Archive for May, 2009

“New Wineskins”

May 31, 2009

Below is my reflections since Wednesday. I have been on retreat.

May 27 Acts 20:28-38; Jn. 17:17-19

I picked up donations on the Pennisular and drove to Santa Cruz. I took a ten mile walk along the coast and went back to the motel and fell a sleep at 7.

The Scriptures calls us to the difficulty of witnessing reminding us that true riches and meaning come from Jesus. Not in our rules and regulations but in Jesus. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

May 28 Acts 22:30; 23:6-11; Jn. 17:20-26  Curisille

T0ok another long walk. Met rose and peter for lunch. drove back to the City for retreat.

i am overwhelmed witha sensnes of sadness, depression. as we pass through pacifica i see signs for selling open land for “ocean side houses” and i feel a sense of loss. we destroy our earth, we destroy our beauty for money, and it will only last for a while.  we are destroying ourselves  each time we do that.  Paul said: “courage! as you have borne witness to me here in Jerusalem, so must you do in Rome. my “rome” is to bear witness the the destruction we bring, to the homophobia in our society, to try to be a new “wine skin.” it is hard for me, i so want to be long and accepted. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God”

Friday, May 29

Acts. 25:13-21; Jn. 21:15-19

I am on retreat, but for me it is not a retreat. it is horrible. we are up at 7 in the morning, have classes all day, i get very few quiet moments. the people are great, but the process is not one that i am used to or see as retreat. i am getting a sore throat to boot.  i am struggling alot with my own doubts, about God, about simply being human. Jesus calls us to “follow me” and I do, I follow him in much pain and doubt and frustration, but I have set my face towards Jersulem.  And so in the midst of doubts, fears and frustrations I march on. Jesus tells Peter to “feed my lambs” and that is what I try to do.  to bring the power of his Word to bear in the lives of people. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

Saturday, May 30 “Curisille”

Acts 28:16-20; Jn. 20-25 “If I want him to remain until I come, does that concern you–follow me!”

I am sick this morning, fever, sore throat, no sleep.  During a discussion on marriage I realized I was sick to my stomach. I will never be married, have no desire to be married. I am married to my vocation, to Jesus. But I believe that marraige is for all people not for just straight people and I see so much suffering among gay, lesbian people, and to hear this straight marriage shit, makes me literally sick to my stomach. I give in, and go to my room, simply sick, tired..  One of the priests asked me why I did not choose to be Roman or Episcopal and “fit in”, and I bascially threw up.  The truth is I could have, and fit in quiet well, but the reality is I am “different”,  I walk to a different tune, I do not play by the rules.  I “follow” Jesus on a different path. I hear his call to “follow me” and I do follow, but a different path. Being “different” is painful. I realized it was a mistake for me to come to this retreat. I came because ken asked me to, and I love him dearly, but my relationship with him is outside the box. I am friends with Peter, with Rose, and with him, but i I can not fit into their world, and to try is suicidal for me.  I do walk a different path, and it is the path to which I am called. As Jesus told Peter: “If I want to remain until I come, does that concern you? Follow me.” And so I follow.  I am a new wine skin.  I know that. What I preach, teach, try to live out are new wineskins.  Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

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“Just the Moment”

May 27, 2009

Acts 20:17-27; Jn. 17:1-11

I saw “The Soloist” tonight.  Genius, with mental illness.  No psychrity, no meds can fix him, rather you walk with him in the moment.  We are always trying to fix people, rather than living with them in the moment.  Last night “John” 25 was all over the place. He too has schizophrenia.  No meds, nothing has fixed him, but he is a unique individual, worthy to be loved, and enjoyed.  So the movie was a reminder to me that ultimately that is all we  have is the  moment, and to try to fix people is not our job, it is to live with them, to love them, to walk with them, to let them make their choices.  Served meal. Movie, outreach. Did not take part in Proposition 8 activities, too busy taking care of the least of these. Bed at 1: 00 a.m. I will be on retreat until Sunday, so no posts. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Faith–An Act of Will”

