Archive for December, 2015


December 27, 2015


P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Fr. River Damein Sims


Twenty-two years ago, we were invited to a conference in San Francisco.  The moment we entered the City at 5:00 p.m. on October 27, 1993, we knew we were in love—on my first date—with this wild and beautiful City.  When we told our friends we were moving west,  they all said, “The rent is too high, you won’t last a year,” and that year has become twenty-one and counting.

As we enter the New Year, we are still in love with San Francisco, in the dirt and the grime, and in all of her glory.

My friend Janet Jones wrote a beautiful poem of her love affair with The City, and, as we enter the New Year, we invite you to read and keep the hope and joy alive in your heart in the following year, wherever you live, for this poem proclaims that “in everything God works together for good”:


From tower view of Golden Gate,

To absent Muni running late;

From tree-full park with kids galore,

To dirty sand on windswept shore;

From boutique shops high up a hill,

To Salvation Army and Goodwil;

From balmy days of January,

To bone-chill cold in May so merry;

From cable cars with room to sit;

To lengthy lines amidst the. . .tourists;

From gracious drivers letting us linger,

To road-rage dolts with upraised finger;

From Chinese dragons on New Year’s Day,

To conga lines and doffed array;

From Legion of Honor and Rodin’s Thinker,

To that veiled-ed place like a Toy of Tinker;

From Dior gowns on Opera Night,

To homeless men moved out of sight;

From Aquatic Park and Crissy Field

To waiting in line for Traffic to yield;

From 2-hour drive to Sierra ridge,

To 2-hour drive just to reach the bridge;

From watching seals at Pier 39,

To pockets picked while waiting to dine;

From sundress weather in inner Mission,

To downy parka if you’re goin’ fishin’;

I love this place, though I still  join fusses

‘Bout techie swarms and monster busses;

A city gal I’ve always been,

Despite the crowd and cost and sin,

So once I saw this city’s views,

Turning back East was just bad news.

Janet Boeth Jones





Join Us on Wednesday at Noon



Earl Warren Court House

McAllister and Polk (350 McAllister)








Prayer Vigil Peacefully


Witnessing Against the Death Penalty












NOON-1:00 P.M.








We asked your help in providing food, harm reduction supplies, pastoral care, and socks to nearly 1500 people each month. We live simply, we beg, and we trust in your God!

You may send a checks to:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 9416


Or make donations through PayPal on





From the time we were twelve, we have begun each year with the following service. Instead of silly resolutions to lose weight, to make more money, to change our appearance, we invite you to use this service in whatever form you feel led, and rededicate your life to God in the following year, and in so doing to “love God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” May you have a blessed New Year. Fr. River Damien Sims







Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.




Dearly beloved, the Christian life, to which we are called, is a life in Jesus Christ,


from sin by

Him, and through

Him consecrated to God. Upon this life we have

entered, having been admitted into that new covenant of which our Lord Jesus Christ is mediator, and which He sealed with his own blood, that it might stand forever. On one side,

the covenant is God’s promise that He will fulfill in and through us all that He declared in Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfector of our faith. That His promise still stands we are sure, for we have known His goodness and proved His grace in our lives day by day.

On the other side, we stand pledged to live no more unto ourselves, but to him who loved us and gave himself for us and called us to serve him, that the purposes of his coming might be fulfilled.

From time to time we renew our vows of consecration, especially when we gather at the table of the Lord; but on this day we meet expressly as generations of our fathers and mothers have met, that we may joyfully and solemnly renew the covenant which bound them and binds us to God.


Let us then, remembering the mercies of God and the hope of his calling, examine ourselves by the light of his Spirit, that we may see where we have failed or fallen short in faith and practice and, considering all that this covenant means, may give ourselves anew to God.




O God our Father, the fountain of all goodness, who has been gracious to us through all

the years of our life; we give You thanks for your loving-kindness,

which has filled our days and brought us to this time and place.

We praise your holy name, O Lord.


You have given us life and reason, and set us in a world which is full of your glory.

You have comforted us with

kindred and friends, and ministered to us through the hands

and minds of our fellows.


We praise your holy name, O Lord.


You have set in our hearts a hunger for you, and given us your peace. You have redeemed us and called us to a high calling in Christ Jesus. You have given us a place in the fellowship of your Spirit and the witness of your Church.


