Archive for October, 2017

In Memory of Rio

October 31, 2017

In Memory of Rio

The ghosts, and all sorts of creatures are roaming tonight. Our right wing friends want to cut off their believers from participating because of the presence of “evil”, well my friends evil is present, it looks you in the face, and Halloween allows us to express our fears around evil and death. For in our hiding–we separate ourselves from our humanity, and become a ghost. We can not hide.

 Last night a few years ago my friend Rio accidentally over dosed on heroin at the Viper Room in L.A., or was it just one tormented journey to that end.  He was an actor, a hell of a fun kid, an excellent friend, and a kid who was tormented by sexual abuse as a prepubescent kid. Abuse  done in the name of God.  He could never come to terms with the Divine, always a question, always being sought after, and yet so much pain because of those early memories.

I remember the night we sat in IHOP in Hollywood, after 3 a.m., me I had finished a night of whoring, him, partying and drinking.  His mood turned dark suddenly, and he challenged me to go back to ministry. Rio left, I never saw him again because he was dead soon. But those eyes, their darkness, pierced my very being, and in the next few days I wrote this piece that has been my Affirmation of Faith:

“The best summary for my mission in life can be found in the statement that “Obedience to Christ does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery.  It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist. To be a living mystery means to practice the works of mercy or in the words of Dorothy Day, “To love to the point of folly.”

This has never changed as I fought, and clawed my way out of prostitution, and into ministry.  People say I make it seem easy to do ministry and raise money–never, never! 

This is still the statement I live by:

The reason I loved Rio was because he did not see me as a whore, simply as his friend, and I saw him only as my friend.  There was never any judgment. I can put on quite a show, but when you get down to it I am a fuck up, I own that, more and more, I can not hide that.

As I put this on Facebook I really hate it, because I will get responses of sympathy etc, and the truth is “no thank you.”Don’t dishonor Rio, and do not make me feel like I need to coddled, by a computer message, that is cold, and painful.  I want a response action. I would like to see some given to people outside our doors–not words.

The only response I want  is for people to love each other without the boundaries of fear they put around themselves. I often joke that I moved from being a whore to a priest–and priest’s have worse reputation than whores, these days, so I did not improve my reputation very much. Titles, all ultimately hide who we are, they separate us from people.  So fuck the titles!

The only response I want is for people to stop judging, and  start caring for people who are on the street. There are so many reasons they are homeless–family, psychological issues, and than all they have left is PTSD and drugs; lazy– most of my kids want to earn their way, but not in the traditional ways. We live in a place where you have to be rich to live here now.  We are nothing  accept how much we have–all vanity of vanities. The Bible tells the stories from the beginning of time of how our desire for material goods without love of humanity destroys us.  We need to see our humanity. We are all different. Sorry we are fucked up humans–every last one of us, some of us can manage a little better than others, but what we can do is love one another, and help each other having their basic needs met.

For me God is that presence that calls us to love each other, to care for each other, without judgment, to lift each other up. I have no idea if there is a life after death–frankly I do not care-this one is bad enough, what I care about is the person in front of me who needs care. 

  The God that destroyed Rio was the one of judgment, the one used by men to meet their most evil desires, this is the God that is always named in so many names in the military might around the world, this is the God our government uses to justify its military aims, this is the God people who  come out on the streets to proclaim–to save their soul–and than they move onto their nice warm homes and nice meals–Oh what a god! This is the idol!

For me if there is a God he can only be found as the

One who  redeems us in all of our fullness and expresses that fullness in the words:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I have tried, I have given all that I am and now I call you to try to love your neighbor, to meet those in the tents in our City and across the country, in the Park, in the Alleys, and give them love, give them housing, give them mental health care, give them the food that is needed. Give of your humanity to people.!

My brother and  Rio sent me on this crazy, fucking, wild journey, the two I felt the most accepted and loved by in all the world,  and never  showed me judgment, and so Rio I honor you and thank you.!

