Thursday, March 25, 2021


Dear All of Us,

"Good Grief Charlie Brown"

and all the rest of us too.

And yes, there is 


It has many-much manifestations,

tones, touches, intensities,

as we try to deal with a casket

of loses and hurts -

death, betrayal, frustration, denial,

failures, mistakes and missteps.

One of them is Lamentation.

It comes to us from 

the Hebrew experience and prayer.

It's unabashed and intense.

It's grief prayed.

It's dealing directly with 

the "Downs" in life -

the dead, the dark, the decayed, 

the disastrous, the dirty,

the disconcerting, the drudgery, 

the disappointing, the discouraging, 

the disgusting.

                GOOD GRIEF


is choosing not to deal with all that

in a silo of the solitary,

but breaking out of that lock up 

and taking our whole damn desperation 

directly to God.

Sometimes we just dump it in front of God.

Sometimes we fling it at God in rage.

Sometimes we scream it at God.

Sometimes we whisper it to God.

Sometimes we just stand there 

naked and bleeding,

be that body, soul, or both.

Whatever, however, it's good 

to get the bad to the Good, to God.

That gets us off "dead" center 

and going in the right direction with it all.

God is more than able to handle 

our outrage/outburst.

It's like a loving parent 

holding a troubled toddler.

Getting it to God gets us there too -

just where we need to be in our grieving.

We detail our dread to God 

as we feel it, even fear it - 

depressed, outraged, confused, scared,

and we do that all the way from 

quietly to loud demand.

From isolated distress we are drawn 

into God's embrace, into stabilizing, 

felt confidence in God

and we say so warming in grateful praise.

The knot of grief opens

as we are enfolded 

in care, in strength, in

The Love Who Is God.

"Good Grief Charlie Brown"

 and all the rest of us too.

     Way to go with it!

        John Frank



"For surely I know the plans 

 I have for you, says the Lord,

 plans for your welfare

 and not for harm, 

 to give you a future with hope."

       Jeremiah 29:11

"Blessed are those who mourn,

 for they will be comforted."

          Matthew 5:4


"Come to me all you 

who are weary and burdened,

and I will give you rest." 

         Matthew 11:28


What a joy to welcome first timers here.

Among others this week are participants 

from Turkey, The Netherlands

South Korea, and Great Britain.

We are blessed by your company  

in our weekly gathering here at

          "frankly speaking"

      spirituality for the street

- it is posted Thursdays by mid-day

  east coast USA time

  ( easily bookmarked )

- it arrives by email on Fridays

  sign up above right

- past posting are available at

  Blog Archive

  lower right column


May we God Grieve

freely and fully.

It'll make 

a heaven of a difference.

See you all next week!



Thursday, March 18, 2021



      Prayer - Fasting - Alms

  This week we consider alms.

Dear All of Us,

Our spiritual life is like working for UPS.

God has all this good to share

and God counts on us to deliver it.

An old fashioned word for this is alms.

With all due respect for things old, 
    (being very that myself)

the word and concept of "alms" 

doesn't come close to cutting it for us.

In fact it is off-putting and misleading.

It congers up a scene 

from a Dickensonian novel

set in the 1800's with a beggar 

sitting by the road crying out

"Alms, alms for the poor."

The spiritual reality at play here 

is vastly wider and richer -

beautifully and dynamically so.

It all starts with God 

and isn't meant to stay there.

God is unabashedly exuberant, joyous, 

dynamic, limitless Goodness

and He can't keep it to Herself.

God's full time day job,

night time, 

all the time job, 

is giving Himself away.

God does it in more ways  

than the sun has rays:
   - a newborn baby 
   - a great idea 
   - a cosmos that won't quit
   - a contagious sense of humor
   - a lift for the dropped
   - a passionate, enduring lover
   - health care that is both 
   - the world's best ever
     chicken cacciatore for dinner
   - a Spring garden
   - meaningful work
   - scientific breakthroughs
   - a Verdi opera

Hey, this is fun!!

It's meant to be.

God's Goodness is our gift 

  We are gifted to give.

We are invited in on 

God's lusty, limitless largess.

Like a UPS driver, 

we all have a truckload 

of unique gifts 

and routes of giving.

