We Are a Mixture

August 27, 2014

August 27 Monica “We Are A Mixture” 2 Thess. 3:6-10; 17-18 Matt. 23:27-32

“We want to present ourselves as a model for you,” Paul says. More darkly Jesus calls some religious leaders hypocrites.

Tonight as I wandered the Haight some of the young guys talked of what drugs they were using, who they were having sex with and all the things that are called “sin”. What I saw was simply guys living their lives with more honesty then most of us do. I am often asked if they can be loved by God because of thing things they do, and I assure them God loves them infinitely.

Paul presented himself as a “model”, but on the other hand was as big as a sinner as any of us. The model he presents is one who owns up to his sin, acknowledges the darkness in his life and keeps on aiming for the target.

I have been called every name in the world, told what a hypocrite I am, told I am going to hell, and I simply smile and think I am aiming for the target, and that is what we are all called to do–aim for the target. A young guy once said to me: “You must have done something awful to do this work, to hang out with us and take care of us.” I laughed and said “Sean I am the biggest sinner of all, and I am aiming for the target. “

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Opening Our Hearts

August 26, 2014

August 26 “Opening Our Hearts” St. Emily de Vialar Matt. 23:23-26

Our Gospel sounds harsh, but its heart is to open our hearts to what matters. When we simply pay attention to ourselves and not open our hearts to all of life, we narrow our vision, we become black and white, and our hearts are hardened. Will Tuttle comments:

Within us lie seeds of awakening and compassion that may be already sprouting. Our individual journeys of transformation and spiritual evolution call us to question who and what we’ve been told we and others are, to discover and cultivate the seeds of insight and clarity within us, and to realize the connections we’ve been taught to ignore.

As we do this and as our web of journeys interweaves within our culture, cross-fertilizing and planting seeds, we can continue the transformation that is now well underway, and transcend the obsolete old paradigm that generates cycles of violence.

In my own life I have chosen to live near the people I work with, I choose to walk on their level, and choose to move among a mixture of people of the various walks of life As a result my life is more opened. My experience is that when we intermingle and know all areas of life our hearts are opened. That is the call of the Gospel, in its harshness–it is to wake up, to share, to suffer, to give, to live. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

:

Living With A Wild God

August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014 St. Genesius the Actor, “Living With A Wild God” Matt. 23:13-22

St. Genesius was a clown in the early Christian era who performed before the Emperor making fun of Christianity, and in doing so Christ became real to him and he was executed. He is the perfect example of how our God works–wild and mysterious. That is what Barbara Ehrenrich in her book Living With A Wild God discovers in her journey, God can not be put in a box, but is wild and moves around and through us in so many ways.

Jesus says the same thing today–God can not be contained. God is a wild God who cares for humanity and calls all of us to care. God’s concern is not about belief but about how we love our neighbor and our environment. We are going to be judged on our actions, not what we believe. In today’s Gospel Christ comes out in anger against those who use the systems of society to oppress people. We are called to be attentive to the ways the systems in our lives are used–do they benefit all or just a few? As I look around I see the few being taken care of and the environment destroyed and we are called to be prophets. To speak out and to act. That takes courage and looking to the One who goes to the cross we get that courage to follow him to that cross. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

VegInspiration
When we uproot exclusion and domination from our plates, seeds of compassion can finally freely blossom, and this process depends primarily on us watering the seeds and fully contributing our unique journey. We depend on each other, and as we free the beings we call animals, we will regain our freedom. Loving them, we will learn to love each other and be fully loved. Dr. Will Tuttle

The Many Expressions of God

August 24, 2014

August 24, “The Many Expressions of God” Matthew 16:13-20 “Who do you say that I am?”

Tonight a young Muslim boy asked me, “Are you like other Christians and think I am going to hell?” Smiling at him, I said, “You know buddy, Jesus is just one of the many expressions of God, and God comes to each of us in his own way.”

Through all of our teachings of religion God speaks of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. That is the heart of all the major religious teachings. What “man”, and I mean it is basically “men” have done is use the various religions for their own violent purposes, but God speaks love when we boil it down.

