Archive for July, 2014

The Kingdom Within

July 30, 2014

July 30, The Kingdom of God Within” William Wilberforce Matt. 13:44-46

Last night I spent an hour with 34 year old “J”. He came by for supplies, and I have known him since he was 20. He talks of getting a “job”, “an apartment”, and so on, as he has for 20 years. He went through all the youth agency programs, and has tried the City programs, none work, primary because of his addiction to heroine. The use of drugs is a disease, but it is also a sign of not having peace within. We go after money, and power as drugs, and in the process we destroy ourselves and each other.

A deep spirituality connects us to God, to our inner selves and to each other. It takes time, and really hard work, and diligence, but the rewards are being connective to God, to ourselves, and to our community:

“Spirituality draws us into the depths of our being, where we come face to face with ourselves, our weaknesses, and with ultimate mystery. Many understandably prefer to avoid this frightening prospect by sinking into external religiosity and the safe routines of liturgy or ritual. A genuinely spiritual person passionately commits to this inner development. He or she knows that life is a spiritual journey, and that each one of us must take this journey alone, even while surrounded by loved ones.”
– Wayne Teasedale, The Mystic Heart

William Wilberforce is an example of a man who used inner spirituality to propel his outer actions–he singlehandedly pushed the British government to outlaw slavery, he gave his life to that. If each of us would put the same force into eliminating poverty and hunger it can be done. Spirituality draws us into being a force for good, to put ourselves second.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Consecration In Action

July 28, 2014

Jer. 13:1-11; Mt. 13:31-35 “Consecration In Action”

Tonight I hung out on Polk, giving out supplies, but mainly listening. Each one had a story, a pain to talk about, and I listened. My days are never the same, but they are the same in that I spend time listening, to me that is what being a pastor is about. Gerald May sums up what I try to do every day, all day, and he sums up what I believe is at the heart of our problems–we need to listen–to seek soul space:

Authentic spiritual practice is nothing other than consecration in action. It is feeling your deepest desire, claiming it as freshly born hope, offering it to God, and consciously living it as fully as you can. At its best, practice is the active seeking of soul-space and heart-freedom, to ache and to sing, to suffer and to play.
– Gerald May, The Awakened Heart

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Appraising Life’s Treasures”

July 27, 2014

July 27, “Appraising Life’s Treasures” Matt. 13:44-52

I was recently asked if I did not see the viciousness in animals and how destructive many are, so how can I be a vegetarian, let alone a vegan? Last night a woman who was high pulled a knife on another; there was a fight in one of the alleys and one person went to the hospital. The woman calmed down and became like a baby when I talked to her. Compassion, love–brings our best out; Being a vegan/vegetarian for me brings my compassion out; it is a personal journey that leads into greater benefit for the world. That is the way it begins–within us–and moves outward. The Holy Spirit enters our lives and moves us out to serve others.

The parables of the reign of God in today’s Gospel invite each of us to determine the most valuable item in our lives and to act accordingly. And that item has nothing to do with dollars and cents. To me the most valuable item in my life life is to act with compassion. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

To awaken from the cultural trance of omnivorism we need only remember who we are. We have neither the psychology nor the physiology for predation and killing, but due to the culturally indoctrinated mentality required by our daily meals, we eat like predators.

We become desensitized, exclusivist and materialistic, forgetting that we are essentially consciousness manifesting in time and space. As consciousness, we are eternal, free, and benevolent. Dr. Will Tutle

A Pilgrim Path Within

July 26, 2014

July 26 St. Olympias, “A Pilgrim Path Within” Psalm 84 Matt. 13-24-30

Yesterday I met 19 year old Ransom, he has been traveling from Central Texas. He talked about being on a pilgrimage, trying to find himself, and where he fits in.

We are all on pilgrimages, moving towards a deeper intimacy with someone or something. We can journey toward seeking security, money or we can journey within seeking our own inner security and in so doing become in touch with all creatures. Dr. Will Tuttle writes:

“While it’s easy to become discouraged in the face of the immense cultural inertia that propels the continued practice of eating animal foods, it’s helpful to realize that it carries within it the seeds of its own destruction.

At the rate it’s ravaging our planet’s ecosystems and resources—and our sanity and intelligence—it cannot last much longer. These may very well turn out to be humanity’s last days of eating animals.”

