Thursday, February 25, 2021


                            BEFORE WE GET STARTED

                            If you have time this week 

                            please scroll down past 

                                  KEEP IT SIMPLE,

                            which follows here, 

                            or go to Blog Archive

                            to the right here for

                            Thursday, FEBRUARY 18, 2021

                            and take a little 

                            time and soul with 

                                  GOD SUNG.

                            It flowed from my heart.

                            I would love to share it with you.

                            I pray it will encourage your heart.


                                             John Frank

Dear All of Us,

How about that Marie Kondo.

She's piled up a lot of

 "do ray me"

by showing people 

how to throw out much 

of what they've piled up

in their living space.

Marie is the diminutive 

Japanese hostess  of

    "Tidying Up" 

It's on Netflix and her

  KonMari Method 

counsels us to simplify,

to keep only those things 

that speak to the heart,

and discard what

no longer sparks joy.

Great way to "tidy up" the house.

Great way to "tidy up" the heart.

Great way to "tidy up" the spirit this Lent.

Almost seems that 

Marie has checked out

The Sermon On The Mount.

All through it Jesus counsels us

to keep only those things 

that speak and spark

joy to the heart -

God's and ours.

He tells us to clean house spiritually,

get ride of what clutters and confines,

clear out the stuff that 

piles up and keeps us down,

clean out much to open up for more


for free and full living. 

Again and again and always 

Jesus simply tells us to go 

to our very center, see and accept 

God's presence and embrace there,

return the embrace to the GodLove 

who causes us to be and invites us

in on shared divine life and creativity.

Jesus shows us how crucial it is 

to get ride of the stuff 

that junks up and jinxes us,

so we are clear and clean 

for unencumbered living 

in God's Love. 


The traditional disciplines 

of Lent are

          - prayer

          - fasting

          - almsgiving

In The Sermon On The Mount 

         Matthew 6:1-18

Jesus tells us to keep them simple.

Unload self serving show.

Deep Six any grand standing at

showy almsgiving,

pompous prayer,

flashy fasting.


There are some pretty popular

and sneaky ways of doing 

just the opposite, though.

We need to watch out for them,

clear them out:

-pledging a bunch at church 

 or charity and making sure 

 the powers that be 

 and as many members as possible hear of it

-being ever so "fetching" and current, 

sharing to show off 

at spirituality groups,

wrapping in the latest

spiritually fashionable words 

and references

-running on when giving 

 an opening prayer,

 dressing it up to be socially, 

 politically correct and preferred

-ever so subtly calling attention

 to the wonders fasting has done 

 for our spiritual physique and fitness.

-in church groups, 

 strutting our stuff - 

 our so wonderous insights 

 and mystical moments and musing.

It's all too much show and tell 

with not much soul to show or tell.

Jesus says forget playing to the crowd.

God wants intimacy, simplicity in our




They are meant to be

      "GOD US" 

living out our deep union.

Be discreet.

Otherwise it's as inappropriate 

as someone sharing details 

of their marital love making.

I've often visited Pleasant Hill,

The Shaker Village in Kentucky.

It's a place and experience 

of beautiful, simple spirituality.

         You see it.

         You feel it.

It's in the Shaker architecture,

clothing, furniture, tools, farming,

weaving, life style, heritage.

It's in their hymn,

one to often SoulSing


        Tis the Gift To Be Simple


        'Tis the gift to be simple,

        'tis the gift to be free

        'Tis the gift to come down 

         where we ought to be,

         And when we find ourselves 

         in the place just right,

        'Twill be in the valley 

         of love and delight.

         When true simplicity is gained,

         To bow and bend 

         we shan't be ashamed,

         To turn, turn will be our delight,

         Till by turning, turning 

         we come 'round right.

To be simple is to be uncluttered, 

free of false self and self promoting,

to be light and open.

It's to be ready for God,

because as Thomas Aquinas put it,

            "Deus est simplex."

          "God is simple"

so simply One there are no moving parts,

   The Oneness of Love That Is God.

We meet and merge

in simple, pure intimacy.

Tis the Gift to be Simple.

        Simply yours,

            John Frank


Many thanks and a warm welcome to

all our first time visitors here at

              frankly speaking

       spirituality for the street

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Thursday, February 18, 2021



Dear All of Us,

If I may, what's your favorite kind of music:

folk, rock, opera, country and western,

pop, blues, classical?

