Archive for June, 2013


June 30, 2013

Gal 5:1, 13-18

“Christ freed us to make us really free.”

In our society we have lost sight of simply “being” with someone. Several nights ago I spent an hour with a young woman and she commented as we stood on the street, how me listening meant more then anything, because “no one ever listens to me.”  We spend our time trying to “fix”, “help”, when sometimes people need to have someone listening and they work out their own problems through our listening. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


June 29, 2013

Mt. 16:13-19  Feast of Peter and Paul

This is Pride weekend–a million plus strong–will be celebrating at the Civic Center.  Marriages will be taking place for the first time legally.  I was home for a high school reunion in my small Missouri town three years ago–not much had changed–being queer was a “sin”.  I will not go back.  But it is was  a reminder to me of the millions through out the United States and the world who suffer immensely for being queer. We, in San Francisco, are a witness to being open, and seeing our queerness as simply a part of our humanity.  I think of my boyhood and early adult years in the ministry, being in the closet was destructive–how many times I thought of killing myself, the immense depression I suffered, the cruelty at the hands of my peers and mental health professionals. Today I live a life of openness, of being proud, not only of being queer–but of being a priest who can celebrate the redeeming presence of Jesus of Nazareth who walked with me through those years, and who walks with me still. The next two days I will wear clericals as a sign of Jesus and his openness and love.  I went to my first Pride in Minneapolis twenty years ago this month–and from there I moved out into my own acceptance, and moved out into being a priest who serves Jesus as a proud openly queer priest.  For being queer is who I am, it is a part of my genes, my very being, and has shaped me, and it was as a queer that God called me in my mother’s womb.  My prayer is now that ultimately I can live out the words of Paul:


“I’m already being poured out like a sacrifrice to God, and the time of my death is near.  I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.. .2 Timothy 4:6-7ff

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


40 Day Fast

June 28, 2013


We live in a world torn by violence and war.  I am surrounded by violence of one type or another daily. Violence has been done to me.  One of the tenants of the Catholic Worker is non-violence. Through the years I have evolved to see violence in different forms.  One of the reasons I am now a vegan is because violence in any form is wrong and destructive–destroying our environment and destroying us.  The Gospel calls us to love our neighbors.  Several years ago I began to doing this 40 Day Retreat of Non-Violence. I eat one meal a day and drink water during the day.  I have found it  a means of reminding me of my part in our violent society and my part in protesting and turning inward to God who creates all things new and my prayer is that I too will become a new creation. I invited you to join me in this fast beginning July 1 in some form or another and look at the violence in your life, and around you, and let God work with you on your inner being, and from this to grow into a new awareness with God in Christ.. This year I am praying for the prisoners at Guantanamo and for Bradley Manning.
During this time if you would like support, to chat, please email me at, and we can talk. I will have daily reflections on the blog at under “Alien Street Priest”. 
In Jesus, Street Person and Rebel,
Fr. River+

An invitation to participate in the


For the Truth


Gospel Nonviolence

“This is the kind (of unclean spirit) that can be driven out only by prayer and fasting.”

MARK 9:29

An Invitation to Fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence

The test of the sincerity of one’s prayer is the willingness to work for that for which one prays.

The test of the sincerity of one’s work is the willingness to pray for that for which one works.

—St. John Chrysostom

Jesus Christ is the incarnation of the true God, who is Agapé, Unconditional Love, Unending

Forgiveness and Everlasting Mercy toward all without exceptions. The person who sees Jesus sees

God, for Jesus and God are One. Jesus is the Incarnation of God. It is the Spirit of this God, the Spirit

of Jesus which is life giving. It is this God in whose image and likeness we are formed. There is no

other God. All that is not of the only true God is illusion, idolatry and death.

The God of the New Testament, the God who dwells fully in Jesus Christ, the God in whose image

and likeness human beings are made, the only true God is not a warrior God who will lead people in

historical victories over enemies. The Way of Jesus is not the way of violence, retaliation and enmity.

The Way of the Jesus of the Gospels is the Way of Nonviolent Love of all. What Jesus taught by word

and deed for times of common affairs, as well as for times of crises, is nonviolence, non-retaliation,

love of enemy, forgiveness seventy times seven, return of good for evil—mercy. Since God is love and

Christ is God, to live in the life of God is to obey Jesus’ new commandment to “love one another as I

have loved you.” This means that the Christian—the human being who says he or she desires to follow

Jesus—commits herself or himself wholeheartedly to following Jesus, who did not use violence and

who did not threaten the use of violence, but chose instead—even under the threat of lethal violence—

to overcome evil with love. Jesus Christ is the truth of God and Nonviolent Love of friends and

enemies is the truth of Jesus Christ.


