Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Dear All of Us,

What the heck was with 

that Mr. Murphy?

Whatever possessed him 

to make it law that 

"Anything that can go wrong

 will go wrong"? 

For too many, for too long,

it seems Mr. Murphy

was right about wrong.

And they're doggone ticked

about so much wrong 

for so long

They feel trapped.

They're bone tired and 

soul weary of

     "pan" everything:

- the viral one and our lack

  of oneness in getting 

  at it and free of it

- major league governments

  hopelessly mismanaged by

  hapless little league coaches

- a climate about to fry us

  out of existence

- religious leaders 

  without much soul -

  a blessed exception 

  being Papa Francesco 

- often fouled up efforts 

  to make right 

  all sorts of social  

  and environmental wrongs.


"What's a mother to do?"

 and everyone else

 as (not so) well.

This morning an email 

came from,

let's make it Jack.

He is a treasured friend.

He has depth and breath 

of mind and soul.

Jacks' cared some years now 

for a disabled family member -

generously sacrificing self.

And he's really heavy laden 

these days and nights 

with "pan" everything.

In fact, he's more than 

a bit had!!

And he's sure not alone!

Like Jack, we want it like it was, 

but of course wasn't.

Like Jack we don't like it

as it is, but of course 

it is as it is.

Like Jack we are 

worn and weary, 

but of course there's 

no pep pills in easy reach.

Like Jack we are

pretty darn worried 

about what's in the works

and fearful it 

won't work out well.

This blog is not at all

an attempted at 

some sort of spiritual 

"Ask Eloise" column

with its sure fire fixes.

But this an effort to spiritually 

clarify and encourage,

and that speaking frankly.

So, here are a few tries

at that given the swarm of 



We're active participants 

in creation and all its 

progressive goodness.

Yet there is sand in the gears.

The Judeo Christian 

sense of that is right there 

in the get go book of Genesis, 

and of our "genesis" with its

early on screw up - to wit, 

the first family of the day-

Adam, Eve, their murdered 

and murderer sons.

The story doesn't solve things,

doesn't eliminate 

the sand in the gears. 

But at least it pegs the problem  

with a painfully clear metaphor.

A Group Downer early on.

"Apples, apples, we all fall down!"


No avoidance maneuvers.

No faux "Nice Nice" coating

of a bitter pill.

Things stink,

say so and make

some noise about it.

It's called Lamentations.

The ancient Jews turned to

that chapter of the prayer book

with great regularity, 

crying out loud and clear 

to Yahweh.

Jew Jesus in the 

Garden of Gethsemane:

"This sorrow is crushing 

 the life out of me...

 My Father, if there is any way, 

 get me out of this. 

 But please, not what I want. 

 You, what do you want?"

 Jew Jesus on the cross:

"My God, my God, 

 why have you abandoned me?"

 Pain pleas specific,

 loud and clear.

      Matthew 26:39

         Matthew 27:46

      The Message 




One of the seminaries 

I attended was a 

magnificent structure 

in a marvelous setting.

The accommodations 

were superlative - 

meals to write home about

and linen settings to boot.

Top drawer and name theologians.


the hate and meanness level

in the place was a 9.9 

on a rickety scale of

missed Christian actuality.

Rather than go mad, 

a few of us planned 

and pulled pranks 

on the faculty 

and the leading 

hot shot seminarians

 (and we never 

  got caught

  but once).

We also broke the rules 

and after The Grand Silence 

set in we set out for nightly, 

clandestine sessions

complete with blacked out 

windows and transept.

Sipping cokes, we spent

an hour mocking

the living hell out of 

the madness and 

meanness of the day,

muffling our laughs 

so as not to get caught 

and thrown out. 

We ended in prayer

for us and for all, prayer

for healing and strength.

So, frequently get with 

some soul friends,

switch out the cokes 

for a good wine 

and have to!!

Tough times are telling us,

despite the advertising,

there's no such thing as 

an "ouchless band aid,"

and despite our longing,

there's no such thing as

a pain free life.

