good morning, welcome to moe say yak at this end of 9 year, beginning of the new year, our host ron swisher is with us. we thought we would take this chance to interview ron for a ai start with, what- -for a change and to start with, looking back, what do you ' on 20 # 1-1 3--2013? >> well, i think what stood out for me was nelson mandela's death. time magian captured him as being a person who was a protestor, a prisoner, and then the peacemaker. and i think after spending 27 years in prison, we all know
about that. but coming out, and i think people expected violence and expected war and revolution and they got peace and forgiveness, so i think that is major, when we talk about forgiveness being so important to our faith. and i think it is very impactful for not just a church but also the world. and he is a great example. >> mandela was the number one story of 2013? yes,--2013? >> yes, as i look at it. and then pope francis. he was picked as the personal 06 the year because he is in the center of all of the major conversations of our time, conversations about wealth and poverty, about fairness and
justice. about um, transparency and technology, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power. he does not have weapons, does not have that kind of power in that sense, but he has great power, every time he tweets, the world looks at it. you know, he just has that kind of influence. >> and what is your sense? are you thinking that he is going the move, what we might consider positively on the issues? >> i am very hopeful. i think that some of the thee ology and the thinking is going to be a challenge. but it seems like he is the kind of person who wants to be engaged and involved and be in the center of addressing that. he sees the church, he says he sees the church out there, dirty, bruised, hurting, in the world, instead of behind comfortable walls. soy think he is--so i think is maybe the one that breaks down
the walls of gender and sexual alty, and especially class. he thinks so much on the poor. >> the first jesuit pope. >> yes, and i praise ant that because i went to jesuit school and i was trained by the jesuits. >> well, who are they? >> well, they are considered the great educators, they go back hundreds of years, putting a lot of emphasis on education. they believe they are the one that is educated people in the faith and a lot of you know, it takes a long time to be a jesuit. i think they are in their 30s after years of schooling and training. i took mostly scripture from them and i was always impressed with them, in fact, one of the teachers thought me greek for two years and he gave me a recommendation to go into seminary in berkeley and was going to come to my ordination but he got sick.
so i-- >> rigorous in their training. >> yes. >> constitute today go fight prison terrains. but that is another story. okay, so nelson mandela and the new hope. what else? --the new pope. what else? >> i would say also you have to look at the guy marriage. 16 states, i think approved gay marriage now. you have gay unions. but the church still resists on the whole. i mean, some churches are very open but some churchings like ours are almost split around it. we, for 40 years have dealt with ther ewe of homosexual alty. we say it is not compatible with the christian faith, but it think it is a justice, fairness issue. are you going to let people to have the same rights and i think that is the issue. and some of us in the church still are against us. unfortunately, i think.
and we have recently had pastors de-flocked, their orders taken from them. one of the former bishops performed an union and he is under fire about it. i think that all the dominations, all of the churches are dealing with it. >> let's hold for a moment. and we'll come back, pick up just there and talk more about gay, lesbian, marriage, and that kind of thing with ron swisher when we come back. stay with us.
