Sewing the Seed

September 20, 2014

September 20 St. Andrew Kim and the Korean Martyrs “Sewing the Seeds” Luke 8:4-15

For twenty years I have walked these streets, “sewing the seeds”, today I saw 150 people, I spent time with 15, celebrated the Eucharist with two, anointed four, and the rest I gave food, socks, condoms and needles to; I helped a friend from the church I attend, work out of, and love, move a piece of furniture to his apartment. For me all of this is Eucharistic ministry. I remember someone many years ago commented, “You are throwing your life away with all of your education,” and I thought then as I do now–the education which prepared me for ministry, and ministry is what I am doing. I have been thinking a lot about the people who have supported me through the years. People always ask me how I raise money, and the only answer is I sew the seeds, and people want to share with me in that sewing, so they support me. I am grateful, immensely grateful for their love, and support, for believing in me when I sometimes do not believe in myself. Someone asked me tonight, “Do you have a church?” and I laughed as I motioned around me–this is my church, this is where the body of Christ is, this is where the Bread and Wine is lifted up , where people are baptized, and memorial services conducted. I remember as a young pastor, and a freshman in seminary walking into a street revival in St. Louis and this black preacher looking at me saying loudly, “One day the streets will be your church,” and I thought he was crazy, but oh well, as things have turned out if I had had my way, I would be a fat old man dying of a heart attack in a a parish in rural Missouri, instead I am challenged each day, always on the edge, and alive and kicking. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Hope

September 18, 2014

September 18 “Eternal Hope”

I visited a young man, 30, who is in prison for life yesterday. He just found out he has terminal cancer. In his fear and grief we talked of his past, and I simply told him, admit your past, confess your past, and live in the present, that is all we have and in doing so move into Christ. He asked me simply, “Do you really believe that bullshit you preach?” And I laughed and said:

“I have given my life totally to that “bullshit”, and it sustains and holds me, and now as you face the hard days to come, let me share with you that “bullshit”, it will hold you, and give you hope. He cried, and I anointed him and prayed and granted him absolution. And so now the journey with him begins as we walk through the dark valley together. And for me this is what everything is about–it is not about feeding people, giving them clean needles, or socks, but about bringing them to the Center and walking with them in life and death. The words of St. Paul echo for me this morning with a loud trumpet of hope:

“Brothers and Sisters, I want to call your attention to the good news that I preached to you, which you also received and in which you stand. You are being saved through it, hold on to the message. . .Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, he was buried, and rose on the third day in line with the scriptures. He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve, and then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once. .then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me. .So then, whether you heard the message from me or them, this what we preach and this is what we believe.” I Cor. 15:1-11

DeoGratias! Thanks be to God!

“Animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites or women for men.”
~ Alice Walker

For I Handed On to You

September 18, 2014

September 18 “For I Handed On To You” Corita Kent I Cor. 15:1-11, Luke 7:36-56 Review of An Ignatian Spiritual Reader George Traub, Jr.

This book expresses Ignatian spirituality in the way Daniel Berrigan describes Corita Kent, “The joy of her work, its riotous color, her gift to a good gray world. It seemed as though in her art the juices of the world were running over; inundating the world, bursting the rotten wine skins of semblance, rote and rot.” This is the essence of the various readings in this book presenting the spirituality of St. Ignatius as that which is “bursting the rotten wine skins of semblance, rote and rot.”

It shares with us essays on the spirituality of Ignatius which points to the center of the faith–the Triune God and it is in that Center that we find our meaning, and that meaning is found in service to the world. The spirituality of Ignatius is inclusive in every way, it is universal in every way.

I have found St. Ignatius, along with St. Francis, two of the guiding lights of my journey. The tools they have provided simply are those that invites one to dig deep within themselves, and in that digging to find the God who at the heart is the triune God that leads us in service to the world. They were men of their time, but their message is universal, we are loved by God, infinitely. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

We are looking for a Muslim and Hindu Individual to have a reading in our Interfaith Service Against the Death Penalty on October 10 from noon-2, if you know of anyone please call me at 415-305-2124 or email me at californiapeopleoffaith@gmail.com Thanks river+

Music

September 17, 2014

September 17, Music, Luke 7:31-35 St. Hildegard of Bingen

Last night I was talking to twenty year old “Sean” and he talked of going home to Minnesota and sleeping in the woods this winter, and as I whined about the temperature he saw beauty, and music in the weather; he saw music in the nature of Golden Gate Park and in the people on the street. In fact he saw goodness in everything around him. And he reminded me of St. Hildegard who said, “There is the Music of Heaven in all things and we have forgotten how to hear it until we sing.” Here is this young guy, with only a guitar, a change of clothes and sleeping bag being a mystic, and I look around and see most of us striving for money, for power, at the pain of so many others, and you know what–Sean is happy–without nothing. I believe he has a message for us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

VegInspiration
Switching to a plant-based diet, we could reduce petroleum usage and imports enormously, and slash the amount of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide that contribute to air pollution and global warming.

