Archive for December, 2018

Peniel

December 31, 2018

 

Temenos Catholic Worker

Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

Luke 2:41-52

 

Matthew Fox has established a new spiritual  Order, “The Order of the Sacred Earth,” which has one vow, “I vow to be the best lover and defender of all of life.” This is the vow I am taking this year, this is my covenant with God. 

 

We are all broken bodies with broken bones–our bones have been crushed through the living of life. We are all wounded, we are all hurting.

 

God gives us a choice: we can continue to break one another’s bones with our hate, our rejection, or we can embrace each  other, listen, care, and love one another, and find healing.

 

In the coming of Christ we have the coming of the unlimited grace of God, the grace that led Jesus to the cross, and continues to lead Jesus to give us the same grace of all forgiving love, calling us to live out that forgiveness towards others, and in doing so become whole. Being whole does not mean not having broken bones that hurt,  and that ache in the cold and the rain, but those bones, remind us of God’s grace, and of God’s love. And we are comforted by one another in our brokenness.

 

We are all creatures on this planet and we are related to one another.  Our actions affect each other, animal,  plant and environment, as one suffers, all suffer.  We are dependent, animal and plant and environment,  on each other, and that dependence  calls us to ask in the words of Psalm 89: “To give us joy to balance our afflictions.”

 

Let us like Jesus sit in the Temple of Life and listen to nature, our environment, and one another,  to see the needs of our brothers and sisters and of all that surrounds us,  and take the vow:

 

“I vow to the be the best lover and defender of all of life.”

RESOURCES

 

Website:

https://www.orderofthesacredearth.org/

 

 

A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation, Spirituality, Journey, by Matthew Fox

 

Meister Echart: A Mystic Warrier For Our Time, by Matthew Fox

 

Order of the Sacred Earth: An Inter-generational Vision of Love and Actions. by Matthew Fox

———————————————————————————–

 

Our Ministry:

 

In the last year the one thing we have learned, and value, more than any thing else is the healing of  one on one in face to face interaction.

 

Being a pastor has always been for me my calling, walking with people one on one, holding their hands, caring for them in their pain and their joys.

 

This last year for me personally  what has meant the most to me are  my ten or so friends who have walked with me in listening, talking, and caring for me, and the friends far off who have faithfully given support financially, providing our health insurance, and food and socks for our young guys, holding the hope of our healing.

 

And in remembering this past year, the joys, the triumphs, and the horrible failures, I have come to see that it is in the tending of relationships one on one, in face to face interaction that really matters.  Only in bringing our broken bones together can we find healing and wholeness. And that comes through one on one interaction. It is painful, very painful, but only in doing so can we truly arrive at our real potential.

 

Our ministry has always been a pastoral ministry, and in the coming year we will not let other concerns get in our way of that focus.  We are not in the business of changing people, that is between them and God. We hold their hearts, and allow them to find joy and acceptance without judgment or expectation and in doing so changes are crafted.  Hanging on the streets, is the way we make house calls, and so that is what we will do. We will always have some kind of food with us, harm reduction supplies, and socks, but our primary purpose is that of pastoral care. We will serve hot meals once, maybe twice a month. They will be a low priority.

 

Pastoral care comes together in our liturgical expressions, and so we will continue our liturgies on Thursdays, and Mondays. One in the Park, the other in our apartment for people who work late shifts; Our public liturgies on Good Friday, focusing on Christ crucified in the homeless, and income inequity, and on “Philip Workman’s Day of Execution” will focusing  on the pain of the death penalty in all of our lives.

 

Each Wednesday we will bear witness to the destructiveness that the death penalty brings to the lives of all of us as we “Vigil at the  Earl Warren Office Building” at Noon, and we will begin our visits to college campuses talking about the death penalty and its consequences, spiritually, and emotional on all of us.

——————————————————————————–

We Are Beggars:

 

We are truly beggars, depending on your generosity. Your gifts provide food, socks, and pastoral care each month. So please consider on this last day of the old year a generous gift, and again we offer the book: Christianity Without Insanity: For Optimal/Emotional/Physical Health by Boyd C. Purcell.

 

Pay Pal: http://www.temenos.org

 

Snail Mail:

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

 

All checks must be made out to Temenos Catholic Worker.

