Wednesday, February 28, 2024




     * Solitude





       Session I 


       Session II


       Session III


      are available 

      by scrolling 

     down beneath 

      this posting


Dear All of Us, 

Sounds silly,

but going solo

gets us going social

and vice versa.

It's like the see-saw

of our childhood.

One balances the other.

Well, should!

Too often don't!

That can hurt.

It did me.

As a little guy, 

my friend, Danny, wasn't.

He was twice 

as heavy as me.

I knew nothing of physics.

He got me on a see saw

and tortured 

the living heck out of me.

Really hurt and frightened.

That lack of balance

(moral and corporeal)

ruined any further socializing

with him.

So such much of social life 

in our day and way.

Way off balance, 

tortures us sick.

    The Desert 

Mothers and Fathers

saw social sickness 

and got out of Dodge.

Went solo.

Leave they desert did,

into emptiness for fullness.

They went solo to be communal. 

They stepped away from 

the maddening crowd  

that was wildly chasing after 

nothing and finding just that,

unending nothingness.

In solitude they found 

their true selves and

true balance with others.

In the desert solitude 

they found 

sacred significance of

self and society.

They then founded

communities of such.

For sanity and soul 

we sometimes 

have to go solo 

and get out of Dodge.

It could be 

toxic employment, 

pseudo church,

poisonous political partizans,

ruinous relationships,

attempting worth 

and depth with illusions

of power, possession, prestige,

conspicuous consumption, 

going faster and faster 

to nowhere,

media adduction,

"gotta have grab,"

dopped, deluded, 

stuffed with stuff.

From such stuff 

we go solo.

That aloneness 

frightens at first.

The quiet of 

  Solo Spirit 


shows and confirms

our God-Given Self.

It sensitizes us 

to realness

in self and in other. 

It frees from the allure 

of posturing.

It enthuses spirit.

It clarifies our unique self

and our place and pace in

God's weaving forth Creation.

We are readied for balance of 

self and community.

That's exactly what 

desert solitude 

did for those early people

seeking to live 

  "Essential Christianity"

They became communities 

of shared life and support.

This week in our retreat group,

or with a trusted soul friend,

it would be so good to share 

- what kind of Dodge 

  we personally must leave

- like Jesus in the desert

  of his Solo Retreat, 

  how do we tell 

  The Father of Lies

  "To go to hell!!"

- like Jesus, how do 

  we go solo in 

  time apart and prayer

- what frightens us about 

      Spirit Solitude,

      about being 

      who we really are 

      in and of God,

      about waiting 

      and working for true

      Christian community?

- to sensitively and simply affirm 

  each in our group as we 

  go solo to go social in Christ.

This week we spend 

time and yearning with

     Matthew 4:1-11

      Desert Testing

       The Message



       - free online -


   The Message Matthew 4:1-11

What was the lure then?

What is the lure now?

How do we life answer?


Real and right,

we are freed 

     to be

  Spirit Self




Next Edition

        Online: Wednesday

                    March 6, 2024

         Email:  Friday

                    March 8, 2024


It just gets better and better

as we gather here from there.

This week was a wrap around 

of us from fourteen different

          homelands -



        South Korea 



      capped off with 

       a large group

     from Singapore

 and of first timers from



      as we together




a special and rather unique

offering will be coming our way



        frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

      Click title top left


Pleas scroll down beneath 

the current posting

May we all have a 

Lenten Retreat 


 a refreshing


See you next week.

Holding one and all

in love and prayer,

   John Frank



Wednesday, February 21, 2024




      * Leave




Session I


Session II


are available by

scrolling down 

below this posting.


Dear All of Us,


we just have to

"Leave it alone."

That's what the 

Desert Mothers 



   had to do

   and did do



they left Sin City

to find and live



and they didn't stop

to close the door

on the way out! 

They left as is 

for what needs 

      to be 


     can be

These good folks 

were earnest,

high octane, 

full torque.

They took a pass 

on what passes for 

social and spiritual

systems and situations

that don't have 

even a shadow of 

sanity or realness.

From Dark Dodge 

to desert bright they went.

That pass relocated 

more than their address 

and how they dwelt there.

We don't have to go desert.

We do need to go new 

on how we address life.

Our Lenten Pause

    maps out

what we leave,

where we go,

how we transition

and relocate.