We could save hundreds of billions of dollars per year in medical, drug, and insurance expenses, which would boost personal savings and thus reinvigorate the economy, providing fresh funds for creative projects and environmental restoration.

Desolate monocropped fields devoted to livestock feed could be planted with trees, bringing back forests, streams, and wildlife. Marine ecosystems could rebuild, rain forests could begin healing, and with our demand for resources of all kinds dramatically reduced, environmental and military tension could ease. Dr. Will Tuttle

20 th Anniversary

September 16, 2014

A 20TH ANNIVERSARY STATEMENT OF FAITH

Twenty years ago today I packed up my old station wagon and pulled out of Minneapolis,

listening to the tape “Go West Young Man,” dreaming of beginning Temenos Catholic

Worker–I was full of anticipation, thrilled to moving to San Francisco. What I was sub-

consciously doing was in the words of St. Ignatius: “abandoning all predictions of how life

turns out, judgments of what is good or bad, assessments of what does or doesn’t fit. We

simply live from our center.” And from that center I seek to live my life, and my calling.

When I talk of a theology of life I am talking from Jungian-Ignatian approach of seeing life

in the stories of the Gospels, in my life and the lives of those I encounter. For example

“depression”, is a “dark night of the soul” we all have to enter, and from that darkness we

encounter God. One of the gifts it has been repeatedly said that I have is that I let youth

into my life enough for them to identify and walk with me. For me it is allowing people to

share their stories without judgment, and with acceptance. I have clergy friends who love

taking a day to “theologize”, which I find boring, and rather like mutual masturbation. To

me theology is lived out.

After twenty years what do I believe, after three attempts on my life, so many deaths of the

young, struggling from one day to the next to make ends meet, seeing so little

change in so far as care for the poor. Simply:

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth”–however creation

came to be–God created the world, loves the world–in all of its beauty, and calls us to

love that creation, to take care of it, to nurture, and reverence what God created.”

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son our Lord, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under

Pontius Pilate, crucified, dead and buried. On the third day he rose again, and ascended

into heaven and sits at the right hand of God–Jesus is the center of life, in him I find who I

am, and I follow him in caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, burying the

dead, visiting those in prison. I believe he calls us to love God and to love our neighbor, .

as ourselves, and that is the all he asks–it matters not to him who we sleep with, what ,

what we believe–just loving one another as he has loved us. I believe he was crucified,

and that he rose again.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the resurrection of the body, the communion of saints, the holy

catholic Church, and the life everlasting.” Each day as I celebrate the Eucharist, each day

as I move cooking, counseling, hanging out I feel the great company of the saints around

me. I see my parents and grand parents, Dorothy Day, Damien of Molokai, and

St. Francis as they surround and nurture me. It is that belief in the resurrection that

sustains me–and I follow Jesus into Galilee.

I am asked a lot, don’t you get lonely, do you not want a partner, someone to share your

with? The truth is that I have been in relationship with Jesus of Nazareth since I was 12.

That relationship has sustained me through years of rejection, prostitution, and success,

and in that relationship through service to others I have found complete fulfillment in my

life. Celibacy has always been a choice for me, freely given, so that I might truly serve

Jesus of Nazareth.

I have been blessed with being a queer–and the resulting persecution, and resurrection

that comes through that persecution–and the greatest blessing has been being able to

love people without condition, question, and to share Christ with them.

There are no regrets, only thanks to God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, for these

twenty years! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

.

“Do This!”

September 15, 2014

September 15 “Do This! Our Lady of Sorrows, I Cor. 11:17-26, 33

The one thing that we have to be careful with about reading any thing, and now especially “Face Book” is taking everything “black and white.” I live in the gray areas of life, the only black and white for me is found in Jesus and his love for all of us. Mary’s life was full of gray–a virgin who has a child, a child who is crucified and then rises again.

I am often asked “Can you name a success?” And I can: “I have gotten up each day of my life for nearly twenty years and put one foot forward, sometimes awkwardly, some times fearfully, but always forward and followed my Lord into the streets.” That for me is success. When I talk of depression, PTSD, and various struggles, those come along with putting my foot forward, they are a given at times, and frankly I give God thanks for each one, for in them I learn of the love of Jesus who sustains, nurtures, and whose promise of resurrection is true. It is not black and white, it is about living, it is about taking the good and the bad, and it is about walking forward with no regrets.

