Archive for July, 2011

“Swimming in Gratitude”

July 29, 2011

Martha  Luke 10:38-42  ..tell her (Mary) to help me. The Lord said, “Martha you are anxious about many things. There is only need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Ignatius said that “Ingratitude was likely to cause and source of all evil and sin”. .and the “the truly grateful person can not be a sinful person for by being grateful for the good qualitie in others you come to love them more easily.”  Last night as we served the meals and many of the people who came through were high, broken difficult, I saw the good, and I loved them. That is what I have sought to do all these years is see the good in people, and when  I do, the negative falls away. It is seeing Jesus in the moment , and seeing what is at hand like Jesus told Martha that enable us to see the goodness in each person, forget about the past, and not dwell on what can be.  When I think of what could have been or what could be I get in trouble, people become objects who have hindered or who can promote, but seeing them in the present you can love them, treasure them, and serve them. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Swimming in the Greyness of Life

July 28, 2011

Matthew 13:47-53  “Again the reign of God is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind;. ”

God is present in all things around me, and when we live in the present we are very aware of that presence–he is present in the older guys I fed last night laying in their blankets on the street, he is present in the young guy who called me to talk about problems with his parents. He is present in the good and the bad.  There is a mixture of good and bad in all of us, which means that all of our organizations have the same mixture. For me I simply pray to respond to the goodness in my desires and activities, and ask the forgiveness of Jesus when I fail. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Swimming in the Reign of God

July 27, 2011

“The reign of God is like a treasure that somebody hid in a field, which someone else found and covered up. Full of joy, the finder sold everything and bought that field.”

 

The reign of God is all around us–I see God everywhere-I saw her in the bushel of onions I cut up yesterday, in the onion stew I cooked, in the meal that was served, in the eyes of those who ate it. I saw him in the face of 26 year old Devin for whom I bought a twenty five dollars used cd player for his birthday that he wanted-the only gift he received, and the only recogntion he received for his birthday. God is present in all that is around us, and all we have to do is be aware. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Swimming With Jesus

July 26, 2011

St. James. “Are you able to drink of the cup that I am about to drink.” Matt. 20:20-23 The life and the convictions of Jesus would lead him to drink of the bitter cup of rejection, suffering, and death.  Being close to him would mean something like that for his followers.  He often reminded them of this.  I am reminded of that more and more.  And I am reminded that to follow Jesus is not easy, but brings much joy, and I find much joy. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Swimming in Christ”

July 23, 2011

.”I have been crucifed with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed by the faithfulness of God’s son who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galations 2:17-19.

 

I sometimes get caught up in what people think of me.  But the one thing in hanging out and working with these kids you come to understand it does not really matter. They simply don’t give a damn, and one of the reasons they accept me is because I basically don;t give a damn either. I let myself get caught up sometimes in worrying about the future, but the reality is that when I live in the moment, the present, Christ lives in me, and I live by faith and by the “faithfulness of God’s son who loved me and gave himself for me.” Ultimately nothing else matters, nothing period. As a fifteen year old told me last night–“you know River I am always judged, accept you never judge me,” and I don’t. I live in the moment, and I live in Christ.

Swimming Upstream

July 22, 2011

2 Corinthians 5:14-18  Feast of St. Magdalene  “Swimming Upstream”

 

“So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a part of the new creation.  The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived.”

This has been a long week, a very long week. I feel like I am swimming upstream.  I have been working with a youth group, whom I am not sure was very happy with me, and I did the best that I could with them,–but the reality is the leadership never had a conversation with me about what they really wanted, one person did–and I should never have worked with them without that conversation, that is my fault–but  I really did the best that I could.  I have had two colleagues tell others how “weird he is,” and you know I find them rather weird to, but so what we are all kind of weird.  It hurts, though, no matter what one can say, words, and actions hurt. I saw that last night at the meal, one fight after another because individuals would say the most hateful, and mean things to each other.  I understand the way these guys feel though–they are look down upon and rejected by society in general. The difference is that I have chosen to swim upstream, a very deliberate choice. I remember one minister telling me I was choosing a hard road years ago, and if I did not turn back I might not be able to. The reality is I can not turn back now–I could not live with myself.  I have a hunch it was shocking to the leaders of this youth group to hear me say outright I do not work with the system, but what they did not hear is that I have tried through the years, and the people I work with simply do not fit into the system–they have failed, so in order to work with them I  do not work within the system. It is impossible to put a square peg in a round hole.  People who think that I am “weird” and different’ do not seem to see that I work with people who are on the outside of the system, and it is nearly impossible for them to be within it.  Therefore I do not work within the system, and therefore I criticize the system for failing to try to provide for working with them. The system does the best that it can, but it fails a hell of a lot of people, and being human it always will, but that does not mean I am condemning it, I am just saying what I think it is true–it fails alot of people, and so I work with them as others do as well. And so I like my wounds, and face the day, and continue to swim upstream–like Mary Magdalene. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Our Choices Show Us Who We Are”

July 17, 2011

Matthew. 26:6-10:  When Jesus was at Bethany visitng the house of Simon, who had a skin disease, a woman came to him with a vase of alabaster containing very expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ head while he was sitting at dinner.  Now when the disciples saw it they were angry and said, “Why this waste?” This perfume could have been sold for a lot of money and given to the poor.:  But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said, “Why do you make trouble for this woman?”  She’s done a good thing for me. You always have the poor with you, but you won’t have me. By pouring this perfume over my body she’s prepared me for burial. I tell you the truth that wherever in the whole world this good news is announced, what she’s done will also be told in memory of her.”

