- Create a sacred space - It could be a drawer, a shelf, a corner or any other space that works for you. Put things in the space that connect you to God, including: bits of nature (shells, rocks, flowers); photos, cards, inspirational phrases; a bible; or anything else that is important to you.
- Read Faithful Self Care Books - there are lots of books by others who have been inured by faith. Books by authors like Anne Lamott, Jeanette Winterson and Nadia Bolz-Webber may help you feel less alone. The authors I have listed above are also humorous writers. I picked them, to remind you to
- Laugh - Finding faithful people with a sense of humor can help you experience a positive emotion with faith. Some of my favorite faithful ways to laugh is to watch the Vicar of Dibley or the comedy of Eddy Izzard.
- Reignite your Senses - Miss the smells of church? Light the same incense from your childhood. Taste some of the foods that delight your tongue and remind you God is good. Listen to podcasts or recorded sermons. Get a massage to remind your body it is good and that others can care for you.
- Sing - Whether you choose a hymn or another song that connects you to God, vibrating your voice in honor of the sacred is a part of faithful practice around the globe.
- Look for God in Nature - Some find God near water, on top of mountains or in the beauty of the woods.
- Love - One of the best ways to learn about the kind of love God has for you is to give and receive love.
- Join an Online Worship Service - Find one on your own, or you can always join my services at Grace Lutheran each Sunday at 10:30 am PST. I stream them on Facebook Live.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Pot pioneer Peron remembered at celebration
by David-Elijah Nahmod
Hundreds gathered in the Castro Sunday, March 11, to remember medical cannabis pioneer Dennis Peron.
Peron, 71, died of lung cancer January 27. He dedicated his life to the legalization of medical cannabis after he saw the positive effects marijuana had on the lives of people with AIDS during the 1990s.
Peron's memorial and celebration of life took place in a tent that was erected on Noe Street next to Flore cafe. In addition to hundreds of supporters and friends, Peron's husband, John Entwistle, and Jeff Peron, his brother, were in attendance. Several people said they had traveled from as far away as Florida and New York in order to be there.
"Dennis would have loved this," Entwistle told the Bay Area Reporter.
Entwistle pointed out that Flore, formerly known as Cafe Flore, was where Peron co-wrote the ballot measure that became Proposition 215 and led to the legalization of medical cannabis in California in 1996. He ate lunch at the cafe a few days before he died.
"He loved Cafe Flore," Jeff Peron said. "This is where it began and ended."
Florida resident Danny Loveland recalled rolling joints for Peron for $50 a day. "Thirty-five years later he offered me a room in his house," Loveland said. "His legacy is the positive effect he had on so many people. All the things he did for us changed society. The proudest moment of my life was walking around with Dennis."
District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, a gay man who uses medical cannabis to treat his HIV, also attended the celebration.
"The thing I most remember about Dennis is that he saved lives, countless lives," Sheehy told the B.A.R.
Peron led a varied life. In 1991 he fought for the passage of San Francisco's Proposition P, which called upon the state to allow for the use of medical cannabis – the measure received 79 percent of the vote. That same year he co-founded the San Francisco Cannabis Buyer's Club, the first medical marijuana dispensary. The club was raided by the police.
In 1996 Peron co-authored Prop 215. The proposition passed, allowing Peron's dispensary to reopen. In 1996 Peron ran for president as a member of the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party. In 1998 he ran for governor in the California primary as a Republican, against his nemesis, then-state Attorney General Dan Lungren.
The celebration began with Fantuzzi, a friend of Peron's who is known by a single name. "When I'm gone I hope to see a crowd like this celebrate my life," Fantuzzi, who flew in from New York, told the audience. "I can see Dennis smiling from wherever he is."
Fantuzzi then led the crowd in a Buddhist-styled chant. "Take a moment to connect with our brother and give him thanks," he said.
Sheehy talked about the importance of medicinal cannabis on the HIV/AIDS community.
"I am the first openly positive medical marijuana patient in office," he said. "I remember when apartment buildings were emptied out because everyone died. Dennis gave cannabis to his sick lover, that's where the medical cannabis movement began. His cannabis club kept hundreds of people with AIDS alive."
Jeff Peron recalled the childhood home he shared with his brother on Long Island in New York.
"We would argue about whether we should watch 'The Three Stooges' or the news," he said. "Later, he brought a lot of reefer home during visits. His legacy is compassion and compassion is not selective. He was a kind and compassionate man. He helped the homeless, he was generous."
Jeff Peron told the crowd that he did not want the event to be a memorial.
"So have a good time," he said.
Singers of the Street, a group comprised of homeless people, formerly homeless people, and homeless advocates, performed several songs, including "Over The Rainbow" and "Stand By Me."
In addition to Sheehy, several gay leaders spoke, including former Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and mayoral candidate Mark Leno, as did many of Peron's friends. All of the speakers remembered Peron's compassion for people living with AIDS and for the homeless, and his medical cannabis advocacy.
The Reverend Megan Rohrer, a trans person who is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, volunteered to help run the celebration.
"As a queer person I am grateful for Dennis' work during the dawn of the AIDS epidemic," Rohrer said. "His care for those experiencing the side effects of experimental medications and preventing wasting was heroic."
Others remarked that he ushered in a new way of thinking about cannabis.
"His legacy is that he changed the conversation on how people view medical marijuana," added District 5 Supervisor and mayoral candidate London Breed.
