Archive for February, 2014

February 28, 2014

Feb. 28 St. John Cassian James 5:9-12, Mk. 10:1-12 “Little by Little”

As we plan the twenith anniversary of Temenos and my ministry in San Francisco I think back through the years to people I have known and have left–I see their faces, and their frustration with my “stubborness”, and “single mindedness”.   It is painful, but as I reflect I realzie it is about the way we each approach  journey with God.  Temenos is shaped by my approach. 

I came to San Francisco simply to give myself to God as Dorothy Day did, and we both had similar struggles, but in different ways, and I remember her words:  Neither revolutions nor faith is won without keen suffering. For me Christ was not be bought for thirty pieces of silver but with my heart’s blood.  We do not buy cheap in this market.  And the market is not cheap.  I have learned Scott Peck’s words are true, “Life is difficult”, but in that diffculty, in that pain there is joy and meaning.  And so I continue this journey with the goal of embracing completely the second standard of St. Ignatius–the value system of Jesus. 

Will Tuttle talks of our transformation, and while narrows it to veganism, I see it as embracing God and being tansformed by God

“Each and every one of us makes our world.
Question everything this culture says, throw off the chains of harming and stealing from fish, birds, and other mammals, and join the vegan celebration!
We will love this world and each other so deeply that we will all be transformed.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


February 27, 2014

Feb. 27, “The Little Things” James 5:1-6, Mk. 9:41-50

“The little things”,–someone in pain on the sidewalk, someone crying in the corner, someone wanting simply to sit and talk for a while, we miss Christ in these things. We are so concerned about the “big things”–getting somewhere for a meeting, a movie, making a large sum–we lose sight of Jesus in the small things of life, and we lose ourselves in so doing.

The two standares, the two value systems  I struggle with all the time–the one of honor/prestige/finances or the one of humility and contempt, and I find myself more and more in the second because that is where I find Jesus. It is in the “little things”, it is when we give that cup of cold water to the one who needs it that we find Christ. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Hummingbird by visionary artist Madeleine TuttleVegInspiration There is no greater act of love and freedom than to question the core of violence and disconnectedness churning unrecognized in the belly of our culture, and to switch to a plant-based diet because of compassion for the countless animals, humans, and future generations to whom we are related. All life is interconnected, and as we bless others, we are blessed. As we allow others to be free and healthy, we become free and healthy.

February 26, 2014

Feb. 26, St. Porphyry of Gaza It is Not About Taking Sides  James 4:13-17 Mk. 9:38-40

The disciples exemplified the struggle we all experience–we want to be the “unique ones” to serve and to do ministry. Jesus reminds us that when we are caring for our neighbor without respect to the boundaries of religion, sexuality, racial and gender discrimination we are serving him. One of the reasons I have never sought money from the City and other non-profit resources is simply I do not want to compete with other organizations–we are in this together.

The more I have moved into seeing my life as simply very temporal, very brief in time I have found that the values of money and prestige do not matter–only serving.  Each day as I talk to people and feed them I am grateful for that day–simply that is enough.

More and more as I enter into veganism I find myself appreciating and loving all beings as unique creatures.  Dr. Will Tuttle sums it up for me:

When we realize that we’ve all been given the gift of bodies that require no nutrients we cannot get from plant sources, we can become, ourselves, the change we want to see in the world. This is the heart and soul of the vegan revolution of love, joy, and peace that is beckoning and to which we are all called to contribute.

February 26, 2014

Feb. 25, “Harmony and Humility” And a Review of The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis

Mk. 9:30-37  St. Walburga

Being first nor last is not what is important.  Sharing our gifts with humanity. Pope Francis writes a great book in his “Joy of the Gospel”.

He calls  us to:  . Move outside the doors of the building and be in the streets; calls us to give of our goods so that all may have–he condemns an economy based on wealth; he calls us to be inclusive in our relationships with all religions and he calls the laity to work for changes in the general church from the bottom. It is an excellent book with a message for the Church.

Tonight as I gave out food and talked to kids I thought of Jesus feeding the thousands and how this is where I belong in ministry.  My life has moved from seeing myself in a prestigious church, with money, to simply being poorand walking with the lowest of the low; from caring what people think, to frankly not giving a damn–I simply want to serve, to care. Insults, contempt come–but with it there is much joy in the work in looking in the faces of 17 year old’s like Alex and giving him food, and some socks, and talking to him and seeing the joy in his eyes.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Veganism is the essence of inclusiveness and nonviolence: seeing sacred beings when we see others, never reducing them to objects or commodities for our use.

It is the ancient wisdom of the interconnectedness of the welfare of all, and is also the dawning mentality that is foundational to sustainability, freedom, and lasting peace. Our children’s world will be vegan, or the alternative is unpleasant to contemplate. Dr. Will Tuttle

February 25, 2014

BOOK REVIEW:  Within These Walls Memoirs of a Death House Chaplain by Rev. Carroll Pickett

This book is about the ministy of the Rev. Carroll Pickett, Death House Chaplain for fifteen years at the prison in Huntsville, Texas.  He shares his own journey in ministry and of how he had reservations about the death penalty when he began but then after several executions he came to understand that the death penalty was morally wrong.  He saw the damage done to guards, wardens, families, and the inmates.  Pickett pointed out that the murder rate rose with the rate of executions in Texas, that it left families of the victims in pain and dire straights.

Through the years I have worked with guards on death row at San Quentin, I know several sentence to death. For me I see the damage the death penalty does to individuals, and that it sets society up to be a legalized murderer. 

