!
Much worse: down right dangerous.
We are terribly confused,
and admitting it or not, 
quite fearful.

What's outside us effects what's inside us.
Our spiritual life spans both.
What does 
     "spirituality for the street"
look like lived on these lanes of
danger, fear, confusion?

Let's see if we can get our bearings
and then find a way forward.

We start with our current context,
more exactly, assumptions 
about our current context.

Here in the States we seem 
to assume that an
"Ozzie and Harriet',
"Leave It To Beaver",
everybody goes to church,
upwardly mobile,
1950's nuclear family,
with a Levitown home,
and a Chevrolet in the driveway
is the norm and 
the normal context for living,
and we've got to get back
to something like it asp.

Wrong, painfully wrong.
See David Brooks' masterful piece,
The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake,
in the March issue of The Atlantic.
The nuclear family had a short shelf life.
The 50's quickly fell to pot plus, 
racial strife, sexual revolution, 
Beats,  Hippies, and
declining institutional religion.

The 50's cultural context here in the States 
was a blip on the screen of societal living.
Over our history we have lived 
decidedly otherwise
and do so now.
That we need to see and deal with
if we are going to even come close 
to some sort of for real spiritual life 
in the reality and immediacy of this right now.
Yet, we long for that supposed 
safety and stability 
of the 50"s.
Well, it is the exception that proves 

What's reigned and ruled has
been and is:
       - war after war
     - boom and bust 
     - immigration and reactive nativism 
       over and over again 
     - racial/ethnic injustices 
     - a host of family constructs 
       and deconstructs
     - ridged religious denominationalism
       (now crumpling and caving)
     - way less than pure and principled politics    
       - always an underclass and poverty
     - planetary rape
     - plagues a-plenty

That kind of outside rattles 
our outside AND our inside.
How do we live our spiritual lives
so rattled by 

We can't change it.
We can't wait for an 
ideal cultural context.
We can change ourselves
and how we deal with it.

We have no choice 
but to live our spiritual lives in 
"The same old same old" 
dressed up 2020.

      The Lenten Retreat
that follows invites a soul sift 
to do just that and offers us 
a way forward. 
We take a section a day
over the next week
for prayerful reflection and resolve.

Praying us all clarity and courage,

          John Frank


Last week we again had 
a significant number of new folks 
join in with us here online.
Particularly prominent were many
good people from Turkmenistan.
A bright Spring welcome to one and all!!

          "frankly speaking" .
      spirituality for the street

- is posted each Thursday evening
          east coast USA time

- is available by automatic email
   each Friday - sign up top of 
            online posting

- past postings are available at
              Blog Archive
             online posting.

             A SOUL SHIFT

          We quiet the mind.

          We still the soul.

          We breath The Spirit.

          We listen.

          We consider.

          We see.

          We accept Soul Shift.

          We thank. 
         We are clarified and encouraged.


A lot follows here, a week's worth of material for
Lenten prayer pondering. 
Rather than overdo,
let's address a portion each day.

           DAY I

We begin.

For sure, 
these really are rough days.
They confuse and frighten.
How do we make our way 
in the midst of Empire,
living under

Well, we see that Jesus lived 
beautifully, authentically, effectively 
under it in a land 
subjected to the tyrannical rule
of occupying Rome
and with a compromised religion.

He is our model and hope.

Like him, our context
isn't stalled or stuck on
          "as is".
It is open and expansive. 
We have a context 
within and beyond that of 
and its force through

We recognize that we 
are growing into 
fullness and freedom,
however difficult 
our immediate experience of
Jesus clarifies and confirms for us.
It is so important and encouraging 
to meditate and pray 
long and profoundly on that:

    "My kingdom is not of this world..."
                                  John 18:36
The Spirit speaks thus:
    "For this world is not 
     our permanent home,
     we are looking forward 
     to a home yet to come"
                                  Hebrews 13:14

So, a
ll our eggs are not in the basket 
of right now, right here, as is.
We are not stuck nor stymied 
by the limit of the moment.
This is not our end point.
We are
        Followers of the Way
and very much on our way home.
Let's go back over this 
and sit with it all  for a quiet bit.

                DAY II

We don't disengage from the now of need
on our way to our "home yet to come".
We're not going it alone.
We do all we can for all we can.
John Wesley speaks our concern and care
as we grow forward despite and beyond
the limits and evils of 
Empire's operating mode.
Wesley 's Soul Speak:

      "Do all the good you can,
       By all the means you can,
          In all the ways you can,
       In all the places you can
       At all the times you can
       To all the people you can
       As long as ever you can."

What  "good" can I do for others,
be that other people 
or other planet places?

What "means" are available to me?

What "ways" can I go about it?

What "places" are open to me?

What "times" do I have?

What "people" are before me?

How "long" and far can I go?