Therefore, it must be said clearly, and again and again, that violence is not the Christian Way, that

violence is not the Gospels’ Way, that violence is not the Apostolic Way, that violence is not the Way

of Jesus, that violence is not the Way of God. It must be said clearly, and again and again, that this

does not mean that only nuclear violence and retaliation are contrary to the Way of Jesus—but all

violence and retaliation, even culturally condoned, romanticized and legalized violence and retaliation,

are contrary to the Way of Jesus, which is the Way of Eternal Salvation for one and all. Hence, any

activity that cannot be conducted without violence or any end that cannot be achieved without violence

is an activity or an end that cannot be conducted or achieved by the followers of Jesus Christ. It is also

an activity or end that is not needed in God’s Plan of Redemption through, with and in Jesus, the


Violence is mutiny against mercy. In a world that is daily engulfed by the organized mercilessness of

governments, militaries, corporations and media, Jesus’ teaching is clear. Christ authorized no one to

substitute violence for merciful love. As the renowned biblical scholar, Rev. John L. McKenzie

concludes, “If we cannot know from the New Testament that Christ totally rejects violence, then we can

know nothing of His person or message. It is the clearest of teachings.” All the ways of God are mercy.

In the Incarnation of Mercy in the Nonviolent Jesus, God’s being, outside of time and beyond the world,

unfolds itself in time and before the world. Mercy is what God is. Mercy is why we are. Mercy is what

we need. Mercy is what God wants. Mercy is the supreme attribute of the Father, the Son and the Holy

Spirit. The Way of Nonviolent Christlike Merciful Love is the path for our pilgrimage to the Absolute.

The works of war are not the works of Christlike mercy. Yet, since the fourth century most Christians

have not proclaimed that violence is not the Christian Way, that violence is not the Gospels’ Way, that

violence is not the Apostolic Way, that violence is not the Way of Jesus. In fact, during the last 1700

years, at one time or another, Christians have justified, as consistent with the Way of Jesus,

participation in such activities as war, capital punishment, torture, assassination, the burning to death

of heretics, witches and homosexuals, colonialism, violent enmity-creating nationalism, violent

tribalism, violent revolution, abortion, genocide, wife-beating, child-beating, etc. And they have

participated in these horrors, believing they are not engaged in evil, but in faithfully following Jesus.

The spiritually symbolic low point of this false proclamation of and witness tothe Gospel—this

incarnational heresy—occurs on August 9 in the years of Our Lord during World War II. On August 9

in 1942 Christians in Auschwitz, Poland—because of the nurturing they received in their Churches—

believed they were following Jesus when they destroyed Edith Stein, Saint Teresia Benedicta of the

Cross—in a gas chamber. On August 9 in 1943 Christians in Berlin, Germany—because of the

nurturing they received in their Churches—believed they were following Jesus when they beheaded

Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, a Christian who refused to join Hitler’s military. On August 9 in 1945

Christians from the United States—because of the nurturing they received in their Churches—believed

they were following Jesus when in nine seconds they incinerated tens of thousands of human beings in

Nagasaki, the oldest and the largest Christian community in Japan.

Today, as for most of the last 1700 years, most Christians continue to be nurtured by their Churches

into the belief that those energies, understandings, emotions and spirits—which have lead inevitably to

hundreds of million of August 9s, large and small, over the centuries—are consistent with faithfully

following Jesus Christ. Today most Christian Churches and their leaderships still do not unequivocally

teach what Jesus unequivocally taught on the subject of violence and enmity. Today most Christian

leaders and most Christians still adamantly and obstinately refuse to proclaim that violence is not the

Christian Way, that violence is not the Gospels’ Way, that violence is not the Apostolic Way, that

violence is not the Way of Jesus, and therefore violence cannot be the Way of the faithful follower of



It is because of this tragic and sorrowful fact that this Forty Day Fast for the Truth of Gospel

Nonviolence is undertaken again this year for the thirty-first time. It is an entreaty to the Christian

Churches, to the Christian Churches’ leaders and to the individual Christian to repent and turn to the

Christ and learn what God’s will is. It is an appeal to the Christian Churches, to the Christian

Churches’ leaders and to the individual Christian to learn from Him, who unambiguously teaches by

word and deed the Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as the Way of God, what the Way

of authentic Christian discipleship is. For this is certain, unless this viperous poison of justified, socalled

Jesus endorsed violence and enmity is entirely flushed out of the institutional Churches of

Christianity and out of the hearts and minds of their people, no structural, administrative, personnel,

policy, practice or procedural changes will be worth a spiritual farthing (1 Cor 13). It will just be

sending the same old utterly destructive poison through an updated Church intravenous line.

This Fast for Gospel Nonviolence, for Jesus’ Nonviolence, is a prayer and a plea that the

Universal Church gather in Ecumenical Council on some August 9 in the not too distant

future and declare once and for all that violence is not the Christian Way, that violence is

not the Gospels’ Way, that violence is not the Apostolic Way, that violence is not the Holy

Way, that violence is not the Way of Jesus, that violence is not the Way of God, and

thereby disassociate Herself and Her membership forever from the xenophobic,

nationalistic, jingoistic, tribalistic, parochial, ethnocentric, racist, bigoted, monster gods of

violence and enmity, and from their brutal theologies and politics. Thereby, the Church

will at last be what it was in the beginning for all humanity, and what Jesus intended is it to

be, namely, the extension in time and space of the Nonviolent Jesus Christ of the Gospels,

who teaches as the Way of God and as the Way to peace a Way of Nonviolent Love of all—

friends and enemies—no exceptions.

