Archive for February, 2019

Wisdom Walking

February 17, 2019

Wisdom Walking: Pilgrimage is A Way of Life

Gil Stafford

Fr. Stafford, an Episcopal Priest, writes of our lives as a pilgrimage. He uses walking long distances, particularly in Ireland, as a symbol of that pilgrimage.  Walking for Stafford is a way in which to pilgrimage in his own life.

Stafford sees our pilgrimage as one that is past, present, and future, and we walk into our understanding of God in our life. He talks of all aspects of his life, and of how as we become more transparent in our journey we become more vulnerable to ourselves. We must expose the realities of our darkness, the good and the bad.

Stafford points out that death is “always present in life whether in the first half or in the second half,” and that only living with death as present can we truly live our lives and be real. I live with death all the time, I hold the hands of people who are dying physically, and emotionally, I have experienced my own near death experiences, and live with the reality that someone might kill me, and as I age, I see death more clearly. The Angel of Death and I are becoming good friends. Only in facing death, pain, and hurt, can we truly become vulnerable and alive. It is only in embracing our faults, our pain, and being open and vulnerable that we can truly grow and develop and embrace others.

As I read through the book I identified with Fr. Stafford. My pilgrimage has been, is, and will continue to be in the “borderlands”, where in the words of Loren Eisley, “The World, I have come to believe, is a very queer place, but we have been part of the queerness for so long that we tend to take it for granted.. .One must seek, then, what the solitary approach can give–a natural revelation.” My queer pilgrimage has been a natural revelation, in living with myself, and youth who are live in the “borderlands.” It continues to be a revelation, and I hope will continue to be in eternity.

We conclude with the words of Gil Stafford: “And I have learned that God, the divine, :YHWH, the ground of all being, the unspeakable name, whatever name you call the eternal one, loves me, you, and all creation, both in presence and absence, as we walk our muddy, mist-covered, uncertain, and yet creative pilgrimage. The natural revelation continues as long as we are willing to never take this queer world for granted. Please keep walking the wisdom way.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164




Book Review

February 17, 2019

The Disfiguration of Nature: What the Caring for the Environment is Inherently Conservative By James G. Krueger

James Krueger presents the thesis that issues around environmental  issues has been clouded by all the “ism’s”, and that people should come together leaving aside their view points for the common goal of the preservation of nature. 

For example in the state election five years ago  where there was a proposition to end the death penalty we were asked to pass out flyers supporting the democratic candidates. By doing so that would eliminate many votes, and in the end it failed by a few votes.  I refused to use those flyers and made my own because I did not want people to consider their vote based on the issue of the wrongness of the death penalty.

Krueger is right that the issue around the environment is fractured by political and points of view around all the “ism’s.  But where I disagree with him is in his own approach to using Scripture to condemn Queer rights and abortion rights.

Jesus says to us: “You shall love the Lord your God, with all of your heart, your mind, and your strength,and your neighbor as yourself.”

Our approached to the environment and all issues should be based on love of our neighbor, an approach in which we do not judge, but where we meet in the middle on issues that we do not agree on, and agree to disagree. But where we fight for the conservation of the environment.

Krueger comes across as very judgmental on certain segments of humanity, and in so doing, he loses site of the reality that the preservation of the environment is about the respect of all of life. The environmental issue takes second place to his on theological and moral points of view.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Turning Our Woes Around

February 17, 2019

Turn the Woes Around!

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated false prophets in this way.” Luke 6:17, 20-26

Happy are you who have housing, rich in money or power, in gifts of  time and talent, because you can do so much for the homeless, the poor, the mentally ill, and lift the weight off of their shoulders;  happy are you only if you have the mind of Christ, and recognize that you can not do what you will with what you have, because you are stewards of your gifts, which you hold in trust. Only if you employ your power for peace in all relationships, bring wisdom and  love to all of creation, your compassion to heal, and your hope to angst and hopelessness .

Happy are you who are full now, well fed, content, because you now have strength to feed the hungry, to touch empty stomachs with compassion, to house the homeless, to walk with the drug abuser, and those who are dying. Happy are you if you have the mind of the hungry, the mind of Christ and are uncomfortable when your brother or sister cries out in vain for justice or love. Happy are you only when  you are empty, and experience your homelessness from God. Happy are you if you are full and experience your own emptiness. Happy are you if you feel like an alien in a strange land!

