The Least of These My Brethren

Monday, October 21st, 2013, 8:30pm ET

[This is a replay of the live event]

You want to reach out to someone who’s thought of as the “lowest of the low.” Maybe an unpopular kid, or a prison inmate, or another kind of “outcast.” But it’s WAY harder than you expected…. Don’t worry, we’ve got some help for you. We’ve gathered 2 people, Tricia Chantha and Julio Rivas, who have the reaching out thing down pat. It wasn’t necessarily always easy for them, and they’re willing to share what they’ve learned–and what they’re still learning.

Tune in, come prepared with some questions and please do not shy away from sharing YOUR own experiences of how you are reaching out!

Ariana Herlinger

Ariana Herlinger

TMC Youth’s Ariana Herlinger is your host for this conversation.

Julio Rivas

Julio Rivas

Julio Rivas volunteers his time and skills to schools, churches, and other nonprofit groups, reaching out to runaway teens, prison inmates, and many, many others.

Tricia Chantha

Tricia Chantha

Tricia Chantha has volunteered at a school for at-risk kids; been a counselor in a juvenile lock-up; and still occasionally takes in teens who need home and stability.

Check out these Radical Acts stories by Julio and by Trica:

My Jewish roommate hp

My Jewish roommate

After an amazing God experience in business school, Julio Rivas got the opportunity to serve as a Christian Science healer for . . . his Jewish roommate. With glorious results!

radiating love hp

Radiating love

Tricia Chantha once met someone who was in a strikingly awful situation. So she overcame a feeling of vulnerability and reached out across cultural and religious lines. Check out what happened.


Are you ready to reach out radically?

Radical Acts 2013 is about reaching out to help and heal others. Like last year, we’re featuring 20 of Jesus’ toughest teachings. Choose a Radical Act to live yourself over the next few months and share your story. We’re eager to hear any story about any Radical Act — especially those that involve helping and healing others.

Comments

  1. Julio Rivas says:

    Thank you, Cynthia, for your valuable comments.

    As individuals we are Soul’s effulgence.  Hence, we can bring celestial light to the darkness — to ignorance, hurt, hatred, illness, abandonment, rejection, despair, and so forth — and this reveals Soul’s majesty within ourselves and others.

  2. Cynthia tyler says:

    thank you everyone at Time4Thinkers for providing this inspiring chat – and to  Julio and Tricia for sharing your experiences of your commitment to walking with our brothers and sisters, holding to their inherent goodness and being real with them at the same time. Such powerful examples of Love in action and God’s grace blessing everyone in the process.  Such honesty and powerful trust shared here…thank you all. I listened to the replay just now…. Next time I will be there for the live event!

  3. Kyle says:

    Thank you for opening up this conversation.  I have to admit that  the idea of reaching out to the “ lowest of the low “ and using examples such as the “unpopular kid ”, “ the prison inmate”  and the “outcast” surprised me.  It caused me to spend some time thinking about what this radical act really means.

    When Jesus spoke of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the prisoner, he could have meant this to be any one of us.   Wasn’t he referring to anyone who believed himself to be separated from God, anyone believing he lacked health, love, goodness, happiness, comfort, purity, or freedom?

    Ironically,  the “popular” child may be terribly hungry for reassurance that she can courageously be the person God wants her to be rather than the one that appeals to the crowd or conforms to the popular culture.  The successful businessman may be a stranger to his family because of a false sense of ambition which leaves him feeling empty and dissatisfied.  Although not in a cell at the jail,  there are prisoners who suffer from the bondage of sexuality, vanity or the temptation of incessant entertainment.

    When we target any group of people as being unfortunate, impoverished, corrupted, sinful or sick, we have opened ourselves up to self-righteousness.

    Did Jesus recognize anyone as an outcast or a sinner?  Did he refer to anyone as the “ lowest of the low? ”  According to Mary Baker Eddy, he couldn’t have healed them if he saw them as sinful and unfortunate mortals.  We must all be honest about the way we view the people we are reaching out to help.