There are so many ways to sing beauty aren't there?

Well, and it sure is,

God's favorite kind of music is you!

Yup, that's happily how it is.

God sings you, me, all that is into being.

We are GOD SUNG.

God has a vast repertoire.

All that God sings into being

blends in the chorus that is creation.

The  Dynamic, the Energy, that is God vibrates in Song.

Those vibrations are what we call matter and spirit.

There's no end to it: quarks, photons, bodies, personalities, ideas, emotions, 

elements, pulsations, forests, mountains, oceans, sound, 

space spread universe.

GOD SUNG, we combine, compose, co-create: 

symphonies, synthetics, societies, structures, cabernet sauvignon, babies, 

concepts, concerts, pasta primavera, Honda Hybrids, Internet, governments, 

rituals - happily, endlessly evermore.

It's a delightful Sing Along.

Music pulsates in our bodies, our minds, emotions and motions.

It gets into us.

It flows through us.

It effects us.

GOD SUNG we are all that.

And before all that we are the song itself.

We are God Singing away.

We each and all are unique melodies.

God not only flows through us.

God's flowing is us.

God's vibration voices us.

That voicing creates the dynamic that we are.


That's what we call our spiritual lives.

We are toe tapping vibrations of God's Being, God's Beauty, God's Love.

We each are a sacred song to be sung and shared.

God voicing us is not forced.

It is offered.

The spiritual life is our joyful acceptance.

Accepted, we break out in the unique, lusty singing of God that we are. 

We sing God with our bodies, spirits, minds, powers, opportunities and gifts 

- our whole being and all our doing.

It's a Love Song because GOD IS LOVE and we are GOD SUNG.

The spiritual life, better put, real living, is letting God sing us -

the tone, tempo, range, harmonies - the register we are played out in song. 

We are one with all else that is GOD SUNG - what a creative chorus!

The whole thing gets disturbed, though,

when we attempt to be independent composers of reality

rather than being GOD SUNG expressions of it.

That's our arrogance, pride, selfishness.

Everything then goes off key, is hard and harsh,

becomes a destructive dissonance. 

It throws the chorus of existence into chaos.

We can't create or sustain ourselves.

We can accept and be ourselves.

It's not a gotten.

It's a given.

We then share in God's creative composing. 

To stay on tune we need to stay tuned,

sensitive to the sometimes subtle, 

sometimes strong developments of God vibrating us.

At times we have to get into another key.

That is imperative and it can be darn hard.

I know.

In mid-life the score of my own being GOD SUNG shifted.

It wasn't quick nor was it comfortable.

It meant  four year of counseling and spiritual direction,

discerning a new direction and tempo to my being GOD SUNG.

At forty eight I had to leave every bit of earthly safety and security I had.

I could no longer in good conscience be part of nor represent 

the religious denomination of my up bringing, ordination,

and many years of ministry.

With it went career, position, pension and 

with it came a huge amount of public disapproval and disconnect.

Poison pen letters like: "You are a Judas", 

"Don't every again try to cross our threshold."

It just plain hurt, hardest thing I ever did.

I transferred to another religious denomination, 

one that gave me room to be who and how I am,

to be GOD SUNG in a new, authentic way,

a community with which I could be spiritually in harmony just as I am.

Yes, hardest thing I ever did and the best thing I ever did.

Freed up, God said "Let's let'er rip" 

and we sure have been doing that for thirty three years 

of renewed and vigorous music in ministry, marriage, family 

and come May, Grandboy arrives.

The composer sang me in a new, surprising and wonderful key.

Life isn't about establishing yourself, creating your own destiny,

scouring your own life song.

That would be terrible music.

That would be an attempt at being God, a false god at that -

the idolatry of self.

We don't create self.

We discover self.

That can mean changes in measure and metric over the singing of our years.

It may mean a shift in spiritual tonality, in prayer cadence.

It can mean an unexpected mystical moment, a new mode 

of care and service, a slow to suffering, a quickening to joy.

However, whenever we free flow,

                     GOD SUNG.

             In the harmony of us all

             so variously and beautifully

                      GOD SUNG

                      John Frank

If you can, please share "frankly speaking" with

            family, friends, colleagues.


As we do here every week, a for real and warm 


           to all our first time visitors. 

This week we were blessed with a significant surge 

in the number of good souls joining in with us 

           from right here in the USA.

