Archive for December, 2021

Reflections on the Divine Dance In the New Year!

December 31, 2021

Reflections on the Divine Dance in the New Year!

“The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God!

January 1, 2022

Based on Fr. Richard Rhor’s book The Divine Dance

The Trinity and your Transformation  with Mike Morrell

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent out His Son, born of a woman and born under law–to free those under law, so we might receive adoption as sons and daughters. Now because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Ruach of His Son into our hearts, who cries out, “Abba Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son or daughter–an if a son or daughter also an heir through God!” Galatians4:4-7 Tree of Life Version

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As we enter a New Year we need to remind ourselves that “Instead of God being the Eternal Threatener, we have God as the Ultimate Participant–in everything–both good and the painful,”

And in reminding ourselves of God as the “Ultimate Participant,” we hear the words of Rainer Maria Rike “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

Our religious culture has been so permeated with a hierarchal nature of God used to control, and manipulate humanity, that we have lost sight of the God Meister  Eckhart proclaimed in the fourteenth century:

“Do you want to know

what goes on in the core of the Trinity?

I will tell you.

In the core of the Trinity

the Father laughs

and gives birth to the Son.

The Son laughs back at the Father

and gives birth to the Spirit.

The whole Trinity laughs

and gives birth to us.”

God has done only one constant thing since the beginning of time: God has forever loved and without hesitation. In the Son, he came into the material world, and even in rejection his love remained steadfast, and through the Holy Spirit God walks with us.

As she lay dying, St. Clare of Assisi is reported to have said, “Thank you God for allowing me to be a human being.”

My one lesson from working with homeless street youth, and adults is that they are always grateful for their lives.  And through my own pain, and depression at times, I too like Clare pray: “Thank you God for allowing me to be a human being.”

So as we enter the New Year let us thank God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that we have been allowed to dance, the dance of life this past year, and as we dance into 2022, may we be empowered by the prayer of Fr. Richard Rhor:

God for us, we call you Father.

God alongside us, we call you Jesus.

God within us, we call you Holy Spirit.

You are the eternal mystery that enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things.

Even us and even me.

Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness.

We can only see who you are in what is.

We ask for such perfect seeing–

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

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

P.O. Box 64256

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.or

415-305-2124

The Feast of Holy Innocence!

December 28, 2021

The Feast of the Holy Innocents!

December 28, 2021

Continuing on the Streets!

“Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the Magi he was furious. And he sent and killed all the boys in Bethlehem, and in all the surrounding area, from two years old and under. .” Matthew 2:16 (Tree of Life Version)

In the Gospel account, the writer invokes a passage from the prophet Jeremiah, recalling the inconsolable Rachel weeping for her children, a reference to Israel being carried away into exile seven generations prior to the birth of Jesus. Across the generations, life and death are so intimately connected.

The suffering of the innocent children in Bethlehem is not far removed from the suffering of starving children today, or children separated from their families, or children who die in violence, or children who never see the light of day, or the homeless young and old, like the one’s above, who are on the streets of San Francisco, and all our cities.

The innocent children represent all of the “nobodies” of the world, who are thrown away, as the powerful gain their power and riches; they are the innocent ones who are packed down so that the one-percenters can rise and receive their billions.

Violence would not magically disappear in the coming of Jesus, but the Gospel writer knew Jesus’s very presence in the midst of it will ultimately transform the world into the reign of God, where all shall be fed, clothed, loved, housed, and where all are equal.

We are called to be the very presence of Christ in the world, we are called to transform the world into the Reign of God!

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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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

The Place Where We Belong

December 27, 2021

THE PLACE WE TRULY BELONG!