Those gifts are meant 

for different people and places.

That's what alms is.

    Alms is Gifting.

Whatever and all 

we have been given

is meant to keep on going

through our gifting all sorts 

of people and places.

"Places" may seem surprising.

Well, we have votes to cast 

for places needing

environmental protection.

There are yards to tend 

that help beautify

our neighborhoods.

There are farms to cultivate

in healthy and sustainable ways.

We are careful 

not to trash public spaces.

We make it a point

to never pollute 

water, air, soil.

We use our opportunities and energy 

to recycle and compost.

We employ the same to maintain 

appropriate sound levels

on the street, in public 

and shared spheres.

We creatively work beauty 

as we design and decorate 

our living spaces.

We use public transport 

as much as possible 

to free up roadways

and diminish CO 2.

Again and always 

we let the opportunities,

means and energies 

with which God gifts us 

pass through us to gift place.

The very same spiritual dynamic

of flow through gifting

flourishes as we bring 

God's Goodness to us

to all sorts of people

in all sorts of ways.

If we have the gift 

of companionship and nurture, 

we partner and raise a family.

We use our social and financial capital

to support need and

contribute to creativity.

We do that by using what we need 

and sharing all the rest 

for the needs of other people.

We finance education.

We endow the arts.

We fund social justice 

and environmental efforts.

We tithe time, talent and finance

to ministries of service and care.

The gifts and the giving are different, 

but the gifts are given.

It can be as simple as thanking 

the bus driver as we exit.

It can be as extensive

as earning a PhD and teaching 

because we're good at it 

and others benefit from our gifts shared. 

If you care to, please use

the Addendum below to refocus

and recommit to giving your gifts 

given for that Holy Gifting.

All the best with your 



Unabashed Personal Service.

God has all this Goodness to share

and She counts on you to deliver Him.

How wonderful are your gifts and gifting.

                John Frank



We still soul til we hear Soul Center,

the truth and harmony of our True Self.

We listen as the Spirit speaks us.

We sense these scriptures.

We see how they show God Gift 

in us for others.

We open to the flow through.

We discern the practical ways, 

means and modes of that -

soul specific.


       "The gift you have been given, 

         give as a gift."
                                           I Peter 4:10

What are my God Given Gifts For Giving:

 - physical  - social - emotional - spiritual

- intellectual - locational - professional
- psychological  - financial - organizational
- artistic - leadership  - wisdom  - knowledge
- faith  - speaking the truth (prophecy)
- discernment  expression  (tongues)
- interpretation  - helping/healing
- making a change for the good  (miracles)
- serving  - teaching  - encouragement
- mercy


              Consider taking     
     Exploring Your Spiritual Gifts
       United Methodist Church 
                - online -


 How are the Fruits of the Spirit
 apparent in me for others?
                                     Galatians 5: 22-23

- LOVE  - JOY   -  PEACE   


                -  GOODNESS      -   FAITHFULNESS


"To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit

 for the common good".

                                         I Corinthians 12: 7

In what ways is the Spirit manifest in me for others?


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

                                         Romans 12: 6

How aware, accepting and generous  

am I with the gifts with which I am gifted?


What do you make of/take from this?

With the onset of the pandemic, Rick Steves , 

who has all those great travel shows on PBS,

was unable to travel, film or guide groups.

He employs one hundred people.

Rather than lay them off, he kept them

on the payroll and had them work 

as support for a variety of 

community services.

That's alms real and right!


        A hearty welcome to all  

        joining in with us for the first time.

        This past week we welcomed 
        a good number of folks from 

        Sweden, Peru and Russia

                   here at

           "frankly speaking"
spirituality for the street

   -  it is posted each Thursday 
                by mid-day

           east coast USA time

   -  it is available by automatic email delivery

      each Friday - sign up top online 

   -  past postings are available at
      Blog Archive, right column online

             SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!!






Thursday, March 11, 2021



         Prayer - Fasting - Alms

This week let's center in on Fasting.


Dear All of Us,

Of all the less than fun things about Lent,
fasting is hands down the least fun.
Yet, it is essential to the traditional trinity of 
           Lenten Disciplines: 
         prayer - fasting - alms

In milder times, f
asting in Lent was sort of like
     flossing your teeth,
             dieting to loose ten pounds:
important, bothersome, requires consistency,
easily put off to a string of tomorrows 
and thus to non existence.
Skipping it, the plaque and pounds pile up
diminishing health, be that body or spirit.

