Eternal Presence

July 10, 2020
The Eternal in the Present
All the events of life, even such dark events as war, famine and flood, violence and murder, are not irreversible fatalities. Each moment is like a seed that carries within itself the possibility of becoming the moment of change. . . . We no longer need to run from present time in search of the place where we think life is really happening. We begin to have a truer vision of the world and of our lives in relationship to time and eternity. We begin to glimpse something of eternity in time. At this point boredom falls away and the joyful and painful moments of our lives take on new and profound meaning. It is then that we know that for us time is becoming transparent.
The contemplative life, therefore, is not a life that offers a few good moments between the many bad ones, but a life that transforms all our time into a window through which the invisible world becomes visible. Fr. Henri Nouwen
—————————————
Matthew 10:7-15: Jesus said to his apostles. . ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out the demons. Without you have received: without cost you are to give.   . .”

    Eve Lavaliere was a well known opera singer in Paris in the late part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth. She felt her heart convicted one day, and gave her life to Jesus. No religious order would take her because she was so famous. She became a third order Franciscan.     In the years following, she volunteered  as a lay nurse in Tunisia, She died on July 10, 1929  with   no money, in a flea bag of a hotel, no friends, alone, she was “the happiest person in the world.”
    Eve had a “revolution of the heart,” she entered into the “present moment,” and found love in every part of the world. She ended up with nothing, but in truth she had everything.
    “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” :
“The contemplative life, therefore, is not a life that offers a few good moments between the many bad ones, but a life that transforms all our time into a window through which the invisible world becomes visible.”

    Go deep within yourselves, and turn your hearts to God’s presence and his call to “love our neighbor.”
    And as our life “transforms all our time into a window through which the invisible world becomes visible;,” no matter our health, housing, or financial conditions we will be “the happiest person in the world.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
—————————————
Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.,D.S.T.
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
http://www.temenos.org
415-305-2124

Journey on the Edge

July 8, 2020

Living on the Edge

Matthew 10:1-7

        The twelve disciples are listed in this passage. Twelve men, from all areas of life, rough,, tough, fickle, none live in the black and white areas of life, and they would change the world. They all lived on the edge.

    I remember a day in May many moons ago, after being interviewed by the Board of Ordained ministry for ordination, and a a member of the Board,and psychologist informed me that I would be ordained. In his remarks Jerry said; “Your theology seems to be so positive, you do not see how depraved humanity is.”  You are very black and white, and your time is coming when you will enter the darkness, and in doing so find the light.”

    It was a prophesy that would come true sooner than later. All of my life I had lived in the upper middle class black and whiteness. There was poverty and discrimination, and never did I see it from my white protected eyes. I felt loved, surrounded by people who respected and supported me.

    And than came the questioning of my sexuality, and the friends, some of whom I knew from childhood, turned on me, and I was kicked out of my church.

    The best thing that ever happened was being a whore and living on the streets of Hollywood. I lived in a grey world, a world  completely different than the one in which I grew up. I learned to walk on the edge, not to judge people, but to listen,to love them, and to be with them in the moment.

    I live between two worlds-one in which people have no perception of the reality of what is going on under their noses, and the other of people suffering questioning, living on the edge, and feeling totally alone. A world where death is a present reality. As one author tells us:“The street transforms every ordinary day into a series of quick questions and every incorrect answer risks a beat down, a shooting or pregnancy.” This is the real world.

    We live in a world of snap chat, text, face book–where there is little feeling and emotion expressed. We  try to put on our best face. It is a world that is cruel, and treacherous because things can be said without any feed back; a world in which gossip is passed, and becomes implanted on our computers.     A threat was recently made that scared the fuck out of me, it sticks in my  mind, goes deep within me late at night. They come now  too often these days.

    We need to put down our computers, come out of the nether world and talk to people, listen, and love them, and see the wonders that are performed. Rather than tear down statues we need to change our hearts and bring a revolution of the heart and those statues will fall down. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

