Thursday, October 29, 2020


Dear All of Us,

So how about 102 year old

Mildred Geraldine "Gerri" Schappals

up there in New Hampshire?

As an infant in 1918 she survived 

an attack of the Spanish Flu.

In May 2020 she tested positive for COVID-19,

survived, and now is doing just fine.

In-between those dangerous bookends 

she survived both colon and breast cancer.

Now get this.

Gerri credits her love of wine 

for a good part of her longevity.

"Jesus did not change water into wine 

at Cana so we cold look at it," she said.

  (USA Today, September 20, 2020)

Now that's my kind of 102 year old!

What grit, cheek, audacity, 

vigor, pizzazz, chutzpah, what


Speaking of spunk, 

after nap time some day 

- hers and mine -

I'd love to have  

a couple of glasses of wine with Gerri

and play a few hands of UNO.

Bet she plays a "mean" game.

"Mean" as in full hearted, vigorous,

all out, nothing held back, 

not caving to caution, 

going for whatever you get, 

whatever is there,

playing the cards you're dealt and that with


laughing at winning or loosing 

because ultimately what does the score mean?

What's to take home?

Nada, except the wondrous recharge from 

from a rather sacred sort of shared life,

whatever the odds or score.

That' a winning hand for sure.

Gerri's wine wisdom reminds me that

the best way to play 

the game of life is a 

        Spirituality of Spunk

It's a spirituality of vigorously living 

what's at hand, be that sickness or health, 

things light or heavy, calm or turbulent, 

and not just sitting on the sidelines of life 

staring stymied to stupor

because things are different,

different easy or different difficult. 

If water has been intensified to wine, 

we don't fuss about it, we go for it.

If it's time to pick up our cross,

we get a move on.

Easy or hard this SoulLiving

mixes us up with 

God, neighbor and nature.

We literally "deal" with 

whatever we're dealt

and we do so with soulful


Play to win and we lose a lot anyway,

and if we win so what!.

Play it safe and we've already lost.

Play to play and we win that

    "sacred shared life." 

 God - Neighbor - Nature

Play for good, go for it with 


Play anything but solitaire and it's a

Holy Communion at the altar of share.


         "So, OK Gerri:

          Show your cards.

          Oh yes, white or red?"

God Bless Every Sassy, Spunky One Of Us!

                  John Frank


So often we are so blessed with new folks

joining in with us. Among others this week, 

63 people stopped by all the way from Portugal.

Thanks and welcome to you and all our

first time visitors. It's like at The Olive Garden:

      "When You're Here You're Family."


Thanks as well to all that tell others of 

our weekly gathering here at

         "frankly speaking"

      spirituality for the street

- it goes online each Thursday by mid-day

  east coast USA time

- automatic email delivery is each Friday

 sign up top right above.

- past postings are accessible from 

  Blog Archive

  right column above



             November 1, 2020

           ALL SAINTS DAY

              Happy Feast Day!



Thursday, October 22, 2020


Given the temper of the times,

and that has more than one meaning,

we do well to deal with immediate urgencies.

Hopefully we will soon continue our series

                  FOLLOW THROUGH



Dear All of Us,

Please permit the personal.

You and all the folks 

who are part of our weekly 


here  at "frankly speaking"

are front and center with me.

I think of you every day and a lot.

Even more and better,

I hold each and everyone in prayer.

I join God in loving you.

I do not know all of you by name.

I do know all of you in my heart.

As an old man and 

not altogether retired pastor,


are very much my concern 

and my virtual parish.

As I join in with God

looking around our little parish 

here at "frankly speaking",

and the one just outside 

my door here in Washington DC,

and the one spread worldwide,

what I see and hear and feel are

       upset, uncertainty, 

       fear, fright, fatigue.

It registers in all sorts of ways.

A few examples.

Do any come close to how you feel

and what you sense in others 

where you are?

    - "I'm sick and tired 

      of being sick and tired 

      of all this damn craziness.

      So, the hell with 

      patience and caution! 

      Let's go dancing.

      Enough is enough."

  - "This just isn't fair!

      I play by the rules.

      I'm busy raising kids,

      I work hard and have put together

      a good portfolio to safeguard our family

      and now this madness!!

