Thursday, August 27, 2020


      This is the seventh of our 

          Summer Series

      We are exploring how to


           by living out 

   The Sermon On The Mount 


Dear All of Us,

It's a lot easier 

to burn a barn than

to build a barn.

I found that out

back in my 

Kentucky Days: 

     seminary, farm, 


much younger and stronger.

I saw a barn burn.

Another time,

I helped build a barn.

One Sunday evening at the seminary,

just as the sun had set,

a neighbor's barn lite up the sky

as it burned to the ground.

All it took was an electrical short,

and in one short hour

it was a pile of smoldering ashes,

charred bits and pieces of wood.

Didn't take long or much.


Another time Jude,

some friends, and I

went to work to build 

a new barn on his farm.

We had to cut timber, 

haul it to the mill,

bring back boards and beams.

Then post holds were dug 

and cement poured,

beams hoisted 

to their patterned place,

loft floored, stalls and siding 

boarded up, tin roof in place,

doors hung.

Lots of work, long and hard.


Jesus tells us of the 

work and wonder,

the blessing, 

of construction,

of often redeeming destruction,

of building up, 

of making:

  "Happy are the 


    for they will be called

    children of God."
                     Matthew 5:9

Jesus assures 

we'll be happy,

we'll be "family",

as we go to work 

making peace,

and work it sure is.

It means 

the hard work 

of clearing away

the destruction 

wrought by wrong.

It means the hard work of 

righting those wrongs

that come from a 

scorched earth policy

across the terrain 

of society's landscape -

the devastation of 

its people and place -

belittlement, contempt, 

lies, misinformation, 

civil, financial, educational, 

health and housing inequities

rights denied, segregation into

haves and have nots,

ecological/environmental rape, 

personal brutality, theft, gossip, 

xenophobia, war, misogyny, 

cheating, persecution,

abuse, stealing -

demonically on and on -

denied peace to be restored.

Lots to do for 


It's relieving agony.

It's vanquishing dark, 

It's turning on the lights. 

It's glorious work.

It's our family business

as children of God. 

Peace is integrity, oneness, union.

It's the intimacy of shared being,

being in Being - 

         us and all existing in God.

Peace is people and peoples 

centered in The Center of all.

That closeness, 

that shared life and energy, 

that existential harmony,

that ecstatic and creative joy,

propels us into peacemaking.

Intimate with God Creative, 

one in the mutuality of that peace,

we are perforce

intimate with all Creation. 

We're busy making sure 

all get on the dance floor,

get swept up into our shared 

whirling dervish of divine delight.

No one, nothing sidelined.

Peacemaking is helping God

put the pieces together.

So we include the lonely 

in our family and social gatherings.

We make room and way for them.

No matter coloration of body,

tint of culture, religious toning, 

political persuasion,  

socio-economic status, 

gender orientation,

strengths and weaknesses, 

we welcome each and all 

to the company of

The Beloved Community.

We forgive the hurtful.

We do our best to redress

the wrongs we've wrought.

We include the difficult.

We partner to excise 

the cancer of racism and

nurture a lived unity in diversity.

We slow down to catch up with 

the stumbling.

We make sure 

those on the margins 

make it to the mainstream.

At peace, 

reconciled to God, 

to our True Selves,

to our neighbors,

we work to reconcile divisions, 

feuds, and contentions 

into refreshed unity.

We free up or bypass the 

self centered fixation

the stifled spirits,

the bureaucratic constriction 

of too many churches 

that are more

religious enterprises 

than real Church.

We welcome seekers 

into the experience

of shared support and service,

into a Holy Communion of Spirit.

Yes, peacemaking is hard work.

Wrapped in the peace

that is oneness with God,

we are powered for 


That only happens if we spend 

a lot of time in quiet prayer.

That gives God the chance 

to enfold and love us to Love,

to simplify and purify us,

infusing that very 


   that is peace.

Then we are ready 

to go to work,

to be makers of peace -

unifiers, reconcilers.

healers, forgivers.

   "Happy are the 


    for they will be called

    children of God"

          Peace be with you!

             John Frank


      It's a real treat to have 

         new folks joining in

           this past week.

    We celebrate the first time 

  that we have had participation 

            from Zambia.


         "frankly speaking"

      spirituality for the street

    - is posted each Thursday

      by mid-day

      east coast USA time,

   - is delivered by email Fridays 

              sign up 

         top right above

   - past postings are located at

            Blog Archive

         right bottom here




A variety of prompts and supports

for meditation are offered here. 

They are best used 

over a period of time,

a little at a time.

In a quiet time and place 

we calm to our center.

There we let The Spirit 

flow through us.

