Spying In our Restrooms for Securities Sake

Spying In Our Restrooms–For Securities Sake!

I Maccabees 2:1-28. Matthew 16:21-28

    A friend, who is in his thirties, and I were talking about Halloween in Sebastopal, when he was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen, and how we would go and toilet paper trees, and get chased by whomever. I told him those days were over, because every house had security cameras,  and he replied, “River we can wear masks, and it will be a hell of a lot more fun.” LoL! Of course I was simply his chaperone offering prayers along the way!

    Two days go I went to the rest room in a cafe in the Haight,and when washing my hands I looked up and saw a camera over the door. I thought, “What the f. .. .k?” and asked at the counter, and was told, and I can almost quote: “We are afraid of the homeless, and possible people with weapons, but please know the camera does not look into the stalls or the urinals.” At least not yet!

    Our fears have compelled us to place cameras in Golden Gate Park, around our churches, our streets, and our homes. Orwell’s “1984” is a reality.

    Someone hacked my computer, and took one my photos, and added some compromising ones, that are not mind, and called and said if I gave them a thousand dollars they would not publish them–I said, “Go straight to h. .” And I have been in a deep depression ever  since, feeling afraid, threatened, and unsafe. I called my attorney and no response, I called friends, no response. I felt so alone.

    We live in a time when we truly have no support emotionally, spiritually, or physically. In our cyber world we are losing our humanness. We let our governments impose fear of the other on us.

    Through all of this  the words of Jesus, “Love your neighbor” as yourself become more real. One can see his face as he looks upon us, and loves us as we place nails in his hands, and calls us to “Love our neighbor as ourselves.”

    I have seen the non-violent approach of love change lives throughout my ministry. The man who murdered my son’s  changed, and changed life  as I held his hands, gave him the Sacrament of Reconciliation  as  he was dying; people who have railed against me as I stand in silent protest against the death penalty have come back to talk, and in our differences, become friends.

    People rail against the Church, against Christianity, and we look at the differences in those who practice the Christian faith,  care for the homeless, the aged, the broken–places like The Gubbio Project, in San Francisco are examples of the Church treating people as individuals created with the image of God within them, while our government agencies seek to get them out of sight.The Church at its best, Christians at their best humanize people recognizing we all have the image of God within us. That all of us carry goodness. That we should walk with people, for the day will come when we too will need to be walked with.

    So for me and my house, we will continue to hang with those that are “the undesirables”, the thieves, the murderers, and will continue to stand in non-violent protest against injustice.

Fr. Henri Nouwen says it best:

“God’s question is: “Are you reading the signs of your time as signs asking you to repent and be converted?” What really counts is our willingness to let the immense sufferings of our brothers and sisters free us from all arrogance and from all judgments and condemnations and give us a heart as gentle and humble as the heart of Jesus.”

And if we ever toilet paper trees again we will wear masks–it will be more fun, and we will not darken the door  any place that has cameras in their restrooms, I am even leery about darkening church doors with the same–god that is dehumanizing. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



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