It does that so we can 

refresh and reset to

"Essential Christianity." 

We move away from

tolerance, support, engagement

in systems and situations

that darken, degrade:

- gauche, cruel entertainments

- tolerance of incessant wars

- excessive consumption

- media addition

- compromised governance

- culture warring

- intolerance 

     religious, sexual, 

     ethnic, racial

- spiritual shallowness and inertia

- demagogues and dictators








- being sacred shy

- anyone or thing soul dulling

- religiosity trumping spirituality

We move to 

systems and situations 

that enable, support, 


The Common Good:

- truth telling

- pristine air, water, earth

- free, fair elections

- stable marriage

- vigorous, full time family life

- equity in opportunity, housing, salary

- ethnic, racial, environmental justice

- disciplined, judicious media involvement

- education open, truthful, respectful

- embracing God given diversities

- spiritual earnestness and expansiveness

- social sharing

- Spirit Centered 

- Soul Liveliness

- Spirit Community 

- Genuine discipleship

- Deepest, most intimate prayer

Yes, our investing, 


voting, housing, politics, 

prayer, time allotments,

what, where and how we buy, 

with whom and how we socialize,

are at issue here.

Do they darken us, other, creation?

Do they Love Light us, other, creation?

Do we need to get a move on?

In our small group, 

or with a trusted other,

we pause to pray, ponder, 

skinny dip in scripture.

This week, 

   Matthew Chapter 3,

   Desert Dynamite

     The Message 


    - free online


            The Message 

    Book by Eugene H. Peterson

What's going on there?

What needs to go on here?

We listen, share and support.

      Spirit Led

 we retreat forward

      to locate in

        a life of 

"Essential Christianity."

Lent starts with smudge.

It ends sharing light from the

       Christ Candle

        symbols of 

     where to locate

     what to



Next Edition

Online Posting: Wednesday 

                       February 28, 2024

Email Delivery: Friday

                       March 1, 2024


This week we were blessed with 

many first time participants 

from the USA.


Great to 


together and toward ever more 

"Essential Christianity."

        frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

        Click title top left


Each Wednesday morning

East Coast USA time


Please scroll down beneath 

the current posting


Each Friday

Sign Up

Top right

online posting

Holding us all 

in prayer and love

as we migrate right.

    John Frank



A solid read and support, 

a superior one,

for leaving as is 

to find as can be 

with a radical, 

new focus is:

      Stolen Focus, 

      Johann Hari, 



      an imprint of 

      Random House












Wednesday, February 14, 2024






    Session I


is available by

scrolling down

below this posting


Dear All of Us,

What's with us?

We wouldn't be 

caught dead

with egg on our face, 

yet one Wednesday a year, 

and this year on

Valentine's Day to boot,

we go running around town

with this great big black 


  on our foreheads

         all day!

     What gives?


Well, it's a sign of 

what's on our mind 

as a we begin Lent,



It's a sign that

things need to be 

cleared up, 

cleaned up.

It's a sign 

that a lot has been 


     dirty dark.

It's a sign 

that we're pausing

six plus weeks

to face that dark

and embrace the light.

In a small way 

we are doing what 

    The Desert 

Mothers and Fathers 

   did big time.

They got out of 

   dark Dodge

to find space and place

to live the light.

They headed out 

    to live out

"Essential Christianity,"

  pure and simple.

Lent is a look around.

What's what with us?

As John Wesley put it:

"How is it with your soul?"


    Soul is core self.

So how is it with core






We each look, see 

and answer for


We all look and see

    and answer 






  The answer is

     too often

     too much

"Smudged dirty dark!"

   We can try to

  deny, dilute, duck


       we can

    face the dark

and look for the light.


Lent is truth telling,

    tough stuff,

    but we have 

    neutered it 

  by limiting it to

  religious rituals,

 commonized customs, 

 that don't come within 

 a galaxy of reality and need:

- give up candy for Lent

- throw a little cash 

  to the food pantry

- attend The Stations of the Cross

- purple up the church

        In the meantime, 

         and it really is 


- we tolerate to accept to support


          so horridly far

         being hideously 

         war slaughtered

           in Palestine.

  Cattle for our dinner table

        are slaughtered

        more humanely! 

          A quick shot

    to the head and done.   

  Not so Palestinian civilians. 

Babies to grandmas and grandpas 

  are right now slaughtered with

  raping, bombing, dislocation,

  starving, traumatizing 

      before the kill!!