We breath in slowly and deeply:

and Soul Say:

         "God loves me."

Slowly and fully we breath out

and Soul Say

           "I love you, Oh God."

After a time of this, 

we read one of the prompts 

that follow here, slowly sensing

the core of what is shared.

Then we consider 

what light that sharing

might shine on our living, 

how can it en-spirit our spirit?

We see it in itself and 

we picture it lived out 

in our right now, right here.

We see how it can be 

real and practical

in the sweet and sour 

of our spiritual life.

We say yes to that. 

We ask The Spirit 

to empower that dynamic.

We might then journal,

or we might simply rest 

in The Spirit.

We breath in slowly and deeply

and Soul Say:

             "We are one."

Slowly and deeply we breath out

and Soul Say:

           "We are one." 

    What light do the prompts 

         that follow shine 
          on my living?

  How can they en-spirit my spirit?

- "The day the power of love 
    overrules the love of power, 
    the world will know peace."  

- " Let the peace of Christ 
     rule in your hearts, 
     since as members of one body 
     you were called to peace. 
     And be thankful."

- "We are not at peace with others 
    because we are not 
    at peace with ourselves. 
    and we are not at peace 
    with ourselves because 
    we are not at peace with God."
            Thomas Merton

"Peace is the tranquility of order"


- "Be the change you wish 
   to see in the world."

- "When historians pick up 
    their pens to write the story 
    of the 21st. century, 
    let them say that 
    it was your generation 
    who laid down
    the heavy burdens 
    of hate at last and that peace 
    finally triumphed over violence, 
    aggression and war. So I say to you, 
    walk with the wind, 
    brothers and sisters, 
    and let the spirit of peace 
    and the power of everlasting love 
    be your guide.
        The last public words of 
               John Lewis, 
     written days before his death
  and published the day of his funeral.

         The New York Times
                  Op Ed
            July 30, 2020

- " Peace I leave with you; 
    my peace I give you. 
    I do not give peace to you 
    as the world gives.
    Do not let your hearts be troubled 
    and do not be afraid."


           ( John 14:27 )

- "Fighting for peace
   is like screwing for virginity."

          George Carlin

- "Make every effort to live in peace 
   with everyone and to be holy;   
   without holiness no one will see God."

           Hebrews 12:14

- " But the fruit of the Spirit is 
     love, joy,  peace, forbearance,
     kindness, goodness, faithfulness."

             Galatians 5:22

- "Peace demands the most heroic labor, 
   and the most difficult sacrifice. 
   It demands greater heroism than war. 
   It demands greater fidelity to the truth 
   and a much more perfect 
   purity of conscience."

                Thomas Merton

- "It is my conviction that 
   there is no way to peace.
   - peace is the way."

        Thich Nhat  Hanh

- "Make sure that nobody pays back 
   wrong for wrong, 
   but always strive to do 
   what is good for each other 
   and for everyone else."

      I Thessalonians 5:15

- " Consider the blameless.
     observe the upright;
     a future awaits those 
     who seek peace."

              Psalm 37:37

- "Those who are free 
   of resentful thoughts 
   surely find peace."





Thursday, August 20, 2020


      This is the sixth in our

          Summer Series

We are exploring how to more fully


              living out 



Dear All of Us,

I can't find it anywhere in the Gospels.

But, dimes to donuts,

Jesus wasn't jarred even a bit

those summer mornings when, 

late for breakfast and rushing,

he came downstairs, his blue

Fruit of the Loom T-Shirt 



Check it out.

Jesus was a total

   Inside Out

   kind of guy:

     -"So, the last shall be first,

       and the first shall be last." (1)

     -"The greatest among you

       is the one who 

       serves the rest." (2)

     -"Truly I tell you, 
       unless you change and

       become like children,

       you will never enter

       the kingdom of heaven." (3)

     -"...Father... you have 

       hidden these things

       from the wise 

       and the intelligent

       and have revealed them

       to children..." (4)

Jesus' life and teaching 

are the flip of the world's 

pecking order, prominence 

and power push - 

all proceeding from the

predominance of self -


top of the pile,

front and center,

top drawer.

With Jesus it's paradox

all the way, all the time.

He grows by giving.

He wins by loosing his life.

Shinning the light of right

on getting life real,

on our attitudes 

on how to be, the

    Be Attitudes,

Jesus tells us we will be

ripe roaring happy 

when we live from the 


       Happy are 
       the pure in heart, 
       for they will see God." (5)

The way of the world is 

to skim the surface,

seek stimulation, satisfaction 

and supposed success.

Jesus flips it.

Jesus takes us to 

the heart of the matter,

our heart and God right there.

