Archive for May, 2022

We Are All the Same!

May 30, 2022

“Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us

going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out. . Heb. 10:22-24 (The Message).

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Today as I was buying groceries a homeless man, looking similar to the one above, came in as I was checking out, and wanted me to buy him some food. He appeared to be suffering from mental illness and being on the street.  The clerk was very nervous, as I talked, and paid for his food. To me, he was simply the same as anyone else.

Our weeks have been filled with trauma and death, and we reach out for solutions, where there are few.

Rupa Marya and Raj Patel wrote:” In a pandemic, it is recognizing that the source of the problem is not  the vaccine or the billions that are made from it, but the fundamental disconnection from fellow living beings that allowed the disease to flourish in the first place.”

The disconnection has for 530 years slowly grown in our severing our sense of humanity through colonization and our being money hungry.

I have been told many times how “immature” I am, and admit to being far from mature.

Maturity means “to be connected to our fellow human beings, all creatures, and our environment in such a way as to be willing to sacrifice, giving our lives in service through giving of ourselves, and possessions until all are provided for”. I will always be “immature” because I can never give enough.

When I look at people I see we are all the same, basically, we suffer and die the same, all else is superficial.

We are broken and become dysfunctional when our basic needs are not met. We all move between good and evil.

Darth Vader in Star Wars did just that. Moved from good to evil, and finally returned to the good.

Bell Brooks, says, Only love can heal the wounds of the past.”  It is only through caring for others that healing comes.

The writer of the book of Hebrews says it best:

“Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us

going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping.

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Fr. River Damien Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Temenos Catholic Worker Newsletter: Following the Cosmic Christ!

May 27, 2022

Peniel–June-Pride Month

Newsletter of

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org (pay pal)

415-305-2124

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

2022

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Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” Elizabeth Gilbert

Luke 24:46-53

Today we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus into heaven and in two weeks Pentecost.

For the modern world that is confusing and unbelievable. Yet when you understand that the Jewish mind functions in myth, and not literal understanding one can see that for them Jesus became the Cosmic Christ, the One who dwells within them in the form of the Spirit.

As time has moved through the ages, this Cosmic Christ continues to evolve into seeing all spiritualities that practice the love of humanity as reflections of the One Divine Spirit.

Today I sit outside a cafe on Polk Street, drinking tea, around me are people, playing with their dogs, shopping, and simply hanging out and my mind returns to coming here in 1994.

The street was full of lower-end gay bars, young boys hustling, drugs were plentiful, and as time has moved onward we have come to now, and all has changed. The same with the Haight.

Several years ago a group wanted to paint a mural of the old Polk, the bars, and the hustling, to recall a part of queer history, and the merchants association refused, they do not acknowledge that period.

In so doing they erase history, and more importantly the lives of those who were struggling with coming out in a period of hatred. They forget about the youth, the drug addicts. The same in the Haight.

The City continues to put out its millions to “solve the problem.” The problem continues and worsens.

Our ministry continues to be the Cosmic Christ to people on the street–food, pastoral care, needles, condoms, socks, and other supplies; we continue to minister without pushing religion or belief, but in love, respect, and care. As St. Francis once said, “Preach the Gospel using as few words as possible.”

During the past two years, we have held the hands of people dying of the coronavirus; three young men who were stabbed and shot and saw the face of one shooting himself on zoom. We see people without food, and without real friends. I can understand the Apostle Paul’s words: “I have faced dangers from believers and non-believers, I have faced dangers on the deserts, the seas, and the streets. I have endured many sleepless nights. I have endured pain from injuries. I have gone without food. I have shivered in the cold without enough clothing to keep me warm. (from 2 Corinthians 11: 22).

And from these years and experiences what we have learned and attempt with  our heart to practice:

   First, not to place our expectations on others, we walk with them where they are;

    Second, to have no expectations of the government;

   Third, we have to suffer with people on their journeys in order to find life on ours;

   Finally see in each one the face of the Cosmic Christ, whose lives are at times touched by evil, but new life can come in love; and

   finally: “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” Elizabeth Gilbert.

Our prayer in the coming days is that we will love each person without judgment,  seeing the positive, and the negative, the good and evil, and loving each as a precious child of God. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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LGBTQ Pride will be on June 25 and 26th, and we will be in charge of the Accessibility Booth. If anyone would like to volunteer please let us know.

Pride is important this year. What we forget as each generation moves forward is many of the gains of the former are lost; We need to keep before the eyes of the world the equality of all and understand laws alone do not change the hearts of people. For only when hearts are transformed through our own witness of love can lasting change occurr.

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We are Truly Beggars!

We are truly beggars. Money is low! Socks are donated, but expenses regarding food, condoms, car upkeep gas, and our own living expenses have risen. So please find it within your heart to give!

You may give through Paypal; our website: http://www.temenos.org, or mail: P.O. Box 642656, San Francisco, CA 94164!

We also have for sale the One God of the Abraham Faith Symbol for $100.00!

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Loneliness: A Deadly Disease

May 18, 2022

Loneliness–A Deadly Disease!