These dark days and dreadful nights 
are of course a galaxy from milder times.
In their painful way they compound  
one huge denial,
and not one of our choosing or control.
We are "denied," forced to "abstain " from
much more than a "sacrificial selfie"
such as no chocolate during Lent.
It's more a sort of starvation 
than  the deliberate discipline of fasting.

Chosen and embraced, 
the spiritual discipline of fasting 
is an absence that fills.
Let's give it a chance.


Fasting isn't just some sort of restriction.
It's a release to freedom and fullness.
It reduces blockage and burden 
that slow us, weigh us down.
It clears the table of spiritual junk food
and opens for soulful haute' cuisine.
It's a letting go of the lesser,
opening for the fuller.

We fast in varied modes because 
we regularly fall for a false fullness
that comes at us in all sorts of phony forms -
personal, social, physical, psychological, 
material, even spiritual.
We seek peace, comfort and contentment in faux fixes:
     - trying to eat/drink/drug our way to them
     - getting fixated on fashions of the moment 
       in clothing and apparel,
       recreations and vacations,
       music, art, reading, 
       the latest hula hoops, 
     - addictive, compulsive media absorption,
     - superficial spiritualities, soulless religious practice,  
     - seeking to assuage personal doubt/discomfort 
       by popularity, power, possessions, privilege
     - a rash of rush hoping to haze over insecurity.

In personal and corporate ways we are tempted 
to phony filling just as Jesus was 
in his Lenten desert fasting.
He took a pass and was free to be all he is.
In him we can as well.
That's fasting,  
fasting from the phony,
fasting free to fullness.

So, yes we do fast in many modes and manners.
We don't let possessions possess us,
be they intellectual, financial, physical/material, 
position, gift or talent.
We divest indulgence.
We keep and use what is truly needed 
and honestly appropriate 
to our circumstances.
We share the rest.
This kind of fasting frees us 
for solidarity with those that need.
We use what we have as part of 
the 10 percent in society so that 
the 90 percent have 
100 percent of what's needed.
That could mean covering a families rent 
for a month so they are not evicted,
it could mean a hundred dollars a month
to the local food bank - we fast so they are feed.

At times we fast from food and drink, 
to sharpen and sensitize 
appreciation and gratitude,
We fast to feast fully.

We fast from all sorts of good things 
for a bit so that The Spirit 
may clarify valuation,
strengthen will,
enhance gratitude. 

We fast from any and every form of sin/evil.
This fasting is step one 
in completely dislodging them 
from our lives and the way we live them.
We join others to effect this freedom 
for our shared, common life.
Solid social justice 
and environmental movements
very much mean a shared fasting -
a denial of the wrong practice
so to embrace the right and real.
Consider fasting from fossil fuels 
to save a planet.
Corporate, difficult, freeing.
We let go to get go.
It can be electrifying!
(Yes, that was intended)

And get going I do.
Thanks you for being one with those of us
sharing these weekly Lenten postings.

             In God's Dear Love,

                     John Frank

       PS: If you wish, please draw 
       from the offerings that follow 
       during this seasoning of fasting.



Fasting is a narrowing down for expansion.

Over these days and nights of Lent,
little by little, we spend soul with scriptures.
We ask The Spirit to show and say 
what we need to see and hear
as we fast for fullness.

 "Yet even now, says the Lord,
  return to me with your whole heart,
  with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 
  rend your hearts and not your clothing."
                                                  Joel 2: 12-13

 Being acutely specific and honest about ourselves and our society, 
 and both in our right now circumstances:

      - what does "return" to the Lord mean and require?
      - what does "whole heart" mean and require?
      - what does "fasting" mean and require?
      - what does "weeping" mean and require?
      - what does "mourning" mean and require?
      - what does "rend your hearts" mean and require?
      - what does "not your clothing" mean and require?