Personally for me becoming vegan was first of all a choice of health, and as I continued on the journey it became a pilgrimage of respect and love for all creatures demonstrating a respect and love for our earth.

For what I have learned through the years is the journey begins with the individual, Dorothy Day learned that, and in the pilgrimage others join us, and together we make a difference. For me the road leads to the temple of my own being where Jesus lives. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The Cost of Discipleship

July 25, 2014

July 25, The Cost of Discipleship 2 Corinthians 4:7-15; Matt. 20:20-28 St. James the Great

Over twenty years ago I met a famous homeless advocate in Washington D.C., an awesome guy, and he had hopes that homelessness would be ending. He committed suicide several years later overcome by depression. And I know what it means to see and experience the pain each day-to see in the faces of people sleeping on the streets their futility, their hopeless, to experience their anger. And the depression that comes from walking with them.

These past months I have been undergoing treatment for PTSD, and my therapist told me in our first meeting–“You can choose to leave, and find a more comfortable life or face the wind and in working through your pain become an even more compassionate and caring healer and pastor, for in the breaking of your heart you are being opened,” and she knew, and I knew for me there was no choice, my call is to “face the wind”.

Diettrich Bonhoeffer called, “cheap grace” discipleship without cost, glory without suffering, resurrection without the cross. That is why today’s feast is so important. It reminds us that while grace is God’s free gift, there is a cost to discipleship. That cost is to drink the chalice that Jesus drinks. As we drink from the chalice of the Eucharist, we ask for grace to pay the cost. Each day as I celebrate the Eucharist I ask for grace to pay the cost. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Is there adequate time for us as a human family to make the transition to compassionate vegan living? It’s a matter of education and reaching critical mass.

Every one of us has an essential part to play in this greatest of all tasks.Dr. Will Tuttle

Another Set of Eyes

July 24, 2014

July 24, “Another Set of Eyes” Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8; 12-13 Matt. 13:10-17

We live in front of the flickering screen of our culture, seeing so much and yet so little. We are blind not because we are morally weak but because we are so saturated with the images of our consumer culture, that we no longer see what is real.

Dan is 20, he quit college and moved into an SRO because he is going to develop a new app and become rich; he is living now in poverty, going to strike it rich any day; Stepho, 30, admitted, ten years after I had him arrested for trying to assaulting and rob me that that was the first time he realized he was doing anything wrong; Sean last night said last night that last summer when he stabbed me it was the first time he realized drugs made him see things that were not there. There are more drug users in the housed population then in the homeless, and yet the homeless always take the hit for being “druggies”. We judge, we fail to listen, and we break relationships in the process, rather then walking with each other. We need another set of eyes to see our humanity, and walk with each other in our own brokenness. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Even those at the top of pyramid, the rich white men who have the most privilege, are ironically enslaved. Planting seeds of fear and domination, they cannot reap inner peace, joy, love, and happiness.

The misery, drug addiction, suicide, and insanity rampant among the wealthiest families illustrate the obvious and inescapable truth that we are all related, and spiritual health, our source of happiness, requires us to live this truth in our daily lives. Dr. Will Tuttle

“The Sower’s Urgent Patience

July 23, 2014

July 23, “The Sower’s Urgent Patience” Matt. 13:1-9; St. Christina, The Astonishing

An Arab proverb teaches, “Every morning I turn my face to the wind and scatter my seed. It is not difficult to scatter seeds but it takes courage to go facing the wind.” The ability to stand fast in the face of opposition is the real gift of the sower.

It takes a hell of a lot of courage to face the wind, to face the wind of greed, of the failure of people to see people simply as human beings rather then labels of homeless, drug addicts, “the poor”. It takes a lot of courage to face the fact and to acknowledge the face that we are simply broken human beings who all need the grace of God and in so doing seeing all as brothers and sisters.