As the celebration drew to a close, people were invited to help themselves to the potted marijuana plants that were set down in front of the podium.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
For every day in March, we're highlighting one woman who saw a problem in the world and decided to do something about it.
As we ease into Women's History Month, we want to recognize some of the women making history right now. Every day in March, we'll be adding one new profile to the list—highlighting a total of 31 women who each saw a problem and decided to do something about it.
In this global dumpster fire of an era, women and other marginalized groups are constantly framed and treated as victims. But it's increasingly important to be aware of our collective power. The women we’ll feature include South African anti-poaching activists taking species preservation into their own hands, skateboarding “brujas” creating inclusivity on the half-pipe, and doctors advancing reproductive technology for trans people. Working in a wide range of fields, they have all taken it upon themselves to build a more just and livable future.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, a worldwide celebration commemorating the social, economic, and political achievements of women. While we currently celebrate International Women’s Day in March, the first ever Women’s Day event was actually organized by American labor activist and suffragist Theresa Malkiel in New York City on February 28, 1909 for the Socialist Party of America. Malkiel worked in the New York City’s garment factories before becoming involved with the Socialist Party of America. While in theory the Socialist Party supported the equal rights of men and women, in practice, women were often overlooked in the party’s goals and ranks. In 1909, Malkiel organized the first-ever annual Women’s Day held in New York City. Inspired by Malkiel’s Women’s Day event, the next year, a group of female European socialists gathered in Denmark to create “International Women’s Day.” In 1912, over a million people gathered across the European continent to celebrate the newly created International Women's Day.
The mission of the Black Mambas is to combat poaching with education, not guns. Mambas will spend 21 days straight patrolling the park for four hours in the morning and four hours at night, listening for the sound of gunshots and looking for suspicious activity. Recently, the group started offering tours to guests in order to teach them about the land and the animals that live on it.
In July 2016, two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, were shot and killed by the police within days of each other. Molecular biologist Ashley Baccus-Clark wanted to do something about it but felt like she didn’t have an avenue to express her feelings or help the situation in any tangible way at the time. So she decided team up with Hyphen-Labs, a collective with a focus on storytelling through art, tech, and science that centers women of color as the pioneers of emerging technology. Hyphen-Labs’ latest installation, called NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, is a VR experience that aims to tackle racism by allowing viewers to live through the avatar of a black woman in a futuristic hair salon.
In January 2017, President Donald Trump announced his initial “Muslim Ban,” a travel ban barring the populations of seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States. In response, protests erupted at airports and public spaces across the nation. One protest in downtown New York City’s Foley Square was planned by then-high school senior, Hebh Jamal, who tasked herself with organizing the hundreds of high school students who had pledged on social media to walk out of class in protest of the Trump administration and its ban. During the school walkout, Hebh rallied the young masses, urging youth to commit to a lifetime of activism and to stand up for the rights of others. Since then, Jamal has established herself a formidable and thoughtful leader in the resistance against Trump. Now a college freshman, Jamal has continued her work on establishing interfaith networks of action and protest against 45.
In Somalia, a country where over two thirds of youth are unemployed, the al-Qaeda backed terror group al Shabaab targets children in its efforts to train and enlist soldiers. Children as young as nine are lured to al Shabaab through false promises of education and aid and are instead trained to use weapons, transport explosives, carry ammunition, and even enter combat. In Somalia, between 2010 and 2016, over 6,000 children were recruited to become child soldiers. For Somali-Canadian activist Ilwad Elman, those numbers are intolerable and she has dedicated her life's work to ending the inhumane practice. Currently, Elman serves as the Director of Programs and Development of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center, a NGO located in Somalia’s capital which provides rehabilitation for former child soldiers in addition to education and aid to vulnerable youth. Through her work, Elman is on a mission to ensure that Somalia’s children grow up as kids, not soldiers.
Growing up, no one in Elyse Fox’s family talked about her depression. Now, the Brooklyn-based filmmaker is on a mission to break down the still present social stigma surrounding mental health and illness. In 2017, Fox founded Sad Girls Club, an in-person and online community for girls dealing with mental health issues. “I don’t want to sensationalize depression or mental health, I just want to make it normal to talk about,” Fox told Broadly. Though it is called Sad Girls Club, people of all genders are welcome to join the community. Last month, the club hosted a heartbreak-focused Valentine’s Day event in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where members shared sweet treats and advice on how to deal with a breakup. Afterward, a licensed therapist taught the members of the Sad Girls Club how to cope with anxiety.
When Fraidy Reiss was 19 years old, her family arranged her marriage to a man within their Orthodox Jewish community that she had only known for three months. After she was wed, Reiss learned that her new husband was a domestic abuser who repeatedly threatened to end her life. Because she had neither a college education, a job, nor was supported by her family in her decision to leave her husband, it took 15 years for Reiss to obtain a divorce. In 2011, after leaving her husband and obtaining full custody of her two daughters, Reiss founded the nonprofit Unchained at Last to support other women who wish to leave arranged and forced marriages through legal assistance and representation.
Reverend Megan Rohrer is America’s first openly transgender minister to be ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church. While on her pulpit, Rohrer preaches about the power of harmony and acceptance. In 2017, she became the San Francisco Police Department’s first-ever LGBTQ Chaplain, allowing her to spread her deeply held belief that religion should unite, not divide, us even further.