This was recently underscored 

for me with the arrival of

Ollie The Younger. 

Or daughter and  

son-in-law went through 

great pain to birth

a beautify life.


     Such is life.

      With you       

       in pain 


        in joy.

     John Frank



  The Bishop caught wind 

   of the madness and 

   the meanness at that

   posh, hell hole seminary.

   He transferred our 

   little survival group 

   to other seminaries. 

   I was priviledged 

   to be placed at

   Catholic University

   in Washington, DC.-

   a great place to be.



  Please consider time and spirit

  with the scriptures that follow.

  They tell it like it is 

  and as it will be.

  "See" what The Spirit "Says"

   to your deep down and 

   to your right now.

   Take some notes and share 

   with Soul Friends

   over a glass or two

   of inspirited fruit of the vine.



"God keeps an eye 

 on his friends,

 his ears pick up 

 every moan and groan...

 Is anyone crying for help?

 God is listening, 

 ready to rescue you.

 If your heart is broken, 

 you'll find God right there;

 if you're kicked in the gut,

 he'll help you 

 catch your breath.

 Disciples so often 

 get into trouble; still, 

 God is there every time."

    Psalm 34: 15-19

     The Message


"Or do you not know that 

 all of us who have been 

 baptized into Christ Jesus 

 have been baptized 

 into His death?

 Therefore we have been 

 buried with Him through 

 baptism into death, 

 so that as Christ was 

 raised from the dead 

 through the glory 

 of the Father, 

 so we too might walk 

 in newness of life.

 For if we have been 

 united with Him 

 in the likeness 

 of His death,

 certainly we shall

 also be in the likeness 

 of His resurrection."

    Romans 6:3-5

"When a woman gives birth, 

 she has a hard time of it, 

 there's no getting around it.

 But when the baby is born, 

 there is joy in the birth.

 This new life in the world 

 wipes out memory of the pain. 

 The sadness you have 

 right now is similar 

 to that pain, 

 but the coming joy 

 is also similar.

 When I see you again, 

 you'll be full of joy,

 and it will be a joy 

 no one can rob from you.

 you'll no longer be 

 so full of questions."  


 John 16:21-23 

   The Message


"That's why I don't think

 there's any comparison

 between the present 

 hard times and the 

 coming good times.

 The created world itself 

 can hardly wait for 

 what's coming next. 

 Everything in creation 

 is being more or less 

 held back. 

 God reins it in until 

 both creation and all 

 creatures are ready 

 and can be released 

 at the same moment into

 the glorious times ahead. 

 Meanwhile the joyous 

 anticipation deepens. 

 All around we observe 

 a pregnant creation.

 The difficult times of pain 

 throughout the world are 

 simply birth pains....

 Meanwhile, the moment

 we get tired in the waiting, 

 God's  Spirit is 

 right alongside 

 helping us along."   

   Romans 8:18-26  

     The Message 


"So let's not allow ourselves 

 to get fatigued doing good.

 A the right time we 

 will harvest a good crop 

 if we don't give up, or quite.

 Right now, therefore, 

 every time we get the chance, 

 let us work for the benefit of all, 

 starting with the people closest 

 to us in the community of faith."  

 ("So, frequently get with 

  some soul friends...

  for good wine and have to!!")

         Galatians 6:9-10

          The Message



It's so good to have new folks 

join in here each week.

It's so good to have wonderful 

regular folks here each week.

  Welcome One and Many 

          A special 

           Hi Five 

to our long time members 

      from Germany

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               "Get GO"







Wednesday, August 18, 2021



Dear All of Us,

Who was the 

ancient sage 

that opined: 

  "Never change your socks

   and you'll never get invited 

   to dinner parties"

   (Please don't bother 

    trying to fact check 

    that one!)

Well, more than 

our social life

requires change.

All life requires change.

Just ask a new born baby 

   - womb to world

   - diapers

   - sleeping patterns

   - rapid growth

   - effect on parents

and those are just for starters.

(Source: Ollie the Younger)

As a matter of how it is,

Existence is so dynamic that

all is in constant change.