      Will the market hold?

      Will the government hold?

      Will my kids get a good education?

      Will we ever find a safe way to socialize 

      with our relatives and friends?

      Will we ever get back to regular church?



   - "Man, I'm almost out of gas.

       I'm a single parent.

       I was just making it with rent and food.

       Then Pandemic.

       No school for for my children. 

       Job for me

       Now I need to leave my kids home alone

       if we are going to hold on.

       That scares the live'n heck out of me.

    - "I'm old and the thought of COVID

       sending me off to the hospital

       to die a painful death without my family

       has me tensed all the time."

    -"Oh, it's not as bad as the media makes it.

      Once we get past this election 

      and have a vaccine things will settle down."

            (in case you read that too fast,

             it's naked fear dressed in dense denial

             and it just isn't gonna go like that)

So just how do we go then?

We go deep spiritually and that together,

or we go down in turmoil

and in shared and tragic company.

No magic fix religion intended here.

Rather, a for real embrace of 

       The Embrace 

        is essential.

Call that Embrace what you like:

Allah, God, Yahweh, Vishnu, 

Your Own Divine Nature, The Great Spirit.

The hymn, God of Many Names, has it right.

Take your pick.

In fact, we do well to emulate the ancient Jews.

They referred to it as The Utterly Other One.

They didn't dare try to name or define.

Way better, they breathed

   The Breath of Life 

   in and out -

   all consonant sounding as 

   Yah-weh, Yah-weh.

By whatever name or no name, 

the reference is to

   - that which holds us together, 

   - that which is the creative force 

     and energy of the universe

   - that which is bedrock Reality

   - that which is Substance of substance

   - that which is the baseline Being 

     in which so many and much "be" 

   - that which is really and fortunately 

     beyond sufficient naming

     or possible grasping

At best, name is a tiny handle 

we fashion by which we try

to get a bit of a hold 

on how to think about that 

which holds us and all in existence.

That's were we go spiritually deep.

It's impossible to name or grasp.

It's wonderous to experience.

My personal little "handle" is from 

the ancient Greeks:

 -  "mysterion" - a reality so vast that

     the  human mind alone 

     cannot grasp it, but rather 

     can only describe

     the tiniest portion experienced  - 

     it's like the Pacific Ocean - 

    it's real and really impossible to grasp 

    by hand or eye - 

    just can't take it all in -

    what is possible, though,

    is to see the sea we're in

    and enjoy the swim.

Rumi said we are a drop in the ocean

and the ocean is in the drop.

In my Christian experience it goes by


Breath of Life, Energy, The Dynamic.

In this terribly conflicted and

dangerous time, accepting

ever more fully and deeply 

       THE EMBRACE, 

steadies and strengthens.

It doesn't make everything "nice nice".

It doesn't take away the pain.

It does give the energy 

to deliver the baby.

To mix the metaphor, we all need 

to midwife each other 

(we macho sorts need to get used to it -

 our existence and everybody else's 

 depends on it).

To fuss with metaphor 

one last time - I promise -

we go into the love chamber

and let

      The Embrace 

have us all the way in, 

love us to Life, 

then we go out and deliver

the life sparked in us.

We don't dare lone wolf it.

We make sure to get together 

with folks who are

     "all in" 

We  personalize 

oneness with 


and we share 

all the deliveries 

of life that are birthed.

To put all this "speciousness" 

in the vernacular, it means 

       private prayer 


  spiritual community.

We open to fulfillment in prayer,

like Jesus when he went off 

to be wrapped up with his Abba.

We make sure our preferred 

spiritual (energy) gathering

- church, synagogue, 

  mosque, temple, society -

  is for real and has 

  honest energy (Spirit ) to it.

  If it doesn't, time to make haste 

  and get the hell out of the illusion.

  We plug in where there is current!

On our own and with others,

we face facts these hard days 

and dark nights, frightening as some are.

A lot of our comfortable assurances 

have vaporized, not to return.

It's on to new realities, 

and like getting used to 

a pair of new shoes.

That may take some time 

and mean discomfort,

but we'll make a go of it.

We're a lot more fragile 

than we assumed.

That's sure a reality check 

we're being forced 

to face and pay.

We accept that we're 

becoming, not arrived.