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Temenos Catholic Worker Newsletter

December 31, 2018
Long Loneliness 2.png
Temenos Catholic Worker
Journal of An Alien Street Priest:
Luke 2:41-52
 
Matthew Fox has established a new spiritual  Order, “The Order of the Sacred Earth,” which has one vow, “I vow to be the best lover and defender of all of life.” This is the vow I am taking this year, this is my covenant with God.
 
We are all broken bodies with broken bones–our bones have been crushed through the living of life. We are all wounded, we are all hurting.
 
God gives us a choice: we can continue to break one another’s bones with our hate, our rejection, or we can embrace each  other, listen, care, and love one another, and find healing.
 
In the coming of Christ we have the coming of the unlimited grace of God, the grace that led Jesus to the cross, and continues to lead Jesus to give us the same grace of all forgiving love, calling us to live out that forgiveness towards others, and in doing so become whole. Being whole does not mean not having broken bones that hurt,  and that ache in the cold and the rain, but those bones, remind us of God’s grace, and of God’s love. And we are comforted by one another in our brokenness.
 
We are all creatures on this planet and we are related to one another.  Our actions affect each other, animal,  plant and environment, as one suffers, all suffer.  We are dependent, animal and plant and environment,  on each other, and that dependence  calls us to ask in the words of Psalm 89: “To give us joy to balance our afflictions.”
 
Let us like Jesus sit in the Temple of Life and listen to nature, our environment, and one another,  to see the needs of our brothers and sisters and of all that surrounds us,  and take the vow:
 
“I vow to the be the best lover and defender of all of life.”
RESOURCES
 
 
A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation, Spirituality, Journey, by Matthew Fox
 
Meister Echart: A Mystic Warrier For Our Time, by Matthew Fox
 
Order of the Sacred Earth: An Inter-generational Vision of Love and Actions. by Matthew Fox
———————————————————————————–
Our Ministry:
 
In the last year the one thing we have learned, and value, more than any thing else is the healing of  one on one in face to face interaction.
 
Being a pastor has always been for me my calling, walking with people one on one, holding their hands, caring for them in their pain and their joys.
 
This last year for me personally  what has meant the most to me are  my ten or so friends who have walked with me in listening, talking, and caring for me, and the friends far off who have faithfully given support financially, providing our health insurance, and food and socks for our young guys, holding the hope of our healing.
 
And in remembering this past year, the joys, the triumphs, and the horrible failures, I have come to see that it is in the tending of relationships one on one, in face to face interaction that really matters.  Only in bringing our broken bones together can we find healing and wholeness. And that comes through one on one interaction. It is painful, very painful, but only in doing so can we truly arrive at our real potential.
 
Our ministry has always been a pastoral ministry, and in the coming year we will not let other concerns get in our way of that focus.  We are not in the business of changing people, that is between them and God. We hold their hearts, and allow them to find joy and acceptance without judgment or expectation and in doing so changes are crafted.  Hanging on the streets, is the way we make house calls, and so that is what we will do. We will always have some kind of food with us, harm reduction supplies, and socks, but our primary purpose is that of pastoral care. We will serve hot meals once, maybe twice a month. They will be a low priority.
 
Pastoral care comes together in our liturgical expressions, and so we will continue our liturgies on Thursdays, and Mondays. One in the Park, the other in our apartment for people who work late shifts; Our public liturgies on Good Friday, focusing on Christ crucified in the homeless, and income inequity, and on “Philip Workman’s Day of Execution” will focusing  on the pain of the death penalty in all of our lives.
 
Each Wednesday we will bear witness to the destructiveness that the death penalty brings to the lives of all of us as we “Vigil at the  Earl Warren Office Building” at Noon, and we will begin our visits to college campuses talking about the death penalty and its consequences, spiritually, and emotional on all of us.
——————————————————————————–
We Are Beggars:
 
We are truly beggars, depending on your generosity. Your gifts provide food, socks, and pastoral care each month. So please consider on this last day of the old year a generous gift, and again we offer the book: Christianity Without Insanity: For Optimal/Emotional/Physical Health by Boyd C. Purcell.
 
Pay Pal: http://www.temenos.org
 
Snail Mail:
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
 
All checks must be made out to Temenos Catholic Worker.
=================================================

Revelation

December 20, 2018

Revelation

Translation by Michael Straus and Illustrations by Jennifer May Reiland

This is a small book, and it is a beautiful, concise rendition of the the Book of Revelation. Jennifer’s illustrations are very powerful and in themselves present the message of the struggle of redemption and final culmination in beautiful form.