—————————————————————————

River Sims

Temenos Catholic Worker

http://www.temenos.org

 

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On the Edge

October 20, 2017

On the Edge

These last few weeks I have felt like I am toppling off the edge into nothingness.  The names that I have been called on social media–“nigger lover,” white southern trash,” mother fucker, pig, sycophant, “you are not a priest, you are fake,” and so on; have shaken me, shaken me to the core, there are nights I can not sleep. My ministry is questioned, with some of the most painful comments. I have had three whom I thought were close friends pull away completely with a letter or email. No talking, no discussion, just a letter or email. What I did–still unclear about–or is it simply misunderstanding–we will never know.  I have been having a lot of threats made on me lately.

First of all I am grateful. By all rational I should not be here, and having a great life.  By all reason I should have died along time ago on the streets, broke, without a place to live. So I am grateful to have been given this life, grateful for those who have supported me, for those who hate me, for those who do not give a damn.  I am grateful. All of you have given me the greatest gift in the world–ministry to street kids. Your love empowers me, your anger, dislike, hatred, makes me look at myself, and your indifference reminds me to put my feet to the ground.

I am grateful for the God who drives me in ministry, who will not let go of me, but keeps driving me in season and out of season, and grateful for my street kids.

But now I need to withdraw from blogging, from face book, and all the other places I post,  I first of all need to focus on ministry between now and January, the most difficult time of the year for people on the street. All my attention and my time will be given to them;

Secondly, I need to pull away from constant criticism on social media, and email. I need to look myself in the face and get back to me, without looking at what other people think or say. I hear enough, I am threatened, enough on the streets, than to come home to a computer full of stuff, it upsets me, I feel like I have no friends, it scares me, makes me feel totally alone–so no more, and I will not answer emails or texts with such stuff, primarily because I respond in such hurt that I say things I regret, and because if you can not face me, it is not worth it. You want to criticize me pick up your phone and call me–24 hours a day; I have a seventeen year old friend who a couple months ago  was making smart ass remarks, and I lost it with him, so we sat down–the reality is he called me on my stuff, and I called him on his and neither one of us had it right, so in talking we came out of it laughing. We have to talk to one another.

Thirdly, I have been told that I lie about the way I live my life–the reality is I move in different worlds, worlds that have there own way of looking at life; I listen to punk, symphony, opera, rap, hard rock, depending on whom I am with for example,  I skate, I surf, I sit in  homes, and on the street– all that means is that I live in those worlds; and at the heart of what I believe is that we love God, and our neighbor.  I was once told that my greatest gift is that I can enter into the world of others, be with them, and that is my greatest gift. So you can say what you want–I don’t lie about  who I am; I am comfortable wherever I am;

Through the years people have told me there is a “fire”, a determination within my eyes, that scares them. One person told me “you are a stones throw away from death. We all are, pure and simple, but I see it more directly. This path I have chosen is the cross given to me. I will walk this path until the end. Being a believer does not protect you from life, it strengthens you, it gives you hope, and for me it is heeding the call of giving everything away.  I believe Jesus is my friend, and he calls us to love every one without respect to age, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other boundary we put on people to protect ourselves. You can quote all the Scripture, you can give me your opinion, but the reality this is the way I experience God–all loving, not judgmental.   I have seen people hurt who come as interns, who come to volunteer, because they are afraid, and that is all on me–for not understanding that the way I work and the people I serve are difficult. I am damn difficult, I am different, I own that– I am all the names I am called, but I try, I try to love with all my heart.

Social media, and all its variations are good, but the negative is in that it isolates us from the reality of every day living, prevents us from talking. I have two or three friends I talk on Snap Chat with  all hours of the day and night,I love it, I do not feel alone, but I also hang out with them and we talk on the phone. They complement each other.

So for now I will not be blogging and I beg you to watch your words that your use on social media, and in your snail mail–they hurt, and they can destroy..

May the Lord, bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and give you peace, now and forever more. Amen.