- Christianity has become  

         Christ Lite


  Christ doesn't come that way!

  Lots of container, little content,

     "Essential Christianity" 

   is the Cinderella of church

- politics, governance, social order,

  culture, earth and atmosphere,

  abused to within inches of collapse.

- God is doing a beautiful job of Creation.

  Look at what we do to it.

- Jesus came and gave 

  to redeem, restore, 

  refresh and renew.

  How many of us have

  deeply and completely 

  bought in,

  taken God at his


 How many actually live

  "Essential Christianity"?

          It's a sin

          all of it

It calls for repentance.

Repentance means 


That translates into 


We depart dark.

We transition to light.

In our place, 

time and clime, 

we do as did as the

Desert Mothers and Father - 

we relocate, 

not so much 

our street address 

as our whole way 

of addressing life.

It's a core call.

It's an actual move 

beyond religiosity to 

hearty, joyous, 

practical living of

"Essential Christianity."

And it is outrageously 


This Retreat Week

we see and name

     the dark

we repent it all

we pray and purpose

to really accept 

and vigorously live

"Essential Christianity"

      as did the

   Desert Mothers 

    and Fathers

     They relocated 

    and did they ever 

    "Lighten UP!"

  We can as well and 

  well it sure will be!

Richard Rohr charts

four essential elements 

of how those pioneers

vacated Dark Dodge,

moved to, centered in on

"Essential Christianity" 

       with their

  Retreat Forward.

We'll "one a week" them




         Method (1)

We'll take a good look at


        next week.

This retreat week 

it is best

to see and name 

the far from best

in our personal lives


in our shared lives





What ties us down,

trips us upside down,

keeps us from running

with vigor and joy

in the light and land of

"Essential Christianity"

 What smudges things up

         to so sadly a 



In our group sharing,

or with a trusted 

spiritual friend,

we "soak in scripture"

choosing one or more

   of the following:


    Hebrews 12:1-3

    Matthew 25:31-46

What do they basically say?

What does that mean

for our daily, practical life, 

   individually and as 

     The Gathered?

How can we help each other 

        Live the Light?

It's no fun facing the dark.

   It's a liberating joy 

     to see the light,

     to light up in


       The Light 

     of the World,

    way too bright 

    for any sort of




   Online Posting: Wednesday

                          February 21, 2024

   Email Delivery: Friday 

                          February 23, 2024


    Warm Welcome

    to the groups

    joining in here 

    this past week 





How good to be together

      "In Christ"





       He works

  quietly, generously, 


     "doing digital"

   for us all here at

    frankly speaking.

 Again, many thanks




(1) Daily Meditations,

     Center for Action 

     and Contemplation

     May 4, 2015


Welcome all to our

Lenten Retreat

here at

      frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street


      Click title top left


Each Wednesday morning

East Coast USA time


Please scroll down below 

the current posting


Each Friday

Sign Up

  top right

  online posting


frankly speaking

with others


 Even now, 

 says the Lord God,

"return to me 

with your whole heart"

       Joel 2:12

Praying for our 

whole hearted

Retreat Forward.

Love to all.

John Frank



Wednesday, February 7, 2024



Dear All of Us,

  Let's Lent


 "Try this on 


  Soul Size."

Life is a dynamic

an alternation

a pulsation

a back and forth  

  Action- Pause

    We work

    We sleep

    We give

    We receive

When things  

are balanced, 

we are.

Such certainly 

spiritual life.




that gives needed 

spiritual balance.

It's like a team 

taking a time out

to further a win


  to find one.


  "The pause

 that refreshes"


   an annual


      to go 


   If that's a fit, 

we're all invited to




  together here 

in our weekly huddles

    during Lent

Our theme and approach

        come from 

        The Desert 

  Mothers and Fathers

Now, please don't reach for 

your water bottle and 

head for the doors.

Yes, they were 

long ago, 

far away and 

big time different

from us in our 

here and now.

They also knew

and modeled

a near perfect 


They lived it  

in a mix up

much like our

right now





They had  

to step out

to step up.

We do too.

Let's follow 

their good lead 


retreat forward.

Richard Rohr maps it out for us. 