John 15: 1-8
“. . .I have loved you the way my Father has loved me, make yourselves at home in my love.”

Loneliness is an epidemic in our society,  it is a deadly disease. From it comes destruction, severe depression, and death.

Several years ago I testified in a trial where a young man had killed an older man who came on to him. I remember the older man standing in front of the bar on Polk on Christmas and Thanksgiving, looking and acting so lonely. Through the years he had picked up young men and taken them home for sex of course, but sex is one way of trying to cure loneliness, and then washed their clothes, fed them let them spend the night. He once told me he hated to be alone. This time he made a dreadful mistake.

During the holidays  I am busy with texts and phone calls from people suffering from loneliness.

We all suffer from deep loneliness. Dorothy Day  said the only cure for loneliness is “community.” We have little community in our day. Personally, we find more community on the streets, than in mainstream society. Community is needed for survival.

Let us offer each other community, across our racial, economic, gender, and sexual identity boundaries, put down our phones, walk a way from our games, and talk to one another, let us give each other community.

Closing with Fr. Henri Nouwen who gives us the ideal answer to fellowship and loneliness.

“Listen to your heart. It’s there that Jesus speaks most intimately to you. Praying is first and foremost listening to Jesus who dwells in the very depths of your heart. He doesn’t shout. He doesn’t thrust himself upon you. His voice is an unassuming voice, very nearly a whisper, the voice of a gentle love. Whatever you do with your life, go on listening to the voice of Jesus in your heart. This listening must be active and very attentive listening, for in our restless and noisy world God’s so loving voice is easily drowned out. You need to set aside some time every day for this active listening to God if only for ten minutes. Ten minutes each day for Jesus alone can bring about a radical change in your life.

You’ll find it isn’t easy to be still for ten minutes at a time. You’ll discover straight away that many other voices, voices that are very noisy and distracting, voices that do not come from God, demand your attention. But if you stick to your daily prayer time, then slowly but surely you’ll come to hear the gentle voice of love and will long more and more to listen to it.
Henri J. M. Nouwen

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

Love

May 18, 2022

Love One  Another All The Way!

Gospel Jn 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you:  love one another.”

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In 1948, the author Camus addressed Christians at a Dominican monastery. He had a complaint and a yearning. It seemed to him that as the preparations for war (World War II) were undertaken, as the bloody toll of victims grew, as a fear spread, the church remains unconscionably silent or spoke only in the abstract and obtuse style. He, by turn, was candid and blunt:

“For a long time during these frightful years I waited for a great voice to speak up in (the Church), I an unbeliever? Precisely. For I knew that the spirit would be lost if it did not utter a cry of condemnation when faced with force. ..What the world expects of Christians is that Christians should speak out, loud and clear and that they should voice their condemnation in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could arise in the heart of the simplest person. That they should get away from abstraction and confront the blood-stained face history has taken on today. The grouping we need is a grouping of people resolved to speak out clearly and to pay up personally.”

These words are as true today, as they were during the 1940s, the Church (all churches, the Universal Church) remains silent. Around our church buildings lie people sleeping, and their doors are shut to them at night; the Church says very little to the government; the rich grow richer, and the poor grow poorer, and where is the voice of the Church?

I have been asked, “Why do you still love the Church?” LOL! Great question. I wonder that myself! I have been mistreated, hounded, and severely hurt by the institutional Church. Dorothy Day once said: “The Church is both a whore, and our mother.”

Dorothy recognized that the Church is a group of human beings and through her brokenness, Christ shines, even at the worst of times. My experience with the Church both personally, and professionally is more negative than positive, but the Church taught me the Scriptures, the tradition, and also about using reason and experience to steer through those things within the Church that condemn and hate; Most importantly through the Church, I have learned that we are to learn to “love one another.”

Through the years I see the love of Christ given to those in most need through others, and they are the Church, whether they are believers or not.

So rather than condemn the Church, whether you are a believer or not, be the Church, be the Body of Christ opening doors of  buildings for the homeless, criticizing the government for the wars we are always involved in.

With the recent massacre in Buffalo what comes to my spirit is much sadness that racism and hatred continue; And that we who call ourselves the Church need to step up and put our lives on the line in our interactions.

We need to let down the barriers we put up in communicating with people, and reach out and love others; on my body, I bear the marks of that communication, sometimes it is painful, but it brings such new life to us when we do. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

The Word of God Remains Forever
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God remains for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). The Word of God is powerful indeed. Not only the Jesus Prayer but many words from the Scriptures can reshape the inner self. When I take the words that strike me during a service into the day and slowly repeat them while reading or working, more or less chewing on them, they create new life. Sometimes when I wake up during the night I am still saying them, and they become like wings carrying me above the moods and turbulences of the days and weeks. Fr. Henri Nouwen

Remembering Stardust

May 12, 2022

Remembering Stardust

By. C.D.Baker

A Book Review and Reflections

    There is a saying in Vietnam, which goes something like this: One can break a rock with an egg, meaning that if one is patient enough to suffer in one’s own struggle, the rock that keeps one from moving will break. 