Creator Spiritus! Creator Spirit!

——————————————————————–

River Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

punkpriest1@gmail.com

415-305-2124

Positive Outcomes

October 18, 2017

POSITIVE “OUTCOMES”

Feast of St. Luke

Luke 4:1-9

There is great irony in the New Testament use of the term “gospel”; the fearful might of worldly empire gives way to the victory of healing, and love of divine mercy. There is a price we pay for this message, for when we  experience the words of the gospel as hard as a diamond our lives are changed into the freshness of a child, and a child lives dangerously.

At times when I experience depression, I am simply going through a dark night of the soul in the midst of a world that offers little hope, and in that dark night of the soul, the positive outcome a therapist friend talks about becomes being pierced by the hardness of the diamond and seeing the face of Christ.

Herman Hesse wrote:

If my life were not a dangerous, painful experiment, if I did not constantly skirt the abyss and feel the void under my feet, my life would have no meaning and I would not have been able to write anything.
We have no choice about physical death–we all die–but dying in life, we do have a choice. And in so doing we find the resurrection.
Living dangerously for me is meeting people where they are, entering into the pain of their lives, and becoming one with them in that pain. In walking on that abyss one finds the Risen Christ!
Creator Spiritus! Creator Spirit!
River Sims
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
http://www.temenos.org
415-305-2124
punkpriest1@gmail.com

Tainted and Broken Vessels

October 17, 2017

Tainted And Broken Vessels

Luke 11:37-41″Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and platters, but your insides are stuffed with greed and wickedness. Foolish people! Didn’t the one who made the outside also make the inside? Therefore give to those in need from the core of who you are and you will be clean all over.”

I sit here crying, just crying, this morning. I realize I really do not belong any where–because the boundaries of age, religion, money, none of that matters to me, not the least at all, I frankly do not give a damn. I care about people. I sit here crying because I am afraid of being alone, and I yet I know we are born alone, and will die alone.  No one answers their phone, they text, email, hide behind their computers. I have a friend who has told me to call if I am sick, I have–no return calls, so I gave up, frankly they are too busy with their lives any way.  I get in a taxi and go to the hospital.

A prospective seminary intern called me “projecting” her fears of working with “those people,” and I responded bluntly, “I can not accept you, because “those people,” are my friends, and “those people are me.”

For God is found in our love for one another, pure and simple. If there is a heaven, an after life, we judge ourselves on the way we love one another, not God. We bring judgment on ourselves. It does not matter whether we or Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or anything–all is based on love.  I tell people if you “want to be saved,” than love your neighbor, period, for that is where you find God. I am asking some of the kids on the Haight for a question for the Thanksgiving newsletter, “What are you thankful for?” And their answer almost to a one is:”My friends, who are always there when I need them.” They have absolutely nothing, they are ignored, and hated, and yet see the value in relationships.

Last night around 9 my friend, Sebastien, who is 18, just out of high school, working in a pizza restaurant, and not sure where he is going came by. His parents are successful and are angry because he does not want to go to college. He was headed out with friends in the neighborhood. He took one look at me, and said, “I am spending the night,” I told him “no” and he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “River, fuck, stop trying to cover things up, you love me no matter what a bastard I am, and I am staying.” He stayed.

Night before last I left a friend’s house knowing I was getting sick. I did not tell him, because I was afraid of what he would think,  and he thought I was upset with him, the one person I never get upset with, in the years I have known him, I have never been upset with him. I could not simply be honest, I was afraid.

The young guy who tried to stab me last year broke down Monday afternoon,  and said, “You are the only friend I have,” and I thought, “Two fuck ups, two of a kind.”

I have given Christmas gifts early to a good friend because I have had this fear I will not be here for Christmas.  The angel of death, depression, flutters around me. Right or wrong I just wanted to express my love early. 

