Wednesday, March 30, 2022


Dear All of Us,

So, how are you each and all?

Actually, that's quite a concern 

of my heart.

I think much and pray deeply 

for all of us who gather here weekly.

My little efforts in this blog 

are a try to clarify and encourage 

as we live through the ups and downs 

and all arounds of what we call our 

spiritual lives.

Of course, there's really 

no such thing as our "spiritual lives."

There's just life in its wholeness,

and hopefully its holiness. 

And right now life is 

pretty darn hard

in so many ways 

for so many people 

in so many places.

Please allow me a go at trying to 

clarify and encourage a little bit 

as best I can with my limits.

Like you, I'm in the midst of the mix.

It's so like chocolate   - bittersweet - 

sometimes a lot more 

of one than the other.

Right now there's a burst of the bitter.

We live in lands and societies

quite different all around the orb.

Our specifics vary, but all peoples are

are troubled, some to terror.

The pandemic has taken 

the starch out of our souls, 

   - admitted or not -

It continues to rub our noses

in vulnerability.

Putin's satanic slaughter

is hellish horror

beyond grasp or word,

devastation of people and place.

It has torched the tissue

of international stability.

People on every continent 

are subjected to dreadful

violence and violation -

Myanmar, China, Ethiopia, 

city streets USA,

a few of too many more.

Undergirding flaws are causing 

the floor to give out under 

structures of church, finance, 

civility, safety, education, 

health care, democracy 

and governance,

the common life and good.

We just don't know 

how much will hold up

nor how we are to hold on.

We're all living in some variant of 

a war zone.

Here where I live in the USA:

- a fundamentalist Christian right 

that is neither Christian nor right

prostitutes the Gospel for

social/political dominance

- White nationalism that refuses 

to see and confess the sin 

of racism that is sadly

foundational and corrupting

to our national construct.

It's like the days of 

my RC youth when you carried 

an unconfessed mortal sin

and were thus not admitted 

to Holy Communion.

Confession alone can open 

to reconciliation.

-Truth telling muzzled, 

book burnings, 

curricula white washed,

fact fractured.

-Cynical slander in 

media and politics - 

congressional hearing

of Justice Jackson.

OK, let's take a break 

and a deep breath.

There is a sweet to the 

bittersweet of our living.

-God is joyfully busy, 

unabashedly creating forth in

endless new expansions of love.

Sin will not stop it.

-We have the companionship

and strength-giving of

The Enlivening Spirit.

-We are welcomed to the

     Realm of Real

to living in the Reign of God

and that in company with

each other in holy community,

right in the midst of 

Empire's Madness.

-There are way more people

living God's Love 

than those who are attacking 

Godness and Truth.

See kids learning 

the wonders of life.

See couples lovingly

merged in marriage and

raising beautiful families.

See the champions of

justice and goodness,

locally and globally.

See elderly folks mellowing

into peace and gratitude.

-Happily we can

sing songs, 

speak poems,

cook for feasts,

join the dance.

Folks come together in

        Lived Love 

     and experience

        The Spirit 

      fill their sails.

This time of year we note the

      Springing of Life

after the cold dark of winter.

We recommit to absorption in

the bitter death and 

the sweet resurrection of Jesus. 


In the words of my long ago 

spiritual director:   

     "Don't let the bastards 

      get you down

      because with God 

      it's power through and up."

Bitter for sure and sweet forever.

Here's hope and prayer

as together we 

suffer the bitter and

savor the sweet.

 Your Brother

  John Frank



                 Two takes/talks

                 Romans 6:3-4

"Do you not know that all of us 

who have been baptized 

into Christ Jesus were baptized 

into his death? 

Therefore we have been buried 

with him by baptism into death, 

so that, just as Christ was raised 

from the dead by the glory 

of the Father, so we too 

might walk in newness of life."  

     (NRSV translation)

"That's what baptism into 

the life of Jesus means. 

When we were lowered 

into the water, it is like 

the burial of Jesus; 

when we are raised up 

out of the water, it is like 

the resurrection of Jesus. 