We see what's our actual now 

and know we'll get banged 

against the wall of what is

if we don't.

That is not to settle for a failed fate.

It is to go through the painful birthing

of our new now.

This going deep spiritually will present 

and power in all sorts of varied ways.

We'll rejoice in the wonders all about us.

Where I am that includes 

a divine palate of autumn color.

We'll let others help us 

and we return the lift.

We'll find new ways to travel and connect.

For me that's more books than ever, 

the internet for concerts, lectures, and travels 

to museums and distant lands, 

The PBS Evening News and Encore,

ZOOM visits, periodicals, 

phone and email sharings,

a daily walk in our beautiful 

neighborhood and parks. 

Like the early Christians in Rome

we find ways to avoid being fed

to the lions for lunch. 

We discover our own versions of 

catacomb community and communion.

We face the danger before us 

and refuse to deal with 

the thousands of dangers 

that could/might befall us.

For us in DC that means 

not to worry weary 

that there may be 

civil distress in our streets

around and following the election.

Of course, we make sure 

to have some canned beans 

and flashlights at the ready.

If it happens, we'll help 

each other cope,

share our beans and lights. 

What's it like where you are?

If going forward we get more restricted 

time and place wise,

we'll write poems and paint pictures.

We'll platy cards and board games.

We'll record our family history.

We'll write letters.

We'll take naps.

We'll tutor students.

We straighten out closets, attics,

garages and basements.

We'll call and comfort 

the elderly and home bound.

What we won't do is 

just roll over and die

in any way, at any time.

We will live different, but we will live!

In short, we'll face any lemons 

that come our way 

and do our darnedest 

to squeeze out some lemonade.

We'll do our best even when 

we already know 

it's not really going to be enough.

We'll live the reality 

that we are a pilgrim people

and that we have here 

not a lasting kingdom.

We'll accept it's a rocky road 

and know that it goes 

somewhere wonderful.

We'll keep going, 

help others do the same,

let them help us til we all

get to the real promised land,

not the one politicians, pundits, 

blind guides in media and market

push and promote.

Thanks for letting me share 

this rather candid 

and rambling run on

in free flow from my love for you.

We'll get where we need to be.

We'll get there together.

We'll get there powered by 


        Your Brother

         John Frank


    If you are new here, 

       we are blessed.



      "frankly speaking" 

  spirituality for the street

-is posted each Thursday

 by mid-day, east coast USA time

-arrives by automatic email delivery

 each Friday - sign up above right

-Blog Archive contains all past postings

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   "Abide in me as I abide in you.






Thursday, October 15, 2020


       This is the fifth in our

           Fall Series


           living out 



            HEADS UP!

 We're in for a real workout 

       in what follows.

Dear All of Us, 

    All right!

    In fact,

"Radical Right"

      it is 

and that for sure.

 "Radical Right"


   has nothing 

to do with political 


It has everything 

to do with spiritual 


     with being  

    "Soul Right."


    the center 


     the start 

  radically right 

and our spiritual lives

      will be

    "ALL" Right

from there on out.

That's how Jesus 

steers us right

in this next part of 

   The Sermon 

  On The Mount.

Matthew 5:27-30

What he says here is strong.

He speaks as an ancient Jew -

blunt, pushing the point.

What we moderns would take 

as exaggeration,

as excessive,

was their way of

emphasizing importance.

These were regular

literary forms of speech

understood for emphasis 

not for factuality

nor literal interpretation.

Jesus uses the temptation 

to adultery as a launch 

on how to be real and right 

about any and everything 

that would draw us off center,

that would tempt us to be

unreal, foiled and fouled in life:


  "You know the next 

   commandment pretty

   well, too:

   'Don't go to bed 

   with another's spouse.'

   But don't think 

   you've preserved 

   your virtue simply by 

   staying out of bed.

   Your heart can 

   be corrupted 

   by lust even quicker 

   than your body.

   Those leering looks 

   you think nobody notices- 

   they also corrupt.

   Let's not pretend 

   this is easier 

   than it really is.

   If you want to live 

   a morally pure life,

   here's what you have to do: 

   You have to blind 

   your right eye the moment 

   you catch it in a lustful leer.

