Archive for August, 2010

“Trusting”

August 31, 2010

Luke 10:1-9

Today’s Gospel is about trust. Jesus sends his disciples out without anything–they carried no shoes, no luggage, no money–they were told to trust for God to provide as they proclaimed the reign of God.

Trust is something that we really know very little about.  Each day as I watch TV I see advertisements for loans, for reverse mortgages all providing security.  The stories we read and hear about with the government are all about the same thing–trust, for our economic security.

St. Francis believed and lived out a life of trust in God. He believed that poverty was a sin, and that the answer to poverty was to share equally with every one, for us to keep our basic needs–shelter, food, clothing and health care. That is what voluntary poverty is about.

My own journey has been one of learning to trust.  I have four degrees–all to give me economic security, I served for sixteen years in a denomination that gave me economic security.  Through coming out, and living on the margins, I came to see that is where my life and ministry is to be–living on the margins and trusting in God. I live simply, providing for my basic needs and share the rest.  The people I work with you probably never really see. They are drug users, sex workers, homeless people, and most are out after dark. They are the one’s the system has failed.  People often asked me about “success stories”, and I tend to get up tight because success the way they look at success–being housed, a job, a family, are not even within their grasped. Success for me is being present with people in the moment, providing them with their basic needs of food, pastoral care, blankets, socks, and harm reduction supplies. It is walking with them in the moment.  One example is a 21 year old who lives with his mother a drug abuser in a local hotel. He gets by daily, no ambition, no understanding of what it means to look prepare for the future. I simply work with him in them moment, one minute at a time.

For me that is what trust is about–trusting that God will provide in that I give as he gives to me.  Real security comes from trust in God, it comes from looking to God to provide our basic needs, trusting God is with us in the moment.

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“Honoring Others”

August 31, 2010

Lk. 4:16-30–“They all marveled at the words he spoke. Then they said: “Isn’t he the son of Joseph?  And Jesus said: “Prophets are never welcomed in their hometown.”   I know I am judgmental and resentful at times and this passages reminds me that when we fail to honor the gifts of others–because of jealously or closed mindedness we actually deprive ourselves of the gifts of God given to us for our own growth and grace. I was off yesterday, totally exhausted, had dinner with ken tonight, going the the Haight and back to do outreach. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!”

“Losing the Ego”

August 29, 2010

Lk. 14:1, 7-14 “Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.”  The lessons of the past two days are teaching us that to follow Jesus we must give up our ego–to give him our all–to put ourselves second.It takes time, to become immersed in God means working daily.  I have a couple of friends who “defend their rights”–will get into fist fights, insist on their own way–the reality is their egos are at the front of their lives.  Jesus calls us to give up our egos–and when we do that we find we can work with people, have peace, care for people–and people will have enough to eat, housing, health care–for in giving up our egos and putting Jesus first we move into equality. Spent yesterday moving blankets and doing outreach. It was touching to have James help me and feel so much value in work. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Christ Crucified”

August 28, 2010

I Cor. 1:17-25, Matt. 15:1-13 Today I spent the day putting up posters for the Tenderloin Street Fair.  I ran into guys I knew, bought several lunch, talked to them.  In each one Christ is being crucified through drug use and poverty.   People often asked me how I keep from burning out–it is simple–I keep my lamps full of oil through praying the hours, celebrating the Eucharist, and taking time off.  I pray the office, read scripture, and celebrate the Eucharist at times when God seems so distance, and it gives me strength.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Faithfulness”

August 26, 2010

Mt. 24:42-51 What makes one a Christian, what make one holy?  Holiness has to do with constancy–it is doing the basic acts of virtue–feeding the homeless, caring for the dying, visiting the sick, housing the homeless–day after day–contemplation, justice, and compassion defines our real relationship with God. For me it is being faithful in my ministry in season and out of season. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Work”

August 26, 2010

2 Thess: 3-6-18;  For me work is the most therapeutic task one can do.  People who have no work, be it volunteer or paid, have difficulty focusing, and maintaining their dignity.  I have a young man I am payee for and he is constantly depressed, and I have tried to get him to get a volunteer job–but he sees no sense in it–and I point out to him that it would give him some dignity. That is why Paul was telling the people in this scripture to basically “get off their asses”. I believe we all should be provided food, housing, health care–but the best approach to self-esteem is work. Last night meal was exhausting, spent the day with Peter, anointed Brandon and talked to him, James was over. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Condemning Others–Means Condemning Ourselves”

August 23, 2010

Mt. 23:13-22-When in the name of religion we condemn other people for their sins or for their religion we put ourselves in the place of God.  Most of all we are condemning ourselves by our own standards–what mercy do we asked for then?  I find myself judging others and I hate myself for it, we are all simply human beings with our frailties, weaknesses, and we need to offer each other as much love and support on this journey as we can.  We judge others I believe because we are trying to make ourselves better, trying to improve our own concept of ourselves, trying to deal with our own low self esteem. I was off yesterday. I took James to get his id card today. I am cooking a meal for the Haight tonight and will serve it.  Typical day. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Happiness”

August 22, 2010

Mt. 12:23:1-12 “Happiness is not an absence of problems; but the ability to deal with them.” I have a young man who is on ssi, and he is always depressed–not enough money. I am working with on dealing with the reality of his life–and finding happiness in it. I have little  money, I have screwed up a hellar like, but when I started facing the reality, and dealing with my life, my depression lifted and I became happy.  Happiness is contentment, enjoying the moment, and blessings of life.  I know people who have lived on the streets for years and they talk about being “happy”, in other words they deal with their problems, embrace them, live with them. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“We Are All Equal”

August 19, 2010

Matthew 20:1-16: “Those who had begun to work at 5 were paid a silver coin each. So when the men who were first to be hired came to be paid, they expected more but they too were given a silver coin each.”

We are all equal for when we are die we have the same belongings–nothing–we depend upon God’s mercy. Today I saw Ryan, 30, and Smoky with his leg amputated, he too is 30. Both were young, when I met them, now they are broken. I spent time with Dustin, who is on social security, broken by a life on the streets. And the reality is they are no different then I am.  I too am broken as we all.  And the call of Jesus is for the broken to journey with him to find healing. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Giving”

August 18, 2010

“It is harder for a rich person to enter the reign of God then to go through the eye of a needle.:  Mt. 19:23-30. 

The problem  is not that I know so many wealthy people, the problem is that so many are so poor in the land of the middle class and wealthy.  It is not money that condemns us it is what we do with it many matters for eternity.  Most of us are enough–but we do not equally share with others.  I cooked the meal. Went to Pride Awards, served meal, and spent time with a young man whose mother just died, gave him some money to go home, food, blanket. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!