What I know is that we are born and have encountered that love, beyond love, at one time or another, and seek it all of our lives. We let our fears get in the way, and those fears lead us to all sorts of destructiveness. For I believe that all of us, at our very heart were born to love, to care, but have been tarnished and blackened by sin, for sin means “missing the mark” –we have missed the mark of loving and caring for one another. We have missed the mark of opening our lives and letting our brothers and sisters suffer violence in our name, die on the streets, and die alone. 

Right now I feel broken, very broken, very much alone, I am crying, and I wonder why go on, why continue to live, for I have failed in life’s  ways, and yet I imagine Jesus telling us in today’s Gospel, “I want vessels that know by whom and for whom they’ve been made.” For when we can comprehend that we’ve been made by God and are called to serve all of creation we are complete. In humiliation, in our own brokenness we recognize that God is God and we are not.

People ask me for advice, to preach and help people “find Jesus”, to show people how to love, I was recently asked to teach a class on how to be compassionate–I laughed my ass off–well fuck that, I have nothing to offer. I have no words of wisdom. I am not very good at loving or being compassionate, my titles, my degrees, are all empty cisterns of someone trying to pretend, so fuck that.

Suicide and choosing to die, is never an option because I am not God, that is God’s decision.  I have gotten five college degrees, I have tried to have the right friends, and all too no avail, because I have no words of wisdom, nothing to offer,I am a fuck up, I admit it,   but what I can do is to continue to try my damn-est and to attempt to love each person that comes my way.  And when I enter that Great Cloud of Witnesses, my hope, and I hope that I will hear the words “Well done, my good and faithful  servant.” 

Creator Spiritus! Come, Creator Spirit!

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River Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

 

What Shall We Wear?

October 15, 2017

What Shall We Wear?

Matthew 22:1-14

“Therefore go to the roads on the edge of town and invite everyone you find to the wedding party. Then those servants went to the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding party of full of guests?

The Gospel calls us to proclaim that God’s door is always open and all are welcome regardless of who they are. We are not to judge, but to carry the message of inclusive love to the streets.

My friend Kevin, in the photo, is a senior in high school in Marin. Yesterday we worked our  booth at “Our Town” in SF”, in the Castro. This photo says it all to me, it tells me of a person who is open, and caring, of everyone. On the surface,  he is a foot ball player, a swimmer, a typical Marin teen, but beneath that image is one who cares for people.

The same with my friend Matt, who goes to the same high school.  I have told Matthew that I feel “safe” around him, and he loves joking with me about it.. It has nothing to do with physical danger, that scares me none, I am threatened all the time, I have had people try to kill me and so that is nothing–it is in my face, it is of  not feeling safe emotionally,  being judged, and not able to be  myself, that scares me.To Matt I am just his friend.  I am simply River. That is the greatest gift we can give one another, that is a gift we can not give by staying on the computer or by not taking time to listen. I have been fighting depression for weeks– two deaths on the street, working with an older woman in a facility without family, young guys desperate, in pain and other reasons, and Matt has simply been their, accepting me for me. He heard me pray for a couple on the phone, and he joked, “Oh  you are a priest, now?” He does not care what I am,  he sees me for me. And yesterday I saw that in Kevin. They treat each person for who they are.

Yesterday I was buying some food for a homeless young person at the Walgreen’s in the Castro, and the store personal asked him to leave with the words: “We do not want a dirty homeless person in here,” and there were no homeless people around our event. If Kevin had not been with me I would have felt uncomfortable.

Our boundaries of race, age, religion, you name it, separates us from human beings.  I refuse, absolutely, refuse to seek to convert a person to my religious belief or way of life. My friend Jesus calls us to love one another, and in so doing to love God as we see or do not see God, and that love means to give of all that we have, and of ourselves until all are fed, clothed, and housed. In our giving to the other our hearts are changed, and thus our lives.You see judgment, and trying to impose our beliefs on another are simply ways of keeping us separated from the other, rather than involvement.