Feast of the Holy Family
41Luke 2:41-52: Now His parents were going every year to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. 42When He became twelve years old, they were going up according to festival custom. 43As they headed home after completing the days, the boy Yeshua remained in Jerusalem, but His parents didn’t know. 44Supposing He was in the caravan, they went a day’s journey, then began looking for Him among relatives and friends. 45When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him. 46After three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the center of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all those hearing Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers. 48When His parents saw Yeshua, they were overwhelmed. And His mother said to Him, “Child, why did you do this to us? Look! Your father and I were searching for You frantically!” 49He said to them, “Why were you searching for Me? Didn’t you know that I must be about the things of My Father?” 50But they did not grasp the message He was telling them. 51Then He went down with them to Natzeret and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these words in her heart. 52And Yeshua kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
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This has been an awesome Christmas! For I am in the place I truly belong!

I came home last night and laid down at 8:00 p.m. and did not wake up until 3:00 p.m. today. I was exhausted, from being up most of the night listening to kids, and being on the street. To me, it was simply being with “family.”  The guys on the street are my “family,”  And I am “family” to them.

We are all “family.” Jesus calls us to move out of our “tribes” and be family to everyone. I have biological family, and we talk occasionally, but when I have been ill, in the hospital, and when I die, they will not be there, my real family is my friends whom I know, and trust, not “blood”.  They are my family.

On the Haight yesterday as gifts were given, tears spattered on faces, many told me “this is the only gift I have been given,” one young guy threatening suicide Friday night, said his family would not even take his phone calls, he is 15 years old.

In my years here, I have seen very few Mexican or Asian kids on the street, for they are taken care of by their communities. I have a young friend in the Mexican community who took care of me when I was first hurt. These two ethnic groups know how to be family.

I challenge everyone to take off their blinders, let go of their fear, and be family to people who truly are in need–homeless, those threatened of losing their homes, people who live alone–be the Holy Family. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 64264

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124
41.

The Gift of Tenderness

December 22, 2021

The Gift of Tenderness!

Luke 2:1-14

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As our local police obey our Mayor’s orders to “clean up the Tenderloin,” “to rid the City of the darkness of drug use and stealing,” I hear in the back of my mind, the horses of the soldiers of the Roman Empire running through the roads of the Holy Land, maintaining law and order.

As the Romans wore armored gear, so do our officers today, moving through Union Square. They will move people out, especially the homeless, poor, and black and brown individuals.

There was really nothing pretty about the first  Christmas, no candy canes, snowmen, Christmas trees, ham, and turkey dinners, all lit up and beautiful.

What we have is Joseph breaking the law, knowing what he should do with an “adulterous woman”, is giving her over to the local priests, and he does not divorce Mary as the Law clearly tells him to do, even though he has no direct way of knowing that Mary is a Virgin, blessed by God. Last year I had two young ladies tell me they were virgins and the babies they were having were from God, I never told either, but I did not believe either one, I am such a skeptic.

And so on this Christmas, in the midst of such discord, a baby comes into the world, and we are invited to hold him, letting his tenderness embrace, and move through our bodies and souls.

As we breathe the aroma of his breath let us embrace his tenderness, letting it soften our minds, our hearts, our souls. Let it enter into our very being, moving us to embrace others with the love that has no end.

Tenderness, its gentleness, and kindness, come from holding the baby Jesus, and our eyes no longer judge, and we enter into the vulnerability and fragility of others.

Let us this Christmas remember this tenderness as we embrace the homeless, the wounded, the handicapped, the blind, the dirty, and the dying, and truly care for others. Let us become tenderness!

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each One of You!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

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Volunteers: Because of the new variant of the virus now exploding we will not use volunteers this year!

December 20, 2021

Our Lady of Tenderness!

The Darkness of Loneliness

Today there was a mental health professional talking about the affects of the pandemic, and he commented: “Mental illness is increasing, largely as a result of loneliness and isolation.”

Loneliness is resulting from a sense of being isolated from others, being with a sense of no contact with a fellow human being, but what is becoming more and more obvious is the effects of our cell phones, social media, texting and the playing of games on the phone. These have isolated us, put a hole in our care for on another.

In the last two weeks I have hung out with a number of adults both young, and middle aged, and those in their second youth. Only one person sat through a meal and talked.

The others were texting, playing games, checking their emails etc. With several I would say something crazy, and lol, each one would say, “Oh great!” They did not hear me.