   You have to choose 

   to live one-eyed 

   or else be dumped 

   on a moral trash pile.

   And you have to chop off 

   your right hand

   the moment you notice it 

   raised threateningly. 

   Better a bloody stump than 

   your entire being discarded 

   for good in the dump.

    The Message Translation


Tough talk.

Let's scope this out.

In these three short verses

Jesus speaks volumes 

to our souls on





its flow forth 

 from there.


the sentiment, 

the intention,

the attitude


Soul Center

pure, clear 

right and real,

and so it will be 

in all the particulars 

of lived out practice.

From the get go, 

Jesus tells us,

cut off and out 

any and everything 

that fouls soul center 

and thus all that

flows from it.

In this section 

of the sermon

 Jesus insists 

    we be

Radical Right 

 about the 




in particular, 

as well as about 

all temptation 

in its multiple




Jew Jesus spits it out 

hard, loud and clear.

Having a lustful 


is adultery before ever 

bed and deed.

So, clean it up inside 

and all the way out.

That goes for all, 

any and every

occasion of sin, e.g. 

"And you have to

 chop off 

your right hand 

the moment 

you notice it raised 


Matthew 5:30).

So it is with 

every temptation,

any sort of pull toward

"missing the mark", 


being off center,

of loosing our balance

when it comes to being

genuine and real.

So, in all sectors of life,

not just adultery,

we excise any relationship,

activity, habit, disposition,

preference, passion, pattern,

value system, life style, 

systemic structure

that is an occasion of foul up, 

that draws us off being

        Radial Right, 

        Heart Right,

        Soul Center 

       clean and clear.

That means all and 

every one of them,

be they as much a part 

of us and our way of living 

as our right hand, our eye.

They must go if we are 

      to go on in life

      Real and Right.

Better to be restricted than 

lost, deadened, off the rails.

Yep, tough stuff.

Strongly put.

No two ways about it.

No two ways to be

   Radical Right

So, what, who's 

      gotta go

in us and our living

so we can "go" 

spiritually, really,

so we can actually live,

free and full,

     Radical Right

from center on outward?

Let's take ten with that

for starters - how about

ten hours?

No causal, comfy Christianity here.

Excising for clarity's freedom -

sexual and all otherwise - costs.

It may cost a relationship, 

job, wealth, position, 

prerogative, pleasure -

you name it

      - and we must -

then cut free

      - and we must.

I'll spare you and me 

the details,

but I know all this

from my own painful liberation. 

Yes, it hurts like hell

but it opens to 

some heavenlike living.

Jew Jesus is blunt, stark, 

unambiguous, forthright,


His is a prophet's push.

What he insists on for a person

goes for us as a people.

What societal operating systems

are radically wrong from the start

and thus they horribly wrong 

people and planet in practice?

What fouls and foils?

What needs excising?

Right now here in The States

some are beginning to more fully

and painfully address

the genocide and slavery

foundational and unresolved

to us as a people

and the continuing evil 

they reek.

We are hardly dealing with, 

much less excising,

the discounted valuation 

on human life that is

pervasively operative 

among us from

separating migrant children 

from their parents,

to unsafe working conditions, 

to excessive and 

non restorative incarceration, 

to the death penalty,

to the militarization of 

local "peace" officers.


Then there is capitalism.

  A great read here is

Pope Francis' new letter,

      Fratelli tutti

  (October 3, 2020)

Capitalism rewards 

an elite few,

favors some,

impoverishes masses

worldwide - 

a cultural, constricting 

caste system,

a dirty rotten shame,

an impurity 

that is a cheating on 

our bonded unity as humanity

(social and economic adultery).

Add to the list of concerns,

living in uncensored, soft, 

selfish sensuality - 

forty some varieties 

of breakfast cereals 

to choose from,

extravagant spending  

on adult toys and vacations,

luxuries taken as staples 

of daily living - 

soul dulling superficial sensations.

Example: endless hours 

in front of the tube

hazed over by 

too many Doritos 

and too much beer.

In the mean time -

and it sure is "mean" -

two million people 

right now are literally, actually 

starving to death worldwide -

        statistic from


       the folks who

     just received the

    Nobel Peace Prize.

One more for not at all 

good measure.