Each of us is raised into 

a light-filled world by our Father 

so that we can see where 

we are going in our new 

grace sovereign country." 

(The Message translation)


This week we were joined by 

a visitor from Ukraine.

Thank you for being with us 

and know we are with you 

and all Ukraine

in prayerful support.   


         frankly speaking

    spirituality for the street

Posted by mid-day Wednesday, 

          east coast USA time.

Email format delivered Friday.



We support in times bitter.

We celebrate in times sweet.



Wednesday, March 23, 2022



Dear All of Us,

How wonderful when we have

the clarity and courage 

to live out who were really are.

It is wonderfully true as well

for our shared life in community.

God's liveliness is let loose.

The tree of life bursts beautiful.

Of sad course, the obverse is 

tragic, deadening.

In our day and way,

like the ancient Israelites,

we must and do chose:

   "I have set before you 

    life and death...

    Chose life..." 

    Deuteronomy 30:19

It's a life choice between our

         TRUE SELF

         FALSE SELF

individually and collectively.

The choice determines 

how we be, what we do,

where we go, how we go.

Thomas Merton helps us

see the difference and choice:

    We are at liberty 

    to be real, 

    or to be unreal. (1)

    The seeds that are planted 

    in my liberty at every moment, 

    by God's will, are the seeds 

    of my own identity, my own reality, 

    my own happiness, my own sanctity. 

    To refuse them is 

    to refuse everything;

    it is the refusal of my own 

    existence and being: 

    of my identity, my very self. (2)

   Every one of us is shadowed by 

   an illusory person: a false self. (3)

   My false and private self 

   is the one who wants 

   to exist outside the reach

   of God's will and God's love 

   - outside of reality and outside of life.

   And such a person cannot help 

   but be an illusion.  (4)

  Ultimately the only way that 

  I can be myself 

  is to become identified 

  with Him in Whom is hidden 

  the reason and fulfillment 

  of my existence.

  Therefore there is only one problem 

  on which all my existence, 

  my peace and my happiness depend: 

  to discover myself in discovering God. 

  If I find Him I will find myself 

  and if I find my true self 

  I will find Him...

  The only One Who can teach me 

  to find God is God, Himself, Alone. (5)

  The only true joy on earth 

  is to escape from the prison 

  of our own false self, 

  and enter by love into union 

  with the Life Who dwells 

  and sings within the essence 

  of every creature 

  and in the core 

  of our own souls. 

  In His love we possess all things 

  and enjoy fruition of them, 

  finding Him in them all. 

  And thus as we go about the world, 

  everything we meet and everything 

  we see and hear and touch, 

  far from defiling purifies us and 

  plants in us something more of 

  contemplation and of heaven. (6) 


      New Seeds of Contemplation

     2007 New Directions Paperbook

  (first published in 1962 as a hardcover)

              (1) p32     (2) p33 

              (3) p34     (4) p 34

              (5) p36     (6) p25



My true self is me emerging from God.

Me rooted in the Reality and Good of God

and flowering forth.

My false self is the phony me I concoct,

an illusion rooted in the void of the unreal.

Nothing real comes from it.

Through my true self flows God 

in actual, personal, practical manner.

Through my false self flows illusions of reality

in actual, personal, practical, painful manner.

True self is living God.

False self is living a lie.


"To be or not to be."

 sure is the question.

 It all depends on 

 where we're coming from,

 on what we're living out from.

 (bad grammar, great truth)

          Truely Yours,

           John Frank


It's so good to have new folks 

joining in with us each week.

This past week we were blessed

with our first ever participant 

from Guatemala and also with

a large cohort from France.

To one and every


          Please share

       frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

with family, friends, colleagues.



posted Wednesday by mid-day

east coast USA time


available Friday

east coast USA time

sign up at top, online version


all past postings available

right column online version

      See you next week.

In the meantime and always 

may we be true to whom

we really are - a beautiful 

emanation of God.



Wednesday, March 16, 2022


Dear All of Us, 

Take a wrong turn and we're lost,

delayed, damaged or dead.

