Evil Twins

Evil Twins!

 

“I’ve had it with you, you’re hopeless! You Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God’s love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.

43-44 “You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You love sitting at the head table at church dinners, love preening yourselves in the radiance of public flattery. Frauds! You’re just like unmarked graves: People walk over that nice, grassy surface, never suspecting the rot and corruption that is six feet under.”

45 One of the religion scholars spoke up: “Teacher, do you realize that in saying these things you’re insulting us?”

46 He said, “Yes, and I can be even more explicit. You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help. Luke 1:42-46

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    Harsh words given to all of us!

    In the past year, we have had statues torn down, people resigning over racist comments, and we all cheer! Racism is ending; we hear little of HIV these days, and in the Bay Area we are so “inclusive” of everyone, we never mention “racism” or “homophobia”.

    Both are alive, and very well in all of us. The one thing I have personally become aware of is my own sense of hidden racism and homophobia. I am constantly working on both.

     I move in and out of the “K” in Marin, in some ways like a second home community, attending parties, hanging with friends, ministering to people, thinking nothing of it; The “K” is an impoverished area, multiple families living in one-bedroom apartments, the people making a living being housekeepers and gardeners in upper Marin. There are great restaurants in the “K”, ask a white friend to go, they run.

    The Pandemic has hit the area hard, while upper Marin has slid by; The “K” is primarily a Hispanic area, of poor families, some undocumented. They go unnoticed by the white area. I mentioned early in the Pandemic to several wealthy white friends of the needs in “lower Marin,” and the answer was basically being ignored.

    I have sat with youth in court, in school mediations, and invariably there is discrimination, they are treated differently from their white peers, and not positively,  maybe not intentional, or one would hope. The police and courts treat our Hispanic youth harsher and more suspect.

    The San Francisco Chronicle documents that defendants who are black, Latino, or Latina, are 81% more likely given longer sentences and longer terms than white.

    My friends in the “K” tell me they do not trust “white people,” and I comment, “I am white”, and the answer is “we do not see you as white.” A high compliment, but one that makes me feel uncomfortable and very guilty.

    On the inside I know that down deep there is implicit racism. I can see “my whiteness,” as a privilege and tool, my education, the ability to attract donors to a ministry, that frankly has been to mostly white kids who are homeless; returning to a life of creativity from prostitution and homelessness. All of this is “white privilege.”

    The evil twin of “homophobia” raises its head in San Francisco, we claim we are over it when the reality it is simply unspoken. Travel into rural areas and one finds it. Our schools are ripped apart by homophobia.

    Our churches, those open and affirming as well as  LGBTQ churches have no youth programs for queer youth; in fact, in our open and affirming churches being queer is hardly mentioned–after all we have “moved beyond that.”

      Several tasks I undertake each day is to always be on alert to my privilege of whiteness, and of being a white queer, and how it leads me to indirect and sometimes direct discrimination; more importantly to tear down the statutes of discrimination within myself, before projecting them on others.

    Finally to live life in the light of  Jesus of the Gospels who calls us beyond our institutions, freeing us into a life of gratitude.

“True spiritual gratitude embraces all of our past, the good as well as the bad events, the joyful as well as the sorrowful moments. From the place where we stand, everything that took place brought us to this place, and we want to remember all of it as part of God’s guidance. That does not mean that all that happened in the past was good, but it does mean that even the bad didn’t happen outside the loving presence of God. . . . Once all of our past is remembered in gratitude, we are free to be sent into the world to proclaim good news to others. Henri Nouwen”

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

A Service of Remembrance of the Souls Who Have Died in 2021

All Soul’s Day

November 2, 2021

Haight And Stanyon

Edge of Golden Gate Park

12 Noon

(Please contact me if you are coming)

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