I know several young men in prison now for murder, both killed a man, who was a sexual predator at 18. They both did it out of fear,anger, and they are serving twenty five years to life.  They both were lucky–one was convicted in a state without the death penalty and the other in San Francisco where they do not seek the death penatly. They deserve to be punished, but they do not deserve to die. They both are struggling and are sorry for what happened, and both are growing in prison. 

Pickett’s book puts a face on the death penalty. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

February 22, 2014

Feb. 22, Hans and Sopie  Scholl “Martyrs of the White Rose”, “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Mt. 16:13-19

Last night I was taking 19 year old Kyle from Seattle to the Bart and he asked me “Why do you do this?”  The only answer I can give is it is because I care deeply because I see Christ in people.  When Jesus asked “Who do you say that I am?”,  that question has haunted me through the years and as my relationship with him has deepened I have found him in people, in all of creation.  A part of this journey is now being a vegan and this quote is a good summary:

“When we turn to the protection of animals, we sometimes hear it said that we ought to protect men first and animals afterwards. By condoning cruelty to animals, we perpetuate the very spirit which condones cruelty to men.”
~ Henry Salt

It is not black and white to me, it is not a logical questioning and coming to a rational answer but it is an experince with Jesus of Nazareth that  is slow like all relationships. And yes the life I live is on the edge, and I suppose is dangerous sometimes, even though I never see it that way, it is simply my life, but for me my journey is a growing relationship.  I choose to follow him where he leads.  As Sophie Scholl put it: “Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as the wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself and just like a flaming torch does, I choose my own way to burn.”

I choose to burn my life in this way! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

February 21, 2014

Feb. 21, Servant of God Francis X. Ford, Bishop and Martyr “Bearing the Cross” Mk. 8:34-9:1. .”Self sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving ;your self, your true self. .

From my years’ experience I can unhesitatingly say that the Cross bears those who bear the Cross
… Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929)

In talking to people I find they are frustrated and angry about the pain and suffering around them, and tend to put the blame on the government. The realtiy is that Will Tuttle in the following paragraph puts it back to where it belongs, on each of us.  To change our environment of consumerism, and materialism to providing for the needs of all we need to make self sacrifice, to give up some of our own ma terial items for others and to call on our leaders to do the same.

“.Our cultural predicament—the array of seemingly intractable problems that beset us, such as chronic war, terrorism, genocide, starvation, the proliferation of disease, environmental degradation, species extinction, animal abuse, consumerism, drug addiction, alienation, stress, racism, oppression of women, child abuse, corporate exploitation, materialism, poverty, injustice, and social malaise—is rooted in an essential cause that is so obvious that it has managed to remain almost completely overlooked”

Singh is right-=”the cross bears those who bear the cross,” and the cross all humanity needs to take up is the cross of self-denial-==so that all may be taken care of, so that our environment may be protected==and that begins with each and every one of us individually. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


February 20, 2014

James 2:1-9;  Mk. 8:27-33  “Who Do You Say That I Am?”

“He chose the world’s down and out as the reign of God’s first citiznes. .the reign of God is promised to everyone who loves God.” James 2:9 The Message

There was an article in the paper this morning about formerly homeless being forced out of their hoursing; another about evictions; and a comment from a new person, “it’s their problem–we make the money.”

Whether or not your believe in God our humanity calls us to be open, and to work together to provide for everyone. When we become distant from caring for other human beings–we become distant from our humanity and from God. 

Dr. Will Tuttle shares: ” The pollution of our shared consciousness-field by the dark agonies endured by billions of animals killed for food is an unrecognized fact that impedes our social progress and contributes gigantically to human violence and the warfare that is constantly erupting around the world.”    When we pollute our shared consciousness with greed, with our inhumanity to our fellow creatures we become inhumane.  Jesus askes us: “Who do you say that I am?” And I live by the answer that he calls us to provide food, housing, healthcare, and equal rights to all. Deo Gratias? Thanks be to God!

Feed the Hungry

February 19, 2014

Feb. 19, “Feed the Hungry”  James 1:19-27;  Mk. 8:22-26

Last night as I was giving out food in the Haight one young boy commented: “You never preach or try to convert us.”  I laughed and told him that the way I read Scripture as in ours today we are simply to feed, clothe, visit in jail and sickness, and bury the dead–that God does the rest. We then talked about faith.  For me God is like the rainbow flag, spread out in many different colors and Christ is one color, but all the colors come back to once source. 

I recently turned down a major donation from a casino. And I was asked why?  It would have funded us for a half year. Simply that I can not use money from sources that bring destruction to the lives of s so many of the people we serve, as I do not have fund raisers in bars for the same reason. I have seen and see too many people whose lives are in ruins. When you see that it changes your mind about the cleanness of the money. I have no judgment on people drinking or gambling, for many can do so without harm, but so many can not. The choices individuals choose I respect, and my choice is simply to stay clear of money from those sources.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, don’t harass them, don’t deprive them of their happiness, don’t work against God’s intent.”
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

February 18, 2014

Feb. 18, “In the Midst of Ambiguity”  Mk. 8:14-21

The Scriptures are ambiguitious, live is ambiguitious. I live my life in the g rey areas.  All I can do in  my doubs and in my fears, my anger is rely on the Rock of my salvation–for Jesus is he One who guides all of us in the grey areas of life.

I took some well to do people out with me last night and I could tell what they saw bothered them, for their lives are very black and white, but the reality is no one’s life is black and white–we all will liv e in the grey areas ultimately, and it is Jesus on whom we have to lean.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

With awareness, our behavior naturally changes, and individual changes in behavior, rippling through the web of relationships, can lead to social transformation and bring new dimensions of freedom, joy, and creativity to everyone.

It all begins with our most intimate and far-reaching connection with the natural order, our most primary spiritual symbol, and our most fundamental social ritual: eating. Dr. Will Tuttle