             DAY III

Rather than long for an ideal 
that never was, 
nor surrender 
to desperation at what is, 
we need  to scope out  
our right here, right now, as is,
for what it is, and how we need 
to deal with it.
Jesus gives us a heads up here,
a way forward, 
and a challenge for sure:

    "See, I am sending you out 
     like sheep in the midst of wolves; 
     so be wise as a serpent and 
     guileless as a dove"
                                    Matthew 10:16

Time to pause, reflect, and clarify:
     What does it mean to be sent?
     What are the "wolves"?
     What is the threat?
     What's it like to be as sheep?
In other words, Jesus tells us:
      Be smart, be pure -
      real smart, real pure
Do we catch on to what's coming down?
      Let's name it, spell it out (be wise).
      What does it mean to be pure here?
      What's pure like in practice?

                         DAY IV
The Spirit through Paul puts us right:

     "Do not be conformed to this world, 
      but be transformed 
      by the renewal of your mind, 
      that by testing you may discern 
      what is the will of God, 
      what is good and acceptable and perfect."
                                                                 Romans 12:2

All this is a lot of work for sure.
Let's keep right at it.
Let's not gloss over it .
Let's stop here and detail 
what this means in the immediacy 
of our right here, right now, as is
- being specific and concrete -
      - how am I conformed to this world?
         - how can that be transformed?
      - what has to be renewed
        in my thinking/valuing?
      - what kind of testing and discerning
        do I need so as to be open to  
        the will of God?
      - am I ready to embrace 
        the good, the acceptable, the perfect?

                     DAY V

is such that it is essential 
for us  be in community,
to bond and share and care:
      "... they may all be one. 
       As you, Father, are in me 
       and I am in you, 
       may they also be in us, … 
       so that they may be one, 
       as we are one, 
       I in them and you in me, 
       so that they may become 
       completely one..."
                              John 17:21-22

       "Now the whole group 
        of those who believed 
        were of one heart and mind...
        everything they owned 
        was held in common...
        there was not a needy person 
        among them..."
                               Acts 4: 32-34

In no way can we go it alone,
nor leave others alone.
      - how much "oneness" is there
        in my spiritual community?
      - are we tight, at least a little bit
        like the Father and Son?
      - are we any where close to being
                "completely one" ?
      - how can our community 
        pull together ever more?
      - am I/ are we striving to be
            "of one heart and mind" ?
      - how much am I/are we ready 
             to hold all things in common?
      - am I/are we making sure
              there is not a needy one among us?

                         DAY VI

Thomas Jefferson designed his own Bible.
He simply cut out the parts 
of the Bible he didn't like.
In the process, he gutted the whole thing.

That's a "temptation" we all face.
Let's face up to a part of the Bible 
we'd just as soon expunge, 
avoid, duck, deny, but just can't and won't:

    "If any want to be become my followers, 
     let them deny themselves 
     and take up their cross and follow me."
                                              Mark 8: 34

Tough talk!
Real Speak!
Am I really ready to "follow the leader"?
What scares me here?
I can only be a follower if I follow.
What's the lead here?

Jesus came to straighten out 
what was all mixed up, 
what was fouled up, 
what was going wrong and wronging.
A lot of good things get all crisscrossed.
That trips things up.
We and our world have a lot of crossed wires
and they short circuit goodness.
Jesus tells us what he's doing 
and invites us to hike along.
The only way to deal with 
the crisscross in life
is to get off the couch of self indulgence
("deny yourself"),
 go hands on with the messed up circuitry
("take up their cross")
and get going to real and right
("and follow me").

What is my cross,  
what's at cross purposes
      in my value system, 
      my attitude and approach to life,
      mine and that of others ,
      be they other people or planet places?
What are ways I cross up goodness
      in my choices,
What kind of ways do I 
     dump my cross of conflicts on others 
     rather then take my cross 
     and work it out by following Jesus 
     and his Way of Real?
What are the crosses in society 
     that I really need to shoulder?

                   DAY VII

Francis of Assisi lived Jesus.
He helps us live Jesus.
Following Francis' lead, we make 


What was occurring at each station?
      See it.
            Feel it.
                 Hear it tell Love.
                     Let it have you!!

For each station, what are ways 
in my life and our world 
that the underlying experience 
is current and critical?

For example:
       The First Station:
       Jesus is condemned to death.
How do I deal 
with being falsely condemned,
"dissed", discarded?

What people today 
are being condemned 
to some form of death -
    economic, emotional, 
    political, financial, religious -
    by social injustice?

Am I and/or my life style 
at all something of a Pilate in this?


I. Jesus is condemned to death.

II. Jesus accepts the cross.

III. Jesus falls the first time.

IV. Jesus meets his mother.

V. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross.

VI. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

VII. Jesus falls the second time.

VIII. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.

IX. Jesus falls the third time.

X. Jesus is stripped of his cloths.

XI. Jesus is crucified.

XII. Jesus dies on the cross.

XIII. The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross.

XIV. The body of Jesus is laid in the tomb.

Should you choose to make 
The Stations of the Cross
by way of a guided meditation, 
take a station a day 
for the next two weeks
as presented by
friar followers of Francis.
Their meditations are online at:

Stations of the Cross-Franciscan Friars of the Atonement