I will keep this book in my library because it is really a great presentation and especially for the illustrations. I recommend this book  highly.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Christmas Gift!

December 19, 2018

Father River

River Protesting.jpg
Dear Friends,
 
This Christmas Temenos Catholic Worker is starting a new tradition. We will send a gift to our friends who bless us with a gift at Christmas time.
 
This year I want to share with you a book I have just reviewed entitled, Christianity Without Insanity. For Optimal Mental/Emotional/Physical Health by Boyd C. Purcell, PH.D. In our time the Church is viewed with suspicion, and negativity.  It often brings a message of judgment.  Dr. Purcell, who is evangelical, presents an approach called Christian Universalism, in which we find the God of the Prodigal Son who always receives us back, and in which ultimately all will be brought into the reign of God. While viewed through his Christian eyes, he brings all of the major religions into the spectrum and sees all religions which teach compassion and love as a way to God. God rejects no one, and ultimately his love will draw all people back into his/her presence.
 
If you would be so kind to make a donation to Temenos Catholic Worker this December, I would like to give you a very nice copy of this book. Perhaps it will speak to you in amazing ways. It has spoken to my heart, it has reaffirmed the values that I preach, teach, and attempt to live in my life.
 
We find God at work in our ministry in the lives of  the young men and women whose lives we touch each day. The streets are tough, but in each young man and woman we meet and love, we see the Spirit of God at work in their lives, giving them hope.  As one young man told me, “God is all that we have, He never walks away from us.”
 
You may give through pay pal or snail mail, and we will send you a gift of this book.   We suggest a minimum gift of $25.00, hopefully you will feel lead to give more to provide food, pastoral care, and socks to our young adults.
 
May this Planet’s Greatest Visitor Bless you Greatly, and May you have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!
 
In Jesus, Street Person and Rebel,
 
River+
 
P.S.: If you give through pay pal please send us an email giving us your address, so that we will be sure that we have it.
 
Fr. River Sims, D.Min., D.S.T.
Temenos Catholic Worker
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, California 94164-2656
415-305-2124

Christianity Without Insanity

December 18, 2018

Christianity Without Insanity.

For Optimal Mental/Emotional, Physical Health

By Boyd C. Purcell, PH.D.

Dr. Purcell is an Evangelical who brings to all Christians a healthy perspective on the Gospel of Jesus as being all inclusive. Christianity developed through the years the approach of people being judged by their sins. The Church is looked upon by the majority of people as a place of judgment.

On the street and in their homes I have heard and hear young adults talk of  how judgmental the church is. How the church judges them for their sexuality, their relationships, and their life styles. My own experience with the Church was that as well until I was removed from my denomination and kicked out on the streets. In the fires of doubt, fear, rejection, I came to find the inclusive love of God, that loved me despite myself and that would never let me go, and that is the love God has for all of creation. Without that inclusive love then, and now I would have died a long time ago, my life would have been worth nothing. We make our mistakes, we screw up, we reject God, but God is always there, and brings us back into his love, either here or in eternity. God is the the all embracing arms of the father of the Prodigal Son.

Jesus tells us to be perfect as his Father is perfect, but what he means is that we aim for the goal, we will always miss the mark, we aim for the goal. Jesus taught that we are to:

“Love your enemies, bless, anyone who curses you, do good to anyone, who hates you, and pray for those who carry you a way by force and persecute you. . .”  This is the inclusive love of God.

The author calls this “Christian Universalism”, one of my favorite Catholic nuns, Sr. Bernie, calls it “Universalism”. All major religions teach the universalism of God’s love. Universalism  is a loving presence that is all inclusive.  It knows no sexual orientation, race, color, creed, barriers, and boundaries. In each stage of our human development we have universalism.  A loving presence where peace, joy, harmony and peace manifest itself in the minds and hearts of human beings. This is God in action.  Jesus encouraged his disciples to accept and treat everyone in the same manner as God blesses the good and the bad, the just and unjust.

This is the way I try, and I mean try as hard as I can to practice ministry–to take people where they are, to love them, despite what they do, have done, or will do, and embrace them with an all inclusive love, as Jesus has embraced me–and all of us. This is freeing love!