Take a right turn and 

we get on with things, 

we're on our way. 

That's how it is.

That's life.

That's also Lent.

Lent is about 

right and wrong turns,

and happily about


There's a ton of wrongs

and we suffer for that.

There are countless rights

that delight and expand us.

Both are symbolized

at the bookends of Lent.

Lent starts with ashes.

"Ashes, ashes, we all fall down"

and we sure have -

greedy self-centeredness

all the way to Putin's 

horrendous, Satanic genocide.

Lent leads up - and up it is -

to banks of Easter lilies

that defied the dark and dread

of their winter graves,

pushed up bright and beautiful

as will we, righted for

the marvels of existence.

The Righting of Wrong is


He is God Love Incarnate,

personal and present,

mixing in our 

mess and marvel.

He gets into trouble,

our troubles,

our wrong turns,

our dead and 

deadening ends,

and turns them right.

He gets right into 

the manifold graves 

our wrong turns 

have opened.

In his realness,

his aliveness,

he pushes up

bright and beautiful,

freeing us,

turning us right,

for the marvels of

Creation Refreshed


     God Life

 in the Kingdom.

Because of our wrong turns

hurt and troubles there are.

But because we belong to Jesus

we too will Spring free,

come up from our downs,

righted from our wrongs,

bright and beautiful -

we and all creation.

There's "Hope for the Flowers"

and all the rest of us.

    In God's Uplift,

     John Frank



        A variety of 

      Prayer Prompts

follow that could be employed 

over a period of time for

Lenten reflection and prayer.

Being as honest and specific

as I possibly can:

What are the five 

most distressing,

most dangerous,

Wrong Turns 

that are causing me

to be

   - lost

   - delayed

   - damaged

   - deadened

What are the five

most distressing,

most dangerous

Wrong Turns

by which I am causing 

others to be

    - lost

    - delayed

    - damaged

    - deadened

What are the five

most distressing,

most dangerous,

Wrong Turns

by which our

country, culture, church

are causing society to be

     - lost

     - delayed

     - damaged

     - deadened

How do I have to be and

what do I need to do  

to let Jesus have me, 

mess and all,

so he can

right me?

What would it be like 

to be Righted for

   Creation Refreshed


       God Life 

   in the Kingdom    







How can I open up,

how can I help others,

for these wonderful 


  to be possible?

"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." 

Romans 6:3-4

How do I hope that  

I and all of us can 

"walk in newness of life?


      Sincere welcome to all 

      newly with us here at 

        frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street


   by mid-day Wednesday

    east coast USA time


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Let's be sure to hold 

in heart and prayer

those wronged in our world

and those who wrong them.

One day may we be







Wednesday, March 9, 2022



Dear All of Us,

It's party time.

It's "the" party of parties,

a block buster,

one that simply won't quit.

It just gets to be

more and more 

wildly wonderful.

Surprise and delight

trip over each other.

It blows through limits.

It's a blast.

Best bests best.

It's come as we are

but we won't stay that way.

It's a breakout 

and so will we.

It's in full swing and

swing to the heights

will we.

It had a fantastic get go,

and "go" it does

and so will we,

with no slow nor stop. 



is being thrown by 

the host of most, 

of all that 



    and it's 

 sung danced



God is good, 

goodness itself,

too good

to keep to itself


God is energy, 


those of a lover

that pulsates 

with passion,

pouring out 



God is Love,

Love without Limit,

Love that opens 

and expands,

that gives and gives, 

Love that 

comes and comes


The poet genius 

of Genesis

paints a picture of 

Love having a ball, 

Love having 

a heaven of a time,

getting carried away 

giving away 

with no interest in 

slowing down

or backing off


God is Being Itself

pouring forth beings

beyond name and number,

us among them.


All that is

is God 

being this 


being that,


We are invited 

     to the 


The Love Blast,

that is creation

and to be dynamic 

in helping God have a

     God Time


    God created human beings. 

    he created them godlike,

    Reflecting God's nature.

    He created them 

    male and female.

    God blessed them:

   "Prosper! Reproduce! 