stories of 2013, nelson mandela, the pope, and now we are into the gay, lesbian rights and marriages in the church. so pick us up from there, particularly the united methodist church. what the stance and what are the repercussions? >> where he will, for years-- well, for years in our conference, california, nevada, we have performed blessings of gay couples and then about ten or 12 years ago they said nato supply they cannot do that. so some people have said no and woe have supported gay and lesbian in our communities and we want to continue but the law of the methodist church, the book of discipline voted against it. an anybody who does do a gay union or a marriage, because there is marriages now, they are orders are taken from them,
as recently happened with a reverend. >> and you remove that from you. >> yes, you are taken your orders. you have to give up your orders and they are taken from you and all of the rights. and he, by the way, did the wedding for his son. he felt that he could not walk a path like the levite, let a rule determine when he felt compassion for his son and anyone in that regard, as i was saying earlier, it is a justice issue. >> and i know someone in california invites him to come out. well, as you look into the 2014, let's just take the major denominations. what is going to happen when it is legal in the eyes of the state? what it is going to do so say, the methodist church? >> well, the supreme court is
behind it. so do you go against that in the rights of people? and i think a church mite be greatly in trouble, as some people have said, because we are not going to seem like, bend that way. i think we have gotten more against it in the last four years. we have gone to maybe 70/30 against gay marriage, or the nation of gays and lesbians. >> in the presbyterian churches, they say we are going to take our property and our missions and we are just go to- -just going go over and form another denomination. do you see more of that? >> it is more of that trend. i think we have lost a half a dozen groups in california, nevada, probably 300 or so. and i think it is happening maybe across the board in other places. but it is harder because we are
a part of an united union, so you cannot necessarily take the property and some churches have gone to court .a few have won- -to court. a few have won because we need to have a deed to the property that makes sure that it happens. and no church owns their property. >> and the practical matter of you can be endangered if you are supporting that. >> that is right. >> okay, so that is another big issue, of 2013, what else if? >> i would say also, um, gun control. gun control, we still have, what it is, 30,000 people die of gun control, canada across the border mite have 35--might have 35, 50 people, you know, the idea that people kill people. well, guns. and i think we um, there was a mayor bill come up in congress
and senate, all of it, they just ducked it and i think people really wanted stricter gun control and it is a mayor issue that people are looking away from. i don't think it is the idea of taking people's guns away is not the issue. some registration and some idea of having ak weapons, the person who just invented the ak just died and 100 million of those guns are out, it said in his eulogy. he said i am not responsible for it but the politicians and the people are. well, it sounds like it is because they will not change anything about that. >> well, you pastored in the inner city and the suburbs as well. you feel there is a direct impact on the availability of unregistered guns and the violence in. >> yes, and become from- -violence?
>> yes, and being from oakland, spending 25, 30 years in oakland, to me, it was quite an impact on whether i was in east oakland, whether i was in west oakland, the violence and the deaths and i think they are down this year, a little bit in oakland, i see. but it has been up there pretty hie. >> we are talking to ron swisher,. when we come back, we are going go to something that we can look forward to in the new year and rejoice about. stay with us.
we are back with reverend ron swisher. ron, you have outlined for us, the big issues, startling in the pope and the loss of nelson mandela and your concerns about justice rights for gay and lesbian people and then you always talked about the importance of gun control. and now onto happier, lighter stuff. >> 40 years this, well, 4 # in 20--well, 41 in 2014. >> and you were the district superintendent for a while. and you seem pretty optimistic still, about the ditch
situation to d--about the situation and about the people. >> yes, i think so. i saw a quote, it said happiness is what you think and what you say and what you do, it is in harmony and so i think if we can work on that, um, i think change [ inaudible ] and being a doer of the word and i think there is still hope for people, i think where we can live out the things that we believe in and one of my favorites, of course is the fruits of the spirit. >> remind us all. >> love, joy, peace, you know, goodness, gentleness, generosity and then patience, kindness, and self control. the most translation is discipline. without discipline, there is no life. people say life is tons of discipline. so i think if we have some of the fruits, of what i have seen over the years, that is so important in living out our
faith. of course, the seven deadly sins with the pride and the lust and the greed and and the envy and the gluttony and the anger and the sloth. and i think you had mentioned about the four virtues. >> courage, temperance, fortitude, it is the same sort of thing and you see the ministry nourishing the angels of better nature, i guess is the phase. so when you look at people in difficult situations, how do you try to encourage that will which is positive because as we go into the new year, um, we need all of the optimism and positive thinking that we need. so what do you council us, when we get into kind of difficult, strange, and scrapes and we don't see the benefit of generating kindness and mercy and charity when the guy is
trying to run you off the road or the guy says oh, your ticket is not good and i watched the train go away with my wife. how do you deal with it? i don't think it is the big things, but it is the small, small, small irritations of life. how do you keep them from overcome income. >> youthy the persons,s--i think the persons,s pope, nelson mandela, they would talk about patience and they would also own the fact that they got angry and they got upset. they said that nelson mandela did get angry and i think there is a place for anger. i think the scripture says do not go to bed with it, do not let the sun go down on it or the devil gets a hold on your life, the scripture says. so i think this, i think i am ministry over all of the years because it is ongoing.