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

Grace Remains!

December 17, 2018

Grace That Remains

Matthew 1:1-17 Common English Bible (CEB)

Genealogy of Jesus

A record of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac.

Isaac was the father of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.

Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah,

whose mother was Tamar.

Perez was the father of Hezron.

Hezron was the father of Aram.

Aram was the father of Amminadab.

Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.

Nahshon was the father of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.

Boaz was the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth.

Obed was the father of Jesse.

Jesse was the father of David the king.

David was the father of Solomon,

whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.

Solomon was the father of Rehoboam.

Rehoboam was the father of Abijah.

Abijah was the father of Asaph.

Asaph was the father of Jehoshaphat.

Jehoshaphat was the father of Joram.

Joram was the father of Uzziah.

Uzziah was the father of Jotham.

Jotham was the father of Ahaz.

Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.

10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh.

Manasseh was the father of Amos.

Amos was the father of Josiah.

11 Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.

This was at the time of the exile to Babylon.

12 After the exile to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel.

Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.

13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud.

Abiud was the father of Eliakim.

Eliakim was the father of Azor.

14 Azor was the father of Zadok.

Zadok was the father of Achim.

Achim was the father of Eliud.

15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar.

Eleazar was the father of Matthan.

Matthan was the father of Jacob.

16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary—of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Christ.

17 So there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen generations from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen generations from the exile to Babylon to the Christ.

Our news and social media are filled with gossip and anger over the “sins” of others. One piece of information is that of the “sins” of President  Trump’s dad and grand dad, thus his actions are natural. We hear of how the Bible is a book of violence etc., we seek to tear down monuments to men of the past who were slave holders, etc.

The Genealogy of Jesus is filled with murderers, adulterers, you name it, he had relatives who did it all.  And from them came Jesus, the Son of God. Our genealogy’s are filled with human beings, and with the good and bad of human beings.

My genealogy is filled with slave owners, with those who have slept with their slaves, and gave birth to children, filled with those who have murdered, and all the other sins of humanity.  My family was southern and reflected the biases of the South.  On the other hand they were the purveyors of southern hospitality. I had a cousin, named Michael, who was a “wanderer”, he was an alcoholic and homeless,  a “hobo,”in the vocabulary of the times,   and my parents in their hospitality would let him stay a couple of days, and than send him on his way with money and clean clothes. Michael had  professional career, was caught “sleeping” with a man–he  lost his job, was shunned by his family, and forced into   the life of a “hobo”, he wore the mark of the scarlet letter.  From him I learned the cruelty of human beings, how that us humans can  cruel y hurt and destroy lives,  and in my own journey have moved into a different way of life, as our times has changed, and as I have changed, and to  not let the past determine my actions.

Ultimately when we open ourselves to Jesus of Nazareth all that remains is  grace, the grace that transforms our lives into loving, and caring human beings, loved as children of God. The grace of Jesus is given to all, there is no judgment, he welcomes all of us.  Through the years as I have held the hands of men and women of all ages, after hearing the pain of rejection, and for many the things that they did,  as they lay dying, I  have said with absolute certainty, “God in Christ loves you, and accepts you, and welcomes you with open arms.”  Grace Remains! Thanks be to God!

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


The Long Loneliness

December 14, 2018

 

The long loneliness. A longing for home that eludes us, for a world that is not yet but somehow still must be. Sometimes the longing can feel like a heavy burden. But what if we imagine this longing as a flame that flickers within each of us, calling us together and toward each other, even when (especially when) the world feels dark? 

“And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do? He said to them in reply, “Who ever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Luke 3:1-10

—————————————————————————————————————–

Loneliness pervades the air.  We are so separated by our various tribes.  John the Baptist in our Scripture gives us the answer to the “Long Loneliness,”  to share of ourselves, our money, our food, our gifts, and to see people simply as human beings on the same journey.

In the doorways on Polk and Haight late at night, and during the day, there are people sleeping, crying, in pain, and hungry.  If each of us took one of our extra sweaters and gave to someone, think how many people would be warmed. Each litter starfish we save, is one that will not die.  Community comes in sharing, touching  lives. It comes in  moving out of ourselves into sharing with those around us. When we share you would be surprised how our labels of  the race, creed, religion, sexual orientation are swept away; how the dirty and grime of another suddenly fades. Sharing brings us into our oneness as human beings.