Get it right there at our core  

and it's right all the way out


     all the way out

     to seeing God.

The Message translation

puts it so clearly:

     "You're blessed when 

      you get your inside world 

      - your mind and heart - 

      put right.

      Then you can see God

      in the outside world." 

At our core is God.

Let no one, nothing 

blind us to that.

Let no one, nothing, 

take the place of 

total and pure 

centeredness in God 

- purity of heart -

God is our Lover 

and we don't have any 

mistresses or messrses,

be that preferment 

of person or possession.

Self centeredness, arrogance, 

greed, lust, besmirch, and 

dim being  

     "pure in heart."

Purity of heart:

have that clarity, 

see that, live that 

and we will see God 

and see as God sees.

Clean it up 

on the inside and

see clearly on the outside,

        then it's  


    inside and out.

That's the attitude.

That's happiness.

Purely God centered,

we do see as God sees.

We see God in everyone 

and in everything.

It just gets 

fuller and better,

and will do so until 

we and our world are 

matured into the

Kingdom Coming.

We see God in 

the beautiful and whole,

in people and planet plus, 

the plus of God's goodness

and presence to infinity.

That could be a blade of grass.

It could be Walt Whitman's

      Leaves of Grass.

It could be the findings of

an astrophysicist.

It could be finding a life lover.

It could be staying at 

a beach house for a week.

It could be signing a hymn.

Paradoxically, we also see God

in the distorted and fractured.

We see through schizophrenia

to a loved child of God suffering.

We see God in Mother Earth,

victim of greed's abusive relationship.

By no means do I mean to push 

my political persuasions,

but I see God in the 

chaotic crew up front 

in the driver's seat 

here in Washington.

Yes, I see that they endanger us.

Yes, I see that they and we all

are brothers and sisters of the 

Same Sacred Source,

yet each and all 

with frightening flaws.

All the Be Attitudes have

the same truth variously applied:

     God is our center.

     Be there.

     Be loved there.

     Live that.

     From there on out it will be


    From there on out we will be 

          Rip Roaring 


A closing opening:

What comes out of

Bruce Springsteen

is wondrous.

When asked how 

he sings so, he said: 

   "You have to inhabit 

    your song." (6)


Don't be afraid to borrow 

a tee shirt from Jesus.

It'll be inside out, but hey, 

isn't everything important,

and so Godly So!!

      John Frank


(1) Matthew 20:16

(2) Matthew 23:11

(3) Matthew 18:3

(4) Matthew 11:25

(5) Matthew 5:8

(6) WETATV, Beyond the Canvas

     July 26, 2020, 7:30 PM


In the past few weeks 

we have been blessed

with a great many 

first time visitors from Romania, 

Great Britain, Russia and Germany. 

A word of heartfelt welcome 

to them and all joining in 

for the first time here at

      "frankly speaking"

    spirituality for the street

- it is posted each Thursday,

  usually by mid-day,

  east coast USA time

- arrives Fridays by automatic email -

  the sign up is top right above

- past postings are available at Blog Archive,

  right column bottom 



           SEE YOU NEXT WEEK



Thursday, August 13, 2020


   This is the fifth in our

     Summer Series

 We are exploring how to


    on living out 

     The Sermon 
   On The Mount


Dear All of Us,

"Give me a break!"

We've all felt and said that 

more than many times.

And more than many people

have given us a break.

That break broke a bind or bond.

It helped us get up when we were down.

It meant a release from lock and limit.

It saved a grade, a job, a marriage.

It was someone pushing our refresh tab.

It cancelled a hold on our future. 

Someone had mercy on us.

Mercy makes life work.

It frees to growth, goodness, grace.

Without it the gears of society lock up.

Without it we do too.

Mercy is a blessing, given and received.

Mercy means the one on top

releases the one on the bottom,

the one with advantage shares it

with the one disadvantaged.

That can be emotionally, economically, 

socially, educationally, relationally - 

a whole host of deficits 

and dependencies lifted.

It's an attitude of forbearance 

that refrains from demanding 

the owed pound of flesh.

It's compassion graduating to action.

Mercy is an indispensable approach,

an essential attitude for our very being, 

                 truly a        

            BE ATTITUDE


                                      Matthew 5:7

Blessed indeed are the merciful.

Their opening to another 

opens them so completely 

that they, too, are opened

to receive mercy 

when they are in such need.

Mercy is indeed twice blessed -

the giver and the receiver 

are both opened in a communion,

unbarred to give and to receive.

Mercy is like a revolving door.

What goes round comes round.

  "As you sew, so shall you reap."

                           Galatians 6:7

  "The measure you give will be 

    the measure you get back."