Our Gospel is about a woman of means who pours expensive oil on Jesus, and the dicisples believe she is wasting her money and should give her money to the poor,but Jesus points out to them that she is preparing him for burial, and that she will be remembered. This story illustrates for me what we are called to do as Christians. 

Each person in poverty, who suffers because of the lack of physical means, is Jesus, and we are called to serve them by sharing like this woman of our wealth.  I believe that if each person with money would live with what they need they would have enough.

That is the belief of Dorothy Day, to live simply, that others may live.  In the next week we will be sharing time together, and you will get to know me.  And I want to share with you a little about me so you will know me, and understand where I come from. I felt a call to ministry in my early teens, and I have been driven by that call since then.  In Harry Potter whose themes you are seeking to live out this week you see a young guy who lives in the shadows, but always chooses the the right path.  I am not often sure about my choices, but mylife has been lived in the shadow alot. At fifteen I got a girl pregnant, and the baby was adopted out, and I found him at 18 12 years ago living on the streets, and he was killed ten years ago in a drug deal. That shadow has haunted my life. After that I closed down, and I entered the ministry taking a student parish when I graduated from high school at 16 and a half, and became the youngest person ordained eight years later in the conference after finishing seminary, but my shadow haunted me, I was not sure who I was in regards to my sexualty and so I requested permission to see a therapist and instead was asked to leave the ministry. Consequently I became a sex worker, sued the church, and came back to the priesthood after several years of struggle. I began this ministry nearly seventeen years ago, living simply, and working with sex workers, drug users and street kids. Like Clare of Assisis I believe I am call to “live the truth that I may die in obedience.” What that means is I preach a Gospel that includes everyone regardless of race, sexulaity, creed, and believe we should live simply.

I believe what Dumbledorf said in the “Prisoner of Azebar” “Our choices show who we truly are.” The woman in the story made the choice of anointing Jesus, and my choices have lead me here, and what you choose will determine our you live your life. I believe from my own experience in the redeeming grace of God, and I hope this week you will see that grace at work in your life and in the lives around you.

“Swimming For Justice”

July 16, 2011

Matthew 12:14-21.  Jesus always intervenes on behalf of the weak, and does so in a way that is sensitive to them and takes the lime light off of him.  Justice is  major concern for him–and he seeks to bring hope to all people. People get frustrated with me because I have never sought corporate donors–the reason is that in essence corporations seek only for themselves, never truly justice.  They want to regulate who you serve.  For me we must seek justice in all people. A friend who went in the corporate system tells me that I am “following a dream”, and that my dream will lead me to pain in my old age–well we shall see, but it is a “dream” that is fulfilling, and meaningful.

“Swimming With Love”

July 15, 2011

St. Bonaventure Matt. 12:1-8  ” At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads  of grain to eat.  When the Pharasees saw it, they said to him “Look your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the sabbath.  .. .Jesus said: I tell you something greater than the temple is here.. ..I do mercy and not sacrifice.”

Jesus highlights that a compassionate response to hunger and human need takes precedence over scrupulous observance of a ritual or a law.  A compassionate response to hunger and human need takes precedence over our our capitalistic needs.  I see hunger, I see people without day in and day out and I watch well dressed people walk by. I have a friend who says, “I do not see that many people,” well regardless as long as there is one that is to many. St. Bonaventure summed it up when he said: “Let us be rooted and grounded in chairty so that we may comprehend what is the length of eternity, the breadth of liberality, the heighth of majesty, and the depth of discerning wisdom.”

“Swimming Yoked With Jesus”

July 14, 2011

Matt. 11:28-30 Jesus said:” Come to me all;you who are weary and heavy laden. .and I will give ;you rest. . .

 

The promise of Jesus is to walk with us, to be yoked to us, to bring us rest in our times of sorrow, and to promise that we are never alone, but the otherside of the promise is that we are called to be Jesus to others, to be yoked to them, to bring comfort to them as they walk the path of life.  This is not simply a promise for individuals–but a promise of community–we have to share the burdens of others and Jesus is made manifest.  I found that last night as I talked to a young lady and she shared her fears of her friend’s safety and of her fear of drug abuse and her constant struggle—in those moments I brought her some rest–so Jesus walks with us, as we let Jesus walk with others through us. We swim yoked with Jesus.