Happy are you if you can laugh now, and bring that joy to everyone around you, and happy are you if you can laugh at yourself, if your world does not revolve around you, your needs, and your latest need. Happy are you  if you can find joy in all of God’s creation, in the rain, the new growth, the birds, all of God’s creatures. the presence of the Triune God within you.

Happy are you if you can let go of the chains that bind you to yesterday–your past sins, your past hopes, that imprison you in your small self. Happy are you when you live in the presence, and let go of the future.

Happy are you when the Spirit flows-and you are gloriously free to live, to love, to serve. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Book Review

February 14, 2019

The Minimalist Home

By Joshua Beck

Joshua Beck writes a book about minimizing our home. We live in a society that gathers so much stuff. As we travel across the country we see all these storage places which did not exist in the 50’s and 60’s. It is only as our country gained in wealth that things became so much a part of our lives.  They smother us, they limit our personal growth. 

Beck leads us through step by step plan of how to minimize our living space, and thus opening our lives to newer opportunities. Opening our lives to new possibilities spiritually, as we lose our interest in things and put an emphasis on people.

I know person after person on the street who pushes shopping carts around full of “stuff”,  to me it is junk, to them it is their treasure. When you asked why they carry so much when they have to push it, the answer normally is “It is my stuff, my treasure, I need it!”

This past week I have stayed in and kept my phone off recovering from an infection, and a cold that has lingered for a month. I have had a light fever, but to deal with my restlessness have minimized my residence. I live in one room, and yet over a period of three days I hauled out ten trash bags of junk, limited my wardrobe down to where I have space to put things in my closet–which turned out to be five trash bags of items I can give to others who need them.

I find myself looking at my spending, what I buy, and why I buy it. Some things I buy simply because friends who own the items, I want to fit in; others I buy because at the time they are needed; and most I buy at times when I am needing comfort–my comfort items; and I buy very little of what I actually need. It is difficult to look within yourself, and see how much it effects the way you live. It is painful.

I am confronted with my shadow of trying to fit in with others, my need to have friends,my own loneliness, and like eating things become  a way to comfort myself in times of loneliness, pain, and fear.

This is what Beck’s book in a nutshell is telling us–to look at ourselves, to see what our accumulation of “things” say about us, and in minimizing to see it as putting ourselves on an inward journey towards wholeness.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



Eating childrens scraps

February 14, 2019

Eating the Children’s Scraps

“. . .She replied and said to him, ‘Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Mark 7:24-30

Yesterday I went through my closet and gathered all the clothes that I no longer wanted to wear. As I walked out the door to take them to the church there was a gentleman under a wet blanket in the door way. I gave him a rain jacket and a sweatshirt.  I gave him my “scraps.”

People are always leaving things for me at the church to give out, their “scraps”.

The food we get at the food bank are the “scraps” of producers and stores. 

In the movie Hunger Games, on a rainy night Peta Mellark threw leftover food to Katnis Everdeen out of his back door–he did it in love. The scraps provided her and her family needed nourishment.

The woman in our story  was persistent, and she had trust and she persevered.

We all give each other our “scraps,” but in our persistence and trust those scraps are God’s love given through them. We give of what we have, and of what we have leftover. It is the spirit in what we give that our love is transformed into the love of Jesus. Love comes through faith, and faith comes through hope–

Catherine of Siena wrote:

“Splendid, glorious, Virtue reveals the presence of divine love’s fire within the soul because people trust and hope only in what they love. These three virtues–love, faith, and hope–flow from one another because there’s no love without faith and no faith without hope. That are the three pillars that support the castle of the soul.”

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco,  CA 94164


The Perspective of Innocence

February 13, 2019

The Perspective of Innocents

Gen. 2:4b-9, 15-17, Mark 17:14-23

Each year I see young men, predominantly, come to San Francisco, to hang out, and as they remain, and struggle to survive, they harden, they lose their perspective of innocence and hope. When I first came to San Francisco, I had hope, and was innocent of the streets. Now there is a hardness  that was not there some twenty years ago,  and yet in the dark shadows the innocence of God glimpses through. I seek to remain child like in many ways in order to see those glimpses. Only in remaining childlike can I offer a glimpse of the God, who loves us without end, and receive the same love myself.