When I was twenty-two, the year I was ordained, I was driving home from an event with my  younger brother. It was on a country road, dark  wet, and we had a accident, he was killed.  My life was changed forever, a therapist I was seeing told me: “You are at a cross roads, you can  choose to take the road of becoming an old, set in his ways   minister, or you can ride motorcycles–using this experience to move free, to be yourself, and to see life in all of its reality of pain, suffering and joy. You can leave the boundaries, be free, and serve. Your choice, life or death.”

I chose to “ride the motorcycle” and that ride has brought me to the realization that to sit in judgment, to stay within our many tribes that bind us destroys us, and life. But to open our lives to each other and walk with each other as brother and sister, giving to each other of what we have–=is life giving. Life is difficult, but once you accept that it is damn well worth the journey.

Don’t ask what you can wear–but how you can care! Embrace life!

Creator Spiritus! Come Creator Spirit!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Dysphoria

October 13, 2017

 

Dysphoria

Luke 11:15-26

There was article in the Chronicle in which a person described San Francisco as becoming a dysphoria, a place where there is a great division between rich and poor and  no middle class, and where people do not care for each other–they simply take care of themselves and their tribes. It is a deadly, boring, soul killing environment.

Last night a friend texted asking if it was appropriate for him to call me; when I was in the hospital a year ago, a clergy person texted me saying that was the way he was doing visitation to “save money and time.” I told my friend to call me any time, day or night, and my clergy friend is no longer a friend.  When we lose personal touch, when we are afraid to open ourselves to others, when we are too damn busy to talk to someone or to see them–than we are failing to bring the Kingdom of God into reality.

The Kingdom of God is now. The cross is both  perpendicular and diagonal.  Unless we care for each other, take care of each, other our relationship with God simply is dead. The reign of God is now–not in some distant future nor after death, it is now!

I was in Santa Rosa two days ago being present to people in a shelter, it was sobering, it was painful; I came home to two tents in front of my door. And it is sobering and painful–we all hurt, we all suffer, in one form or another. We suffer less, and we help others suffer less when we reach out and touch the lives of others.

Frankly there are days when I wonder why keep on living, why go on. I have thought of ways to end my life. There are days I think “Why keep on going?” It is painful, to see so much pain, to be so disconnected, and see that people do not give a damn. I sometimes simply take it one minute at at time. We have become so disconnected, we text, we email, but we never talk; we say the most horrible things on Facebook to each other, spreading gossip and rumors, and tearing down people for what they believe. Each day I wonder when someone is going to spread something about me.  There are no boundaries.  So why live in such a world, why live where you never feel safe, never feel connected? I hear that day in and day out from kids on the street, from homeless adults, from people who have money, and I feel the same way.

I have a friend who is a Senior in high school, and he invites me out to his house. We sit in his room, and watch T.V., and talk. Some times I say very little, and he wonders if I am having fun, and the truth is I feel so connected, like I belong, like I do not have to give anything. It is my most enjoyable time of the week.  I was out at his house last night, I was quiet, my day in Santa Rosa frankly was painful, and draining, and he asked me if  I was having fun. Matthew has no idea how much those three hours meant to me, the greatest gift any one can give is themselves. Matt is willing to put up with me, as we all should be willing to be put with another.

That is friendship, that is what we are called to be with each other. 

Henri Nouwen struggled all of his life, with deep depression and feeling alone, and he summarizes what is needed in our time:

“Compassion means to become

close to the one who suffers. But we can come close to another person

only when we are willing to become vulnerable ourselves.

A compassionate person says:

“I am your brother; I am your sister;

I am human, fragile, and mortal, just like you.

I am not scandalized by our tears,

nor afraid of your pain.

I too have wept, I too have felt pain.”

We can be with the other

only when the other ceases to be “other” and becomes like us.”

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

punkpriest1@gmail.com

 

Out of the Depths A Book Review

October 10, 2017

OUT OF THE DEPTHS BY KENNETH E. KOVACS–A BOOK REVIEW

Kovacs’ book confronts  the institutional church with a faith based on creeds, and steers people away from personal experience.  His book calls us to enter into a relationship of experience, a lived out relationship with Jesus of Nazareth.