As a 9 year old boy I heard the Scripture, “This is my body,” as I knelt for the Eucharist and Jesus became a live for me in that bread and wine and has been alive ever since. The Eucharist is the center of my life because of that one experience, kneeling in that United Methodist Church received that bread and that cup of grape juice. And I have learned through that celebration of the Eucharist that we are never alone–we are surrounded the saints who have gone before us–my mom, my dad, grandparents, Dorothy Day, Damien and all who have gone before us. I am never alone, and in that I give thanks.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. . . . It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

Doing Something

September 14, 2014

September 14, Our Lady of Sorrows, Blessed Pino Puglisi Luke 19:25-27 Doing Something

Fr. Pino Puglisi who lost his life to the mafia in Italy because of standing against them commented, “And what if somebody did something?” On this day in which we celebrate Our Lady of Sorrows we remember Mary simply being at the cross in sorrow; And with all that is going on around us all we have to do is to “do something” and it multiplies.

I think of the individuals around the City who go out and feed the homeless; of the people who volunteer in the soup kitchens, each is doing something;

Dr. Will Tuttle promotes veganism: .
If we all ate a plant-based diet, we could feed ourselves on a small fraction of the land and grains that eating an animal-based diet requires. For example, researchers estimate that 2.5 acres of land can meet the food energy needs of twenty-two people eating potatoes, nineteen people eating corn, twenty-three people eating cabbage, fifteen people eating wheat, or two people eating chicken or dairy products, and only one person eating beef or eggs. And this is why I am a vegan, in a world that is starving we can feed the world by using our own diet, we can protect the environment by what we eat.

Last night I saw 100 plus people, spent a lengthy amount with four, listening to their problems, their fears–and for me that is doing something.

If each one of us would do something–put ourselves second, then we would have a changed world. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Hope

September 14, 2014

September 13, St. John Chrysostom, Hope I Cor. 10:14-22; Luke 6:43-44

Today I talked at a college conference and as I was leaving two young men verbally attacked me, saying some awful things.. In those moments I thought of St. John Chrysostom who preached to the hearts of those in much pain and darkness, and of how his simplicity and poverty enabled him to articulate dependence on God. For the past several days I have been severely depressed–the death of a young guy, and the war that seems never to stop, but expands. And as I have struggled with this depression I ran across these words in an email:

Active Hope is not wishful thinking.
Active hope is not waiting to be rescued.
Active hope is waking up to the beauty of life
on whose behalf we can act.
– Joanna Macy

(How does hope move you to gratitude and action?)

All we can do is see the beauty of life in those we serve. And that is all I can do–is see the beauty of life is “James” warn down from years on the streets, alcoholism, at my door for food and socks; in the family I now must work with in the death of their son who died on the streets; in Justin who screamed at me last night because he was upset with life. Hope is acting, and remembering that we stand among those who believe, and those who doubt, who are depressed, and offer words of hope, against which no river can rage. We stand on the firm foundation of Christ’s presence, and we offer the Word to the lost anew–to lift them up. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

No Difference Between them Nor Us”

September 11, 2014

September 11, “No Difference Between Them Nor Us” Blessed Louisa Savoy Acts 15:8-9

Peter hits it on the head, “No difference between them nor us.” On this day we remember September 11-I remember every moment of that day; and I also remember the anger towards not only the terrorists but towards Muslims in general, and anger that still persists.. Today there is so much bloodshed and we are engaged. Thousands of innocent people have died. Last night Reggie, need some medicine for lice and as we talked I thought of people of his color who are persecuted today, and of how he basically wants some food, some medicine for his lice, someone to talk to. I believe if we would simply stand back ands start talking to one another and recognizing there are no differences between us we would have a changed world. If we would live each moment as Marcina Wiederkehr tells us–think what a difference that would make:

“What is unique about a moment that has the power to bless us and the potential to feed us is not so much in the power of the moment itself, but rather the quality of the presence we bring to that moment. Our presence can change an ordinary, unnoticed moment into a moment of beauty that can feed the soul. Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

To Be A Blessing

September 10, 2014

VegInspiration
John Wesley, the eighteenth-century founder of Methodism, has written, “I believe in my heart that faith in Jesus Christ can and will lead us beyond an exclusive concern for the well-being of other human beings to the broader concern for the well-being of the birds in our backyards, the fish in our rivers, and every living creature on the face of the earth.”

September 10, “To Be A Blessing” Saints Natalia and Adrian Lk. 6:20-26

Last night as I was hanging out, a young guy on the Haight commented, “You sure dress so well and clean to be homeless.” I asked him, “Why do u think I am homeless?” And he replied, “You treat us like we are equals, and don’t look down on us.”

Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote: ‘Just to be is blessing. Just to live is holy.” For me being with people where they are is what is holy. Simply to be.

Every day I pray the Daily Office at six designated intervals, and I go away once a month for a day of simply being with God, and I have found simply being with God in those times brings so much wholeness to me, as I when we simply be with people brings wholeness to them. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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