Too often domesticated, 

bleached, pale, wimpy, 

self serving institutional religion 

in bed with structures of 

preference, preferment and power, 

clerical domination and privilege,

watered down Gospel, 

ritual, rubrics, polity, dogmas 

crowding out vibrant community 

and deep spirituality.

OK, OK, I hear you!

So, yes I did have three cups 

of coffee this morning!

Admittedly intense today.

But, hey, we really need to

hear and head Jesus

about being centered right

and freed from invites to peril.

What may initially register

as restrictive and stern is, 

in happy and holy fact,

liberating and energizing.

A hokey, humble metaphor:

A race car needs 

clean, clear, pure fuel 

to fire its engines, 

to power them 

to excellence and victory.

So do we and our society

need clear, clean energy

to power us 


  in our living and 

its freedom to fulness.

All the above is just a start

at unpacking the power 

and the wisdom of Jesus

compacted in these 

three short verses.

As already noted, 

he uses the temptation 

to adultery for starters  

- sure to get our attention -

and then presses the need

to free up by cutting loose 

from whatever else,

such as raising a hand threateningly,

would draw us off center,

trip us up and thus down,

foiled and failed in life. 

"Enough already!"

I need to go 

pray for purity,

for rightness 

at my center point

and all the way out 

in my life practices.

I need to pray the same 

for all of us as a people.

I need to pray for us all

the grace and courage

to let God make us

personally and as a people,


  In God's Dear Love,

   Your exhausted 




       John Frank


  As always, a hearty


   to all joining us 

   for the first time

        here at

  "frankly speaking"

spirituality for the street

- posted by mid-day Thursdays

 east coast USA time

- arrives by automatic 

  email delivery every Friday

  the sign up is above top

- Blog Archive hosts all past postings

  right column above.



           As we seek to


           on living out 

   The Sermon On The Mount,

    please let me recommend

  Jesus' Plan For A New World

  The Sermon On The Mount, 

Richard Rohr with John Feister,

      Franciscan Media, 1996

    ISBN 978-0-86716-203-5


     Have a heck of a week,

     freed and happy to be 





Thursday, October 8, 2020


    This is the fourth

           in our

         Fall Series


          living out 

The Sermon On The Mount


Dear All of Us,

Ah, The Arts!

Earth elements

heaven soaring, searching.

Sound, stone, paint, motion,

word, glass, wood, metal - 

all singing, showing the sacred.

See the power of the potter.

Caressing clump clay, 

whirling dervish spinning divine, 

fondled free, upward, 

drawn out to form fulness.

     See Potter Jesus.

  He works the clay of 


The Law and The Prophets -

   earthbound elements   

       sprung free.

Clumps of consciousness

   evolved expansive, 

wide -  deep - high -  full.

"You have heard it said...

  But I say to you..."

     Six pericopes 

 of potential released, 


 evolved, worked to 

furtherance and fullness -

from the letter of the law 

to the sprung spirit of Love,

from act based law released

to soul stance, Love Embraced.

     Matthew 5:21-48

See Six Soul Leaps to Love,


     - contempt to communion

     - lust limits to pure presence

     - discarding to dedication

     - confounded word to simple truth

     - resisting to embracing

     - selective to universal love.


See Potter Jesus.

See the art of transformation.

See the evolution, 

the expansion of the 

first periscope:

    contempt to communion:


Translation of the oldest

   manuscripts into

      today talk.

 Matthew 5:21- 26

"You're familiar 

with the command 

 to the ancients, 

'Don't murder.'

 I'm telling you that anyone

 who is so much as angry

 with a brother or sister 

 is guilty of murder.

 Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' 

 and you just might find yourself 

 hauled into court.

 Thoughtlessly yell 'Stupid!'

 at a sister and you are 

 on the brink of hellfire.

 The simple moral fact is 

 that words kill.

"This is how I want you 

to conduct yourself 

in these matters.

If you enter a place of worship

and, about to make an offering, 

you suddenly remember 

a grudge a friend has against you,

abandon your offering, 

leave immediately,

go to this friend 

and make things right.

Then and only then,

come back and 

work things out with God.

"Or say you're out 

on the street and 

an old enemy accosts you.

Don't lose a minute.