        We are blessed by your presence

                  "frankly speaking"

              spirituality for the street

is posted by mid-day each Thursday

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                     In our days and ways

      "Let us make a joyful noise unto the Lord."

                          Psalm 100






Thursday, February 11, 2021



Dear All of Us,

Look Out!!

Here comes Lent.

As Yogi Berra used to say:

"It's Deja Vu Again"

only with this Lent it's

Deja Vu Again and Again and Again and Still!!

In too many ways Lent-20 has lingered and lasted right into the now of Lent-21.

It shows no sign it's ready to wrap up in the customary forty days either.

An elongated, unending span dealing with the dark and difficult.

A rough time and reckoning.

As the Jewish expression has it "Enough already!!"

Enough, for sure.

Already, not a chance.

We are living our spiritual lives out here on the street of everyday life

traversing a painfully long stretch of Lent 

        - facing the dark, seeking the light

        - dealing with the the difficult, the disappointing, the dreadful.

        - seeing disorder and destruction, seeking a way forward and better

        - facing all sorts of death and longing for resurrection and life

          ( be it body, spirit, psyche, social, cultural, political, ethical, religious)

        - review, reflection, repentance, reform, renewal

For a year and counting it's been Lent on steroids:

 - seeing our sin, personal and social, and it's horrid consequence 

 - coming or failing to come to terms with that 

 - puzzling why pain

 - a year of tribulation and trial, discontent and "dis-ease"

 - fiction posturing as fact, lies camouflaging as truth 

   sinister political and media manipulation and misinformation, 

   an "altered state of consciousness" that dupes and dopes millions,

   precipitates and inflicts violence on the "other" 

 - rampant, rabid efforts to foul the most monitored, safe, certified,

   positively adjudicated election in the entire history of this threatened republic

 - COVID-19 moving and mutating in all sorts of ways and continuing 

   right through 2020 and now 2021, and that with a vengeance, 

   killing multitudes and making millions ill, 

   frustrating healthy human contact and connection 

   (family, friends, church, education, sports, the arts ), 

   throngs thrown out of work and  businesses into financial peril

 - racism outed ever more making it distressingly obvious that 

   black lives really don't matter to too many 

 - white supremacists darkening democracy

 - thugs rape our Capital causing five deaths and life scares on our nation

 - politicians on principle pause 

 - lots of religious leaders - how much spiritual leading and living?

 - confinements of all sorts, loss of control, frustrations, anxiety,

   confusions, disorientation, spirits stressed and arid.

In this long, long Lent there was/is no need to pick a Lenten sacrifice.

Oh, to just be able to give up candy or a glass of wine at supper for Lent!

No way!

Speaking of "way", a major model for Lent is the "way" the Chosen People

made their way from slavery to freedom and just kept losing their way.

Rather than follow the GPS God gave, they time and too many

went the wrong way, took dead ends and short cuts that kept them 

going nowhere fast for forty years. That routing got them 

in more than a few rough spots and caused them pain and peril.

A stubborn and "stiff necked people" that got stiffed 

trying to dictate direction, to fashion an alternate reality.

So how about us?

What needs rethink and repentance in our spiritual lives?

As individuals and as a people 

     - why are we where we are?

     - what wrongs and directions need righting?

     - what can we learn from our experience and pain?

     - what personal and communal "Golden Calves" need to be toppled 

       and melted to nothingness?

     - what false leaders and leads need to be banished?

     - what degree of honest "re -penance" is there?

     - how much desire is there for redirection to the real and right?

     - what are attitudinal and action changes forward?

     - what the promise possible?

                     Let's give all that a long, long

                                Lent Look 

                  for the next forty days and nights 

                                (at least).

                               God help us!

                                 John frank


            A for real Welcome to our first time visitors.

            It's tough stuff here this week for sure.

            Please do come back, though.

            We need to admit the dark 

            and we sure can find the light.

                               "frankly speaking"

                            spirituality for the street

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      May our plea and prayer be that of the blind man to Jesus:

                               " I want to see."

                                  Luke 18:41



Thursday, February 4, 2021



Dear All of Us,

No doubt about it.

"You had to be there."

And was I ever!

Saturday morning,

May 31, 1969,

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Newark, NJ

In the midst of that magnificent gothic structure

and in the richness of ancient ritual,

my name was called out 

as one to be ordained a priest.