never completed. it is never final. i don't think i have gotten to the point where i said i have arrived and this is all complete, and so each week, um, each week i am in the pulpit, i don't know exactly what is going to happen. you know, i am still, i appreciate you and gail coming for the christmas service, but you never know exactly what is transpiring, whether it is going to change people's lives and you keep on praying and you keep having the patience and you counseling, i think bible study is a big part of that. always teaching, you know, i think that is um, um, happens. >> well, yes, you move from the individual to the value of a community. so just from, again from the per speck istive of the new year, why should people go out and get involved in a religious
community if what is the val of it verses the time that it takes or sitting at home watching television or something like that? >> well, some people compared the church to a ship. a ship that is on a mission, opposed to a cruise ship. a cruise ship, are there to sort of meet your needs and they give you all the food you want. if you are not happy, they make it it happens. some cruise ships have not done well but that is the focus. and the church, hue is a part of--that is a part of a mission, is out there to rescue and transform and have renewal and resurrection. so i think that is what a community can blame, of faith things to the world, to the community, that it is purposeful. it has, it is a drive within us to have a sense of purpose, and
it is a determination in us to have life, life is alive. and i think that is what the church can bring, a community that is alive to some of the issues that we talked about and having people behind you to address it. >> people behind you to address it. that means what? >> i think um, as we said, sisters and brothers of the faith, who have is similar beliefs and values, who want to see justice prevail, who want to see truth, the kind of truth that sets people free. you know, salvation, the root word is lipper ration and wholeness and let me--is libber ration and wholeness and let me people. ron swisher, some thoughts on the individuals and the
as we look in 2014 down the road, here we have ron swisher who has been sharing with us many, many things. some values and worth-over being in the church. let's talk a little bit on break, they were chatting in the booth about the value of being positive and affirming people. how do you see that in your roll as pastor? >> well, i think scripture is very helpful here. i love, my favorite scripture is the 27 psalms and the end of it it says i shall see the goodness of the lord in the land of the living. >> i believe that i shall see
the goodness of the lord in the land of the living. okay,. >> so it is not just what happenings after we are gone, but it happens here, that goodness, that joy thattings hope, that fite, to me, it takes place right here and now. it starts here and now. and also, um, i can do all things through christ who strengthens me, i am affirmed by that. you know, encourage people who feels like things are hopeless. no, it is within you. the faith is within you. the christ is within you. so i try to affirm it that way. the scriptures, to me, is very helpful and quite helpful in getting us along journey. >> so you are saying when you cannot be optimistic and positive all the time and when things bring you down, you are saying that you town one of the things in--that you turn to one
of the things in psalms and it is the concept, so they will give us the concept again, because they are trying to get in our head to go out and live differently. >> well, people love romans eight, nothing shall separate us from the love of god, which is in christ jesus. now the powers, not even, not angels or the devil, or a things to come. anything and all creation should be able to separate us from the love of god. so i think love, you know, we all know the scripture, god gave god's son. i think that love, believing that we are somebody, that we do count, that we are valued, um, it is to me, a very motivating, powerful factor in life. >> and really those are gifts that came out of the african american church and also the thinking that came out of nelson mandela's south african
experience. not to be imbittered by the inflictions in life, when they come from someone else. >> is that right. that--that is right. that is right. i think you captured it. >> i think it is easier said than done. >> yes, it is not an easy thing to do. but i think that is what we are all about, the constant practice and the preparation and prayers, that i already illuded to. it is ongoing. you asked me how i manage today stay 40 years and still be upbeat about it because it is always ongoing and i never feel it is complete and i do feel i am on the journey and i had some great experiences on the journey, seven six churches and meeting all of the people i have met. they have been so wonderful, particularly this time of the year, the gifts, the cards i have re-saad, all of that. you know, i a--received. you know, all of that. i love to read and i got gift
cards from barns and noble. >> what are you reading right now? >> well, biographies. i am reading one about lincoln. i am reading one on tie son, you know--on fyson. it is--on tyson because it tells how people make it, how they struggle and fall and get up. you know, given a second chance. how people have ruined their lives like mike tieson, he aid he ruined his life ands money he went through, and then he was given another chance and another, you know, spouse and kids and all of that. and so the physicals after--and so the examples after example, i just love to hear about how people struggled and how they
failed and they were willing to share their story. i am moved by that. >> and so you are optimistic about the coming year. >> yes, yes, i always have a faith. the scripture says without faith it is impossible to please god. well, we are grateful for you, ron swisher for your work and hostings. it is always great to see you. >> thank you, and you gave me that on tunty, 13--that opportunity, 13 years now. thanks to you, we'll see you again. ,,,,,,,,
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