Standing in Faith

Standing In Faith!

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace, which God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-3

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    Today I listened to a pastor friend in South Carolina, as he described the words of abuse, and hate, thrown at him much of the time, and the apathy of his friends and supporters. He is a chaplain in a hospital and has an inclusive Church.

    It brought me back to a presentation made in Minneapolis a few years ago. I entered the room, with about 80 counselors and social workers, and as I looked around I sensed they were loaded for bear.

    And so for two hours I said nothing, and took notes as they in a mob mentality screamed at me about what they had “read” about my work. As I waded through their barrage, what frightened them were two things: The Catholic Worker tenant of “Personal ism”-you treat every one as equals, as your brother and sister, and that I work on the street, late at night, and alone, that was very sinister in their thinking.

    In the ten minutes I finally got out of them, they were told that we work with the same boundaries as they do, but that we relate not from a rule book but from our presence, that personal ism was a way of working with every one, in which we meet them from their level. We have  the same boundaries, etc, but work differently. And as they began to rave again, I said “how nice” which is a polite term a southern lady uses to tell someone where to go, politely, and thank them for a fun time.

    And finally, people have many times through the years said “you act like Peter Pan,” you have never grown up. A friend’s father, on a lazy warm spring  afternoon recently, observed me with his son and friends. Later he asked to take a walk with me, and he said, “River, at first I thought you were just immature, but as I observed your interactions it hit me, that you were able to let them enter your lives, and you theirs in a way in which they learn a mature way of acting, without knowing it. You are their friend.”

    I wrote a paper in the doctoral program entitled  the “The Peter Pan Approach to Pastoral Counseling.”  I am probably immature, who knows and who cares–I am who I am, for  this has been a gift that has allowed me through the years to support and care for young people–and that paper is now given out in a seminary’s pastoral counseling course. God uses our scars and spots to justify our faith.

    So I may act like Peter Pan, but it sure has been a lot of fun, and very painful.

    The hard reality is that as you get older, most people don’t think of you much. This goes for children, family, friends, spouses, and even parents. Once we realize this our relationship with Jesus or with any other revelations of God, can bloom into a testimony of compassion.

    Our only job is to be responsive and resilient. We are not in charge of our lives any more-God is. Follow the model of Jesus and treat everyone with empathy and love(no matter how horrible they are). Work at not judging, but understand the finger we are pointing at that person means four are pointing at us. To the anxious, the fearful, the apathetic, that sounds insane, but to the Christian, that sounds like an incredible journey.

    Our journey of “justification by faith,” brings us into a relationship with God, and in so doing frees us to live and serve. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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A Note: I will no longer be responding to comments on Facebook. They have become very toxic. Facebook allows us to say things without facing a person and it brings our worse out–it can lead to broken relationship.

    I invite any one to phone, and I will listen, discuss, respectfully. If the conversation goes toxic, I reserve the right to say, like a beautiful southern lady taught me: “How nice”. and hang up.

    We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, education levels, and so there will be differences–but we can come together in listening to one another.


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