We praise your holy name, O Lord. In darkness you have been our light, in adversity and temptation a rock of strength, in our

joys the very spirit of joy, in our labors the all-sufficient reward.


We praise your holy name, O Lord.

You have remembered us when we have forgotten you, followed us even when we fled

from you, met us with forgiveness when we turned back to you. For all your long-suffering and the abundance of your grace,


We praise your holy name, O Lord.




Let us now examine ourselves before God, humbly confessing our sins and watching our hearts, lest by self-deceit we shut ourselves out from his presence.


Let us pray.


(Here all kneel or bow.)

O God our Father, who has set the way of life for us in your beloved Son, we confess

with shame our slowness to

learn of him, and our reluctance to follow him. You have

spoken and called, and we have not obeyed. Your beauty has shone forth, and we have

been blind. You have stretched out your hands to us through our fellows, and we have passed by. We have taken great benefits with little thanks; we have been unworthy of your changeless love


Have mercy upon us and forgive us, O Lord.


Forgive us, we implore you, the poverty of our worship, the formality and selfishness of our prayers, our inconsistency and unbelief, our neglect of fellowship and the means of grace, our hesitating witness for Christ, our false pretenses, and our willful ignorance of your ways.

Have mercy upon us and forgive us, O Lord.

Forgive us when we have wasted our time or misused our gifts. Forgive us when we have excused our own wrongdoing or evaded our responsibilities. Forgive us that we have been unwilling to overcome evil with good, that we have drawn back from the cross.


Have mercy upon us and forgive us, O Lord.


Forgive us that so little of your love has reached others through us, and that we have borne so lightly wrongs and sufferings that were not our own. Forgive us when we have cherished the things that divide us from others, and when we have made it hard for them to live with us, and when we have been thoughtless in our judgments, hasty in

condemnation, grudging in forgiveness. Have mercy upon us and forgive us, O Lord. If we have made no ventures in fellowship, if we have kept in our heart a grievance

against another, if we have not sought reconciliation, if we have been eager for the punishment of wrongdoers and slow to seek their redemption, have mercy upon us and forgive us, O Lord.


Let each of us in silence make confession to God.


Now let us pray.




O righteous God, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, see me as I fall down before you. Forgive my unfaithfulness in not having done your will, for you have promised mercy to me if I turn to you with my whole heart.

God requires that you put away all your idols.  I, here from the bottom of my heart, renounce them all, covenanting with you that no

known sin shall be allowed in my life. Against your will, I have turned my love toward the world. In your power I will watch all temptations that will lead me away from you. For my own righteousness is riddled with sin, unable to stand before you.


God has given the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way and means of coming to God.


Jesus, I do here on bended knees accept Christ as the only new and living Way, and sincerely join myself in a covenant with him. O blessed Jesus, I come to you, hungry, sinful, miserable, blind, and naked, unworthy even to wash the feet of your servants.


I do here, with all my power, accept you as my Lord and Head. I renounce my own worthiness, and vow that you are the Lord, my righteousness. I renounce my own wisdom, and take you for my only guide. I renounce my own will, and take your will as my law.

Christ has told you that you must suffer with him.

I do here covenant with you, O Christ, to take my lot with you as it may fall.

Through your grace I promise that neither life nor death shall part me from you.

God has given holy laws as the rule of your life.

I do here willingly put my neck under your yoke, to carry your burden. All your laws are holy, just, and good. I therefore take them as the rule for my words, thoughts, and actions, promising that I will strive to order my whole life according to your direction, and not allow myself to neglect anything I know to be my duty.

The almighty God searches and knows your heart.

O God, you know that I make this covenant with you today without guile or reservation. If any falsehood should be in it, guide me and help me to set it aright.

And now, glory be to you, O God the Father, whom I from this day forward shall look upon as my God and Father. Glory be to you, O God the Son, who have loved me and washed me from my sins in your own blood, and now are my Savior and Redeemer. Glory be to you, O God the Holy Spirit, who by your almighty power

have turned my heart from sin to God. O mighty God, the Lord Omnipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you have now become my Covenant Friend. And I, through your infinite grace, have become your covenant servant. So be it. And let the covenant I have made on earth be ratified in heaven.