A faith based on creeds, on “rational” belief, leads us to become an institution within itself. We live within our own “tribes”, seeing those outside as the “other”.  Kovacs calls us to entering into a lived relationship with Christ and becoming one with our fellow human beings.

For along time I have been uncomfortable within a church building and its worship services. I feel like an “alien”.  I no longer accept preaching engagements, because of being uncomfortable. I feel like Carl Jung, “Church was a place to which I no longer could go. There was no life there, but death.” 

Penny Lernoux, a journalist, once wrote: “you can look at a slum or peasant village, but it is only by entering into that world–by living in it–that you begin to understand what it is like to be powerless, to be like Christ.” This is found in a personal relationship with Jesus of Nazareth.

Life is found in a faith that is personal, one that makes us uncomfortable.  It is in being uncomfortable that we grow, we learn to relate to God, as our friend. 

A poem by Derek Walcott tells us that we must look ourselves in the face, and in so doing, we find God, and from there we move out in caring for our brothers and sisters, without the boundaries of race, creed, socioeconomic status.,  which is the message of Kovacs book:

Love After Love

The day will come

the time will come

when with elation

you will greet yourself

arriving at your own door

and each will smile at each other’s welcome

saying sit here, eat

you will love again the stranger who was yourself

Give wine, give bread

give back your heart to yourself

to the stranger who has loved you all your life

who you ignored for another

who know you by heart

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes

feel your own image in the mirror, see it

Feast on your life.

Creator Spirtus, Come Creator Spirit!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

punkpriest1@gmail.com

franciscansagainstdeathpenalty@gmail.com

 

When the Going Gets Tough!

October 7, 2017

(Shaggy)

When the Going Is Tough As Hell!

Ephesians 6:13

“Therefore pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand.”

Last night at 7:00 p.m. I received a phone call from a person asking me to speak at a conference at the end of the month. I had turned him down. He offered me more money and again I told him that it was on the day of the last foot ball game a friend  was playing in his high school career. He said, “Come on, who would turn down money for a kid’s foot ball game, he want  care whether you are there are not.” I responded, “But I care that I am there and he is not just a kid, he is my friend”, and he pushed me again and my response is unrepeatable. The man than writes me an email telling me how “immature” I am in my choices. I am certainly told that a lot, nothing new. Well, as the southern lady says, “How nice!”

And then around 12:30 seventeen year old Shane shows up at my door, telling me he wants to kill himself. So for three hours I listen–he feels alone, no one cares, no one wants to let him be who he is etc.  Shane suddenly looks at me and says very perceptively, “You feel the same way sometimes don’t you,” and I said, “Hell yea!” (I feel that way now).  I told him three things keeps me hanging on–my faith in Christ, moments like this walking with someone on their journey, and my pure stubbornness never to give any one the satisfaction of seeing me give up. He now sleeps on my top bunk, like a baby, and I have been throwing up for hours.

Right now I am exhausted, crying my eyes out, and frankly want to give up and say to hell with it all, who gives a damn, but what I will do is “still stand.” That is my witness–never give up, and  “still stand,” in season, and out of season. 

Veni Creator Spiritus, Come, Creator Spirit.”

Temenos Anniversary Reception

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

1755 Clay Street

San Francisco, CA

11:30 a.m.

(Worship is at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Stacey Gross, preaching)

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min. D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

Temenos Catholic Worker

Love After Love

October 6, 2017

 

Love After Love

The day will come

the time will come

when with elation

you will greet yourself

arriving at your own door

and each will smile at each other’s welcome

saying sit here, eat

you will love again the stranger who was yourself

Give wine, give bread

give back your heart to yourself

to the stranger who has loved you all your life

who you ignored for another

who knows you by heart

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes

feel your own image in the mirror, see it

Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

Another year has past! This month is the  anniversary of our  coming to San Francisco! I came with the ambition of building an agency, becoming known, simply because I could not face myself. I have two doctorates, two master’s degrees–all to build up my own image, to gain acceptance, to be “liked”.