——————————————

Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

From Eternity to Eternity

July 7, 2020

From Eternity to Eternity

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come,nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
I have always been very conscious of my clock-time. Often I asked myself: “Can I still double my years?” When I was thirty I said: “I can easily live another thirty!” When I was forty, I mused, “Maybe I am only halfway!” Today I can no longer say that, and my question has become: “How am I going to use the few years left to me?” All these concerns about our clock-time come from below. They are based on the presupposition that our chronology is all we have to live. But looked upon from above, from God’s perspective, our clock-time is embedded in the timeless embrace of God. Looked upon from above, our years on earth are not simply chronos, but kairos—another Greek word for time—which is the opportunity to claim for ourselves the love that God offers us from eternity to eternity.” Henri Nouwen
——————————————————————————————
    This verse lifts up the limitless capacity of God’s people to love and create. In these days when I do not feel like I belong any where, where I feel like I really have no friends–but acquaintances, my smallness is put into context by this verse–and I feel the enormity of my connection to all the cosmos that God has filled with divine love.
    I am simply a no body, another creature, created for a time, and will move soon into eternity, unsure of what is ahead, but trusting in the One this verse proclaims.
    On social media and our media we see remarks of anger and destruction of statues–which is telling people that they were wrong, when in reality it is only half truth. We judge from our context rather than the context of the times.
    For example George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Juniper Serra, Mother Teresa, are but four in which we judge totally from our times, where we live, and our own experience. We need to judge from their times, and where they lived. Our time, and our culture is not absolute.
    They were far from perfect, but for their culture and their times they offered hope. Their times were brutal times, and so is  ours. Our times are just as brutal if not more brutal. We have social media, television, atomic bombs, that can absolutely destroy us in mind, and spirit and body.
    I am a southerner, and in recent weeks there have had been people say really horrible things to me, when they have no idea about what the hell they are talking about.
    I am proud to be a southerner. My back ground has given me the compassion that I show  people every day; it has given me an appreciation for community, and for family outside of my blood relatives and an appreciation of hospitality. It has given me the capacity to meet people one on one, and to love them for who they are.  In seminary there was an attempt to remove my accent through speech training–I refused to participate. I am proud to be a southerner.
    You look at the history of every region in this country, and you will find the different biases, and and pasts that still haunt us. All of us are covered in blood.
    Recently there were four people who surrounded, threatened, and cussed me because of a ta too of Juinper Serra on my arm. They called me every name in the book, and one waved a knife threatening to cut it off unless I had it removed. I told them to go to hell, and they ran because I did not back down.
    So tell me: Is this behavior any less barbaric than the behavior of Father Serra’s time. Are we going to destroy the churches he founded? I spent a semester researching him–yes he was a part of his times, yes he acted out of those times, but he stood out for his compassion and caring.
    The same goes for homelessness. We simply are not aware of how severe the  housing shortage is, and how severe it is going to get. There is little housing for homeless individuals , and many more  will lose their housing and be on the streets. We need to look what is beneath the problem, and be willing to give of ourselves to provide housing. The politicians  will only do what we ask them to do. we have to be involved, all of us.
    There is an old saying, “Do not judge another until you walk a mile in their moccasins”; “When you point one finger at a person you are pointing four at yourself.”
    This old southerner claims  “kairos—another Greek word for time—which is the opportunity to claim for ourselves the love that God offers us from eternity to eternity.”
   What this means for us is that we will meet anyone in the middle, we will discuss, even argue, in the bounds of the love of God, and if we do not come to an agreement, we can simply walk away with respect and love for each other. Like the story of two knights going into battle one morning, and than at the end of the day, when  one is defeated or no one is, shake hands, and parting say to one another, “Great fight, we will fight again tomorrow,” and then they sit down to supper together.
    Living in “kairo”  time means we meet each other on the grounds of love, even when we hate each other, and see all sides, and respect all sides, and keep on meeting until we meet in the middle and agree. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
———————————————
Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.
P.O. Box 642656
San  Francisco, CA 94164
http://www.temenos.org

Firefox Sparkling in the Night

July 6, 2020

Fireflies Sparkling in the Night

Matthew 9:18-26

    Our gospel today  is one of the miracles of Jesus, but what about the other 95 percent of the time? He did not cure every other sick person? Are the one’s cured “special”?What about the 30 years before his ministry? Jesus was a carpenter, simply a life of making a living, rather boring and my guess is that outside of these miracles his day to day life was rather boring.

       Mark Manson reminds us: “Your actions actually do not matter in the grand scheme of things. .the vast majority of your life will be boring and not noteworthy and that is ok. .”

    We all want hundreds of likes on Facebook, a hundred people to talk to on snap chat. and if we do not have that we are a failure.

    I have spent most of my life trying to succeed, to stand out, to be number one–and we come down to what Manson tells us: “your actions actually do not matter in the grand scheme of things. .” and I know the moment I draw my last breath I become forgotten.