December 26, 2015

Feast of St. Stephen  Extravagance Acts 6:8-10; Acts 7:54-59; Matt. 10:17-22

I can remember distinctly at the age of 12 at a camp fire in the Ozarks feeling my heart stirring and warmed, with an an intent I can not describe and knowing that I was called to ministry; from that time forward I was driven, literally driven by this call. There is an intensity about it that will not let go; Whenever I go or want to go off track I am driven back, and in that call I find wholeness.  That is why I am never ashamed to talk of my  faith, and to wear the collar–it is who I am, it is to that which I have been called. Faith in Christ is not about a job, prestige, and comfort–it is about following Jesus. For Jesus is a reality, not a figment of our  imagination. Following him gave me much joy this holiday season, feeding people, giving out gifts, loving those guys for whom few even look in their faces.  I was told yesterday by a friend I give extravagant gifts and I laughed, because God has given me extravagant gifts, so extravagant I want to give back. God in Christ has delivered me from places of darkness, and destruction and allowed me to serve in ways I would have never dreamed of. God has given me new life over and over, and so yes I believe in extravagance. Each gift I give is a thanksgiving to God in Christ.

Stephen is the supreme example of what it means to follow Jesus.  He knew Jesus, experienced Jesus, and loved him. He gave his all for Jesus.  He was excited about sharing Jesus, and ultimately he was stoned to death. New life came from his death–Saul became Paul, and the Gospel was spread through out the world.

As we enter the New Year let’s appreciate the spirituality of each other, and go beyond the pettiness of fighting and anger, and see the love in each expression of faith. Dr.Will Tuttle gives an awesome summary:

“Rising above anger and despair while still keeping our hearts open to the ocean of cruelty, indifference, and suffering on this earth is not easy. It requires cultivating wisdom and compassion—both the inner silent receptivity that links us to the eternal truth of our being and the outer actions of serving and helping others that give meaning to our life.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


December 24, 2015

Luke 1:67-79  Family–Merry Christmas to All You!

As I begin today, I am moving out with a cold and  a limp leg from tendinitis, and I will end it late tomorrow night probably in pain, but it will be ended with a feeling of joy and satisfaction. For I will have spent two days with my family.  I will spend hours simply hanging out and talking and giving out gifts that my friends at St. Luke’s wrapped, and food. Rather than sitting around a dinner table in a house we will be together at the dinner table on  the street corners, and the park.

Family is not about being related to someone by blood, but simply in our humanity, and it is when we begin to understand that we are all family than our conflicts, and differences fall away. I will hang out with Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Jews, and people of all races, nationalities, gender and sexual orientation, for we  are all  simply family.  In my eyes we are all united together under the love of God, who loves us all, regardless, without judgment.

The Benedictus, our Gospel today, is written to the poorest of the poor.  They are  people who are hungry  most of the time, taxed, and over taxed, enslaved and disenfranchised.  It is the sound of hope that rings through out the Bible of the God who comes and brings deliverance. It comes in glimmers, and it comes in our love to those who have nothing. It comes as people trust in the God who will be with them in life and in death. It comes as each person gives and shares with one another of all that they have.

Today and tomorrow I invite you as you move around the City or wherever you live to see the people who suffer, who are wet, who are hungry, who are lonely, mentally ill, and reach out–talk to someone, feed someone, give them a ten dollar bill without worrying about where they will spend it. Reach out and see in their faces the broken body of Christ, and see yourself in them. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

It doesn’t matter that our lives, or our families or world are not perfect. What matters is that we make a space, no matter how small, for God in our hearts. When we do that, God will do the rest, and Christ will once more be born in the Bethlehem of our lives and the mangers of our hearts.

-Br. James Koester

A Walk On Part

December 21, 2015

Last night as I drove down 13th street towards South Van Ness I counted at least fifty tents under neath the over pass; in the Haight there were countless tents and bed rolls in Golden Gate Park.  

Jay is 18 years old, he has been on the street since he was 15. He has no support, no way of learning the skills of negotiating getting a job or into school. I was raised from the day I was born to go to school, and to have a career, I am a lucky sperm, Jay has not been so lucky. The programs are limited. The Mayor touts his Navigation Center and the hope of having six more in the next year–when there are thousands of people who are homeless; none of the presidential candidates every mention homelessness;

Elizabeth had a walk on part, after John the Baptist’s birth she disappeared. The majority of us have walk on parts as well–no one will remember us when we are gone; but in this walk on part each of us can choose to simply give of what we have; to fight for reduced rent, to scream at our leaders to get involved and focus the budget to helping people on the streets.