In this failing to listen we are creating a sense of loneliness that leads to mental illness. Mental illness, outside of the biological types, is largely created through loneliness and isolation.

            Several months ago I tried an experiment. On the corner of Polk and Bush, I laid down, faking a heart attack. In the thirty minutes lying there, people passed by in a hurry, the majority talking or texting on their phones, and not one person saw me. Sad, but true-and that is why I always carry a life alert.

Franklin Roosevelt once said, “All we have to fear is fear itself,” we are so afraid of each other, and in that fear we are hurting ourselves and others.

Jesus has one requirement,that we “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”

Let us put our phones and games away, come out of our self-made isolation and care for others, simply to listen without judgment, and with tenderness, which brings us to wholeness. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

In His Will Is Our Peace!

December 18, 2021

“IN HIS WILL THERE IS OUR PEACE” DANTE

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Bo John reminds us:”Only by not forgetting the past can we be the master of our future,” for in remembering the past we can bring change to our lives by not repeating the same mistakes. And oh how we repeat those mistakes!

In the last week, our Mayor announced she is sending more police into the Tenderloin to eliminate, the “rough criminal element,” to make it safer for our tax-paying citizens. A repeat act of every Mayor in the past, and an end to police reform.

The illustration of Our Lady of Guadalupe above reminds me that in the chaos of police actions she stands with her arms around those who are arrested and harassed. Our Lady, also reminds us, that the human condition has always remained and will always remain the same: FALLEN–one of the central claims of Christianity.

Human beings, being created in the image and likeness of God, and capable of immense good, are plagued by original sin. We can be and are the cruelest of all creatures.

Christmas is about God entering this world in the form of a vulnerable baby, to grow, and live in the world, to experience firsthand the cruelty of humanity.

In so doing Jesus, also saw the capability of humanity to be loving and caring, and he loved us.

He loved us so much he went to the cross, calling us to follow him in redeeming the world. In his resurrection, Christ affirmed that he remains with us in our struggles and ultimately all will be redeemed.

Dorothy Day provides us with an example of how to live in a fallen world, a world of conflict, pain, and death.

It was through her deep understanding of her own nature, and by creating space for her interior life to grow that Dorothy was able to give her entire life to the poor.

Dorothy was unable to be paralyzed by distressing events in the world because she was on a mission for Christ, that was undoubtedly fostered by a deep interior peace. She was free. She calls us to pray often, receive the Sacraments regularly, and simply work little by little.

Dorothy summons us to:

“Turn off your radio. Put away your daily paper. Read one review of events a week and spend some time reading good books. They tell too of days of striving and of strife. They are of other centuries and also of our own. They make us realize that all times are perilous, that men live in a dangerous world, in peril constantly of losing or maiming soul and body. We get some sense of perspective reading such books. Renewed courage and faith and even joy to live.

My strength returns to me with my cup of coffee and the reading of the psalms.

If you are rushed for time, sow time and you will reap time. Go to church and spend a quiet hour in prayer. You will have more time than ever and your work will get done.”

– Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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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

The Great Cloud of Witnesses

December 14, 2021

The Great Cloud of Witnesses!!

In Memory and In Honor of Richard Melick!

On Saturday, December 11, 2021, 4:30 in the afternoon, at Stanford Medical Center, Palo Alto, our friend, and supporter, Richard Melick,54,  entered into the Great Cloud of Witnesses!

Richard’s life was a journey of a soul united in love with God, that was marked by stripping and desolation, as much as in periods of joy.

From being victimized for being gay as a young man, Richard moved into an understanding of our equality with God, each one as brothers and sisters of one another.  Through this journey, he came to the love of those living on the streets leading him in sharing with his brothers and sisters. He incarnated the love of Jesus.

Memories flood my heart today, three weeks ago, not feeling well, Richard arrived, bringing a ton of Christmas gifts, so many that we will not have to buy gifts this year.

