Questions

 

PENIEL–NEWSLETTER OF TEMENOS CATHOLIC WORKER,  “

“Where Jacob Wrestled With God”

Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker, P.O. Box 642656, San Francisco, CA 94164, http://www.temenos.org, 415-305-2124

In Memory of Diane Sims

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Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

There was a young man who drew a picture of the cross surrounded by question marks. He was struggling with the contradictions in his life of being gay, a Christian, and not welcomed by friends or family, and ultimately he took his on life.

On Christmas Day I took some volunteers to serve food in the Haight.  On Tuesday as I was talking with one of the guys   he commented, “It must really drive you crazy being with all those “weird” people.” I laughed, just simply laughed, because he describes what we all feel in our different peer groups about  others–they are “weird”. Ministers and priests in their buildings, see me as weird, different races see each other as weird, different religions see each other as weird-when in reality we are united by our shared humanity.

And that describes my life, it is a life of contradictions, that have been  interwoven together with the scars that come from living in the midst of those contradictions–scars from much pain, but scars that have become a beautiful piece of wood that allows me to live within those contradictions.

I am a priest–clergy–who feels uncomfortable within a church building–because I was condemned, and pushed out because of being gay; yet God pulled me back kicking and screaming, for I have come to see that the Church is the body of Christ–and it is human beings in their weaknesses, their own pain that hurt others, not the living presence of Christ; I do not refuse to interact with any one because of what they believe, what they feel, because I believe we are all on the same journey, and it is in interacting that we grow.  People make their own choices.  They are free to choose, and I respect those choices. I listen to people, and in listening I see them find their path, not the one I choose for them.

My cousin Diane Sims, died yesterday, she was 59.  She was a life long Christian, taught Sunday school, attended church for most of her life. She struggled with alcoholism.  It was on her journey to sobriety that she came to understand that  she was a lesbian, and through coming out brought wholeness to her life. When she came out to her church (my former denomination) she was no longer welcome to teach Sunday school, even though she was welcome to attend- because “God loves us all, ” ( extreme and I mean extreme sarcasm).  Diane found her spiritual home in AA, and she lived a life of service. Like the young man who drew the picture with the “Questions” she faced those questions and in her struggle found wholeness and freedom.

Diane lived out the questions in her own life. She lived a life that witnessed to the wholeness of faith and witness. Diane did not want to die, she enjoyed life. Her life was a life of contradictions, and she witness to the wholeness within those contradictions.  I chose to live my contradictions with in the context of the Church, and found a place outside its walls, in which I can witness to the contradictions. I remember Diane today in praying the Office of the Dead and I remember her in every person I meet who is struggling with the questions and offer her as an example of one who lived within those contradictions, who lived out the questions of life to their fullest. She lived a life of joy and love. Diane chose life, and not death.

In this life of contradictions what holds me together is my faith in the living person of Jesus of Nazareth and this New Year my only resolve is to continue to follow him in his summons that “You shall love the Lord your God with your mind, strength and your soul, and your neighbor as yourself.”   Through out the epistle readings from the books of I/II/III John this last week we have heard that all God requires of us is to love. And in the following quote from Pema Chjodron we find a summary of my New Year’s resolution, and hopefully yours as well:

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

And I will continue as long as their is breath in my body to invite others to a relationship of compassion, in which we recognize our shared humanity.I am a person of contradictions like we all are–but the unifying factor for us all is that we are children of the one God.

Happy New Year! May God, The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you now and forever more. Amen. Dio Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Witness Against Torture: Fast for Justice

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 to Thursday, January 12, 2017
Ohio to Washington, DC

Go to Washington, DC to witness against torture and call for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison and an end to Islamophobia or you can write your representatives from home and pray for those in the Capitol.

We will participate in a liquid fast (as able) and join in direct actions, vigils and educational sessions around the topics of anti-militarism, nonviolence, anti-racism, anti-Islamophobia, and more.

Contact: Chrissy@irtfcleveland.org if you are coming to Washington D.C. for housing or to let her know you are fasting.

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RIP DIANE SIMS

FRIEND/COUSIN/ LESBIAN CHRISTIAN WARRIOR

1957-2016

May God’s Angels Carry You To Heaven~

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WE ARE BEGGARS: We depend upon your generosity to provide support for our pastoral care, food, socks, and harm reduction supplies.  In the words of John Wesley, “Earn as much as you can and give as much as you can.”

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

pay pal: http://www.temenos.org

Thank You!

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Poem by Jerry

Bolick:

“This Buddha sits with you

in the broken light

of pain-strewn streets

and slow-folded knees

that signal

unquestioned  presence—

throughout the darkness,

the voice of a friend”

 

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