“James”, 26 years old sat on my couch yesterday, he has been struggling with his sexuality for years, and using drugs. He has been through treatment countless times, and he is like a square peg being put into a round hole. He is used by old men who screw him and kick him out. I have always accepted him for who he is. Personally I see myself in him, as I do all the street kids, I am a round peg who can not fit into a square hole–the difference is that I have had the money, the opportunity to find the places I fit, and now frankly I do not want to fit in, for I stand against the wind and in so doing I stand with James, and all who can not fit into the system as we know it, and to say it is easy, forget that, it is fucking hard, painful, and lonely, but it is a privilege and an honor to walk with the “Jame’s” of the world. A minister once said to me, “You had better get out of this before it is too late, you will become like them in the eyes of the world,” and I laughed so many years ago–it was already too late. As Dr. Will Tuttle puts it
“As long as we dominate others, we will be dominated.” To play along with the system is to dominate, Jesus calls us to stand against the wind, to stand in love. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Kindling Sparks

July 21, 2014

uly 22, “Kindling Sparks” Albert Luthull Michah 6:1-8; Matt. 12:38-42 “what the Lord requires of you. . .to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.

People are being evicted, thousands are homeless and unfed on the street. Each has a name, a face. I see “Luke,” sitting in the bank doorway at midnight in his sleeping bag, unable to find anything to eat all day; “Jan”, in her tent in Hemlock Alley; “Jane” just received an eviction notice, she has lived in her apartment for 20 years.

The words of Micah ring out–“to do justice, embrace faithful love, and to walk humbly with your God,” and the words of Albert Luthuli, Zuli Chief who fought for freedom in South Africa second this summons, “It is inevitable that in working for Freedom some individuals and some families must take the lead and suffer: “The Road to Freedom is via the CROSS.”

The road to fairness, equality in housing, health care, food, and clothing, and equality in all things is through the cross. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The wealthy elite exerts its privilege and authority through all our social institutions, using food as a method of maintaining control. By controlling food and disseminating junk food and food sourced from animals, those with the most privilege can confuse and sicken our entire population, especially those who are most vulnerable and uninformed.

There are well-documented connections, for example, between the deterioration of our food supply and certain newly invented pathologies like attention deficit disorder. Dr. Will Tutt

Becoming the Leaven

July 20, 2014

July 20, Wisdom 12:13, 16-19, Romans 8:26-27 Matt. 13: 24-30 “To Become the Leaven”

I am often asked how I “chose” to become a priest. I remember a cool night at a campfire in the Ozarks, so many years ago when I was 12, around this time of year, listening to the music, to the preaching, and I felt my heart “strangely warmed,” and I knew in that moment that I was to enter the ministry. It has taken me from the rural areas of Missouri, to the city, and from the pulpit of churches, to the pulpit of the streets, but I have followed that call for all these years and there has never been a moment of regret. There is a quote that says it all:

Any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of a single moment : the moment in which a person finds out, once and for all, who they are.

Jorge Luis Borges

That was when I became the bread for God to knead and will continue to knead throughout eternity. One of the ways God has kneaded the leaven in my life is through the Exercises of St. Ignatius. His examination of conscience has become a way of life for me and recently I ran across a more contemporary adaptation, and I invite people to use it:

Virtual Ethics–Examination of Conscience

1. Whom Am I?

2. Whom Ought I to become?

3. What Steps ought I to Take to Become that Person?

Using this in mediation centers us in God, and whom we should become. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Choreography at the Crossroads

July 19, 2014

July 19, 2014, “Chore0graphy at the Crossroads”, Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, Matthew 12:14-21

There is a choreography here–the Pharisees exit to plot, many follow Jesus, others choose the price of a little security, a little peace of mind and do nothing.

Last night one guy, around 35,, commented, “You do not remember me, but I remember you, eleven years ago, I was so lonely, and hungry, and you came along and spent time with me and gave me food, you saved my life;” another 22 year old , new to the City, “I have a job making $17.00 an hour, and I am living in a homeless shelter.” Both these guys stand in two different places, and yet the same, they are victims of the society we live in. A quote from the Carmelite Martyrs sums it up: “We are victims of the age, and we ought to sacrifice ourselves to obtain its return to God.”

We can choose to do nothing, we can choose to walk away, or we can choose to be active in bringing a society into being in which all are equal, and are provided for. We determine who we are and whom we follow. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

As our culture adopts veganism, the change in our consciousness will usher in the first revolution since the herding revolution began with the domestication of sheep and goats 10,000 years ago.

That revolution propelled us out of the garden into an existential sense of separateness, promoting competition and the cultivation of disconnected reductionism and materialistic technology.

The evolutionary thrust is obviously now in a completely different direction, toward integration, cooperation, compassion, inclusiveness, and discovering our basic unity with all life. Dr. Will Tuttle