A glimpse of love when one young person reaches out to  help another; a trinket given to me with a smile; a sense of awe as a person experiences God in their lives;

Thanks to Jesus, the gates of Paradise once again stand open, and we are invited to walk through them. There is a catch–unless we “turn and become like children,” we will not enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 18:3. Rather than dwell on the faults of others, constantly picking each person a part, criticizing and judging, we must recover the  perspective of the innocent, accepting each other in wonderment, and awe,  or we will never be able to seize the  height and depth and glory of what has been offered to us. Some how we must learn to trust again.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Book Review The IntraFaith Conversation

February 11, 2019

The INTRAfaith Conversation: “How Do Christians Talk Among Ourselves About INTERfaith Matters? By Susan Strouse

Strouse presents a discussion of conversation between various faith traditions, centered in the Bay Area. Growing up in the South the only conversation, and conflicts we had were between various denominations–I was saved several times in the Baptist faith because I was interested in a Baptist girl.  In my years of ministry in the Midwest it was the same, largely disagreements over doctrinal issues between the liberal United Methodists and the Baptists and other conservative traditions.Pluralism was seen as a “sin” and you were a heretic. There was only one faith–belief in Christ. And for the most part it remains the same various swaths of our country.

We are so divided around religious views, which leads us to political division. Strouse describes various techniques in working with various groups of people, and pastoral approaches.

The one point that needs to be heard is that she talks about is that God has many faces. For example the Christian theological point of view is communicated through Jewish eyes, and interpretations of Scripture is through the eyes of writers who are seeking to communicate to one part of the world, as are all other religious points of view. Where we have missed out is that every major religion communicates on central teaching: Loving God and loving neighbor. God comes to various groups of people in different ways and forms.

Strouse is the author a great book, and she has difficulty in the Bay Area, which  should  tell us how difficult it is elsewhere.  All we need is to stand back and see the God of many faces and in doing so to see all of us as one family.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



Human Trafficting a Reflection

February 9, 2019

Reflection on the International Day of Human Trafficking and Diversity

Isaiah 6:1-8; I Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11

Today (Friday) is International Day of Human Trafficking. St. Josephine Bakhita, is the patron Saint of Human Trafficking Victims. She was  a Sudanese born woman who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, and for more than a decade she was tortured, raped, dehumanized, and traded from one person to another. Only when Italy outlawed human slavery was she freed.

Slavery persists in our today in the form of sex trafficking, forms of indentured servitude, dehumanizing migratory conditions, and so many other ways.

San Francisco is one of the major hubs of human trafficking of both boys and girls. Young men and girls have disappeared and not seen again in Golden Gate Park through the years, probably sold into sex trafficking, young men and girls are prostituted in the City on our streets and through the internet.  This happens not “out there” but here in our midst.

Our Scripture for Sunday calls us to faith in Christ. I ran into a friend I have known through the years yesterday, one I have not seen in a long while. I was buying some boxers, and as I was paying, from behind, I heard a voice saying, “I will pay for them, River.” One of the most compassionate acts and caring I have experienced in a long time. Her spiritual journey began in one of our mainline denominations, and now she is an atheist. It has been a long struggle.  And I understand where she is coming from, I jokingly said, “I am almost one sometimes”. The church is difficult, is many times not compassionate and narrow in its thinking. But I encounter Christ in the people I serve, and struggle along. Her journey is one of love, compassion, to all she meets. She shares the Divine in her life, just has come to another face of God.

What I have come to understand is that God has many faces, as an Atheist, Christian, Jew, Mormon etc.  and talks to each of us in different ways, and for me it is in Jesus of Nazareth. 

The Divine is expressed in love to all, and where love is so is God. We need in our journey to see God as the Divine, who tells us to love ourselves, and our neighbor. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Inner Homelessness

February 6, 2019

Inner Homelessness

Hebrews 12:4-15

“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of business springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled.

Inner homelessness has become an epidemic in our time. All around us we find we have no time to sit down for a meal, and when we do, it is not more than an hour, or shorter time. We do not take time to listen, we do not take time to touch a friendly hand and simply talk. Just by listening to another’s story, reaching out a hand in friendship, simply smiling, these are all  ways  to say “Come on home.” 

All things that we hold so dear-political views, religious views, views on all the “isms” ultimately will pass away, and all we have left is our own humanity. Rabbi Herschel tells us: “Human life is holy”, holier than the scrolls of the Torah (and my words–the Bible). .Reverence for God is shown in reverence for man. . .”  Reverence is shown by caring for each other.