Put another way, 

     God Is All That Is




       Infinite Energy

  The Creative Dynamic 

           Of Being.

There's just too much energy 

     to sit out the dance.

Creation is way more than a

           Big Bang

    It's an unfathomable,

  ever expanding burst of



  The Love that is God.

Creation is a wonderful party

in constant change

and expansion.

No chance to get stop-stuck 

or bored for those all in on it.

It takes more forms and ways 

than we so far know how to notice.

It ranges from:

 - sub-atomic particles, 

   and probably an infinity of

   sub-sub-sub atomic particles

   and pulsations of energy

   all the way out to probably 

   an infinity of

   gases and galaxies

   ever changing,

   with some of those 

   vibration of energy

   slowing to matter

   (Teilhard De Chardin)

   and that in

   all states of density,

   with some changing from 

   moment to moment,

   with others changing over

   multiples of millennia.

 - societal and personal changes

   as consciousness 

   changes and evolves

   (see self and society 

   from long ago to now)

- the very cells of our bodies 

   cascading in change

 - our spiritual experience

   changing from ritual and piety 

   to mystical merger.

Some say God is more 

a verb than a noun.

Our life in God sure is.

Our sense of God,

of life, creation, 

meaning, and of self,

are like a symphony 

ever changing 

in tone, tempo,

pitch, rhythm,




Change is its get go.

Put variously, 

our life in God 

has more than 

four seasons.

It can paradoxically 

be a puzzling mix,

a fearsome frigidity and

a basking warmth

all at once.

It has intensities

of awareness 

and intimacy.

There is a change flow to it -

variation forward.


     -tribulation and ecstasy,

     -clarity and unknowing,

      yet a cloud of unknowing

      that is just fine, thank you,

      because its profound intimacy

      out strips all and any

      rational take, 

      with innumerable 

      motions and moments 

      in-between and beyond.

After a lot of all that change,

     many mature to 

      change ready

     and just let God 

     lead the dance.

In my life there have been 

many seasons 

of spiritual change.

There's been seasons of 

ecstasy and joy.

It's like living 

in a land of bliss.

In my life there have been

seasons of aridity 

and barrenness.

It's like living 

in an endless desert

of nothingness nowhere.

In our spiritual lives 

nothing is still and set.

Faith is a grace gift 

that keeps us 

in the saddle 

no matter the motion 

of the moment and 

the changes consequent.

Those changes 

are not necessarily from 

lower to higher,

from hard to easy,

from minimal to maximal.

There is much mix.

Some are understood.

Some are a big blank. 

Those changes are like

steps in a dance.

Some of them are 

routine and familiar.

Some are surprises

that require us 

to change fast, 

to be spiritually 

fleet of foot

with the unfamiliar.

And the dance 

of change

spirals onward.

Our spiritual life 

can get 

all mixed up,

become chaotic,

if we deem it ours 

to determine 

the pace and substance

of it and of its changes.

In reality it's ours to accept 

and ours to grow 

in the dynamic of 


as it presents 

in its ever and 

progressive changes.

To resist change, 

to want to stay put 

     as is in 

"Give Me That 

Old Time Religion",

frustrates growth,

denies God's evolution

in us and all creating,

stagnates soul.

Such resistance 

is itself a change,

a change for the worse.

To embrace change 

as it comes in God's 

ongoing expansion of all 

is a change not only

for the better, but for


In God our changes mean

   the party never ends,

   just gets ever better.

See you a few changes from now,

             John Frank



     - "The only constant 

         in life is change."


      - "When you are 

         finished changing,

         you are finished."

         Benjamin Franklin

      - "Heraclitus, I believe,

         says that all things pass 

         and nothing stays, 

         and comparing things 

         to the flow of a river, 

         he says, you could not 

         step twice into 

         the same river."





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                A HI FIVE 

to our visitors this week from Cyprus.

  "The Times They Are A-changing"

 and all creation is in that time zone.

           Have a great week.

 Looking forward to our next connect.