Speaking of the Desert Mothers and Fathers and their time he says:

"They were surely bona fide Christians and yet knew none of the 

doctrines which many of us today take as essential orthodoxy, such as 

the two natures of Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity, the inerrancy of the 

Bible, and on and on. This early period is a clearing house for 

                          essential Christianity." (1)

                    (emphasis mine and I hope ours))

Over time Christianity got complicated, compromised and corrupted. 

To go forward we really need to get back to basics -

                             Retreat Forward 

The Desert Mamas and Papas take us back to our future. 

They had the basics down cold out there in the hot desert. 

They didn't fuss. 

They focused. 

It was no frills, no fooling.

It was an essential experience of living Jesus the Christ.

It was Love Lived. 

It was Kingdom coming, 

It was wonder-full.


In our Now:

    Are we really and ready for that?

    In what kind of packaging have we received Christianity?

    What's core, and what's later conditioning and current container? 

    How taken and/or troubled are we with the condition and container of 

    current Christianity?

    How willing are we to make adjustments to live  

                   "essential Christianity"?

    Given the particulars of our life setting, how can the practical living of 

    the Gospel be the core and center of our daily, actual, living?

    Are we genuinely wrapped in with a for real Christian community?




We are invited to join in/gather together a small group, 

or covenant with a trusted Soul Friend.

If neither is possible, we fly solo.

We open wide to The Spirit.

We focus on 

"essential Christianity"

       What is it?

      We want to 

       "for real" 

     commit to it.

    We skinny dip 

in a sea of scripture.

We Spirit Soak in Matthew 


      The Sermon 

      on the Mount

What/how is that to be lived

in our here and now?

         We use

     The Message


    (free online)


     We pray a lot,

     settle into scripture

     listen a lot, 

     speak some,

     support greatly.


   We begin with Spirit Prayer and then silence. 

   We slowly read a portion of

   Mathew three times.

   We pause in silence for a few minutes 

   after each reading.

   We then share.

   We seek one focus per reading:

     (1) What is the core message here?

     (2) How can that be lived here and now?

     (3)  How can we help each other live it?

Let's do a practice run with 

        Matthrew 4:17

         After Jesus 

   went through his own

       Retreat Forward

        in those forty 

   desert days and nights

    he was out and about


    We do well to begin 

    where Jesus began with

    his inaugural theme:

      "Change your life. 

  God's kingdom is at hand."

Following the prompts above;

    (1) Jesus says we need to change how we live.

          That's a lot more than to stop sticking our bubble gum 

          on the underside of the pew when we go to church.

          Jesus is saying we need a life re-set.

          Do we hear it?

          Will we do it? 

          Jesus says God's Kin-Domain is here.


          Do we hear that?

          Will we move in?

          Or are we on hold til heaven?

          Do we hear that God is ready for 

          a whole new way of life for us 

          and for world order?

          Or do we "theologize" and "spiritualize" it inert?

     (2) How do we put flesh on those bones?

          Are we really ready for "essential Christianity" and the major change of 

          mentality, values, lifestyle that it means for -

               the wheels we drive and the address where we park them? 

               our relationships with "The naughty and nice" in our orbit?

               betting the farm on Gospel not Empire values and ways?

               accepting profound divine intimacy?

               blending and bonding with others in sweaty/sweet community

               as The Gathered (L."eccelesia"), The Body of Christ?

               sticking our neck out for social justice and realizing we may get more 

               than a body chop for it?

       What are the top two things we need to do/undo to be for real in response?

     (3) Will we hang in there with others as they work out this changed, 

          Kin-Domain life even when it stretches every tolerance and supportive 

          muscle we have?

          What scares us about that?

          What could that look like?

          When we stumble fumble will we let others pick us up?

          What are the top concerns we face?

          What are a few approaches we are willing to try?

What do we say?

          Are we really ready/willing for a life reset?

          Or, will we settle for a little light dusting 

          of what is and how we are?

                                       "ALL IN" LENT

    Let's daily, lots, and from the heart, pray for each in our shared 



       frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

(click top left for current posting)


Each Wednesday morning

East Coast USA time


Please scroll down

below current posting


Each Friday

Sign Up

top right

online posting

Thanks for the goodness 

of doing Lent together.

See you next week.

    Much love

    John Frank



Almost forgot. 

Chaulk it up to me being 

on the shady side of 

eighty three

(1)  Daily Meditations, 

      Center for Action 

      and Contemplation, 

         May 4, 2015