May 26, 2009

May 25, Jn. 16:29-33

“Faith then is not a conclusion from premises, but the result of an
act of the will, following upon a conviction that to believe is a
duty.”
– Cardinal Newman [19th C], “Letter to Mrs. Froude”)

Often times for me faith is an act of my will, it is not a certainty, but a continued acting out of my convictions, out of duty. To expect faith to be otherwise would be asking a little much of God . At times in my worst doubts–I act in faith–and faith becomes reality. The older I get the days sometimes get dark, but I continue to act, and I continue to find faith, continue to find meaning and purpose in my life. If I did not act I would be in total depression. The Gospel is a call go trust in Jesus, even when we do not believe.Being a Christian means having the courage to face life, and facing it as victor and not a victim. If the crucifixion looked like defeat–then the resurrection is a victory over death.

Had intern present all day. Visited Brandon and Dustin. Both are in hospice, both suffer deeply, a suffering that most of us have no idea of. All I can do is walk with them.

Attended and spoke at ralley of No on 8 last night. Found it to be “nice”, all clergy saying the right thing, but again it was “nice” to put it mildly. Came home, outreach, and to bed at 3. a.m.

“Bearing Witness”

May 25, 2009

The Feast of the Ascenscion

Mk. 16:15-20

I attended church this morning at Howard Thurmand’s old church to here Obama’s old pastor, Jeremy Wrigtht, from Chicago. He gave and excellent sermon. I can understand why the president basically dumped him–he spoke  the truth to power.  Excellent sermon and service. Spent afternoon working on newsletter. Have been doing outreach.  People are so needy, a pair of socks, some food, some needles, they need them, and they are gracious in asking.  Again I see the pained face of Jesus in our midst.  And as I was walking I was thinking of this scripture from Mark, on the Feast of the Ascension.  Jesus tells the disciples to “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News,. . .”  we are called to bear witness–in what we say, and in how we act, without judgment, and with a presence of love.  It is in bearing witness and bearing the burdens of people that we know Christ, not in the judgmental love we so often give and hear about. I can remember a number of years a go a young man cutting his testicles off, calling me from a fundamentalist church to come and get him and take him to the hospital, and I asked one of their pastors to do it more quickly and was told: “He must first repent and turn to the Lord.” I went and got him and took him.  Without mentioning Jesus once Jesus loved him more in those moments then all that damn preaching.  Jesus has ascended, and his ascension means that at Pentecost he will come and dwell within us and we are to proclaim the Gospel–and as Frances stated: “with as few as words as possible.”  I am getting ready to close out my night by celebrating the Eucharist–in the bread and wine, Jesus comes, and is present. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“In the Name”

May 24, 2009

May 23 Acts 18:23-28; Jn. 16:23-28

I was up at 6:30 a.m. and went to Vallejo to celebrate Mass. Today is the Mass of the Ascension.  I came home and visited Alice in nursing home.  I often think a lot about getting old when I visit her. She is not as strong as she use to be and basically sits and watches T.V. I often wonder if I could stand living that way. Aging, getting ill, dying are not easy.  They are a part of life, and go along with the journey.  And so one must embrace the journey, but it is difficult. That is why it is important to have faith, faith in One who is with us now, and will be with us in the years to come and in eternity.  When we get down to it that is all that we have. The hope of Christ is all that I find that gives meaning and purpose to my life. As I did outreach tonight I encountered 30 plus people. All seeking money for drugs, a place to sleep, hungry.  Their lives are filled with much stress and pain, and in all likelihood will continue the same route. For me in each I see the face of the broken Christ, who holds out the hope for them, and the promise that their lives will be better, if not now, but in eternity.  That may be simplistic, it may seem unrealistic to many, but it is that hope that sustains me now, has sustained me all my life, and sustains me in the years to come. It gives meaning and purpose to my life.  I will continue to serve in the name of  Jesus!  Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Speaking the Words of Life”