Wednesday, August 11, 2021



Dear All of Us,

Hope all goes well

where you are.

Things here in DC 

are a bit uncertain, but

one certainty is that it's 

 Monday Morning Live

time to "Get Go" 

with starting to write

this week's blog posting.


       "Get Go Good"   

let's take a cue from Jesus.

He regularly used everyday, 

down to earth examples

to show things of high heaven -

the lilies of the field, sheep,

a mustard seed, a lost coin,

yeast, pruning, soil.

Following his lead,

let's check out 

the discovery of

 John Augustus 


What he found,

when applied,

can mean/make 

a wonderful difference 

in our spiritual lives.

Roebling revolutionized 

suspension bridges.

Instead of using thick,

heavy, iron chains

with a limited stretch, 

he perfected binding 

lots of long, slender 

little wires into cables 

with vastly greater 

strength and stretch. 




 - even as far as the

   one mile span 

   across San Francisco's

   Golden Gate -

For most of us 

most of the time,

our spiritual lives are

wraps of many

seemingly simple 

little strands of grace

God to us - us to God

        Yet they 

blend, bundle and bind 

into a strong stretch 

        of soul,

bridging a divine union 



- tipping generously,

  even extravagantly,

  largess like God's

- being absorbed in God's 

  skyscape at sunset.

- faithfully calling a friend

  who never calls us

- taking ten and 

  soaking in scripture 

- thanking the bus driver

- not getting on our high horse 

  when when we've been 

  on hold for thirty two minutes,

  forty three and a half seconds

- doing our best at work 

  to suffer a fool as gladly 

  as we possibly can

- patiently listening as 

  a lonely senior adult 

  tells us ten times more 

  than we want to know

  about their career

- drinking a less expensive wine

  than our preferred vintage 

  and putting the difference in 

  our (grand)child's 

  529 College Fund

- doing a real buy in with

  the members of 

  our spiritual community -

  actual, personal, practical,

  immediate and caring

- faithfully giving prime time

  and preference to 

  prayer and reflection

- in our heart of hearts actually

  embracing with love and prayer

  public figures who score

  a minus 10,000 favorability rating

  in our personal preference polling

- not fussing if our spouse

  wants striped black and yellow 

  bed sheets with orange pillow cases

  ( Hey, these are stressful times.

    We've got to lighten up all we can!!)

- doing what we can locally for 

  environmental care and concerns

- suffering slights graciously

- fasting from negative,

  derogatory talk

- getting excited 

  as we watch children at play, 

  as we read a good novel,

  as we enjoy farm fresh 

  corn on the cob.

All such little strands 

and stretches of good

wrap and weave into 

a cable of soul connection

with the divine.

  little things yes 




Thanks for your 

good company.

   John Frank


   Whoever, However,

    Wherever You Are



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While visiting 

Jean and George Wolf at

The Inn of the Spirit

years ago I happened 

on the small wire cable 

suspension bridge

that Roebling designed

and built back in 1845.

It spans the Delaware River

between Minisink Ford, Pa

and Lackawaxen, NY

It is still in use.

It served as a prototype

for his design of 

The Brooklyn Bridge.

One good doesn't stop at one.

Jean and George Wolf

lived Jesus, simply, 

practically, quite really.

After years of service 

overseas with Catholic Relief, 

they brought their family 

to remote Yulan, NY 

and moved into 

an old, rundown inn 

in the once popular

Borscht Belt.

They renovated as best 

they could and opened 

a lay retreat center.

I used to take students there

for weekend retreats.

It was a grace to become 

friends with Jean and George.

They are right at the top 

of the list of 

    Convincing Christians

in my life.

And here fifty years later

the example used in this blog

comes because of them

and is going to many

in many places.

One good doesn't stop at one.

Hey, this blog turned out to be 

a Double "Hearter"

Speaking of "heart"

from mine to yours

Ollie at three months

Talk about grace!!



           Here's to living those little 

               "strands of grace"

             They wind/bind well!!






We receive.

We give.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021



Dear All of Us,

Time to start the blog.