    A friend of mine pointed out that Jesus didn’t come down from the mountain looking for the lepers to heal.  Instead, he made himself available to anyone who was searching to find freedom from human suffering, anyone who was willing to repent in order to find the kingdom of heaven and life eternal, and anyone open to the light of Christ.  It was his response to them that healed them.

    After much thought, I have come to realize that reaching out means making ourselves available to all mankind and destroying labels that we have inadvertently accepted into our thinking. I was glad to hear that this sort of approach was included in some of the experiences shared by the guest speakers.  I especially appreciated Julio’s  bringing up that when we reach out to others, we must recognize the divine presence of God in them as well as in ourselves.  The exchange must be seen as one between brothers, equally righteous in the eyes of God.

    • Tricia C says:

      Kyle,  your heart and words have beautifully captured the spirit of the audio-chat and the depth of Jesus’ teachings and life.  From a favorite book of mine – “The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives.  The prophet Jeremiah writes: ‘In this place of which you say it is a waste….there will be heard again the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness’….we choose to become enlightened witnesses – people who through their kindness, tenderness and focused attentive love return folks to themselves.  It’s a returning – not a measuring up….We don’t hold the bar up and ask people to measure up to it.  One simply shows up and commits to telling the truth.  At Homeboy Industries, we seek to tell each person this truth: they are exactly what God had in mind when God made them – and then we watch, from this privileged place, as people inhabit this truth.  Nothing is the same again.  No bullet can pierce this, no prison walls can keep this out.  And death can’t touch it – It is just that huge.”  Tattoos on The Heart, Fr. Gregory Boyle

      Thanks for making yourself available to all mankind :)

      • Kyle says:

        Thank you for the response.  My point was that we need to be careful about putting labels on people, putting them into categories.

  4. Daniel Biwila says:

    By maintaining firmly thought on the eternal facts of the being. The likeness of God, the expression of Love – man – is  as perfect as God, we learn in Science.  ‘’ Man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death. The real man cannot depart from holiness, nor can God, by whom man is evolved, engender the capacity or freedom to sin.’’ ( Science and Health, p. 475)
    Therefore, giving consent to the opposite state of consciousness is to fall oneself in the acceptance of the illusion of material senses. To uplift toward the eternal Truth and to live it, is ” to love his neighbor as oneself “.
    To moralize can also mean condemning, and condemning supposes not rejecting the state of  consciousness that the man is a sinner. The consciousness of the Truth – opens to the redeeming operation of Christ.
    ‘’ Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to man speaking to the human consciousness. The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual – yea, the divine image and likeness, dispelling the illusion of the senses, the way, the truth, and the life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death’’, affirms Mrs Eddy in Science and Health. (p. 3320)
    Maintaining thought on God’s allness leads through the irreality of the inharmony. There is no situation where Christ is not at hand to meet it. ‘’ Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’’ (Isai 1: 18)

  5. Kemi says:

    Here’s another question we received during the chat, but didn’t have time to answer:

    How do you all work to reach out to the “lowest of the low” without moralizing?

    • Julio says:

      When we draw our values from our clearest understanding of man’s unity with Principle/Love, our character from Soul, our wisdom from Mind, and our generous affection from Love, then we shimmer with the Christ-light and this blesses us and all.

    • Tricia C says:

      I have found the regular regime of good long baths in the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7)works wonders to wash away any “moralizing” cooties :)

  6. Kemi says:

    Here’s a question we received during the chat, but didn’t have time to answer:

    does it ever seem like you’re the one who always has to do the right thing and everyone else gets off scott free?

    • Julio says:

      Doing the right thing is an expression of Soul and of our Soul-derived identity.  Therefore, it gives us freedom, strength, protection and joy.

    • Tricia C says:

      Often!  And then I  remember the older brother in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Having experienced the cautionary tale of the younger brother, I sure don’t want to also be the cautionary tale of the older brother. The Father says to him “ALL THAT I HAVE IS YOURS!”  Like Julio says, doing right gives us the blessings of freedom, strength, protection and joy…the kind of joy that no one can take from us.

  7. Jay says:

    Thank you all for sharing these ideas! I’m encouraged to not always take the easy way out by ignoring certain people like the rest of mainstream society does … and like I usually do.