The words of John the Baptist and the words of Jesus are not an ideal, but a call to the reality of life, the reality that we find community in loving and caring for others.

Dorthy Day said: “Words are as strong and powerful as bombs, as napalm.” Our words translate into our actions.Our words be they on social media, the phone, or in person, shape our actions. Let us remember that community comes with our words as well as  our actions.

On Thanksgiving Day a man came into a donut shop on Polk and bought every one two donuts and than took out many more to those on the street. He said, “It is Thanksgiving, it is a time to share with everyone.”

We need a Thanksgiving Day like that everyday–all of us sharing with each other, and in doing so we will find community.

“We have all known the long loneliness and the only solution to that is love.”

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

Together A Waiting Redemption

December 12, 2018

 

 

Homeless Man Sleeping On StreetTOGETHER–AWAITING REDEMPTION

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mary visits Elizabeth

39 Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. 40 She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. 43 Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.”

Mary praises God

46 Mary said,

“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
47     In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
48 He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
    Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
49         because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
50     He shows mercy to everyone,
        from one generation to the next,
        who honors him as God.
51 He has shown strength with his arm.
    He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
52     He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
        and lifted up the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away empty-handed.
54 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
        remembering his mercy,
55     just as he promised to our ancestors,
        to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”

Oscar Romero writes:

“Mary, appears in the Bible as the expression of poverty, of humility, of one who needs everything from God.

When she comes to America, her intimate, motherly converse is with and Indian, an outcast, a poor man.

Mary’s dialog in America begins with a sign of poverty,

poverty that is hunger for God,

poverty that is joy of independence.

Poverty is freedom.

Poverty in needing others,

needing brothers and sisters,

supporting one another so as to help one another.

This is what Mary means

and what the church means for Latin America (and for all of us).

If at sometime the church betrayed its spirit of poverty then it was unfaithful to the Gospel,

which it meant to be distinct from the powers of the earth,

not depending on money that makes humans happy, but depending upon the power of Christ, on God’s power.

That is its greatness.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe is about the God who breaks through the glass walls of the rich and the powerful, and an institution they call the church, to bring new life to the Church, the body of Christ that moves into the lives of the the poor, the oppressed, and to give them hope and raise them to new life.

Our streets are packed with people sleeping in our door ways, hungry, cold, alone, and Our Lady of Guadalupe calls us to move out of our isolated worlds and feed, clothe, and comfort them.  The government will always fail, but it is the Church that we one by one can make a difference. Talking to someone, giving them a blanket, a pair of socks, food, that carries the Word, the Word of love, and makes a difference, whether we can see it or not.

Sister Alicia Domon who lived in one of the shanty towns of Argentia said:

“I didn’t come here into the shantytown to tell peopled what they had to do but in order that we could help and share life’s joys and sorrow, here we take each other for what we are. I have probably received more than  I have given.”  

One night as she was going home from a meeting, she was picked up by the military police, and disappeared, and in the years to come it was found out she was thrown out of an airplane over the Atlantic.  Her political action was she lived and served the poor.

Our Lady of Guadalupe speaks to those of us who are poor in Spirit, who have all the material things we can want, but who feel lost, alone, and without meaning, and she calls  us into community,to serve, to love, those who are poor, and in so doing we find community.

So on this feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe let us look at how God comes to us, calls us out of our comfort zones, and into service.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

Blocking Asylum Seekers At the Border is Illegal and Immoral

December 10, 2018

BLOCKING ASYLUM SEEKERS AT THE BORDER IS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL

 

The thousand-strong caravan referred to as the Central American Exodus started small. A dozen from this town, a hundred from that, fleeing danger and desperation. Humanitarian workers explained that it was easier to move in groups: soldiers were turning individuals away at the Honduran border, but not large groups of seniors and people with small children, exhausted after so much walking. Indeed the formed a caravan to protect themselves from the very conditions they are running from: gang violence, sexual assault, and rates of homicide that rival war zones.

 

When I think of the countless families fleeing danger that will be turned away at the border by President Trump’s executive order, I think of a story I heard from a woman who was accompanying members of the caravan. She came across an elderly woman walking with two young children. She said she joined the caravan when her daughter, the mother of the twins, was murdered by gang members because she couldn’t afford to pay them off. The grandmother said she couldn’t afford the extortion fee either, and wouldn’t let the same fate befall her grandchildren. The next day she packed what little she had and began the long, dangerous journey.