It's a beautiful, 

clear, comfortable 

Monday morning

here in Washington.

But no it isn't!

There's scare in the air.

Like too many elsewheres,

we're experiencing a

significant Covid up tick

with the Delta variant

and its vastly wider reach.

Masks are mandated

yet again for all 

indoor gatherings

here in DC.

You can almost 

fear-hear doors 

threatening to close on 

churches, shops, offices, 

restaurants, schools.

Are we in for another 

winter of stressful 

discontent, dislocation 

and danger?

To double the trouble

for families, there's the 

early arrival of a 

more virulent RSV, 

threatening infants,

children and youth.

As our Jewish friends say,


Yet, they and we 

all know it's 

probably not yet

enough already.

So how do we get ready

for fearful possibilities?

Stocking up on can goods 

and bathroom tissue certainly

aren't buffer enough.

Here we are with 

all sorts of 

medicines and monies,


transport, production,

technologies galore.

And this complex that is 

modern mammon's god

is having the props 

knocked out 

from underneath it by

millions of mysterious

microscopic mighties.

A David and Goliath


With it goes much of our

accustomed and preferred 

assurance, life style and 

for many, livelihood.

We're up against something 

we can do some things about,

but not near enough 

to completely control 

the crisis, the chaos.

That's tough for us

"Can Do", "Have Done", 

now "Can't Quite Do" 

frightened sorts.

World-wide our 

secular gods are failing us. 

The are gods of control.

They preach and promise:

   "We can figure everything out."

   "We can produce all 

    you want and more."

   "We can control and direct

     everything - air traffic

     to criminal justice 

     to migration."

    "We can create a super safe

     everything - finance, health,

     government, transport, 

     defense, supply chain."

     "We are the gods 

      of the 'Good Life'

      you want and 

      we can deliver."

Going down with secular gods 

is a lot of faux religion:

      Feel good, comfy, 

      cozy religion.

      Fire insurance religion

          (just in case).

      Show up, pay up and

      up you go religion

      (pro forma that protects).

      We've got an answer 

      for everything religion.

      Play by the rules and 

      rule out suffering religion.

      Crown without 

      the cross religion.

Phony, faux just doesn't hold up,

secular or so called sacred.

So how do we hold up? 

We do what Israel did 

in the desert -

we keep on truck'n, 

dust storms,

thirst and all.

We do what Jesus did 

on the cross - we hold on.

We do what John, Mary and 

the holy woman did 

at the cross - we stick it out.

We do what Israel did 

every time they screwed up 

and ended in a ditch - 

we turn from our false gods 

and faux religion

and ask God to get us

back on the road to real.

We do what the 

white man's slaves

did in their misery - 

they clung together 

and lived hope.

We do what all the saints 

have had to do - 

we suffer 

the destruction of 

our false selves 

and our faux gods, 

secular to seemed sacred.

We let go the illusion

of all-round 

safety and security.

We accept the flow 

of God's creation, 

understood or not, 

comfortable or not,

as that creation 

works chaos 

to a heavenly harmony.

   All around us 

   we observe 

   a pregnant creation. 

   The difficult times of pain 

   throughout the world 

   are simply birth pangs.

         Romans 8: 22

         The Message

We do as my friend, 

Ma Willett, 

did in abject poverty 

there in rural Kentucky. 

Tough as nails,

she widow-mothered 

thirteen children.

She'd get mad 

as hell sometimes, 

but she absolutely 

would not quit.

She had a 

rough tough trust 

that God would 

get them through.

And God did!

Not comfortably, 

not easily,

not in a way she could 

understand or control.

In her own way she lived 

a trust prayer 

     Be good to me, God 

     - and now!

     I've run to you 

     for dear life.

     I'm hiding 

     under your wings

     until the hurricane

     blows over.

     I call out to High God,

     the God who 

     holds me together.

        Psalm 57:1-2

        The Message

Faith Flow was her go.

She lived her 

mailing address:

    New Hope, Kentucky.

The Jews had to do that

kind of painful trust living

during the Holocaust.