    Entering the autumn of my  life we have come to see we are simply a fire fly in the midst of thousands, a fire fly flickering in the night and that leaves us free to accomplish what we want to accomplish, which is simply to walk with people on their journey, without judgment or expectations and appreciate life’s  basic experiences: pleasure in simple friendship,  creating something, helping a person in need, reading a good book, and laughing with someone we  care about. These are the things that are ordinary, ordinary for the  reason they really matter. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

    ——————————————

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

P.O. Box 6424656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www,temenos.org

415-305-2124

Maturity

July 5, 2020

Maturity: Giving A F+ck About What is F+ck Worthy!

Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[a] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    In his excellent book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F+ck Mark Manson defines maturity in these words:

Maturity is what happens when one learns only to give a f+ck about about what is truly f+ck worthy.”

I have held the hands without gloves  of several people as they lay dying from the cornovirus, nurses screaming at me. To me that is ‘f+ck worthy’, for it recognizes their humanity, and offers the touch of love in their final moments, their suffering. My prayer is that when my time comes, there is someone who will hold my hand without fear.

    The reality is we all suffer, suffering is a part of our DNA, rich, poor, homeless, old, young, believer, atheist, disabled–we all suffer, simply a part of our DNA.

    Today listening to a part of the President’s speech I cringed, and felt his suffering, a suffering that hurts so many with it’s division, hatred, anger, nevertheless his suffering. Suffering needs to be used to bring support to people, to all of creation.

    Suffering is not black and white, but is a very gray area for it presents itself in all forms, and we all suffer, tremendously. We can cover it with money, power, prestige, discrimination against one another, but we all suffer, and that suffering comes out in both good and harmful ways. We can choose to suffer hurting others, or we can choose to use our suffering in being present to others.

    I have an almost nineteen year old friend, who has for three years every day, snap chatted me, “Good morning,” and “Good night!” It gives me much joy, to be remembered, I feel cared for and recognized. Cale, very simply with three words, eases my suffering.

    We use our religion, our political beliefs, our ignoring others, as a means to try to run a way from  suffering. Anything that tries to cover suffering in ways that are self-centered, and harmful  is an “opiate”.

    For me what is “truly f+ck worthy” in my suffering is the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth and sharing that gospel in my actions with out judgement to others, in order to bring some relief to their suffering.  I choose to share in the suffering of others, so that each of us can find some comfort and hope.

    Jesus invites us to see our suffering  as a part of our journey, and what we choose “to give a f+ck about” determines the joy we find in that suffering.

    He invites us to:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

———————————————

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Solitude

July 4, 2020

The Celebration of Yaweh’s Kingship

(This is a statement on the Kingdom of God, and to Whom We Give Our Ultimate Allegiance)

Solitude

Matthew ll:25-30

Everything is Indeed Good
“I just returned from a walk through the dark woods. It was cool and windy, but everything spoke of you. Everything: the clouds, the trees, the wet grass, the valley with its distant lights, the sound of the wind. They all spoke of your resurrection; they all made me aware that everything is indeed good. In you all is created good, and by you all creation is renewed and brought to an even greater glory than it possessed at its beginning.
O Lord, I know now that it is in silence, in a quiet moment, in a forgotten corner that you will meet me, call me by name and speak to me a word of peace. It is in my stillest hour that you become the risen Lord to me.” Father Henri Nouwen.————————–

    I have been thinking about solitude, and it hit me that solitude must be thought of  in the plural. We all see solitude from different perspectives. I have a very active perspective, not simply sitting somewhere,  praying, and simply being away, alone. Going to a movie, walking, sitting and meditating, and writing in our journal. We all come to solitude in different ways, one pair of shoes does not fit all of us.

    Since the lock down began in March many of us have been experiencing more solitude than in the past. That has brought with it, its own struggles as well as graces.

Solitude is seen by many people as a “me” time, a time to recharge our batteries, and return to our daily activities.
 
    For others, and especially for those who live alone, this period of extended solitude has been a time, not of recharging and renewing, but of isolation and loneliness, when work and social routines have become virtual or remote, and physical connections limited to what can happen sitting six feet away from another. This time has become a living hell, and one of much fear, anxiety and pain. It is a time of grace and of challenge.
 