Thanksgiving Day, we had brunch, and he and his partner Nicki joined me on the street serving food.
Richard was in a lot of pain, and later Nicki shared that Rick did not wish me to know how much he was suffering, for he wanted to share this day serving others on Haight Street. Later Rick texted: “Happiest Thanksgiving I can remember!!

Today reading the words of the Apostle Paul: “Your task now is to work at bringing about your own salvation; and naturally you will be taking this with utter seriousness After all God is the one who is at work among us, who provides both the will and the energy to enable you to do what pleases him,”  I smile for a favorite vision of Richard is seeing him under the bridges of the East Bay providing food, and all sorts of gifts to those living in their sleeping bags, and tents, without much more. He talked of their smiling and giving their love in return.

    In pleasing God of taking care of the “least of these,” seeing them as his equals, and as brothers and sisters, Richard entered into the Great Cloud of Witnesses, surrounding us in joy! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA  94109

http://www.temenos.org

http://www.temenos.org

snapchat: Riodamien2

415-305-2124

Christ is Here Now–Within Each of Us!

December 4, 2021

12-5-2021

Christ Is Here Now–Within Each of Us!

For the last few days, my hip has been in pain, and will soon have a cortisone shot. As I walked the street last night, that pain became insignificant, it became nothing.

In the doorways, there are older people, dirty, basically out of it from their fear, and pain of the street; chasing a kid up the Polk another was proclaiming the gospel, Jesus was sending this young man to hell, all drug-induced, of course; another was afraid, her insulin almost gone, she had no way to go to the pharmacy at San Francisco General.

John the Baptist reminds us that God judges us at this moment:

“You brood of vipers,” John used to say to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him. “Who told you to escape from the coming anger? You’d better prove your repentance by bearing the proper fruit! “Don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father;’ let me tell you, God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones! The ax is already standing by the roots of the tree–so every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

“What shall we do?” asked the crowds.

“Anyone who has two cloaks,” replied John,”should give one to someone who hasn’t got one. The same applies to anyone who has plenty of food.” Luke 37-11.(The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation N.T. Wright

Anyone who has two coats”, and walking down the street and seeing a homeless person, should give her one. The same applies to food, if you have plenty of food, give the gentleman outside the restaurant half of it.”

Tim Hughes reminds us of where God is, and in remembering that presence we find people being fed, clothed, comforted, housed, and loved:

“God in my living, there in my breathing. God in my waking. God in my sleeping.

God in my resting, there in my working. God in my thinking, God in my speaking

Be my everything…

God in my hoping, there in my dreaming, God in my watching,

God in my waiting

God in my laughing, there in my weeping, God in my hurting,

God in my healing.

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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

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Christmas Gifts!

We have enough Christmas gifts this year for our guys, our storage space is getting full! They are presently being wrapped, will be ready for Christmas Eve! We always have financial needs!

As for me personally, and fearing  I may have offended several by telling them not to send me fruit or candy, there is a reason,  I have diabetes and have to watch what eat. I know exactly what I can have and can not so pleased do not take offense. I also have plenty, more than enough of everything else. 

But if you really would like to give me a gift, there are two things:

1. Two parakeets, pre-examined by a vet, cage, etc and you come and set up everything, That way I receive two gifts–your presence and the birds. (LOL).

2. A small van or truck with less than 40, 000 miles on the odometer. This will last me until the day I die, a great gift.  You bring it and have dinner with me as well. (LOL).

3. Or better yet your presence for a meal–I am tested every week, and have one booster and will soon receive another. The best gift of all. Your presence!

The truth is I really have all I personally need–the love of you guys who have provided for our ministry and have nurtured and cared for me these past nearly two years during this pandemic. In sickness, and in health, I know you are present.  That is really more than enough! Thank you! Of course, the first two are awesome as well. Ha!

Bloom–a review

December 2, 2021

“What would your spirituality sound like if it was infused with boundless joy and unflinching honesty? 

Starchild is a queer autistic pastor, electronic music producer, and spoken word artist who uses a pseudonym for his art to stay out of trouble with his denomination. Starchild just dropped an album of 24 prophetic Christian spoken word poetry tracks called Bloom just in time for Advent!