The poor have always 

had to do it.

We are going through 

rough terrain.

We are forced 

face to face 

with limit.

Yes, that throws us in 

with the vast majority 

of people world wide

as they struggle with 

ambiguity, vulnerability,

insecurity, danger 

and need.

We are also pushed 

to face up to just 

how much do we  

hear promise 

and live trust.

    Do not fear, 

    for I am with you;

    Do not anxiously 

    look about you,

    for I am your God.

    I will strengthen you,

    surely I will help you,

    Surely I will uphold you 

    with My righteous right hand.

               Isaiah 41:10

Rough terrain.

The only way through is

trust the promise.

Life for now is like

making love and 

having a baby.

It is beautiful and ecstatic.

It hurts like hell.

It breaks out in new life.

One day it will be

infinitely more than



With you on our 

retreat forward,

   John Frank



      One and all.

      A High Five

     to our many, 

    many visitors

 from France this week.


      "frankly speaking"

   spirituality for the street



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If you choose to meditate 

and pray about all this, 

some starting points follow.


What we are going through 

just now knocks the hell 

out of easy religion.

We're pushed into 

a cosmic mix and stir.

The controlling mind can't!

We find ourselves like  

an element 

in a vast Mix Master,

pulsed all over the place

until everything blends.

We can't control or figure it -

just experience it,

and that in trust.

"I saw Heaven and earth


Gone the first Heaven,

gone the first earth,

gone the sea.

  I saw Holy Jerusalem,


descending resplendent 

out of Heaven,

as ready for God 

as a bride for her husband.

  I heard a voice thunder 

from the Throne:

"Look! Look! 

God has moved into 

the neighborhood,

making his home 

with men and women!

They're his people,

he's their God.

He'll wipe every tear 

from their eyes. 

Death is gone for good - 

tears gone, crying gone, 

pain gone - all the 

first order of things gone."

The Enthroned continued,

"Look! I'm making 

everything new.

Write it all down -

each word dependable 

and accurate."

   Revelation 21:1-5

     The Message

For here we do not have 

a lasting city, but we 

are seeking the city 

that is to come.

   Hebrews 13:14

I love you, God -

you make me strong.

God is bedrock 

under my feet,

the castle 

in which I live,

my rescuing knight.

My God - the high crag

where I run for dear life,

hiding behind the boulders,

safe in the granite hideout.

I sing to God, 

the Praise-Lofty,

and find myself 

safe and saved.

     Psalm 18:1-3

     The Message


Since everything here today 

might well be gone tomorrow, 

do you see how essential 

it is to live a holy life? 

Daily expect the Day of God, 

eager for its arrival. 

The galaxies will burn up 

and the elements 

melt down that day - 

but we'll hardly notice. 

We'll be looking the other way, 

ready for the promised 

new heavens and 

the promised new earth, 

all landscaped 

with righteousness.

       2 Peter 3:10-13

        The Message

God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,

though the earth should change

And though the mountains     

slip into the heart of the sea...

           Psalm 46:1-2


Grateful for our wonderful 

little community here.

Looking forward 

to being together 

next week.






In my family we puzzle.

Can our daughter do 

in person teaching 

this Fall?

Can we have 

a church baptism

for little Ollie?

Will our other 

two daughters

and our son-in-law

be working remotely?

Do we need again 

"to bubble"? 

And we are among 

the most protected

and most prosperous.

How ever will all 

the essential workers do?

What about the poor

here and worldwide?

In our own ways,

and to varying degrees,  

many/most of us 

are in a fix like Job.

He and his soars

just had to sit it out 

on that pile of

difficult disgust.

He tried to look 

the other way.

It didn't work.

He couldn't miss 

the mess, 

nor could he do 

anything about it.

His support system 


He got angry.

His version of God

turned out to be 

a faux god,

one of his own concocting

and it fell through on him.

Job receives all 

when he surrenders all.

We're up against something 

we can do some things about, 

and simply cannot completely control.

That's tough for "Can do" sorts like us.