"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; 
 call a solemn assembly; gather the people.
 Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; 
 gather the children, even the infants at the breast. 
 Let the bridegroom leave his room, 
 and the bride her canopy."
                                                       Joel 2:15-16 

 In our church and country what does it mean 
 and what does it take:
        - to "blow the trumpet"?
        - to "sanctify a fast"?
        - to "sanctify the congregation"?
        - to "call a solemn assembly; gather the people...
          the aged...children...infants at the breast...
          the bridegroom.. the bride"?
        - to address what "fast' means 
          in our personal and shared living


" reconciled to that in Christ 
 we might become the righteousness of God."
                                                        II Corinthians 5:21
           -just how willing am I, and are we as a people, 
            to see the separations that distance us from God 
            and be taken through the realignment necessary 
            to be "reconciled" to the Limitless Goodness Who Is God?
           -what are those separations?
           -what realignments are necessary?
           -what will it take to be taken through them?
           -what will life be like to be taken into 
            the very "righteousness of God"?
           -what will living that rightness 
            in the particulars and place of our now look like and mean?


"And whenever you fast, do not look dismal,
 like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces 
 so as to show others that they are fasting...
 But when you fast, put oil on your head 
 and wash your face, so that you fasting 
 may be seen not by others 
 but by your Father who is in secret; 
 and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
                                                                Matthew 6: 16-18

            -what's the message here?
            -what does it mean to our actual, practical fasting?


                     A sincere and open welcome 
           to all joining in for the first time here at

                           "frankly speaking"
                       spirituality for the street

-it is posted by mid-day Thursday, east coast USA time,

-it is available by automatic email delivery - see above top of page to sign up

-past postings are available at Blog Archive, right column here.

This past week we were graced with a large number of first timers from 
                             Russia and Bulgaria.

     Thank you for joining us and letting us join in with you.

                               THANK YOU!!




Thursday, March 4, 2021



 Prayer  Fasting   Alms

 This week let's focus on 

 a marvelous way to pray.

Dear All of Us,
So, way back when,
how did you get a start at prayer?
For most of us it was as children,
sharing in our mother's prayer.

As a little boy my Mom

        taught me
The Sign Of The Cross

     "In the name
     of the Father, and
     of the Son, and
     of the Holy Ghost.

    moving the right hand

    to my forehead, then
    to my chest, then
    to my left shoulder, then
    to my right shoulder.

At first Mom said the words.

Soon I joined in with her.
Eventually I was able to go solo.
      I learned to pray
      by at first praying


To this day, and a lot of 
different prayer experiences later,
 I sometimes still pray


Their prayer, their
      Soul Say,
 guides me down
 wondrous, refreshing,
 new paths to the divine.
 It expands my
 spiritual spectrum,
 enables new
 soul sensitivities
 and articulations.

  see, sense, savor, this
          Soul Say

   those of the mystic
     and theologian
      Karl Rahner:

"Only in love can I find you,

           my God.
In love the gates of my soul
        spring open,
  allowing me to breath
  a new air of freedom
 and forget my petty self.
 In love my whole being
        streams forth
out of the rigid confines 
      of narrowness
and anxious self-assertion,
which makes me a prisoner
    of my own poverty
      and emptiness.

In love all the powers
         of my soul
     flow out toward you,
wanting never more to return,
but to lose themselves completely
            in you,
    since by your love
 you are the inmost center
        of my heart,
       closer to me
  than I am to myself.

But when I love you,

   when I manage to break out
    of the narrow circle of self
          and leave behind
         the restless agony
    of unanswered question,
      when my blinded eyes
no longer look merely from afar
       and from the outside
upon your unapproachable brightness,
and much more when you yourself,
     O Incomprehensible One,
    have become through love
    the inmost center of my life,
       then I can bury myself
           entirely in you,
       O mysterious God,
         and with myself
        all my questions."


         What Soul Say!!

         Wish I'd said that,

             prayed that.

      Well, actually, I just did,


      and we all can as well.


         Thanks, Mom!!

         "In the name
       of the Father, and
       of the Son, and
       of the Holy Ghost."

           In the Soul Say,
           in the prayers,


that follow below, please do just that.

       Take time and quiet to 

               Soul Sense

               Soul Say

 them over the next weeks and more.
            Let's all allow for
              Holy Leisure.

     The speed bumps of fast 

will bottom out the peace and joy of

          Slow Soulful Savor.