                            Matthew 7:2

Like all the Be Attitudes, 

mercy is rooted in God

and God's Love.

It takes a lot of GodGood,

to be merciful.

It takes a lot of Love, 

GodLove, to be merciful.

Mercy opens us 

to an inpouring of God Love.

That energy flows through us, 

opening us to another in mercy.

Mercy involves helping, giving, 

forgiving, serving, understanding.

There's a lot of protein to it.

  "In everything, do unto others 

   as you would have them 
   do to you."
                         Matthew 7:12

   "Be merciful, 

    even as your Father is merciful. 

    Judge not,  

    and you will not be judged; 

    condemn not, 

    and you will not be condemned; 

    and you will be forgiven;


    and it will be given to you."

                               Luke 6:36-38

   " often should I forgive? 

    As many as as seven times?

     Not seven times, but, 

     I tell you seventy-seven times."

                           Matthew 18:21-22

    "Truly I tell you, just as you did it 

      to one of the least of these 

      who are members of my family, 

      you did it to me."  

                                Matthew 25:40


So, how does all this play out spiritually

here on the street of everyday living?

Well, we need to be prepared for answers 

that are just plain counter cultural.

Those answer-actions 

are culture corrective,
and they cost!

They mean taking sharp issue 

with our society.

Mercy lays claim on us 

in the face of suffering and need.

It asks us to actually live 

as simply as we can 

so that others may simply live.

That frees up means and energies

to mercifully relieve pain and need.

         PLEASE FEEL 



  This very day there are
     here in our world



  These are not the millions 

who go to bed hungry every night.

        These are those 

         WHO WILL DIE

   in the next few months

if we do not get food to them.


    If all those people were 

      in the United States,

  every man, woman and child

          - everyone -

        - in every state -

from the East Coast across the country 

 to the six western most states,

      would live in squalor,

        suffer intensely

        and drop dead 

between now and the new year. (!)

      Mercy lays claim on us

      in the face of suffering and need.

      It actually asks us to live 

      as simply as we can

      so that others may simply live.

      That frees up funds and energies

      to mercifully relieve pain and need. 

This would be a good place to stop and pray.

A church nearby here in Washington

just completed "30 " -

30 days 

to raise $30,000 

to cover costs for 30 families 

to live for 30 days 

at a local residence 

for homeless families.

I know an older couple 

who use Instacart for their weekly 

food shopping and delivery

during this Pandemic.

Each week they add in a $25 tip 

for the shopper, most always 

a strapped ethnic minority person. 

A small business owner 

is struggling to keep his staff 

salaried and insured

during our current

health and financial upheaval.

Of course, mercy costs 

in more than financial ways.

A growing cadre of black, brown 

and white people

are paying a huge 

emotional/psychic/social price 

working together 

to understand, address and correct 

America's racial/ethnic flaw.

A lot of mercy to give and get.

People, more than sentimentally merciful,

are facing how violent so much 

of our sports, entertainments and politics are. 

They are choosing and supporting otherwise.

An elderly woman suffered a cruel marriage

for way too many years 

before being abandoned.

After many years her former husband

was destitute and dying.

She took him in and cared for him.

He died peacefully and in dignity.

During online teaching,

a second grade teacher calls 

each of her students once a week

just to stay in touch,

and love on them.

She reads them a little story as well.

Long ago a Russian poet and reformer

responder to a beggar: 

   "Do not be angry with me brother; 

    I have nothing with me,"

The beggar answered:

   "But you called me brother - 

    that was a great gift."

Jesus on the cross:

    "Father, forgive them 

     for they know not 

      what they do."

                 Luke 23:34

Jesus helps us give each other 

a break that breaks both ways:



    Thanks for your good company!

              Holding us all in 

              God's Great Mercy

                 John Frank


(1) See PBS Evening News
      July21, 2020
      David Beasley, Director, 
      World Food Program


                 PRAY AND PONDER

This coming week we are invited 

to marinate in Mercy.

Each day let's reread 

a section of the above.

Pray and Ponder over it.

We move beyond seeing it 

with our eyes

to hearing it in 

the sacred chamber of our Spirit.

What does THE SPIRIT 

utter to our Spirit there?

How can we accept this call?

What are the openings to open?

Let's give particular attention 

to each of the Sacred Scriptures

in this week's sharing.

What do they reveal about how 

we can be merciful

 in an honest and thorough way?

Lastly, let's be soul seasoned and softened 

by Shakespeare's wisdom words in 

       The Merchant of Venice:

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

T'is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown:

His scepter shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway;

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this,

That, in the course of justice, none of us

Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much

 To mitigate the justice of thy plea;

 Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice

 Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.