I have been ill this past month, and all I have had  to do is email my doctor, go see her or to the emergency room and I am taken care of; these guys do not have that privilege. 

For any long term help or assistance to happen, all of us, with walk on parts, have to be involved, and I know that we will not be remembered in the scheme of things but in the Kingdom of God we are remembered.

People tell me that they can not stand to see the pain, can not face the enormity of the problem–and I tell them to embrace the pain, to feel the pain, and joy will come in the morning. For all of us have pain in our lives, but only when we turn our lives towards others do we truly find joy. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Being Different

December 19, 2015

Meister Eckhart  Being Different Judges 13:2-7, 24-25; Luke 1:5-25

Samson and John were born to be different. Samson  struggled with his differences, and ultimately redeemed himself in his death; John was different in the way he lived and dressed and he focused on the coming of Christ. He went to his death because of his differences.

Two seeks ago we sat with a fifteen year old young man who had just come to the City, to live in the “gay paradise,” instead he has found homelessness, and struggle.  He has found homophobia here as well, and simply indifference.

We talked of being gay, being different, and we shared of how being gay or queer is a great gift–for it brings one  into identity with the vast majority of people in the world–people of color, disability, other religions, who are often persecuted, and not recognized.  One’s heart can  have compassion from one’s own suffering. One can identify with others who are in the minority.

One has compassion for those who are alone. For being queer brings great aloneness–for only 2% to 5% of people are queer–and a vast majority of people have no understanding. There will always be those who believe you can “change,”  We know we were born “queer” and in accepting it as a gift, we find wholeness, but most people will not understand that; and those who are our allies have never experienced the shame and persecution, no matter what words or actions they share, they can never truly understand.  Turn on the T.V., go to a movie, read the books that are read to children, there are few, if any queer examples, for we are in the minority.  We go to inclusive churches and organizations–and we are expected to assimilate.  Being queer is a great gift, one from God. Rejoice in that gift!

We are different in that God has  called us to a ministry to people on the fringes. A friend has preached a sermon using us as an example of John the Baptist. And like John we dress differently,– our punk clothes, with tattoos and jewelry are not typical clergy wear.  We are completely focused on our work, for it is in our relationship to God that our work flows. We are single minded.

Dr. Will Tuttle says: “None of us is completely innocent, because to some degree we all are, and have been, in all three roles as victims, perpetrators, and bystanders.”  To condemn the church, to condemn others people mean we condemn ourselves for none of us are innocent. Rather than point fingers our call is to be the “mothers of God.”

Meister Eckhart said: “We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born.”  God is always calling us to be be his creative beings, loving one another in our differences, that is his/her call.  Our ministry is that of being a mother to the thousands of street kids through the past twenty one years, and that is what being different means to us–in season and out season simply showing up, being available, and in our differences reflecting the motherhood of God.   And that is God’s call to all of us–to be “mothers of God”, in our own  unique and individual way.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Christ is The Bread Of Life

December 18, 2015

Christ is the Bread of Life

Matthew 26:26 (NRSV) “While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

In the Hunger Games Collins uses bread throughtout as a symbol of life and hope and generosity.  The name “Panem” literally means “bread,” and since bread symbolizes the most basic necessary food for survival it is an important part of the experience of the hunger games. People are starving accept in the Capitol.

Jesus is called the bread of life because he gives the bread that feeds the spirit, and the reality is he calls his followers to give the bread that feeds the physical bodies.

If you have never been without the means to buy food, you will never know what it is to go hungry. When I was a hustler there were days I had nothing to eat in the the middle of the wealth of Hollywood; there were days when I first came to San Francisco, I gave up food, so that others might eat. It is a horrible, horrible experience to see food around you and not be able to eat; and people in San Francisco do that every day. Tonight 19 year old Jared was sitting on a corner in front of a new vegan restaurant in the Haight. He had had nothing to eat all day, and he was crying, people just passed by. I took him in and let him buy whatever he wanted, and there was more joy in those moments than I have experienced in days.

People starve on our streets, and one our merchant associations suggested you give money to selected non-profits rather than to the homeless., they  asked me if I wanted to have Temenos as one of those and I said, “Hell no!” because all they are doing is helping themselves to remove the homeless from their sight. 