    Fill Earth! 

    Take charge!

     Genesis 1:27-28

       The Message


After a while God outdid 

God's creative self.

The name is Jesus,


God with us

and that in a

divinely human way.

Jesus ups 

the tempo of the      


He introduces the  

"Kin-Domain of God"

and gets us into 

the swing of things.

Paul puts it like this:

   For we are co-workers 

   in God's service.

  1 Corinthians 3:9

We are invited 

to help God throw the


What a thrill.

We get to be 

gifted and to gift,

to be given 

and to give.

During this season 

of Lent,

this "lent-ening"

of Spring light,

we do well 

to see afresh

all as All,

all as one in 

The One,

quarks to constellations,

elements to babies 

to Beethoven,

most especially 

our fellow partygoers

however they 

dress and dance 


     There are 

no strangers at this 


Sadly, though, there are 

      party poppers 

      trying to crash, 

 trash and disrupt God's 


   They are pretty 

     sick and sad.

     They try to 

   destroy, deface

God's beautiful creation.

They violate 

people and place,

truth and goodness.

The only answer 

to them 

and their evil 

is for us to be

a bonfire of Divine Love

to their frozen hardness.

Just because 

there are killjoys

messing things up 

we don't call off the


  We rev it up.

  We live it up.

If we get caught

in the media mesh and mess,

we'll be tricked into

fearing that

the foul ups of 

the party poopers

are the main show in town.

          Not so.

Creation is in full swing.

We're busy partying.

We see wonders

through microscopes

and telescopes, 

we hear tones of diversity

harmonizing in joyous unison,

we hug a tree and each other,

we touch with care the earth 

and breathe in 

the currents of vigor,

we feast on art and science,

we lift the low and lost,

we roll out justice,

we are drawn into mystery.

We get married and 

co-create kids and family.

We paint pictures.

We do our day job with focus.

We drive responsibly.

We tutor and we mentor.

We gather in real community.

We have people over for dinner.

We play ball and we sing.

We share liberally.

We live love because

       God is love

       1 John4:8

Lent is a great opportunity 

        to press 



     God looked over everything

     he made; it was good, 

     so very good.

          Genesis 1:31

         The Message


  And that was just for starters.

           Party On!

          John Frank


           Here at 

      frankly speaking

we gather from many lands,

live in many distinct cultures,

are as varied as the stars.

All are welcome in our diversity,

one in the joyous unity that is God.

             frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street


Wednesday afternoons

East Coast USA time



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let's have such 

a rip roaring

good time partying

that everyone will want in.





Wednesday, March 2, 2022



Dear All of Us,

I've never been accused of being 

either good looking nor a trend setter.

There was, however, 

one exception years ago.

But in no way did it come even close 

to qualifying me as good looking.

Oh not so well!

It was at the beginning of the '60's.

I was in the midst of college.

And what do I do? 

I took a Gap Year 

before there was such a thing.

Scared the heck out of 

my family and pastor.

The one and only time I ever

came even close to any sort of 

trend setting.

I was twenty and just didn't know 

what to do - ministry, celibacy, 

religious life, marriage and kids, 

social work, farming, teaching, 

broadcasting, writing?

For all the puzzling, though,

I had to earn my keep. 

So, I sprung for some 

expensive haberdashery

and was in sales for a spell 

at an upscale, uppity 

department store.

Hated it.

Had to talk the idle rich 

into wasting their money

on over-priced things 

they didn't need.

One plus was it convinced me 

to be darn careful 

about truth, specifically, 

who's talking whom into what,

and what's the follow through.

I came to see that

our lives, 

individually and collectively,

are more than a bit 

like a giant experience of 

       SIMON SAYS 

To be genuine, 

to be real in life, 

we need to be both 

particular and precise 

about who's having 

the say and sway

in our living 

and how we respond.

Well, it's Lent.

Good time to have a look at

who's our Simon?

Does that Simon 

"say" the truth 

in words and all otherwises

or not, and do we do as


Out here on the street 

of everyday living

there are a lot of Simons

looking for folks 

to do life as they say.