He would love to hear your honest feedback in the form of a song or album review, in conversation with his work.

Starchild’s spoken-word poetry is based on the following seven provocative, prophetic hypotheses:

1) The Bible is the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, allegorically represented in the Eden story—while the serpent represents religious authority itself. Turning the sacred poetry of scripture into legalistic black and white moral knowledge curses humanity and destroys our intuitive connection to the divine, which every other creature has.

2) The Tower of Babel today represents a white capitalist empire in which there is one language and a single path to heaven controlled by the men who built the tower; Pentecost is the Holy Spirit’s repudiation of the attempt to reduce all spirituality to a monolithic tower reaching up to heaven.

3) Queer and autistic Christians are the “despised ones who bring to nothing the things that are” in Paul’s prophecy in 1 Corinthians 1:28, because we are overthrowing the authoritarian moral puritanism and obsession with enforcing normativity of all kinds which have sabotaged the church’s gospel for so long.

4) Our ancestors inhabit our souls; the cloud of witnesses described in Hebrews 12:1 can interface directly with our conscious thought, and we can hone our ability to listen directly to these witnesses and share prophetically what they say.

5) Grace is an embodied experience, not an intellectual concept, which is why treating our bodies well and listening to their intuition is way more responsible discipleship for Christians than trying to repress our embodiment which creates secret taboo shame cycles.

6) God desires mercy not sacrifice (Matthew 9:13) because sacrifice makes people into entitled, resentful, transactional misers; mercy, on the other hand, melts our self-righteousness so that we can love unconditionally.

7) The seventh day of creation in which everything rests describes the age of the spirit we are entering; our relationship with the divine will shift radically as we remove ourselves from authoritarian hierarchical models of religious leadership and trust the reality that God is dwelling in our midst (Revelation 21:3).

    In his album, “Bloom” Starchild expresses a theology that challenges societal expectations. In the fact, this piece is produced under a pseudonym that signifies the oppression that Starchild and millions experience through the institutional Church, in order to remain a part of it.

    Starchild demonstrates in their work how we have let institutions, wealth, and power, inflame prejudices, and divide our humanity for the sake of power and control

    Our musician calls us to a new awareness of the humanity of people, the sacredness of creation, and away from our prejudices. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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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

The Gift of Matthew!

December 1, 2021

World AIDS DAY

December 1, 2021

The Gift of Matthew!

“. . .And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces. . .Isa. 25:7-8.

Matthew Shepherd was born on this day in 1976. Matt  came to know at an early age that he was gay, and throughout his teen years until his death at 21, he struggled with his sexuality.

He was no saint, for like so many on this journey he used drugs, rebelled against his parents, struggled to make grades, and in the end was murdered as a result of his sexuality.

His journey is one that is experienced, by many, including me –denial, rejection by family, friends, emotionally damaged, drugs, sexually acting out, and for many AIDS.

Matthew is a gift is in his calling us to see the face of the pain of homophobia, and HIV prejudice.

Matthew is a gift in that he calls churches to see their failure and the pain and death caused by their homophobia. He calls churches to talk openly about sexuality in their youth groups. Matt calls ministers to move away from their fear and walk with queer youth.

Matthew is a gift in his calling us to move out of our blindness about sexuality, and see the  rainbow of sexual orientations: LBGT?.

As I walk the street, hear the stories of each young person on their journey, see them struggle with drugs, sexuality, rejection by family and friends, the face of Matthew Shepherd is always before me, representing Christ crucified, and remember the promise that:

He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces. . .Isa. 25:7-8.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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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

415-305-2124

Thank you to all who donated to Giving Tuesday, we received $4,750.00, exceeding our goal of 2000.00 thank you. river+

World AIDS DAY EVENT

“Am Evening of Lights and Rememberance

In the Grove of the National AIDS Memorial

In Golden Gate Park

4:30 p.m-9:00 p.m.