The photo is of a tent in front of the restaurant next door to my place taken this morning.  Homelessness, and poverty is all around us in San Francisco, one of the wealthiest cities in the world.  That raises a lot of questions. And no one has an answer.

Twenty three years on October 1, I moved into this apartment and began this ministry, and I had all the answers, much like my kids who come to San Francisco, believing they are coming to paradise–soon to become hell. What I have learned is that I have no answers.  I am simply a fuck up! As I am told a lot.

Last night I was with a couple of friends and one was talking about his grandmother’s faith, which frankly is far different, from my own. As we laughed together about the practices, I realize people laugh at me all the time for my practices, and people hate me as well, and as I look around and we divide ourselves through our religious practices. So who is right? Again the question? We judge, we tear each other a part.

So what are we left with? What am I left with?  Questions!

Sunday, from 10 am.–6:00 p.m. is the World Vegetarian Festival in Golden Gate park at the SF County Fair Building, 1199 9th Avenue.

The only answer that makes any sense to me is “to love our neighbors as ourselves,”, to not judge, to walk with each other, to love each other, and our neighbors include all of life.

Last night a friend of mine was playing with his two dogs, and he treated them as equals. If we treated all as equals there would be no need for questions–all would be taken care.

Below is my reflections on “Why I Am Vegan?”, This is a part of my journey, and I am certainly not pure, I am as sinful in my veganism as I am in my life–I wear leather, I sometimes eat fish, but I try.

My Personal Testimony

Twelve years ago I had my gall bladder taken out, and had difficulty in eating meat, so I became a vegan.  As I ate a vegan diet I was gradually being converted to seeing all living things as precious in God’s eyes.  For me this has been a transformational process. The Scriptures were written in another culture and time, and must not be taken literally, and as we read them we are aware that there is no literal justification for being a vegetarian. They were written two thousand years ago, from their perspective, and through the Spirit we are brought to a stage where we see that with the destruction of life in all forms, the monetary waste, and the increasing poverty in the world and destruction of the environment due to increased meat eating we are confronted with the ethical need for changing to a plant based diet.

Dr. Will Tuttle writes: “Jesus’ message was intolerably radical, for it was the revolutionary vegan message of mercy and love for all creatures that strikes directly at the mentality of domination and exclusion that underlies both the herding culture we live in today and the culture of Jesus’ time.”

Whatever our religious beliefs, we are being summoned out of “mercy and love”
for all creatures to be vegetarian.  From my experience that approach transforms our lives into such a way that we love all creatures. Our hearts are transformed!

The Rev. Dr. River Damien Sims, sfw, Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656, San Francisco, CA 94164,


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