It's critical to have 

one who stands 

for and upon the truth,

one rock solid genuine, 

Reality based and biased.

It's equally critical 

that we carefully 

and really do

just as such a

  Simon Says

Otherwise, we loose 

a lot more than 

a fun party game.

Sadly there are 

Simons saying

to self and society:
















   Deliberate, lying Misinformation


   Media Madness    

Do we fall for it?   


Happily, there are other

Simons saying 

to self and society:








   Environment Caring








   Media Maturity

   Unity in Diversity

Do we do as they say?

During Lent we see Jesus

in the desert

sorting out truth

from its perversion.

He refused to do as

Satan Simon Says.

It freed him for his

life giving mission.

Lent is our turn 

to be out in the 

Desert of Decision,

sorting out the truth,

seeing what Simon has 

the say and sway

in our lives,

and see full face

our actual follow through.

Jesus tipped his hand,

opened his heart,

to share why

he is among us:

      "I've come that 

     you might have life 

     and have it to the full."

          John 10:10

Being and doing as 

   Jesus Says

   will mean 

in fact and experience

that we will truly have 

"life and have it 

 to the full."

During these forty days of Lent

out here in the Desert of Decision

it would be wonderfully helpful

to hear Jesus and 

to hear about Jesus


As we do that 

we examen

how we are doing 

with what 

  Jesus Says

and our actual 

follow through.

We look to our

- value system

- life style

- consumption

- expenditures

- relationships

- prayer and meditation

- shared spiritual community

- practical efforts for

  social justice, earth care.


A good way to go about this 

would be to slowly Soul Savor

   The Gospel of Matthew

little by little over the course of Lent.

A help to do that would be 

"the twofer approach,"

daily reading Matthew

from a standard translation 

complemented by reading

Matthew from

     The Message 


The Message

 is available 

for free online.

It is a "right now,"

American English,

plain speak articulation 

from the Aramaic/Hebrew,


time and culture

of Jesus to ours.

It offers a much needed

contextual and tonal quality

to hearing the Gospel.

Slowing, settling, 

opening, centering 

we absorb

          The Word

as translated these two ways.

We then ponder what is shared 

and see how that gets translated 

into our actual living here and now.

We'll hear Jesus again 

for the first time.

May we then do just as 

        Jesus Says.

.       John Frank



"Peace is the tranquility of order." 


No such in Ukraine. 

People and place are thrown 

into painful, excruciating disorder. 

Empire evils forth horrendously.

Ordered reality is ripped and raped.

Our "answer" to this is not just

armchair anger from safely afar.

We need to be careful that 

foul doesn't foul our souls.

Hate of Putin will just 

put us in bed with him,

tossing and turning, 

not in love, 

but in hate and hurt.

We need to best him with 

   Full Souled Love

He is terribly sick 

and dangerous.

He is writhing in the

emptiness of illusion.



We focus on Putin.

We join God in loving him

to awaken from the 

nightmare that possesses him.

We focus on the people of Ukraine.

We feel their torment.

We join God in loving them 

to strength in their torture.

We do everything 

we possibly can 

from where we are 

and how we are 

to support them

actually and practically.

We hold in prayer 

the people of Russia,

captive to madness.

We look to the entire world 

as order and its peace 

are in question

in this so unstable moment.

This Lent Jesus is back 

on the Cross.

That's where we need to be.

One with him in his agonizing

through evil to Good.

One with him in his stretch.

One with him in his response:

"Father, forgive them 

for they know not what they do."

One with him in knowing 

what he is doing -

suffering through evil 

to the rebalance of the world.


A great big 


to all gathering here 

each week and 

to those joining for 

the first time this week.

Together we make this a 

holy communion.



Last week's posting,

  Change Call, 

had an incorrect citation.

The correct citation 

for the quote from 

The Common English Bible 


      Matthew 4:17


      frankly speaking

  spirituality for the street


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There's a bunch of Simons Saying 

what to do all over the place.

          "What'a we say"

              to what 

           "Jesus Says"

       Have a great week!