Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Called to Forgive

September 7, 2014

September 7, “Called to Forgive” Matt. 18:15-23

Every day I see fights, I see anger, I have anger thrown at me, and every day I see forgiveness. I see forgiveness in the people on the street towards those who walk past them and pay them no mind, I see forgiveness towards me in that I give what I can give, and have no more; I see forgiveness in people towards each other. Forgiveness frees us of anxiety, of having to get a one up on another, it frees us to love and be free.

When the world learns forgiveness there will be peace.

The seventh-century Christian mystic Saint Isaac the Syrian asks, “What is a charitable heart? It is a heart which is burning with love for the whole creation, for men, for the birds, for the beasts . . . for all creatures.

He who has such a heart cannot see or call to mind a creature without his eyes being filled with tears by reason of the immense compassion which seizes his heart; a heart which is softened and can no longer bear to see or learn from others of any suffering, even the smallest pain being inflicted upon a creature. That is why such a man never ceases to pray for the animals . . . moved by the infinite pity which reigns in the hearts of those who are becoming united with God.” Dr. Will Tuttle

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Scum of the Earth

September 6, 2014

September 6, “Scum of the Earth” I Cor. 4:6-15, Luke 6:1-5 St. Phoebe

“We have become the scum of the earth, the waste that runs off everything, up to the present time.” I Cor. 4:15

Last night a young drunk yelled at me as I was giving a person some food, “Both of you are the scum of the earth, get the fuck off this street!” The reason it never riles me when I am verbally or even physically attacked is that it is nothing new–we have this testimony of Paul of two thousand years ago.

The human race has not gotten any better–we are basically the same–accept we now can destroy the earth with our weapons and our increased population is consuming everything in sight–destroying the climate and the environment.

The hope I have is that we believers can become such a presence that our waste runs off onto everything and earth is transformed into a place of care for all, peace, and clean environment. Henri Nouen wrote: “Isn’t that what friendship is all about–giving to each other the gift of our belovedness?” Rather than argue or be angry–let us put forth our own effort to be forth the gift of belovedness. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Refraining from eating and using animals is the natural result of seeing that is no longer chained within the dark and rigid dungeon of narrow self-interest. Dr. Will Tuttle

Caught in the Net of God’s Love

September 4, 2014

September 4 “Caught in the Net of God’s Love” Lk. 5:1-11, Albert Schweitzer

Yesterday I visited a 26 year old woman in the hospital. I gave her “Ricky” a stuffed monkey, and she cuddled him and cried. I have known “Sarah for ten years, and she is recovering from a bacterial infection from injecting drugs, she almost lost her leg. But in those moments the look in her eyes told me why I do what I do–“The purpose of human life is to served, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” Albert Schweitzer. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Joining together to pray for and visualize world peace is certainly a noble idea, but if we continue to dine on the misery of our fellow neighbors we are creating a monumental and ongoing prayer for violence, terror, and slavery.

It is the prayer of our actions, and it is the experienced reality of billions of sensitive creatures who are at our mercy and to whom we show no mercy. Dr. Will Tuttle

Being Open

September 3, 2014

September 3, St. Gregory the Great, “Being Open and Present to Everyone” Luke 4:38-44

“The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.” St. Gregory the Great

In my grandmother’s living room there was a lamp made from cypress, that was found at Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee following a thunderstorm that tore the tree down. It was a beautiful piece, for it was scarred, yet the scars blended and made it whole. My grandmother always said that “Jesus takes us and makes us more whole and beautiful from our scars.”

It was interesting some of the remarks that followed the placing of figure of the person with PTSD on the site yesterday. Matter of fact, clinical, black and white–and in that black and whiteness there was no room for growth.

Throughout the past twenty six years or so I have struggled with PTSD at one time or another and am struggling now. When I was removed from my mainline denomination, it was the most painful event in my life until that point. It is still difficult to enter into a mainline church. Preaching has always been difficult in mainline churches since them, and even though I love the church I prepare meals in, there are times of difficulty. Even though the mainline churches in San Francisco are accepting, it is difficult. That is why my ministry is on the streets, that is where I feel most comfortable and safe. In Minneapolis I was gay bashed one night, and from that I became an activist that lead me to this ministry, but the trauma that I worked through was tremendous. In the last twenty years the attempts on my life, the deaths of those that I have served and loved have been traumatic.