But in these years I have come face to face with myself. In each young person I face I see myself, in each person whose hand I hold, I see myself, in each person I see overcome with drug abuse, depression, and broken, I see myself. In each person I bury I see myself. That is why in hanging out with these guys, in working with them, I am one with them.  Recently, someone asked 16 year old Stacey, on the Haight,”Who is that guy?” , and his reply–“Oh he is one of us,” not the priest, but “one of us”. 

In looking  myself in the face, the words of Carl Jung ring true:

“That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ–all these are undoubtedly great virtues.  What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ.  But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself–that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness–that I myself am the enemy who must be loved–what then?”

What then? For me I can not sit in judgment, but simply love the other as myself. And loving myself is not easy, for to love myself, I face my own limitations each day. I am broken, I am a failure in many ways, and  in acknowledging that I come to love myself and in doing so am able to love others more fully.

  These are hard words, for it means facing our own limitations, and embracing the other.

We are hosting a Reception

At St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

1755 Clay Street

San Francisco, CA 94109

Sunday, October 8, 2017

In Thanksgiving

For Our Ministry in San Francisco, CA

11:30 a.m. ( worship is at 10:00 a.m.)

Veni Creator Spiritus. Come Creator Spirit.

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

Temenos Catholic Worker, Franciscans Against the Death Penalty

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

 

Keep Your Hand to the Plow

October 4, 2017

Keep Plowing

The Feast of St. Francis

Tenth Anniversary of Episcopal Consecration

Luke 9:57-62

“Jesus said: “No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom.”

I remember one of my child hood nannies, an old black woman, named Lucy, telling me when I accepted my first church–“Keep your hand on the plow.” I have found that only by keeping my hand on the plow and moving forward in the midst of controversy, hatred, and doubt, can you see the face of Jesus.

Ten years ago today I was consecrated a Bishop in the Old Catholic movement primarily because frankly I am feral, I do not fit in, I am wild in many ways, like my kids, I know how to play the game, to a certain extent.  I am told I don’t listen, but the reality is I listen intently, and follow what my instinct, tells me to do. 

And so  on this Feast of St. Francis what is “success” in ministry for me. 

First of all success is my dedication, and through that dedication I see Nathan, who is 40, whose drug use keeps him from getting a job, who comes for food and to talk; I see Jason, who is 16, and has been emotionally abused through his religion over being gay; I see Sue, 19, who ran away from home because her parents tried to get her to stop using drugs, and the list goes on and on. My success stories are simply being present, listening, and letting the Spirit move in their lives.

Pain, and hurt comes, but so does much joy from  being who we are as we listen to that still small voice within.

The two phrases on my tattoo says it all for me: “No regrets”–there are no regrets; and we find God in all things, nothing does not have God, he is in all of life. So we should not judge. But listen, and be aware God comes in unexpected places. Last Saturday God  came to me in my 17 year old volunteer at the Veg Fest. Kevin showed more love and care for people in those hours, than I see most days. We all have to find the meaning to our existence on our own, but we can walk with one another, and in that walking find strength. My goal is to give my kids strength for their journey, strength to lift their heads high, and say “I am all right!”, regardless of what people  say, of what they  wear, of what they  do. If in these years I have given one person strength –strength for the journey, I am happy, if I have not than I can say loud and clear “I have tried”, and that is all we are ask to do is to try.

Thomas Merton gives a good summary on how we should live our lives, and find much joy:

‘In the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his (her) own life and for ”finding himself.” If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence.”
– Thomas Merton Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Planet First! Season of Creation! Rally

Noon

Earl Warren Supreme Court Building

350 McAllister Street

San Francisco, CA

Bring a Sack lunch to Share with A Homeless Person

Come and Celebrate Creation

+Fr. River Damien Sims,sfw, D.Min., D.S.T

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124