May 23, 2009

May 22,  Acts 18:9-18; Jn. 16:20-23

People have been so hurt by religion, they are being hurt by religion that to hear words about Jesus are often painful and scary.  Like Paul in our Acts reading it is tempting to shut up, but like Paul I am reminded that the words of Jesus are life.  The Jesus I know is the one who offers hope in the midst of death. Today is the anniversary of my mothers’ death, and I am reminded of the hope of Jesus to see her again. I am reminded of the Jesus who accepts me for me, who walks with me in the struggle against the injustice in the issues of poverty, sexuality, gender, dominati0n. Of the Jesus who holds the hope in the midst of deaths of all kind. How can I not proclaim him?

I was up at 7, wrote newsletter, and sermon. Went back to bed and slept until 2:30 p.m. Read, and had dinner with Mary.  Did outreach.  It was cold, people needy for food, socks, needles, all lost children in the night. Bed at 11:00 pm. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Living the Mundane”–Ascension Sunday

May 22, 2009

Sermon for St. Victor’s Catholic Community Church, Vallejo, California, Saturday, May 23, 2009

Acts 1:1-11; Eph. 4:1-13; Mk. 16:15-20
Today we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus.  It is a big day, an exciting day.  For some forty days Jesus has been in our midst as the Risen Christ, now he ascends to the heavens, and we now await the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Another big day to come.  But the words of our Epistle remind us that in the midst of all of these big things we have been celebrating our lives are lived in the mundane, the ordinary experiences of every day life.

Paul is in prison, he is locked up, awaiting trial, as he writes:

We are invited to live out our vocation, our calling as Christians in our daily lives.  We are called to:  live the vocation you have received. Be humble, kind, patient, and bear with one another in love.

“Be humble”: “Humble”, is not a term that means we are weak, but simply that we accept our humanity, and in doing that, to accept the humanity of others who are around us.  To practice what Dorothy Day called “personalism”, to walk with others as fellow human beings. People are often amazed with my college degrees–largely because I do not have a job to which one would assume I would have–and largely because I very seldom use the titles.  The older I have gotten the more I realize they mean little in human relationships, for you see all of us are simply human beings, who hurt, suffer, rejoice, and ultimately will die.  No matter how much money we have or how many degrees or what positions in society we hold–ultimately we all are the same. So walk with each other in humility, walk with each other as equals.

Kind, patient: I have volunteers who come for a while to work on the streets with me. They get impatient after awhile, because it seems all that I do is simply “hang out”.  I talk to people, I give them something to eat, and mostly hang with them. I listen to their mundane conversations, sometimes for an hour or so.  But it is that taking the time to listen that the incarnation takes place, that Jesus becomes visibly presence. People are loved, they are cared for, they find themselves worthwhile.  Our vocation, our calling is to walk with each other in kindness, and patience. We may not have much food to give, much money to give–but we do have kindness, and patience.  Every day I talk to people who have been on the streets for years, and that is where they will remain, there is nothing physically I can do–accept to be kind and patient.  To walk with them in the moment. We can do that for each other–to walk with each other in the moment, to give each other kindness, and patience, to be present to each other in love.

And to bear with one another in love: And I believe most importantly is to bear, to tolerate one another in love.  I have a wall hanging  I picked up in New Orleans on my wall which reads: “A friend is one who sees through your act and still enjoys the show.” When I had malaria three years ago I found out who my real friends were.  They were the ones who walked with me through the illness, but most importantly accepted me in the depression that came with the treatment.  They bore with me in love.  The people I work with are called “institutional failures”, because they do not fit into the institutional mindset of being helped, and so now they are simply discarded.  But for me they are lovable, and they are Jesus.  You see our calling is to bear with one another in love–to walk with each other, even when there seems to be no success story at the end. But ultimately there is a “success” story–that is in the Kingdom of God with the ascended Jesus.