Please do pray and fast for this intention, as you are able. The smallest effort done in the Spirit of

Christic love in order to bring Jesus’ saving truth, life, love and peace to humanity will be honored

by God and will be fruitful beyond all human calculation.

Submitted for your personal and merciful meditation in Christ-God, amidst the anguish and absurdity

of a world being mercilessly crucified daily by violence.


Being Aware

June 28, 2013

Mt. 8:1-4 St. Ireanus


Rather then expecting from God we should simply let God be God, and simply be aware of what is around us. Through the years when I stopped expecting God to do for me, my awareness allowed God to work through me-and by being aware we are aware of people–like “Jim” 19, who was angry, and the real reason–he was in pain, terrible pain–simply being ware without judgment opens doors–Cultivating awareness is essential to realizing happiness, peace, and freedom. Will Tuttle

Seeing Christ

June 27, 2013
Mt. 7:21-29
Every time I walk outside my door or the door of the church, I feed someone, it is as natural as me getting up in the morning.  I always have food on me, and I am always giving it out–no matter what part of the City I am in–again as natural as me walking down the street.  To me surrounded by the wealth of the City it is a major indictment against us as human beings for letting other human beings sleep on the street and go hungry.. “Not every one who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the reign of God. . .” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Living the Ordinary in the Extraordinary Way

June 26, 2013

Mt. 7:15-20

Charles Williams once defined the art of living as the ability to live the ordinary in an extraordinary way,and to live the extraordinary in an ordinary way. That is where I find joy in life-cooking food, talking to people–just ordinary things–become very extraordinary as people eyes shine, as they reach out and are touched, and for the moment they feel special and extraordiary.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The Narrow Way

June 25, 2013

Mt. 7:6; 12-14 “How narrow the gates. . .


I received a note from some one who said “you scare people,” and I laugh–I am so scary, but the way I scare people is the way in which I live my life and invite people to join me–simplicity, veganism, walking with individuals–all of are evolving–ultimately we will see if I am evolving in the wrong direction, but for me the I try, with all my heart to walk the narrow way.

 Words from Will Tuttle speak to me today:


To meditate for world peace, to pray for a better world, and to work for social justice and environmental protection while continuing to purchase the flesh, milk, and eggs of horribly abused animals exposes a disconnect that is so fundamental that it renders our efforts absurd, hypocritical, and doomed to certain failure.

New Directions

June 24, 2013

Sollemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist

Lk. 1:5;7-66, 80


John the Baptist pointed us to the reign of God and to Jesus–a new way of living.  We need to move to a new way of living–of personal involvement in the poverty, the pain of our local communities, and call our leaders to do the same. As Will Tuttle puts it:


Are we ready for a spiritual revolution?

If we refuse, the strife, stress, and destruction will almost certainly intensify due to our ascending numbers and exploitive technology.

When is a caterpillar ready to transform? The most obvious sign is the passing of its voracious appetite because an inner urge turns its attention to new directions.

Be Aware

June 23, 2013
Recently I was crossing the street near the Civic Center and a fourteen year old that I new offered to sell me some food that he stolen from a local store.  He chatted with me about how tough he had had it the past day or two.  As he walked away I thought of how difficult it really is for this young boy: no parents, no home, stealing and selling his body to survive–and I thought of hundreds of fourteen year olds I have known through the years who have done the same.
We are often so insulated from our neighbors that we fail to see the need around us. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle tells us that homelessness has increased, there are a majority of queer young adults the street because of being rejected by their families. We believe we have enough programs–we do not; we expect people to fit in the square peg of our expectations–they do not; we believe we have plenty of mental health care–we do not. 
For nearly nineteen years we have walked the streets providing food, harm reduction supplies,  socks, and referrals, and more importantly we have provided pastoral care–we have listened, prayed with, visited in the hospital, baptized, given the Eucharist to, listened to confessions of,  and buried thousands.  We have sought to be the presence of Jesus.  Through the support of hundreds of you we have  have cooked and taken thousands of meals out on the street, and we have had thousands of memorial services where families and friends have found comfort.  We are  often asked if we  ever feel like giving up, simply doing something else. We get discouraged, over whelmed, but the work  affirms for us that Jesus is the Christ of God, and that he goes before us into Galilee, and there we  will follow–for in Him is Hope and Life.  

Sentitent Beings

June 22, 2013

A person commented that I had become a “Californian”, since I had become “vegan”–well since 90 per cent of Californians eat meat, I feel that is a little miscatagorizing, but what has happened is that through the years–through health issues, seeing the suffing around me me daily I see that we are all sentitent beings. We need to be aware of the effects of our own eating habits on humanity and all life.

Will Campbell sums it ups:


When, as vegans, we become sensitized to the violence of the food system, we can also see that omnivores are victims of this food system as well