 

I remember a young man, 16, named Juan, whom I met on Polk Street one night. He was “working”, being a sex worker. We became friends and through the two years I knew him he told me his story. He came from a country in Central America where there were gangs, and extreme poverty. The money  he made supported his family. He was undocumented and one night he was picked up by the police and eventually deported. Juan was an innocent, sweet kid, who did the best he could, and how does our country treat him as “an illegal alien.” Shame!

 

I also remember the righteous outrage that swept across faith communities in our nation the last time President Trump tried to do something so outrageous as ban a whole class of people from our country. We are once again faced with a time to act.

 

 

My own faith tradition states that…”I was hungry and you gave me food to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU WELCOMED ME, I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I waks sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Matthew 25: 34-36”

 

Instead of giving people in the migrant caravan the opportunity to follow the legal process to seek safety and welcome in the United States, the administration mobilized soldiers to meet them at the border. Instead of giving each arrival the ability to share their story of credible fear, President Trump has passed an executive order blocking every member of the migrant caravan from applying for asylum. People seeking safety at our southern border is not a political crisis, it is a test of our humanity.

 

The U.S. asylum system was created in the wake of World War II, to provide refugee to those fleeing violence and persecution who arrive at our doorstep. It allows refugees, like many families in this caravan to apply for protection in the United States.

 

While many of these families will seek refuge in Mexico, it is not a safe option for many others. The Mexican asylum system is rife with corruption and fails to protect many of the most vulnerable. According to research organization WOLA, women and children migrants in Mexico are often targeted by gangs for kidnapping and human trafficking, while LGBT migrants face severe violence. Failing to allow these families and individuals to seek safety in the United States would violate the Refugee Convention.

 

Blocking asylum at the border is not only illegal, but will lead to more detentions and more children being separated from their loved ones – a deep moral outrage in itself. We are still discovering and reuniting children who were separated from their parents during this spring’s family separation crisis, which had its roots in our hostile response to asylum seekers. The United States should be building a fair and generous asylum system that treats all people with dignity and recognizes their legal right to seek asylum. The asylum system is instead being destroyed by dehumanizing lies and rebuilt in a form that is irresponsible and based on fear.

 

We blame President Trump and the Republicans, and the most recent events are their responsibility, but our immigration system has been broken for a long time, and both parties have done little to repair it. This is everyone’s responsibility, rather than point the finger of blame, we should look within ourselves and see our responsibility and move out and push change.

 

The answer is clear. The U.S. must comply with its own laws and international obligations to protect the asylum system that has been put in place, and work to change the present system till it is more just and fair. We are all immigrants accept for our Native American brothers and sisters, we all deserve a place where we can be safe, and productive.

 

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

P.O Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Surrounded By Ghosts!

December 10, 2018

Surrounded  by Ghosts!

“Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”  Luke 3:5-6

We are surrounded by ghosts, the shadows of pain, fear, worry, and dread. The paper is full of pain today–the majority of the residents of Paradise, CA are facing the reality that there way of life will be no more, soon they will be in our memory, as they continue to suffer in homelessness, and not knowing what there future holds; one resident says she now understands how many become homeless, the lack of resources; poverty and homelessness on the street are getting worse with little real hope, and our politicians pass by not really seeing the total reality. We reach out, and find ourselves facing the ghosts of our fears and hopelessness.

In the last year I have wrestled with my own ghosts–of doubt, fear of he future, aging, and failing.  From this I have learned that  all of us are human beings, and that we find our hope in the God who tells us that “every valley shall be filled.”

God calls us to walk together,  and that, only in community, can we find hope, support, and the ability to conquer the ghosts in the shadows.  We are called to walk in community, seeing our oneness in the Creator. Our salvation comes not in the “American First” theme, but in “Creation First”, where all creation and its welfare is placed above the individual and we see that life is communal, about sharing, loving, and giving. The ghosts evaporate.

Today is the Feast of Juan Diego, who submitted to God and proclaimed the vision of our Lady of Guadalupe, who holds a special place in her heart for the poor and the oppressed–she is a symbol of the church of the future, a church that celebrates diversity, empowers the poor, and speaks with the voice of compassion–and where such a church lives roses bloom in the desert.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www. temenos.org

415-305-2124