Thursday, April 30, 2020


Dear All of Us,

Hey, this current too long 
has been a bummer.
So, so strange, such stress, 
surreal on steroids.
We need a happy, hearty time out.
Yah, a Happy Hour.
Like so much these days,
it'll have to be virtual, of course.
So instead of offering you
a glass of J.Lohr's Seven Oaks 
Cabernet Sauvignon,
I invite you to join my holy high.
And high happy I am!!

Eighty years ago today,
April 30,1940,
at St. Joseph's Hospital 
in Paterson New Jersey 
my Mom 
birthed me to life.
What a giver.
What a gift.
Before Mom 
was birthed into
at age ninety two, 
I used to send her a 
      Thank You 
card every April 30th.
These April 30ths.  
it's a love prayer.

Now, the life and years 
given me are wearing out -
as are my back, and hips, 
and eyes, and ears, 
and allied parts and powers,
but a sense of humor, never!! 
Sooner than later, though,
it will be my turn 
to be birthed into
What a high that will be!!

Over these eighty years of  
                Life Gift
God has given and gifted me
so much, in so many ways, 
and so fully.
Am I ever grateful,
and I sure want to show it.
So how about this?

This Pan Pain has knocked 
just about everything on its ear.
That includes birthday parties.
What the heck.
I'm eighty today.
Let's party.
I'll just throw one myself 
right here, right now 
and you are invited.
(If you are joining in here
after April 30th.,
don't fret - this party's 
still in full swing 
and will be all week!!)

We'll make a real
     Happy Hour
out of it, one with
a happy twist and 
turn around to it.

That's because 
for my eightieth birthday
the best ever gift 
I could receive from you 
would be for you 
to let me to give you these 

They are reflections 
that come from my heart
and are offered to yours.
They are about 
the heart of the matter,
what is at the heart 
of living our Life Gift.
They are all about

So, let's unwrap 
these reflections,
these birthday presents
from me to you.
Here goes.



For God's sake,
for your sake,
for everybody's sake,
be who you are.

Otherwise, and it's not a bit wise,
we are failed actors in a fantasy of futility.
That's because,

            our being is divine

            and all our doing 
            flows from our being.

If that's cockeyed, 
everything we do is cockeyed.
Check out so many 
national and international leaders right now
and see failed fantasy and futility 
center stage and destabilizing. 

I've seen it where 
I've plied my trade as a pastor 
for well more than half a century.
Sadly some clergy dress up 
in robes and roles
that don't fit them
and they play at church,
too often for protection, profit, position.
A fantasy of futility
center sanctuary and desacralizing.
Sadly, at times I've even seen it 
in the sacristy mirror.

That's the negative of what 
God means to be a positive,
and that positive is
    You are a unique, 
     one of a kind 
   emanation of God. 

Again and always Bonaventure 
points to the paradox and wonder 
of just who you are.
  "You are not God and 
   you are not not God."

Take that one to the bank!

           You are 

God happening, occurring,  

in the God Given Human BEING You Are.
You are sacred at your center,
and in all the particulars of your being.

That sensed, embraced, treasured, and lived, 
frees us for our divine being
to flow into divine doing.

God has songs to sing, 
and so the singer.
God has knowledge to share, 
and so the scientist.
God has life to create,
and so the parent.
God has love to give,
and so the life companion.
God has people to feed,
and so the farmer.
God has wisdom to enlighten,
and so the sage.

In other words, be who you are 
in all your uniqueness and particulars - 
be that introvert, extrovert, funny, 
studious, straight, gay, nerd, 
life of the party, organizer, 
free spirited, poetic, jock -
whatever, all and fully.

Don't let anyone ever talk you 
out of being who you are.
We need the real deal, 
      The God Being
        you are by 
 God's Gift and Giving.

                II. DOING FLOWS FROM BEING

Do what you are Good At, 
what you are God At.
Nobody but you can be the singular 
God Being creatively God Doing
that you are.

Don't let power, popularity, privilege
steal you from you,
from us,
from God,
from God's Creation as it unfolds.

Free up for fullness.
No play acting out here on 
    The Street of Real.
We need you as you are. 
We need what flows from 
who and how you are.

Example: as a young pastor
I tried to preach 
as another Fulton J. Sheen.
Unfortunately that was a role
I should never have self cast.
It was not a God Gift I had to give.
A lot of time, church, grace  and blessing 
got blown away by my fantasy of futility.
Eventually I caught on, grew up 
and let her ripe, preaching my heart out 
in my own hookie, happy, God Given way.
It's not for everybody, 
but it's what I've got to give and I give it.
It comes right out of who I am,
My God Doing from My God Being.