    In the Christian tradition solitude is not about recharging our batteries, but about an encounter with the divine. We have been working during this time, and the time taken for our self  in solitude is a time of grace, and of meeting Jesus alone, to renew  our strength and  faith.

    Time alone becomes a place of divine presence and companionship. Jacob reminds us:, “surely the Lord is in this place” as we open ourselves to an encounter with the living God. It is a time of great renewal, and a feeling of being very much alone. It is a struggle with our own darkness.

    But the one experience from this solitude is of a God who deeply loves the world, for we encounter the living God, who embodies love. God loves the world so much he let his only son suffer and die for it. We see the world as God sees it—through the tears of God’s loving eyes.

    The burden of this heart-breaking love is almost too hard to bear. But i the words of Jesus  reminds us that Jesus knew the tears of sadness, and in that knowing says to us, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” And we know that the One who wept is the resurrection and the life.

    
The Psalmist reminds us that weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning. In solitude We come to see the world as God sees it, and his call is that of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

And in solitude, the voices of so many who challenge our faith, coming at us from a million places, naming a God we do not like cease and we hear the words of Bishop Michael Curry: “If it’s not about love it is not about God.”

    On my wall are two paintings, one of me personally when we were 24, and the other entitled “Holy Communion and the Streets:

    In the our photo we are  strong, sitting proudly with a skate board, and arrogant as hell; in the one above we look confident , but am scarred like the young man in Holy Communion and the Streets. We are a part of all three  photos. Nothing is black and white, and at times the pain comes through. We have seen death, brutality, and the worst aspects of life. We see it now every day. Yet in each person we still see the face of Christ. This is where we belong.

    On our wrist we wear a silver bracelet given to us by Sam, ten years ago, when he was 22.  Shane was a victim of child trafficking, he lived with what he called his “gentleman” friend, in his sixties, until he was 18, he came to San Francisco often from another City to prostitute. He was a sweet kid, and now I hear reports of him at 34, still homeless, torn up by doubts and fears, victim of others; on September 11, 2001, we were in Portland, stranded because of the situation in New York and became ill. A minister friend took us to the hospital and left, and Shane called , and he came to the hospital. Shane took usto his hotel room and took care of us as we recovered, and our  minister friend said  later, “how could you go home with a kid like that,” our  answer, “he is my friend,”  and than there is Mike, who in his forties is still as crazy as he was when we met him on the streets, at 23 or 24. He now has a wife, and is on face book with photos  of his nice house, his garden, and still as wild as ever.

    And so on the streets, in the world, where we  have chose  and given the privilege  to live we hear the words of Bishop Curry, “If it is not about love, it is not about God.”

    God is present only in love, forgiveness, and caring for others regardless of who they are. It is painful work, and all of us are called to do that work, and to pass it on, until the reign of God comes upon the earth–and it will! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

——————————

Father Christian River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P. O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

—————————————–

This blog is dedicated to all the “misfits” who have no place to feel comfortable, but witness to the Kingdom in their differences.

Spiritual Truth In The Area of Fake News

July 2, 2020

A Review and Reflections

On Spiritual Truth in the Age of Fake News

by

Elizabeth Geitz

      The Reverend Elizabeth Getitz pulls no punches as she calls us to move beyond the many “ism’s” in our Scripture:

Sexism,

Racism

Feminist imagery

Heterosexual ism

Antisemitism

Xenophobia

Women Leaders

and move into a world in which we see inclusiveness in the Bible. She calls us to read the Word with our eyes open and commit ourselves to loving our neighbor with no exception, and see the  truth of the power of the Biblical tradition.

    Three areas  of  which she did not speak: “fake news” of our news media, the “fake news” of homelessness, and the “fake news”of our history.

    All of our media to one extinct or another is bent to  one political persuasion or another. They seek to tell the truth, but live within the culture of their region, therefore we should look outside the box, and  seek to come into the middle of the road  in order to meet everyone in fairness.

    Secondly, is the “fake news” of homelessness. All  homeless people are not lazy, drug addicts, and thieves. 

    In all areas of our society we equal out in those categories. Some choose homelessness, because of  various reasons, and in a free country, that should be respected, but for the vast majority we are short on housing, health care, and food.  And in my twenty six years of hanging on the streets, no one has stolen from me.

    And finally on this Fourth of July weekend the “fake news” of the history of our country. I cringe in looking back in  white churches we pastored, and celebrating the fourth as God’s celebration–oh it makes me sick to my stomach.