    • Tricia C says:

      Hey Jay, appreciate your desire and your honesty :) When I was being called to a more “public” healing ministry I knew it was God impelled and empowered.  Yet, I wouldn’t put myself out there. The “mainstream”  current I fought against was just stay  home and pray “in my closet”.  Don’t engage with others, just stay home and pray. And there are definitely times when this IS what’s needed. But I didn’t tell people what I did, even friends.  If the phone rang, I didn’t want to answer it. And I didn’t reach out. Ugh. One day I was agonizing over my light being under a bushel, and cried out to God “Please get me out of my comfort zone!” And very clearly, God said “you aren’t in a comfort zone, you ARE a comfort zone”.  And that truth moved me forward.

      Since then, I’ve just made many experiments reaching out and the best ones always are the ones where I pray FIRST, mostly to  feel God’s love and let that emanate, whether its in a grocery store line or if I see a stranger on the side of the road, or even taking in a stranger.  And I want to be more bold in love, so I pray for that too. I take Jesus story of the Good Samaritan to heart as the model, but also allowing that the Priest and the Levite did have useful lives of purpose, so they weren’t “bad guys” in the story.  Rather, Jesus was illustrating what it takes to have “eternal life” which is an abiding fellowship with God, with the divine Love that meets every human need.  Anyone who’s ever felt a moment of that fellowship with Love is going to want more so the engagement just becomes more and more natural.  I bet you already know all this and are doing it!  Here’s a great story from Sarah which ends with that feeling of fellowship with God.

  8. Lisa says:

    How do you deal with differences in theological ideals when you are talking to others?

    • Tricia C says:

      I look for similarities instead.  They’re there.  I spent years getting stuck when I wanted to convey the superlative ideals of CS.  When I cherish the ideals in my  heart and live them to my highest understanding, I can let my experiences speak.  I heard once that people can disagree on theology all day but who can disagree with your experience?  Its yours.

  9. Ginny says:

    Thank you for this heartfelt interview and ideas and experiences that were shared.  I hope this will be archived so it can be shared with others. “when the heart speaks, the heart hears.”

  10. @TMYouth

    Thanks for this beautiful topic at a time when the dignity of each individual so greatly needs to be recognized and fearlessly embraced.

    Man is not a commodity or brand but the face of God, Love – the reflection of our Father.

    @StCharlesCS

  11. Daniel Biwila says:

    In several large cities of Africa, many teenagers live in the street. Numerous of these young people – boys and girls – give themselves to drug, crime, vandalism, and prostitution.
    However, this social problem faced courageously thru prayer can easily dissipate. This is exactly what I have learnt during a short period of 1997.
    At that time, I was still selling in the market. Very dirty and half dressed, an adolescent — to survive during this period of crisis – was everyday collecting and most of time stealing food in the market. That homeless young man was cruelly rejected and insulted by most of the people.
    One day he did not get anything to eat and was very hungry. I saw him approaching close my shop–to beg for some coins. With much love I supplied him for the first time. But the next day he came back accompanied with his friends, and then the day and so forth. I perceived that to help them better I could only turn my thoughts toward God for inspiration.
    In spite of the hardness of their behavior all those young were enterprising and helpful people. Why not exploit these virtues and let their real nature of children of God shine more, I thought.
    I proposed them two brooms to sweep tables and being so useful in the community. They agreed the idea without any problem.  Soon people in the market started calling them for diverse services.
    Christ’s transforming influence within the inner man was operating in the inflow of everpresent good, be it that of opportunity, ability, capacity, supply, joy, love.
    This adolescent, including his collective of friends, whom previously everybody rejected had become useful and busy. They were watching to the cleanliness of the market, earning their own living. People appreciated their business. And in addition, a wheelbarrow, a spade, plus a rake were given to them. They became so busy that I lost sight of them for weeks.
    Months later, while walking in the street of the city, a young man goodly dressed and healthy called me out during that period of heat. He came close to me, smiling and offered me a bottle of cold water. Well, he was among those young people divine Love blessed during the market’s experience.
    This testimony of the Spirit such as we read it in our book of study showed its beam of Warmth: «Man whose senses are spiritual is my likeness. He reflects the infinite understanding, the perfection of being, imperishable glory – all are mine, for I am God. I give immortality to man, for I am Truth. I include and impart all bliss; for I am Love […] I am supreme and give all, for I am Mind. I am the substance of all, because I AM THAT I AM ‘’ (Science and Health p, 252-253)
    By holding obediently, steadfastly and humbly to great truth the man is the expression of God, we raise the warm atmosphere able to liquefy the icy block of illusion which seemed to bond the child of God.
    Daniel Biwila CS
     