Make the first move; 

make things right with him.

After all, if you leave 

the first move to him, 

you're likely to end up in court, 

knowing his track record,

maybe even in jail.

If that happens, 

you won't get out 

without a stiff fine."

 How's that for

"throwing a pot"?

Blunt, strong, earthy

very Jewish talk 

and parable from Jesus.

In it

      Potter Jesus 

        shows us 

the art of spiritual living,

    how to draw out

      and fashion    

earthiness to divine fullness.

   It means accepting 

       the divinity 

      at the center 

   of our earthiness. 

   It's there in clay.

   It's there in us.

   It's there in others.

 At the Center Point of 

        all is All.

It is the Love that is God,

   uniquely, creatively, 

  dynamically present

    in all and each.


At that Center Point 

     we are one 

    with all in ALL.


       is that

   Center Point 


   The Fullness.

   Draw that out, 

fashion it to fullness 

in thinking, feeling. 

Attitude to action -

transformed, evolved.

For sure there are impurities 

in the clay of our earthiness.

We irritate each other.

The art is to go to the center

of the troubling other 

and draw that Godness out,

to be drawn out with it 

as a divinely diversified 


 The Art of Love Living.

So, we don't damage 

or destroy the painful other.

No looks that kill, 

nor any other deadliness.

And there are too many of them:

denigration, disparagement,

mocking, ridicule, belittlement.

Sad to say, my personal default, 

and is it ever a "fault,"

is to go dead on the other

when I'm angry,

the "silent treatment."

I withdraw from them, 

push them away from me.

    I deny them.

    I deaden them.

    I deaden me.

    It's murder,

    inflicted from 

my impure haughtiness.

  It defiles and denies 

      the divine 

      in us both

       - hellish -

So, way better we see 

self and God in other.

  We embrace all three 

    at once and as


We absorb any deadening 

from other in the deepest 

of our liveliness.

We return good for evil.

We suffer fools, and more, gladly.

We refuse to kill in defense 

of a life that can't ultimately be killed.

We are patient with those that pain.

   All this takes place in our 

         here and now 

            as it is.

 Right now is a murderous 

     time and culture: 

-governments that can't

- trillion dollar militarism

- cut throat competition 

- blatant, vicious political attracts

- sports and other "entertainments"

  violence laced

- deadening social, racial, 

  financial disparities

- culture clashes

- the denial of objectivity and truth

- a "me" materialism 

  and self absorption pursued   

  to absurd indulgence,

  "and the hell with you

  and your need"

- there's some, but not nearly enough,

  recognition of the evil of sexual abuse

- even less recognition of nature abused

- religious institutions and leaders at times

  giving the lie to Love Lived Godness,

 "wolves in sheep's clothing."

All that and tons more need not be

the frustration and fraction of 

our earthiness being drawn out,

fashioned, to divine fullness.

We get to live Heavenly Kingdom

in the midst of Evil Empire.

It's an alternate lifestyle for sure.

It needs the support of community

in a real, practical, praying, caring


It needs a centered spirituality

           that meets 

            all in All 

and grows out from there.

 So, let's hang out with 

      Potter Jesus 

 and learn the art of

     Love Living,

the beauty of life giving

rather than death dealing,

let him draw us out beautiful.

On his business card it reads:

   "I've come that you 

    might have life 

    and that abundantly."

        John 10:10

   That's just how things 

       shape up with

       Potter Jesus 

       and his artistry.

On the chance no one 

has told you lately, 

or you haven't had 

a good look at yourself

in the mirror of Reality 

for a while,

let me say what 

a beautiful fashion of God 

you are!!

         You Brother

        John Frank


As always, welcome to 

our first time visitors.

This week we had 

many dozens of 

new friends from France.

Please be right at home

with us all from 

Kingdom Come.

We're so glad 

we're here together.

Many and sincere thanks 

to all who are sharing

    with others 

"frankly speaking"

spirituality for the street

- it is posted by 

  mid-day Thursdays

  east coast USA time

- an email version goes out

   Friday mornings 

   sign up is top right above

 - Blog Archive has all past postings

   bottom right column above.

If anyone gets on your case

this coming week and says

"You're a real piece of work!",

 tell'em you sure are!!



To do that let's see