But what I have learned is that in facing that pain, this old cypress tree is shaped, and woven into a new creature, that is really more magnificent than before. I am more open and caring, and accepting then I would have ever been without the pain and depression that still continues.

I often say I am a lucky “sperm”, for I have always had access to excellent mental health care, and health care. The majority of people do not, they suffer greatly. In looking at our Scripture today what I see that Jesus does is simply be present to people. So in this age of twitter, face book, and cell phones–put them down–look people in the eye and listen, really listen to what they say and to the pain in their lives and let Christ speak through you.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Sjhowing Compassion

September 2, 2014

September 2, “French Martyrs of September” Psalm 145

We hear much about judgment, justice, but very little about compassion from the people who call themselves Christians. The truth of the matter we are all “Opposites”, we simply differ in our opinions and beliefs, and rather then come together in commonality we tear each other a part. The overall theme of the Bible is the compassion of God, and he calls us to compassion. I visited in the hospital today with “Carrie” who has an infection from using a dirty needle, injecting drugs, and she talked about a priest who came into her room and was very judgmental towards her. We are called to be compassionate to all of our fellow creatures, acknowledging that we differ, and seeing the beauty in those differences. Leave the judging to God–and I can guarantee you she does show true compassion. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

A Journey of Mishaps and Giving

September 1, 2014

Sept. 1, “A Journey of Mishaps and Giving” Francois Mauriac Matt. 6:31-34

“We cannot approve or practice publicly in the name of Caesar what the Lord condemns, disapproves, or curses, whether it be failure to honor our word, exploitation of the poor; police torture, or regimes of terror”. Francois Mauriac

On this labor day I am reminded of a quote by Albert Klein: “What we do for ourselves remains with us, what we do for others remains immortal.” People are set into accumulating wealth, storing for themselves, and in the process people are suffering–rather then seeing that work is not for accumulation but for giving, we destroy ourselves, our souls in letting people suffer around us. And what we do for ourselves will remain with us, but what we do for us will be immortal.

A fifteen year old called me last night. He ran away from his home in Las Vegas because he is gay and his dad wanted to “make him right.” As I spent time with him I thought of a quote from Joseph Campbell: “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life, where too stumble there lies your treasure.” He has walked into the abyss and he will recover his treasures. I have always walked into the abyss, and I have always found the treasure. To be afraid to go into the abyss is what destroys us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Achieving peace between human beings, from the household to the international battlefields, depends upon treating each other with respect and kindness.

This will be possible when we first extend that respect and kindness to those who are at our mercy and who cannot retaliate against us. Dr. Will Tuttle

Take Up Your Cross

August 31, 2014

August 31, “Take UP Your Cross August 31, “Take Up Your Cross” Matt. 16:21-27

This 20th year has been difficult in that it reminds me of my own mortality. People are always asking, “Who are you grooming to take your place?’ and the reality is you can not groom some one to take one’s place, because this ministry is about the way I do ministry, as the ministry of Jesus was about the way he did ministry. . The non-profit may continue one day, but the ministry as it is will not. And frankly I am not interested in a “legacy”. I do ministry in the present moment.

For me taking up the cross of Jesus means to love, and love for me means being counted upon on, in good times or bad. It is not about feelings, for feelings are fleeting. I took a young guy to the hospital today in pain, a young guy who frankly dislikes me–if for no other reason then he can, , and he said he called me because he knew “I could count on you.” There are people I serve I really dislike, but I still love them and serve them. Love is caring in good times and bad. For me success is being there in nearly twenty years in sickness and in health, in the good and the bad times, whether I feel like it or not. Success for me is loving==being counted upon.

That is what ministry is to me, loving and being there. DeoGratias! Thanks be to God!