Please be happy and grateful with me.

Please accept these Birthday Presents.

       BE WHO YOU ARE  

                        DO AS YOU ARE

Now, it's time for cake and candles.

Blowing out those eighty candles 

will probably take all afternoon

and then mean a nice long nap!!

    Thanks for coming to my 

           birthday party.

        It sure had been a 

            Happy Hour.

    Here's to Being and Doing 

          God's Life Gift,

             John Frank



                  FOR PRAYER AND PONDERING


      "For in him (God) we live, and move and have our being."

                                                                      Acts 17:28

       "Christ is in you, the hope of glory."

                                                                     Colossians 1:27

     "Do you not know that you are a temple of God 

      and that the Spirit dwells in you?"

                                                                     I Corinthians 3:16

     "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me."

                                                                      Galatians 2:20


     "We have different gifts according to the grace given us."

                                                                     Romans 12:6

      "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another 

       as good stewards of God's varied grace."

                                                                      I Peter 4:10

      "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;

       and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord;

       and there are varieties of activities,

       but it is the same God activates all of them in everyone.

       To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit 

       for the common good."

                                                                         I Corinthians 12: 4-7


              It is a joy to welcome those new this week to 

                              "frankly speaking"
                          spirituality for the street

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                        SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!!





Thursday, April 23, 2020


Dear All of Us,

"Don't rock the boat!'

"OK, OK, I won't.

"But what the hell do I do 
when this damn boat 
is rock'n the hell out of me?"

That's about where 
we all are these days.
We're in the same boat,
getting swamped,
afraid of sinking,
and so longing for


About now what scripture 
do you suspect 
we need to let soak in?

You're right!
The disciples freaking out
because they and their boat 
threaten to go under 
in a violent storm.

    A furious squall came up, 
    and waves broke over the boat, 
    so that it was nearly swamped.

Where's Jesus?
He's snoozing in the stern
(what a nervous system).

The crew did what the storm didn't.
They woke Jesus up.

      "Lord save us!
      We are going to drown!"
      He woke up 
      and rebuked the wind,
      and said to the sea, 
      "Peace! Be still!"

Then Jesus had something 
to say to the disciples,
and quite frankly, 
to us in our current 
turbulence and peril.

       "Why are you so afraid?
        Do you still have no faith?"

The reaction of that boat load 
of shaken sailors and hopefully 
of our crew today?

         And they were filled 
         with great awe, 
         and said to one another,
         "Who is this , 
         that even the wind 
         and the sea obey him?"

( See Mark 4:37- 41 and Matthew 8:23-27)

With this Pan Problem 
we're all adrift at sea,
a rough and threatening one.
We're far from any


We're swamped with uncertainty 
about health, even life.
We fear being drowned in
civil discord, unemployment,
a social distancing 
that separates for body safety
and endangers psyche and social cohesion.
Adrift in this boat battered to breaking,
we too want Jesus up and at'em.
We want him to act, 
to "peace" things to "still".
But we don't seem able to rouse him,
to get him to do what we want.

Actually, it's we who need to wake up.
Jesus is in this thing with us,
this boat load of danger.
We have his back and all the rest of him.
He wants the same from us.
That's faith - 
trust to the point of commitment 
and commitment to the point of union. 
In these rough seas, 
anything less will mean
horrid sea sickness,
being swamped by fear,
drowning in despair.
Faith is a fate and life shared.
The boat may be overwhelmed,
but we aren't because 
we have caught on that 
Jesus is with us no matter 
the severity and turbulence 
of our transit.
He's got a way of dealing with it.
We don't dictate the watch when
his "peace" will "still", bringing  us 
deliverance and destination, 
bringing us to
          SHORE SAFE.

Jesus may seem to be asleep on us,
but here he is in the stern of our transit.
He's with us.
Are we with him?
Will we trust him
to the point of commitment, 
a commitment that takes us 
to the point of union?
Faith doesn't make 
danger or difficulty go away.
It gets us through them. 
The furor of the moment
really roughs us up, 
toss us all over the place,
but won't sink us.

Faithless fear will. 

Fear there is.
This is a rough row
and will be for quite a while.
Faith it is that will 
power through fear
all the way to

            Shore Safe.

Let's all pray each other faithful.

    In the boat with all of us,

           John Frank


                                   SPECIAL EDITION


                                 "frankly speaking"

                                     NEXT WEEK

Quite different

       Hopefully A Positive Plus

                        A Tickle Or Two


                                      Unique For Sure

                   Yep! right here next posting.

                   Goes Online Thursday, April 30th.

                   Will be up for a week, until May 7th.


                     FOR SURE PLEASE JOIN IN.