Like an extraordinary wine,

these prayings are for slow sipping.

             Thank You!!

     Holding you and all of us in

             God's Dear Love,

                John Frank


       For those new here,

please see the information about

       "frankly speaking"

  at the bottom of this posting.





Native American Prayer


O Great Spirit,

  whose breath gives life

         to the world,

 and whose voice is heard

     in the soft breeze;

           We need

 your strength and wisdom.

 Cause us to walk in beauty.

Give us eyes ever to behold

  the red and purple sunset.

        Make us wise

 so that we may understand

   what you have taught us.

   Help us learn the lessons

       you have hidden

   in every leaf and rock.

   Make us always ready

        to come to you

      with clean hands

       and steady eyes,

     so when life fades,

   like the fading sunset,

our spirits may come to you

       without shame.


Mechthild of Magdeberg

O burning Mountain, O chosen Sun,

O perfect Moon, O fathomless Well,

O unattainable Height,

O Clearness beyond measure,

O Wisdom without end,

O Mercy without limit,

O Strength beyond resistance,

O Crown beyond all majesty:

The humblest thing you created

sings your praise. Amen


You might enjoy the book



        Michael Quoist


Dag Hammarskjold

Thou who art over us,

Thou who are one of us,

Thou who art:

     Give me a pure heart,

     that I may see thee;

     a humble heart,

     that I may hear thee;

     a heart of love,

     that I may serve thee;

     a heart of faith,

     that I may abide in thee.



          Alan Paton

O Lord,

   open my eyes

    that I may see

    the needs of others;

    open my ears

    that I may hear their cries;

    open my heart

    so that they need not

    be without succor;

let me not be afraid

to defend the weak

because of the anger

of the strong,

    nor afraid to defend the poor

   because of the anger of the rich.

Show me where love and hope

   and faith are needed,

   use me to bring them to those places.

And so open my eyes and my ears

   that I may this coming day be able

   to do some work of peace for thee.



   Many find much good in praying 

                 THE PSALM'S


An Affirmation Based on Romans 8: 31-39

We shall not be separated from God's love

that comes to us in Christ Jesus -

       Not by life or death,

       Not by depression's darkness

       nor any addiction's snare,

       Not by an abusive past

       or any co-dependent habits.

We are more than conquerors

because of the power

of God's love for us.

We shall not be separated

from the the love of God

       by a fall from sobriety

       or a failed marriage,

       by painful memories

       or financial disasters,

       by cancer's attack

       or AID's havoc.

God's love is as constant

as the rising sun,

and there is nothing

that can come between us

and God's Love through

Christ Jesus.


A Reflection On Prayer

In my soul there is a temple, a shrine,

a mosque, a church where I kneel.

Prayer should bring us to an altar

where no walls or names exist.

Is there not a region of love where

the sovereignty is illumined nothing,

where ecstasy gets poured into itself

and becomes lost, and where

the wing is fully alive

but has no mind or body?

In my soul there is a temple, a shrine,

a mosque, a church that dissolve,

that dissolve in God.

        Rabia (c. 717-801)


       A Poetic Prayer Pause

This beautiful prayer that follows 

is about aging.

That's one of the things 

I'm about these days.

I am graced by both!!

Please permit me to share a sharing.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

When the signs of age

begin to mark my body

(and still more when

they touch my mind);

when the ill that

is to diminish me

or carry me off

strikes from without

or is born within me;

When the painful moment comes

in which I suddenly awaken

to the fact that I am ill

or growing old;

and above all

at that last moment

when I feel I am

losing hold of myself

and am absolutely passive

within the hands

that have formed me;

in all these dark moments,

          O God,

grant that I may understand

that it is You

(provided my faith

is strong enough)

who are painfully parting

the fibers of my being

in order to penetrate

to the very marrow

of my substance

and bear me away

within Yourself.


For all those new to

"frankly speaking"

a warm welcome!

- It is posted by mid-day 

   east coast USA time at

   and can be bookmarked

   for ready access

-  It is available each Friday

   by automatic email delivery -

   see Sign Up above right,

-  Its past postings are available

   at Blog Archive, right column.


Please take a few minutes to read




      for a bit of orientation -

          top right above



        See you next week!!