My expression is Christ, my young friend’s is through the Muslim way; others Jewish, and so on–but ultimately there is one God whose love shines through. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The Counterculture of Humility

August 23, 2014

August 23, “The Counterculture of Humility” Luis de Leon Matt. 23:1-12

Last night I had a young guy who was sick and desperately needed to go to the bathroom. I took him into a restaurant on the Haight, and I had to buy a sixteen dollar meal for him to go to the restroom. I was told by the hostess–“You know people need to know they have to pay for everything, so if they don’t have money they should leave now.” Another mentally challenged 23 year old has been told he will have to leave his housing that he has had for a year because of the Ellis Act.

We are the City of St. Francis, but I wonder where he would go to the bath room or sleep if he was here–he has no money; where would Jesus go to the rest room or live–he has no money.

Dr. Will Tuttle sums it up:

We have all been born into a herding culture that commodifies animals, and we have all been affected by the cruelty, violence, and predatory competitiveness that our meals require and that our culture embodies. We’ve also been taught to be loyal to our culture and relatively uncritical of it, to disconnect from the monumental horror we needlessly perpetuate, and to be oblivious to the disastrous effects this has on every level of our shared and private lives.

Whether we want to face it or not we are all responsible, and it begins with us to change. The Gospel today talks of humility and reminds us: “All who lift themselves up will be brought low. But all who make themselves low will be lifted up.” Matt. 23:12

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The Counterculture of Humility

August 23, 2014

August 23, “The Counterculture of Humility” Luis de Leon Matt. 23:1-12

Last night I had a young guy who was sick and desperately needed to go to the bathroom. I took him into a restaurant on the Haight, and I had to buy a sixteen dollar meal for him to go to the restroom. I was told by the hostess–“You know people need to know they have to pay for everything, so if they don’t have money they should leave now.” Another mentally challenged 23 year old has been told he will have to leave his housing that he has had for a year because of the Ellis Act.

We are the City of St. Francis, but I wonder where he would go to the bath room or sleep if he was here–he has no money; where would Jesus go to the rest room or live–he has no money.

Dr. Will Tuttle sums it up:

We have all been born into a herding culture that commodifies animals, and we have all been affected by the cruelty, violence, and predatory competitiveness that our meals require and that our culture embodies. We’ve also been taught to be loyal to our culture and relatively uncritical of it, to disconnect from the monumental horror we needlessly perpetuate, and to be oblivious to the disastrous effects this has on every level of our shared and private lives.

Whether we want to face it or not we are all responsible, and it begins with us to change. The Gospel today talks of humility and reminds us: “All who lift themselves up will be brought low. But all who make themselves low will be lifted up.” Matt. 23:12

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Redefining Realness

August 22, 2014

August 22, “Refining Realness” Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino< Jr. "The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary" Ezekiel 37:1-14; Matt. 22:34-40

In her book Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identityh, Love and So Much More Janet Mock describes her journey and her struggle from being male to becoming female. At the heart of the book is the soul of Ms. Mock, a woman who knew who she was and fought like hell to become the person she is despite discrimination and bias. She admits because of her looks she had one foot up. It was easy for her to become a woman through surgery. But through the emotional pain of her early years and earning the money through being a sex worker we see a determined individual who obtained her goal and helps others in that process. In the transgenders we work with on Polk we know she offers a role of pioneer. The sad fact is transgenders are the most discriminated group of individuals in this country, surgery is expensive. The women and men I know for the most part struggle to buy drugs on the side, and to simply survive, and the majority will remain on the street, simply surviving.

Refining realness is the message of Jesus of Nazareth. He redefined how we are to treat each other, accept each other. He made no judgments. When one reads the Gospels we see a man who struggles and in those struggles the universality of humanity wins out.

Today we remember Benigno "Nimo" Aquino, Jr. and his struggle against oppression in the Philippines. For me he stands as a man who lived his life in faith, and who made his own needs secondary. We need men like him today, who put their own needs secondary to themselves so that others might have life. His words ring out today in the midst of wealth, war, police brutality, homelessness: "The message of Jesus, as I understand it, is that we must be ready to sacrifice for our fellow men at all times, and if need be even to offer our lives for them."