I received a phone call yesterday from a person who had heard me speak. She told me, “You need to get rid of that southern accent, it shows lack of respect for people of color.”  I am proud of my southern accent. This is a sign of what we have when show lack of reverence for our humanity, a lack of reverence for the individuality of each person.

Our inner homelessness, which I believe is not seeing the “holiness of human life,” has lead us to showing our lack of respect for each other in our beliefs, and for the lack of respect for people who are disenfranchised and homeless.

Jesus invites us to come home! To come home in loving God, and our neighbors, to love everyone–including ourselves! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


February 2, 2019



Points for Jesus Logo.bmp
“Where Jacob wrestled God”
Temenos Catholic Worker
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco CA 94164
Journal of An Alien Street Priest
Flying with Resolute Love

I Corinthians 12:31–13:13; Luke 4:21-30

The Legend of the Sparrow

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.”

There was a sparrow who dreamed to fly into the sun.

Oh, how the birds of earth set up a cry at such imprudence in a little one

when even eagles dared not venture near

the burning stratosphere.

“She will come down within a mile or two”,

they prophesied with dread.

It was of course, most pitifully true.

Scarce half-way up the mountain over head

she crashed her feathers, as they said.

But when her wings healed, up she shot again

and sought further bough.

She was more humble and more cautious now,

after a brief novitiate of pain.

Three times she rose; twice the wind brought her down,

once her own weariness

At last she clutched a  branch in her distress

and cried, “How can I ever hope to rest

in the sun’s downy nest?

I faint; I fall whatever way I go!”

But then she turned and saw the home she left

unnumbered miles below,

while just beyond her lay the mountain top,

a kerchief head of snow.

Nobody told her and she never guessed

the earth’s last height was all that she need seek.

All winds blow upward from the mountain peak

and there the sun has such magnetic rays

that in one moment she was lifted up

into his tender blaze.

Down in the valley there was such a stir.

A sparrow reached the sun!

Why had the wind and weather favored her?

What had she ever done?

Yet since they must, they spoke the praising word,

measured her flight and paused to gasp afresh.

What was she really but a little bird,

all feathered and no flesh?

Only the sun knew and the moving air

the miracle thereof:

a bird that wings itself with resolute love

can travel anywhere. Jessica Powers

Do You Want to Fast This Lent?
Words of Pope Francis
  • Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
  • Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
  • Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
  • Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
  • Fast from worries and trust in God.
  • Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
  • Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
  • Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
  • Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
  • Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
  • Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
Schedule For Lent
February 28:  6:00 p.m. Pre-Lenten Event–Meal for People Without Housing at Cannon Kip Center. We will begin preparation at 2:00 p.m. if you would like to help, and serve at 6:00 p.m. and need at least three people to serve.
March 6: Ash Wednesday, Noon–?: We will distribute Ashes to people who are homeless and otherwise on Polk Street. If you are interested in participation please call.
April 18:Holy Thursday: Moving Eucharist: Distribution of Holy Communion on Polk and Haight Street with Food 6:00 p.m.-? Join us.
April 19:  Noon-2:00 p.m. Holy Friday, “Stations of the Cosmic Christ(adaptation from work of Bishop Marc Andrus and Fr. Matthew Fox) We will walk through the Tenderloin remembering that Christ is crucified in each person we see on the street, and where we are asked: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” One thing we will be doing differently is carrying sandwiches with us so that we can give to people on the street.
Easter Sunday,11:00 a.m.–? April 21: We will celebrate Easter with a Eucharist in Golden Gate Park and give a meal of Easter Eggs, (boiled) with fruit.
Entering into the Great Cloud of Witnesses some time during the night of January 17th-18th, we remember Janet Boeth Jones, personal friend, and friend of Temenos. Deo
Gratias! Thanks be to God!
Due to our illness, the death of several donors, and the retiring of a number of people our offerings are down. We are giving out 1000 pair of socks a month, feeding people every day snacks, and hot meals twice a week, our primary focus of pastoral and sacramental care are a part of our daily life, so please consider us in your giving.
Donations are tax deductible, and may be given through the mail at the address above or through pay pal on our web site or simply through pay pal. Thank you!
“No One is An Enemy or Stranger, I get along with All.”
Siri Guru Granth Sahib