    The truth is our country was discovered, and founded by whites in the vast majority, for one reason only–their financial and political gain. We enslaved Black people and Native Americans. We stole the land of our Native American brothers and sisters. We have not raised the issue of how the virus is killing our brothers and sisters on their reservations, where many do not have running water or electricity. And so it is with other people of color. We who are white need to take responsibility for  the destruction of our environment and our own “tribalism” which prevents us from bringing people into our communities.

    My best friends are of Hispanic descent, there is no way that personally I can totally understand the pain that discrimination plays in their lives. I am a white guy of privilege, educated in excellent schools, able to pass among the wealthy and the privileged, and they can not. They have few “white” friends, are discriminated against, and feel isolated. 

     But what we can do is to listen, and listen hard, and walk with them on their journey, as equal partners.

    I stand for the National Anthem, and show respect for the awesome promises represented by the flag; and respect those who kneel in expressing their anger at how their communities have been treated and are treated, and pray for the day when all of us can stand in respect for the our oneness as human beings.

    The Spiritual Truth in the Age of Fake News in the words of Bishop Michael Curry is to remember:

“If it is not about love, it is not about God.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

————————————–

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco,CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

The Long Lonelines

June 30, 2020

The Long Loneliness

“A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “:Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered,  “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went.”

“But Jesus. . .did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people, and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” John 2:24.

——————————————–

    A question “What do you see in the photo above? A priest, a guy named River, or an abuser because I wear a collar, and am proud of my priesthood, a sexist, a violent person,  a lover of evil ? Ask yourself and hold your answer. All of you will have different answers. Saint, sinner, or don’t give a damn? You see all I am is a sinful person, trying to live out the Gospel of love.

    Last night riding a bus to the hospital, a young man pulled a knife on me, I blocked it, and looked him in the eyes, and he screamed, “Abuser,” and as he screamed I continued seeing the pain, hurt and fear in his eyes, I continued to look him straight in the eyes,  and suddenly this  young guy calmed down and started crying, he saw my humanity, and my care, and we talked. Sean hugged me as we got off the bus.

    Several years a go a woman priest started cussing me as I came into a meeting wearing  clerical s because women priests were discriminated against by men wearing the same; I sat with a family last night of a young man who had died, and the the collar brought comfort and hope. 

    In times like last night I sit with the Book of Common Prayer, and in my wavering faith,  join together with the Church universal, and let those prayers cover me. Some have been written by segregationists,  homophobes, racists, killers, and patriarchs,  yet  all are  written by the Spirit of God, operating with in the sinful structure of our humanity. Those prayers are transformational.

    Faithfulness means practicing what is not always in our heart, so that it will become a part of us. Showing up, even when our lives, reputations, and relationships are threatened, and even when we don’t have the best intentions, for it is still a reasonable and God blessed start. We meet people where they are. We are not in a “tribe” or on a “team”. We are not “team players”.

    Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Junipero Serra, and so will I have his tattoo cut from my shoulder, or will we remember he was a  man of his time, and in that time did the best he could in showing love, a love that the majority of people did not show to Native Americans, he operated within a different cultural context; do we cut out Abraham Lincoln from books, or do we remember he is the President who freed the slaves, maybe not for totally pure reasons, yet he freed them; the same with President Grant, he owned slaves at one time, but he did not in his later years, and as  President lead a compassionate reconstruction.  Do we ban “To Kill A Mockingbird”, and Huckleberry Fin,” because of some racist words, common in their time and culture, or do we see them for what they are, and also see the great literature?

    Should I tear up  the photos of my parents who used the “N” word often, or do I see them as the compassionate people they were, and love them in their ignorance and a part of their times and culture?

    All of us are a mixture–I look back on my life and cringe; I act now in moments of pain and fear, like when I was sick or feel threatened, and I am humiliated, but continue on the journey. I have used words like the “N” word, “fag” in my past, but have been transformed.  I have friends who use both words, and I love them for their goodness. I do not walk away from them, nor do I judge them, but live a life that shows them a new way of thinking and believing. I have friends who have been abused by “white” people, and yet they do not see the “color” in me.

    I trust no one, because I am judged by my actions and where I stand–friends have walked a way because I minister to death row inmates; friends have walked a way because I do not agree with them; close friends. I watch what I say to “friends” because we know they will be offended, and I have people walk away when I tell them I am a priest, and when I stand firm in my faith. I trust no one.