The question Mock and Aquino asked us is how much will we sacrifice for others?

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

VegInspiration
From the outside, it may look like and be called “veganism,” but it is simply awareness and the expression of our sense of interconnectedness. It manifests naturally as inclusiveness and caring. It’s no big deal, for it’s the normal functioning of our original nature, which unfailingly sees beings rather than things when it looks at our neighbors on this earth.

Dr. Will Tuttle

Finding Beauty

August 21, 2014

Review of Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of A Sinner and Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber

August 21, “Finding Beauty” St. Abraham of Smolensk Matt. 22:1-14 “The king came in to the marriage feast to look at the guest, and saw there a person not clothed in a wedding garment.”

“Making beauty in life requires we attend to beauty, and that we let beauty transform us. The work that beauty does in us is God’s work. It is sacred. And our work to make life beautiful by attending to the soul’s need for beauty involves contemplation and the finest attention to the particularities of life; this is holy work.”
– Catherine Michaud, The Art of Making Life Beautiful

We can create beauty, no matter the situation we are in. I find beauty in my kids, sometimes it is hard, but I find beauty. I find beauty in my life–a life with many twists, and turns, much darkness and much light, with so much sin and yet so much grace. I have created beauty where I live, so that I can come in from so much pain and ugliness and find light.

Nadia Bolz-Weber describes her life as one of much brokenness. Raised in the Church of Christ, she began using drugs early and her life swam out of control She was in the music scene, and drugs was a reality, and through sobriety and the man who would become her husband, a Lutheran pastor, she found Christ. Christ made sense to her as she saw him as One who came for all and especially the most disenfranchised. She founded a Lutheran Church in Denver that was open to all, She makes beauty in life.

That is our call–to make beauty in life–to move beyond ourselves and be open to others, to open our hearts and see people as children of God and to act accordingly. That is what Jesus means in our Scripture today–to clothe ourselves in wedding garments means for us to open our hearts, our lives to all of our neighbors around us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Working In the Vineyard

August 21, 2014

Matt. 20:1-16; “Working the Vineyard” Jessica Powers”

Jessica Powers wrote: “There is a homelessness never to be clearly defined./It is more than having no place of one’s own, no bed, or chair. . /It is the pain of the mystic suddenly thrown back from the noon of God to the night of his own humanity.”

Saturday night I took two leaders of Street Soccer to look for a player who had run away angry. They told me of their program working with homeless individuals, and their sense of futility with a system that really provides so little; I received a letter from a woman today condemning me for my ministry, for not “saving souls,” and saying “you are going to hell; and then all of the news around Ferguson, the shootings in California. What I am continuing to learn is I am just a human being–who sooner then I wish will simply die and return to the dust, and life will go on. But what I also know is that in the midst of the futility that seems so present now, in the night of my humanity is that God reigns, and God will bring his kingdom into reality and all any one of us can do is simply to be faithful. Meister Eckhart said:
“Whoever knew but one creature would not need to ponder any sermon, for every creature is full of God and is a book.”

I met a young man in Sacramento, selling hand made flowers made from weed on the river, he gave me one because I took time to speak to him, or has he put it so eloquently, “you treated me like a human being.” In him I saw the face of Christ, and for now that is what I am to focus on, in this “night of my own humanity.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Let the Children Come

August 16, 2014

August 16, “Let the Children Come”, Matt. 19:13-15 John Courtney Murray

We put down children and youth. I have always found young adults the most open and aware. Last night a young man commented to me: “You know what is going on in Ferguson and everywhere is so fucked up, people just don’t look past the front of their eyes, they are so afraid, they hide, and then they hurt people.” In essence he said it all–we do not move outside of ourselves before we act and we hurt people.

People are living on the street, they have no health care, they have no food–in this the wealthiest City in the country–and we walk by. I had a person tell me I am wasting time listening to these guys all the time, but if wasting my time is learning how to listen to God and how to say “God’, then it is well worth it. For in each person we find the Christ. Dr. Will Tuttle sums up a way we should look at life:

Once we see and understand, we become a voice for the voiceless, a note in the glorious chord of healing and awakening that is endlessly unfolding in our shared consciousness.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 348 other followers