Before Archbishop Thomas A. Boland

and the throng gathered I responded 


          (I am present)

      "You had to be there."

         And was I ever!

That's how it is with prayer.

     Prayer is Presence.

       God and we are 

profoundly present to each other.  

        For both it is 


      (I am present)

The presence is so powerful 

that where one ends and the other begins 

are blended to insignificance with the intimacy.

From the moment God 

     - The Creative Source and Base of WHAT IS -

shares us into being we are totally present to God - to The Good.

What we call prayer is our catching on to that

and being ever more purely present/given to that Goodness.

We wake to it.

We respond to it.

We embrace to embrace.

It's presence.

Presence is Prayer.

What paradox is at play here.

Our creation is God emanating in the person we are.

The Being, The Existence, The Energy, The "Is-ness",

The Love, The Mystery that we call God is dynamic 

and thus we are.


We are what God is as a ray is what the sun is.

As Bonaventure spoke the paradox:

            " You are not God 

         and you are not not God."

As we clear to consciousness of this we sense and delight

in the mutuality of our presence to each other -

a presence, a Oneness, closer than any lovers ever know.

The presence that is prayer means we don't have to find God.

          "God is closer to us than we are to ourselves."  


That's what we have to find out and find ourselves in that presence.

           " I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near 

             to me as existence depends 

             on the nearness and the presence of God."

                                                             Meister Eckhart

            " In him we live and move and have our being."

                                                             Acts 17:28

            " I live now not I but Christ lives in me."

                                                             Galatians 2:20

Prayer means we become aware of where, who and how we really are -

        God happening in the one we are.


Out on the street of everyday living this presence unto mutuality

plays out in all the actualities and practicalities of our days.

Whatever the circumstances, the activities, the being and doing

of those days can be prayer, can be

                presence times two unto One

Prayer Presence plays out wherever and however we are:

   driving, working, paying bills, raising kids, 

   working for social and environmental justice,

   going to church, enjoying some fine wine with good friends,

   bearing the results of disorder and distress caused by 

   the refusal to wake to embrace, being lost in the beauty of nature and art, 

   in the quiet of meditation, in the trance of holy stillness...

   all of it present to God and accepting God's presence to us.

   However it is and happens, we live out as One our  


                          to God and 



                              to us.


                     Prayer Is Presence.

Because we too often fall asleep to Rock Reality, 

fail to be fully present to it, 

present to God in our waking hours, 

we need to regularly pause to "pray",

to reawake, respond a new, embrace the Embrace afresh.

Our Prayer Life is simply a Life of Shared Presence.

God is already in and with us - present.

We offer ourselves completely to God - present.

Prayer Presence certainly means times of quiet, mystical union.

Prayer Presence certainly means lextio divina.

Prayer Presence certainly means a contemplative seeing.

Prayer Presence certainly means meditation.

Prayer Presence certainly means shared vocal prayer and worship ritual.

Prayer Presence certainly means we companion each other, 

              are present together to What IS: 

    awake, asleep, in mystic moments, changing diapers, 

    walking in the fields, watching children teach us how to play, 

    full tilt at doing our life's work, 

    one with One as we participate in God's creative explosion of Love   

            -  the Big Bang in our right now  -

    just being in Being, greeting others on the sidewalk, 

    caring for the young and the old, befriending a poor or minority family

    and happy to have them over for dinner and games, 

    getting lost in scripture, putting energy into nurturing community, 

    sticking with that absolutely obnoxious so and so in our extended family,

    joining a singing group, asking old timers about the old days 

    and staying attentive for the next long time while they do just that, 

    hosting a spirituality sharing group, and..., well, 

    intimately present in each other we fill in the blanks to Fullness.

All that can mean moments of ecstasy, struggle, distraction, creativity,

pain, boredom, fascination, achievement, failure - 

the whole enchilada of Right Now Rock Reality Living.

At times we are thinking about presence.

At times we are too busy living it to be thinking about it.

Prayer is living all that so present to the God-Me that we are One

in our distinctive, unique selves.

It's paradoxical.

It's presence.

It's prayer.

It's our lived 


Thanks for this time together.

                 John Frank

Speaking of "together", we had first time visitors 

from Lebanon this week. Welcome and we pray 

for your country in its travail.

To you and all new here, please come and stay.

How great to be present to each other in The Presence.

              "frankly speaking"

              spirituality for the street

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