    The Gospel of John summed it up: “But Jesus. . .did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people, and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” John 2:24.

    Will I stop wearing a collar because it represents  shadows of pains; Will I stop wearing my cross or wearing the rainbow ring? No, I will not throw out the diamonds with the bath water?     The good over all shines true, and my prayer is that one day people can see me for who I am, my intentions, without judgment and forgive me when I make mistakes. My prayer is people will learn to meet in the middle.

    This is what Dorothy Day meant when she referred to the “long loneliness.” We need to meet in the middle.

    The only time there is any hope of trust is when we meet in the middle and try to live out the words of Jesus, “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” This is the foundation of trust. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

———————————–

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

P.O.Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

The Good Book of Mental Hygiene by Gary Bell

June 28, 2020

The Good Book of Mental Hygiene

by Gary Bell

    In this book Gary Bell gives insight, humor, healing and a human perspective on all thought based disorders. Borrowing from the Apostle Paul’s letters to various cities, Dr. Bell writes letters to various cities and followers. Dr.Bell writes letters to individuals with various mental disorders, common diagnoses, and typical life problems.

    At the center of Dr. Bell’s thoughts is that Christ or the Divine as we experience God, can guide us into the healing of our mental health. He very much echoes AAA philosophy. We have to have the One outside of ourselves be our guide and focus.

    Dr. Bell emphasizes that to obtain good mental health we have to put together both the spiritual and the psychological practice.

    In my own life  I think of only five therapists with whom I could work. Simply because they understand the spiritual aspects of the journey.

    Healing comes only when we work with both the spiritual and the psychological and take responsibility for our own healing.

    Dr. Bell points  psychology for the most part tries to get us into the square hole of society, where many of us live in the round whole, and only through the spiritual aspect can the Holy Spirit work to transform us into the whole beings. Only when we understand that those who live in the round hole are as healthy as those who live in the square, can we have true good mental health. Deo Gratias!Thanks be to God!

——————————————-

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

Vision of God

June 28, 2020

Numbers 20:28: “Moses stripped Aaron of his vestments and put them on his son Eleazer and Aaron died on top of the mountain. .Moses and Aaron came down from the mountain.”

2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a: “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us, let us arrange a little room on the roof.”

    In our first scripture, Aaron is dying, and Eleazar receives his vestments. An era has ended.

    My time is coming to an end. I feel it in my bones, I feel it in the air. I have been in ministry over three fourths of my life, it is all that I have ever known.

    Last night a friend, who is Hispanic commented as she was preparing dinner, “River you are the ony “white person” I know who treats us as equals, you are one of us.”

    And so as our time moves to its closure that is the highest complement that has ever been paid to me. Paul tells us that we should be “All things to all men,” and that is what we strive for–to enter into people’s lives, without judgment, accepting them for who they are. And the very essence of what we believe and have so inadequately tried to practice is that Jesus is love, and his love is given through our actions. That love sees no race, creed, color or religion–but simply care and concern.

    In the second passage the woman of Shuem calls us  to hospitality, to what our mission in life is all about. She creates housing for the prophet Elisha, a woman who has so very little. 

     Today on the Feast of St. Irenaeus, we hear his words, “Now the glory of God is humanity, full alive, for humanity’s true life is the vision of God.

    The conservative estimates are that upwardly, 70 million people have been forced to leave their homes today due to war, poverty, threat of starvation, lack of housing, etc.

    Jesus calls us into solidarity with those outside the bonds of family, culture, race, religion. He calls us to see no color, religion, culture, race, but as “the glory of God” in their humanity.

    On our streets alone in San Francisco there are several thousand people who are homeless, and it is estimated that in San Francisco alone a fourth of the population struggles with the lack of food, always on the edge of starving. I have seen so many die, so many suffer, and see that every day.

    Gary is turning 50, he wants me to take him out to a nice restaurant on his birthday, which we will.  He sleeps on the corner of the street, and has for twenty years, I cry over the Gary’s of San Francisco, I sometimes go home and throw up because of not being able to provide for the Gary’s on our street each day,  for in this country there is no need for people to be hungry or homeless.

    The woman from Shuem, can show us the way. Going beyond the bounds of normal hospitality she creates a dwelling for the prophetic word, allowing it to transform her every day life. The result is a blessing beyond her expectation. So let us allow the Word to transform our lives

    We are called to see that “the glory of God is humanity,” and to love each person, to care for each person. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

————————————–

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