We are called simply to be human beings to one another. To walk with each other, to love, to support, to care–without regard to what we look like, what race or religion we are.  On this Ascension Sunday the ascended Christ smiles up on us as he walks with us in our mundane, everyday lives, calling us to walk with each other. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Day by Day”

May 22, 2009

May 20-21

Acts 17:15, 22-18:1 Jn 16:12-15; Acts 18:1-8; Jn. 16:16-20

I arrived home yesterday around 10:00 a.m. Spent much of afternoon unpacking. David, 22, came by and I spend some time with him.  I had a Pride meeting last night and then came home. Jacob, 18, from Florida stopped by. He had been beaten up by friends, missed school, short on money. I spent an hour with him. We talked about how hard it is to grow up and how different San Francisco is from Florida. He basically needed someone to hang out with for a while. Just a moment of grace.  Today I cooked the meal for tonight and served it.  The Gospel for today is the promise of Jesus holding the hope of of his resurrection.  Some days it is simply day by day. Taking it a day at a time, and it is the hope of Christ that gets you through it. For me he is the only hope. Each year, is one less.  And so Jesus is the hope. Day by day. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Standing Up”

May 20, 2009

May 19

Acts 16:22-34;  Jn. 16:5-11

Today has been an awesome day. I drove to downtown Albuquerque, went to the Holocaust Museum.  Once again I am reminded of how horrible we human beings can be; I read a book abour Franciscan spirituality and ecology and again I am reminded of a couple of things. First in driving around Albuquerque I noticed one church after another where the content of the book–of us being responsible for ecology because we follow Christ and it is his body would not be accepted, and secondly I was reminded of how so many people at the holy union were so turned off by the church because of its message of the condemnation of homosexuality.  Both of which are contrary to the Jesus I know–who wants us to take care of our ecological environment, because we are brothers and sisters with each other and with nature, and secondly how his only requirment is that we love God and our neighbors as ourselves. The readng of Acts is a call to follow Jesus no matter the cost, and at times the cost is really painful but I will continue to do stand for Jesus.  He gives direction and holds the hope for this world.  I walked to the Rio Grande River, and hiked and then came back to a movie and to bed at 1:00 a.m. It was a great day. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Preach the Truth”

May 19, 2009

May 18   Acts 16:11-15; Jn. 15:26-16:4

“Preach the truth as if we had a million voices, for it is silence that kills the world.” St. Catherine of Siena

“It is not the objective proof of God’s existence that we want but
the experience of God’s presence. That is the miracle we are really
after, and that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.”
 – Frederick Buechner

This week I have been made well aware of how the Church as a whole has kept silent or has simply condemned people who are queer.  But I believe that if every queer person would come up then we would have a different church.  I sometimes feel like I am very much alone.  I find myself having to work around clergy friends fearful of coming out, having to deal with the oppression of others who hate the church. Two women I met this week live in Salt Lake City. They have basically experienced only one message of the Church–that of homophobia and oppression.  Jesus died for the truth, he died for people.  Whatever time I have left I will stand for the truth, I will speak the truth, no matter the consequences.  People come to me wanting to know God they use all sorts of excuses rather than opening their hearts. Buechner says it all–to know God is to experience God. I experienced God today as I walked through the Botanical Gardens. I felt her presence and her love. I experienced him last night as I talked to people, I experienced her in the wedding, as my friends were joined together, surrounded by people who loves them. I often times wonder myself if there is anything beyond this life, if we are simply flesh and bones that will die and be no more, but my faith teaches me there is far more, and my faith allows me to experience a little bit of the eternal now. For you see the real reality is whether or not we allow ourselves that experience because once we start experiencing that Divine Presence our lives are changed, the way we live them, use our money if we have it, all that changes, and our experience of the other in people brings us new awareness. We no longer become selfish and self-centered, but embrace the One I call Jesus in each person and they matter. The way we view the use of our resources, we see that we are simply a part of those resources, not owners and that we should use them accordingly.  Good day. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!