People should have food regardless of who they are. The message of the Hunger Games is that in the United States we live in the Capitol, where we dress nicely and ignore the pain around us.  There is no excuse, absolutely no excuse for any one to go hungry in this nation, and for that matter any where in the world.

Food is a key element to our ministry, in each meal we cook and serve, each meal we buy, each candy bar we give out, we see the body of Christ broken.

During this Advent I cry, and I cry,  as people celebrate in the midst of the decorations–and they see no one but themselves, their tribe, their group of friends.  I usually have people go out with me and hand out gifts and food on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.  Recently several of the guys asked me just to come alone, because they get tired of “making people feel good.” And so this year I will have sandwiches and gifts and do it alone, because essentially these guys are right.  I will hang out with them for hours, we will laugh, and open gifts and eat together. And I will be criticized as being self- centered, a loner,  among other things, and frankly all I am is simply a priest, with all the faults and failures of any human being, but a priest, who hopefully allows the bread be transformed into the living body of Christ in our midst.  Teddy Roosevelt essentially said it is better to try, to do something, than nothing at all, for it is the doing that you are human, and so we try, and do our best, and we fail most of the time, but occasionally we hit the bull’s eye. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Dandelions In the Spring

December 17, 2015


Matthew 5:14-16:

“Here is another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.  If I make you light bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?”  I’m putting you on a light stand.  Now that I’ve put you there on a hill top, on a light stand–shine!  Keep open house;be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven!”


There is no happy-after at the end of the Hunger Games series.  There is hope and some joy, but no fairy tale ending. The rebellion does not make the world perfect.  The dystopia of Panem does not suddenly morph into a utopian paradise free of corruption where no one hungers and oppression and injustice disappears. The masterminds behind the rebellion have moved on to the next thing to entertain the masses–a televised singing competition. And the hero of the story Katniss the girl on fire is left broken. Katniss commented that during the process “I feel like dough, being kneaded and reshaped again and again,” and in the end as she comes out of her depression her brokenness has healed, and in her healing she finds strength outside the political process in mother hood. She realizes that love always involves the risk of suffering, but like the dandelion in the Spring it brings hope.

Our  Mayor promises more services for the homeless—yet he is going to usher them out with the coming of the Super Bowl. It is advertised there is plenty of food in town, yet facts show one in four go hungry in San Francisco.

Every day of my life I feed people who have no food, I hold people’s hands who have no health insurance and are sick; I spend hours with people who have not had a home in years, and some are waiting for a promised home–ie waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Personally I have no hope in the government resources, I have no hope in the political process. 

My hope comes in those who are the light of the world, who get their hands dirty feeding the homeless, advocating, fighting for housing, never giving up.  For they are God in Christ at work. And in that hope I know that frankly there are no solutions–only like the dandelion waking up each day with a new blossom bringing the reign of God in my little, very little corner of the world.

So in the nine days remaining in Advent I issue an invitation to you, a very personal invitation–be the light of the world–simply walk out and be the light. Last night I served a meal at one of the shelters and this gentleman commented, “you are the guy who always gives me socks and a candy bar at Golden Gate and Market when you stop at the light.”  I did not know him personally, but he remembered an act of kindness. You do not have to change the world, give an act of kindness, pay attention to another human being and see them as a brother or sister.  That is my very personal invitation to you these next nine days.  Be a dandelion! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos. org



December 15, 2015


“Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s Kingdom.  John came to you showing you the right road.  You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and the whores believed him..  Even when you saw changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe believe him.” Matthew 21:31-32, The Message

I remember when I lived in Minnesota towards the end of the growing season every one trying to give away their vegetables, they were a plenty, and soon would come the cold and snow. 

In the same way God offers us abundance.  When you are an old whore, and someone who is not really understood most of the time like I am, God becomes especially real and present. For God in Jesus is all you have, and he brings you abundance.

Yesterday I was talking to James who is 40. He has HIV, has lived on the streets as a sex worker and drug user since he was 20. He is waiting for housing, but it could be months. He is broken, beaten down. We talked, and we prayed.  We have a long history–he has been abusive towards me, threatening, mean and always difficult, but in the end I have simply become his pastor. I noticed now that he calls me “Father River”, always asks for prayer and usually the Eucharist. And in the Jame’s of the world God’s presence pulls at my heart, his presence challenges me, and drives me.