    • Tricia C says:

      Daniel, your story is the consummate example of outreaching Love and bearing witness to salvation!  Beautiful.  Perfect.  I feel humbled and blessed by it.  Thank you.

  12. Margaret says:

    Thanks for holding this chat.  It should bless every listener, and it is guided by love.

    I was just thinking about how Jesus never called anyone any of these names like “unpopular kid,” “prison inmate,” or “outcast.”  I only hope that I can succeed in working to discipline my own thought in not categorising myself OR my brethren in personal sense terms like “popular,” “unpopular,” “included,” “excluded,” “evil,” “good.”  As I was praying about how I can see both myself and those I see each day clearly, it dawned on me that Jesus would not have been able to heal any of the people he did so immediately if he had used these worldly terms to categorise people.  Mary Baker Eddy explains these healings that Jesus did.  She writes, “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.  In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.”  (SH 476:32-477:4).  God’s man, as she further explains, is “pure and holy,” and I hope to work on not holding myself or others to anything but Godlike qualities.  There is one person – that person is God and the reflection of that person is in each one of us.  Every man has pure good in Him.  Whatever “evil,” “weirdness,” “lameness,” or “sickness” in someone I believe I see, I can toss it out because evil is impersonal and has no power.  These ways of seeing my brethren are evil’s suggestion.

    Also, in addition to these thoughts, I am thinking about a passage from Matt 17:15 which inspired me the other day.  ”And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.  And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.  Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?  how long shall I suffer you? bring hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.” (Mat 17:15-18).

    From my own experience, I have struggled with mental illness in the past, and the more I see myself as not being anything but God’s innocent child who has dominion over any impurity (impurity is nonexistent in the Kingdom of Heaven), the greater I feel the allness of God’s gentle presence with me. Out of that struggle, I have learned to appreciate being friendly and seeing clearly all neighbors (those I see when I serve at the homeless shelter, those I met in a the psychiatric department of a hospital, and those who seemed to have made me feel low, unnecessary, or like a nobody in high school).  No matter how people try to size me up or how the world (including me at times) try to size others up, it is not true nor it has no power.  All that matters in CS is how God sees really.  No one, in the kingdom of heaven, can really be termed more “high” or more “low” or “better” or “worse” in relation to another if we all inherit the same qualities and are made by the same Father.

    I look forward to thinking more when I hear the chat filled with all of your wonderful ideas and experiences!!

    • Tricia C says:

      WOW Margaret, you’ve hit deeply on a golden thread of the chat!  Thanks for the great  preparation you’ve already done to bless this community gathering.  I love that when Jesus saw Zacchaeus, the despised tax collector up in a tree, he didn’t yell “get down here you lying, cheating, miserable sinner and repent at once!”  (like everyone else might have been thinking) Instead he said (my words) “Hey Zacchaeus! hurry up and come down so today I can be a guest at your home”. (Luke 19) Jesus was always inviting people to own their wholeness and goodness and honor, and he wanted to be with them in that place.   So, bless you for the service you’re doing, for letting your own struggles bring out your dominion and compassion to see and serve the (so-called) “least”.

  13. Carra Riley says:

    So great to see the post on google+ and the ability to share your inspiring work!

  14. Allen says:

    Feel free to participate on the Biker’s Church facebook page and share your insights and comments:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bikers-ChurchSalvation-Beach/1416709548549963

  15. Allen says:

    Looking forward to participating in this live event. Also posted on my facebook site for the Biker’s Church Service that I provide on Sunday’s believing some who attend will participate as well.

    Love & Light

    • Tricia C says:

      Thanks for the support Allen.  Looking forward to your participation which will really bless the event :)

Leave a comment

Fields Login Register