    C.D. Baker in his story, Remembering Stardust, tells of a young man Oliver Good, living in a small Pennsylvania town from 1965-to 1966, during his Junior and Senior years in high school.

    Oliver is raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, by a domineering father, and passive-aggressive stepmother.

    Oliver was tormented by nightmares of hell over masturbation and his sexual thoughts; he was “saved” at an early age; the minster tried to force him to give out fundamentalist literature in the hardware store he worked in, where the son of the owner was gay; and ultimately he was seen hugging an older woman and rumors flew of their relationship. His church, family, and the community turned on him.

    Slowly through the love of a Native American woman, and the love and care of his queer friend and friend’s father, we see the rock of fundamentalism–its judgment and narrowness begin to crumble and Oliver discovered there is more to life than fear. Oliver came to see a more Cosmic Christ, inclusive of all religious expression, non-judgmental, and loving of everyone.

    This story is a universal story of the journey of life, as we journey towards wholeness. Some of us get stuck at the beginning, others in the middle, but the ultimate goal is the acceptance of all of humanity, loving all, and caring for all.

    The Cosmic Jesus is the sum of all religious practices of love and offers each one of us kindness. The Cosmic Christ is the pure manifestation of God’s kindness and caring. There is no judgment in this Jesus, whose reflection is like that of the rainbow of spiritual expressions of love.

    Oliver’s story is my story. Raised in a fundamentalist community, where the Bible was the “true and absolute Word of God”, and finally when the rock slowly crumbled in my coming out, I found freedom.

     In that freedom came those with their chief weapon: The Bible, “the true and only Word of God,” telling me that one must believe in Jesus, be saved.” One can not be queer, or different, but conform to “their” perception of the Bible.

    Through the years of seeing young and old go through the same experience, I seek to show them the Cosmic Christ, the one who loves them without judgment.

    Recently I was hurt emotionally by an individual spewing out that same fundamentalist bull shit and the thought came, why not take off my spurs and retire to Palm Springs.

     Well sitting,  looking across the street in Palm Springs last week there was a homeless guy sleeping, I later encountered another homeless young man, mentally ill, and I knew my call was to leave my spurs on.

    This is an excellent book calling us to leave our fears behind, calling us to move out into the world of the stardust, a world of caring, expecting nothing in return. 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

punkpriest1@gmail.com

Feed My Sheep!

May 2, 2022

Feed My Sheep!

Fr. Daniel Berrigan

St. Joseph the Worker

John 21:15-21

15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? ” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”

19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”

20 Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?”

21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”

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Daniel Berrigan was one of the individuals who inspired my call to ministry. He wrote:

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”
Daniel Berrigan

These words have guided me through the years. Each time I look into the eyes of one person fed, clothed, or given a needle, I find myself “willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”

For I see the face of Jesus, hearing Dan’s words, “If you are going to follow Jesus, you had better look good on a cross.”

And in looking at the face of Jesus, (homeless individuals, gang members, people in prison, and on death row), several thoughts have come to mind.

First Peggy Donovan reflected: “Each of us is the Word of God spoken only once,” meaning we have only one life to give, and so be “The Word of God”.

Secondly, God is love, in each one of us, a piece of love can be found. I have faced some of the craziest and most dangerous people, and in each one love radiates. In each person encountered rather than seeing the dirt, the anger, one sees love. Jesus is but one reflection of love.

We see that love when we walk with people one on one, talking, and caring for them, “For when you look into his eyes you will be willing to lose a lot.”

During these past months of illness, being beaten and threatened, the words of  Christ are a reminder:

“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”

19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God.

I realize my time is short and so my prayer[ is that each one of us will take that road in whatever occupation we work, for in the sacredness of all work as taught by St. Joseph, we can be “willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even,” in giving to the homeless, the thirsty, the stranger, those in prison, mentally ill, and those naked.

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

P.O. Box642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www. temenos.org

The Great Digital Commission

May 1, 2022

The Great Digital Commission

By Reverend Caleb J. Lines

A Book Review

Attendance in US churches continues to sharply decline. This book offers a theological reflection on social media, the positive and the negative in addressing that decline.

The Great Digital Commission offers a commentary on how the present mainline churches are older, and set in their ways, and fails to offer an open and affirming message to the “none” generation.

One of the areas which the book fails to address is that of ministering to the homeless, youth, and elderly.

Homeless individuals have very little access to social media because they have little access to smartphones and computers. Secondly homeless seem to be secondary in being addressed because they are not “monetary paying”, and “clean” individuals.

Youth and the elderly are simply put on the sidelines.

Peg Donovan comments: “Each of us is the Word of God spoken only once,” and Ignatius of Loyola said, “I trust my experience over Scripture and Tradition any time”.

We are the “Word of God” spoken “once” and in speaking that word digital media is only one aspect, what is most important is through our personal contact, a contact that speaks of Love, not a judgment to ALL PEOPLE.”

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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