It is this presence that has lead me to chase my dream of being a priest through the years, and of having a ministry on the streets. Dreams are what you chase and fight for.  Dreams are God’s way of empowering us to fulfillment, and we have to work for them.  In Philippians we read that we are to  “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”, and for me that is what chasing my dream is about–“working out my salvation.” A youth group leader once said that “he has an intense glint in his eye and it scares me.” That glint is my dream, following God no matter the pain or hardship, is all that matters to me. I have a friend who asks me: “Have you ever been in love?” Yep I have, with God, and it is a love that chases me, drives me, and fulfills me.

Embracing God and the this dream has ended my restlessness and my drifting. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

Teach Me Your Paths

December 14, 2015


Psalm 25:4-9  “Your ways, O Lord, make known tome; teach me your paths.”

Learning a path is along, patient path. That is why I believe people who enter ministry should go to seminary. A part of the process of ministry is learning, and that means sacrifice. But more importantly you have to hike that path of ministry in season and out of season. Ministry is not a job, it is a vocation, following the One who calls us.

For twenty one years I have walked the paths of Polk Street, and Haight Street, and I know every nook and cranny, I have seen people come and go, I know people still here, and so many have died. I have lost so many friends, and I have made enemies. I have been been hurt, I have been praised. 

But through it all Christ walks with me, humbling me, knocking me down, reminding me of my own sinfulness, and my own ego. Christ has met me in the detours, and the byways, and even in the pits I stumble into, and has taught me step by step, how to recognize and walk the paths of this world for they are the many roads of heaven.

Deo Gratis?

“The spiritual revolution needs all of us, whatever our religious beliefs, ethnicity, class, or other variables may be. Every one of us has a piece of the puzzle to contribute, and our overall success depends on each of us discovering our talents and passion and persistently contributing them.”Dr. Will Tuttle

Hunger Games

December 13, 2015


“You are blessed when you show people how to cooperate instead of  compete or fight. that is when you discover who you really are and your place in God’s family.” Matthew 5:9

Today I was crossing the street and a bird put some droppings on my shoulder, and as I got irritated I thought how life is full of crap. Whether we have money, whether we are good looking, old or young–our lives are full of crap. We need to face that and than look for the what is good in our lives and journey in that goodness.

One aspect of Katniss is that  it was not until the end of the trilogy that she saw violence as the ultimate self-destructive act–she killed the president, and went into a major depressive episode. We praise our soldiers but they pay a price for their service for I have not met one who killed in battle who did not suffer from that experience. Life is about respect of life,

We are in the midst of upheaval here in San Francisco, and across the nation over the continued killings of black men by police.  We point our fingers at the police, when in reality is we should look where the other four are pointing.

I am a southerner, I come from a family that at one time owned slaves, my parents were segregationists, where I was raised it is like going back to the fifties when I return.  I was blessed to have ministers who were progressive, blessed to be gay and forced to look at myself, blessed in being on the streets where I was exposed to many cultures, and blessed to be forced to move to San Francisco, the city of many cultures. I have been blessed because I have so many friends and acquaintances of many cultures and colors.

Even now at times  I find myself thinking thoughts I should not and  being nervous when I am alone on the street with people of color late at night–that bias, that prejudice raises it’s ugly head because it is ingrained in my being from birth and I have to work at it day in and day out.

All of us who are white need to be aware that that demon is within us–look at it, and cast it out daily.  San Francisco has a population of a  around 5 per cent black, tonight it is Santa Night on Polk,  and I have seen only four or five people of color in a crowd of white.  We see  in our neighborhoods, our T.V. shows and commercials  mostly white faces. Racism is alive and well.  Like Katniss we need to face our demons, and work at casting them out. 

We need to look at the things we post on face book and other social networks, our words hurt people, words from people  have hurt me more than any stab wound I have received, they continue to hurt. I am called names every day on face book by people I do not know.
All of this is an ingrained anger in all of us that drives racism, and homophobia, and bias in all of its ugly forms.

Dr.Will Tuttle sums it up for us:

“The more we connect, the more we understand and the more we love, and this love propels us not only to leave home, questioning our culture’s attitude of domination and exclusion, but also to return home, speaking on behalf of those who are vulnerable.”

We need to leave home, and asked those questions and return without judgment, with compassion, and a willingness to love our neighbor and in that love to share with others ourselves and our belongings.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164