                            PLEASE INVITE 




               EVEN YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW.


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                  SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!!

                    WE'RE GONNA HAVE A GOOD TIME!!








Thursday, April 16, 2020


Dear All of Us,

By the sixth grade 
I had attended 
six schools.
While a bit free spirited, 
I was not even close 
to incorrigible - honest!
Neither were my parents 
skipping town before the sheriff 
closed in for unpaid rent.
Dad 's career careened us 
across the country.
I got to see lots of places 
and meet all sorts of people.
Actually, I rather liked it and
adjusted to the relocations easily.

It was a good bit different
when I entered the seminary.
That relocation involved 
a lot more change and adjustment: 
- a highly regimented life, schedule and ethos
- You did what you were told and did so 
  in prescribed circumstances and manner 
- forty guys to a dorm, too many of whom 
  snored up a storm
- protracted periods of silence
  throughout the day
- meals miles from Mom's good cooking
- assigned and mandatory  
  chores, study halls and chapel 
- no TV or leaving the property
- cold showers (young males, no girls) 
It was a bit of an ecclesial boot camp.
I did adjust to the relocation,
but it took some doing.

Sixty five years later here you and I are,
abruptly and roughly relocated 
to a really different space
by this world wide Pan Problem.
And it's hard as hell to adjust 
to this kind of a relocation.

Everyone wants to know
how we're going to get through this
and when will things get back to normal?

It's like being dislocated in place.

It's also like being relocated
captive in a foreign land.

What we're going through right now
is our version and experience 
of what the ancient Israelites
endured when forcibly relocated 
to a foreign land.
Jerusalem had been leveled,
and they were swept away.
It was their Babylonian Captivity.

Like them, 
we have gotten ourselves into 
our own forced relocation.
We've become so lopsided in our living
that we're falling over and apart.
It's not that God is punishing us.
It's the chickens of our behavior 
coming home to roost.
So much has gotten 
so unreal for
so long in
so many ways
in our culture and way of living
that we really could not handle 
a natural disaster for all our 
money, expertise, science and resources.
We are so split and spoiled 
that we couldn't be together 
and pull together to head off 
this destruction of what we had,
this terrible relocation,
this captivity of our culture.

One germ disables our bodies.
Another disables our societal soul.
Together they have relocated us 
in a bad place.

In their bad place,
in their Babylonian Captivity,
the Israelites suffered 
that painful dislocation 
for seventy years.
In that time and pain 
they came to their senses.
Great good developed.
Those seventy years  
became for them a
   Reality Retreat. 

It readied them for 
renewal and relocation
A New Now and Way.

When will we return
from our current captivity,
return to normal?
Well, my money says 
we need to invest heavily
       In our own 
     Reality Retreat
before we'll be readied
to return to anything 
close to a healthy normal.
And when we do return,
it better not be 
getting back to normal
as it was before.
That "normal" caused 
this terrible dislocation.
We will only get 
to a good place 
when we have grown into 

      A Renewed 
     Real Normal.

As mentioned here 
in an earlier posting
Richard Rohr offers us 
a lot of help in this.
He outlines for us a
    Reality Retreat


It is very hard
It is tremendously promising.
It guides us through 
this dislocation and 
opens a way to 
a fresh relocation.
Please see below for


Tough times in a bad place,
faced and embraced,
grew the Israelites free 
to a healthy 


May it be so for us and our world.

        With Love,
    in a pained place 
     and hopeful yet,

        John Frank


This week we were blessed by folks 
from the country of Lesotho
joining in with us for the first time.
       Welcome to them 
all our new associates here at

     "frankly speaking"

  spirituality for the street

-posted each Thursday evening,
       east coast USA time

-available each Friday 
 by automatic email delivery
        sign up above

-past postings are available at
      right column here



Welcome to paradox.
We retreat to forward.
We step away from "A Fix".
We retreat to where we are.
We don't get ahead of pain.
We feel it.
We see the seeds of destruction.
We face our planting of them.
We lament the harvest of unrealness.
We let The Spirit sweep a cleanness.
We accept and plant Spirit given
         Seeds of Real.

This retreat is offered for
prayer and pondering
as long as it takes to take.

It calls for slow, deep looks at 
self and society as 
                    can be.
It calls for going through 
a defining and demanding

Approached on our own,
this retreat will only 
make things worse.

Coming soul naked, 
accepting enfoldment in
is the only approach to
   A Retreat Forward. 


Wise worlds initiate the young.
Otherwise, the young bolt to destruction.

We are not a wise world.
We do not initiate our young.

We are young no matter our years.
We are not initiated.
We have bolted to destruction.