Practice–Use What You Have

August 30, 2014

August 30, 2014 “Practice–Use What You Have” I Corinthians 1:26-31; Matt. 25:14-3 St. Jeanne Jugan

There is only on way for you to improve and that is “practice”. I have people who come out with me and complain, “you give cheap food out,” “you don’t give enough out”. I have been told, “you are really lousy, you do not do enough.” And I think to myself, “I am only an old whore who is trying to get into the kingdom of God and I use what I have.” Twenty years ago I started out with nothing, and I have nothing now, but we have fed thousands, gave thousands clothing, and blanket, and have pastored thousands. I never wait until I have the “funding”, the “security” or the “approval” of any one, I simply do it. That is what we are all called to do–to simply practice. Four hours ago four young guys interrupted me writing this–I took them to the church–fixed them some food, helped them by a tent, and got them on the bus to go north. We talked about their lives and in those moments Christ was present. That to me is what it means to use what you have. A young man told me last night that he and his room mate give out sandwiches a couple of nights a week–they give of what they have.

Jesus calls us to practice our faith, to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters using what we have. A more eloquent summary by Dr. Will Tuttle:

Honoring our natural place in the web of life by eating the foods intended for us will plant seeds of abundance, love, and freedom, whatever our religion may be.

Our prayers for peace will bear fruit when we are living the prayer for peace and, most importantly, when we offer peace to those who are at our mercy and who also long for peace and the freedom to live their lives and fulfill their purposes.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Getting Your Head Cut Off”

August 29, 2014

August 29, Mark 6:17-29 Having Your Head Cut Off, Feast of John the Baptist

My friend Dana preached a sermon comparing me to John the Baptist. It made me uncomfortable, it was an awesome and beautiful sermon, but John the Baptist had his head cut off.

The truth of the matter is I have my head cut off a lot–people can be cruel, they can be merciless, and for me the call of the Jesus is to love them anyway; This PTSD I am working through from the years of death, and violence is having my head cut off.

Being a priest for me is not about the title, or about any of the prestige that is supposed to come along with it, it is about getting your hands dirty, about being like the velveteen rabbit, wearing yourself out to you have nothing left. Being a priest is about being a “keeper of the mysteries,” passing on the tradition of the Eucharist and the Gospel. It is about getting your head cut off.

I am always been asked about examples of success in the work, and the only success I can think of is that I get up each day and go back and do it again. That for me is success–keeping on keeping on, being the presence, and getting my head cut off.

Dr. Will Tuttle wrote: “Our welfare is ultimately dependent on the welfare of others. By freeing and encouraging others we are liberated and encouraged. We can never sever our connection to all beings, but we can ignore and violate it, planting seeds of tragedy and suffering.”

For me that is what ministry is about, and it means getting your head cut off–but there is resurrection! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Aiming for the Target

August 28, 2014

August 28, St. Augustine “Aiming for the Target!

I Corinthians 1:1-9, Matt. 24:42-51 “God is faithful. .I Cor. 1:9”

I received an email yesterday with this question in response to my previous post:

You are aiming for the target, yes, and the street kids are indeed honest about their “sins,” and God loves you, them and all of us deeply, but what target are the kids aiming for? Does it matter if they aren’t?

I talk in these terms theologically, and from my own perspective. I believe that we all aim for the target of treating each other with respect, we miss it a hell of a lot. I know people on death row who aim for that target and miss it, and then aim for it again. When Sean commented that “You must have done some pretty bad things to take care of us now,” he was right, I have done things as a prostitute and in my own struggles in which I have sorely missed the target, and I strive to hit the target. I am not joking when I call my self the “biggest sinner in the world.” I admit it, but I get up off the ground, dust by clothes off, and aim for the target again–that is the grace of Jesus Christ.

We all aim for the target, whether we call it that are not. We all seek to treat each other with respect. That is what makes us humans. So I doubt if the “street kids” think in the those terms, as most of us do not, but they do aim for the target. I see and experience them treating each other and others with respect–even when they do not get it back. They call it “karma”. I am told all the time I am creating good “karma”. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!