We need to be initiated.
We need to accept

    Reality Initiating Us

Fair Warning: It's hard.

All world religions initiate along the same lines.
The goal is to put the young in their place,
not the one they claim if uninitiated.
The latter places them in danger 
and they place the rest of us in danger.

Right now the world is endangered, 
              lethally so, 
by a global society uninitiated by reality.
Our goal here is to let reality put us right,
put us in our real place 
in the composition of creation,
woven into a firm social unity,
not singular threads pulling apart,
unraveling the fabric of that social unity.
To say it otherwise, we're in big time trouble
for all the loose cannons careening
across the deck of the not so good ship,
                    Shared Life .

Such initiation challenges our bolting ahead 
unchecked and destructive.
What we are going through right now 
is the result of just that - 
the destructive bolting ahead 
by legions of those uninitiated by/to reality.
They are not mostly young of years.
They are neighbors, co-workers,
friends and family of all ages.
They are central to government, politics,
business, entertainment and sports, 
religion, education and finance.
They are we.

Checked and put in our rightful place
we are then in sync with reality. 
Reality with a capital "R"
is another name for God.
It is of a piece with 
other ways of saying God:
     Truth, Goodness, Being, Existence, 
     Actuality, Unity, Cosmic Energy, Love.
Great to be in sync, placed with such.

We are blessed to have retreat guidance 
from Richard Rohr. His series is 

      " Reality Initiating Us "

It would be good to take more than a day 
with each day of it.
Sink into it.
Let it sink into us.
  - What's being shared here.
  - Where am I with it?
  - Where are we as a people with it?
  - What needs to change
  - What does that mean for me, for us?
  - What is the reality, The Reality here?
  - What is the promise, the harmony, 
    the goodness of being righted to Reality?

Richard's Series is online at:

Richard Rohr - Daily Meditation Archive - Center for Action and Contemplation
                      March 29, 2020 to April 12, 2020


An Angry Prayer

             Psalm 137

        A Lament over the 
    destruction of Jerusalem

By the rivers of Babylon -
   there we sat down and there 
         we wept
   when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there 
   we hung up our harps.
For there our captors
   asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for
         mirth, saying
    "Sing us one of the songs of

How could we sing the Lord's
   in a foreign land?
If I forget you. O Jerusalem,
   let my right hand wither!
Let my tongue cling to the roof 
         of my mouth,
If I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
   above my highest joy.

Remember, O Lord, against the 
  the day of Jerusalem's fall,
how they said, "Tear it down!
        Tear it down!
  Down to its foundations!"
O daughter Babylon, you
   Happy shall they be who pay
       you back
   what you have done to us!
Happy shall they be who take
        your little ones
  and dash them against the 

No soft pedaling here!
Those rough, raw ancients
were angry at the destruction of 
their location and their relocation 
as captives in a foreign
place and way.

While we play at being 
much more polite and gentile
we're every bit as furious 
at our parallel fate.
So let's take those folks 
in their time and place.
They put our 
"Smack'em upside the head"
more crudely and more honestly.

The Israelites had to get around 
to seeing that 
their sinful, sick ways
set them up for down.
So do we.
How long and how much 
do we need to hurt,
to suffer, before we see 
that it is the result 
of our sinful, sick ways -
  - selfish, surface satisfactions,
  - few having more 
    than they can count or use
    (failed CEO of Boeing fired yet
    leaving with $62,000,000 in benefits)
  - most not having enough 
    to count on for decent, 
    humane living 
    (refugees at our borders, 
    the homeless in Syria
    to name two of too many millions),
  - so sadly called "Reality" shows 
    that fundamentally give lie to healthy living
    ( your pick of too many),
  - principle sacrificed on 
    the altars of politics, power and profit
    ( sad same pick )
  - intimacies that aren't
  - not only the lie of "alternate facts",
    but blatant misinformation -
    precludes any sure footing 
    for decision and action
  - churches more market share driven   
    than Spirit driven
  - enough military to destroy earth 
    and civilization multiple manys.

Of course there are and have been 
good people, movements 
and institutions aplenty.

As a whole. though, we as a people 
have gotten sloppy and sodden, 
following trends and leaders on a path  
to tip, trip and down.

The ancient Israelites 
saw it, changed, 
readied for remedy and relocation.
Will we?


   It hardly matters what day it is anymore, 
  since the future is so unclear. I sit quietly,
  and I open my heart and mind 
  for the unexpected. My prayers of the heart are
  "humility, through mystery," and
  "peace, through acceptance." - C. Thorman


                   NORMAL ??

"Normality is a paved road: 
 It's comfortable to walk,
 but no flowers grow on it."

         Vincent van Gogh