Friday, December 20, 2019

Bye Bye

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out. 
Václav Havel

Before we pull a Dame Lillard and wave bye bye to 2019, we are embracing a time of hibernation to stare into the rear-view mirror. As it is with every year, this one has had its highlights and hard times. 

In January, we facilitated conversations around Tom's book from San Clemente, CA to Victoria, BC. Then we celebrated our 14th anniversary in Corvallis, OR (where Tom's parents met in 1963) and got our first tattoos. 

In March, we moved out of Michigan and pitched our tents in Central Oregon. 

In April, fifteen hours after the greatest Oregonian hit his 37-footer at the buzzer, our nephew Milo Brooks was born three hours away in Bend. A pretty good day. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Amplify Hope

Western Wyoming (10.24.2019)
Any adequate reply to the sufferings of our age will necessarily involve the strengthening of human collectives, the nurture and increase of soul, and the amplification of hope. These three efforts, all profound activities of care, are inseparable and entangled.
Bruce Rogers-Vaughn, Caring For Souls in a Neoliberal Age

This month took us to separate coasts to accompany beloved family and friends. To rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. There's plenty to celebrate. But also seemingly senseless tragedies, with accompanying unraveling of relationship and social cohesion. More than ever, we are feeling the isolation and alienation that comes with our forgotten craving for community. As we take inventory during morning journal times and as we dialogue with dear friends all over North America, it has hit home quite hard this month: we're not quite sure what "home" is. And so many in our network aren't quite sure either. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


Potomac River
…true belonging is a type of belonging that never requires us to be inauthentic or change who we are, but a type of belonging that demands who we are — that we be who we are — even when we jeopardize connection with other people, even when we have to say, “I disagree…”
Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness (2017)

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

We find ourselves a stone's throw from the Appalachian Trail in the wake of the wedding celebration of Leah and Lydia (below), two dear friends from our days in Southwest Detroit. They were married in the backyard of Lydia's childhood home in rural Maryland. The ceremony was supposed to be held under a centuries old Sycamore, but thirty minutes before the wedding, as guests walked across Catoctin Creek (a tributary of the Potomac River), the bridge collapsed. A half dozen friends and family members were rushed to area hospitals.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Pivoting, Grieving, Facilitating

Eastside Detroit
If we loved ourselves enough, we could change the world over night.
Valerie Burris, Detroit, MI 

(for more on Val's life and wisdom, see Lindsay's short piece from a couple years back) 

We are back in Oregon after two weeks of travel to Detroit. We were leading a team of young leaders interviewing mentors and elders for a documentary exploring the intersection of faith and activism. August was a month of pivoting from hosting friends, to being hosted by family & friends across the country, to grieving with family, to facilitating dialogue. We spent most of the month away from "home." We struggle to find the words to describe all we experienced. So we offer these snapshots to represent the intensity of grief and gratitude as we soak in, and find some recovery, during these final days of the summer season.

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Darkness Glimmering

Those who will not slip beneath the still surface 
on the well of grief 

Turning down through its black water 
to the place we cannot breathe 

will never know the source from which we drink, 
the secret water, cold and clear, 

nor find in the darkness glimmering 
the small round coins 
thrown by those who wished for something else. 
David Whyte, "The Well of Grief"

Today, we check in with heavy hearts, preparing to head south again to be with family and officiate an untimely memorial service. The second service in three weeks. On Friday, the wife (Annie) of Lindsay's cousin Curtis was killed by a cliff that collapsed on the beach in Encinitas, California. Annie was with her Mom and Aunt who were also killed. The service will be this Friday and we are making preparations for travel. We are asking for prayers for us (strength, wisdom, clarity, discernment, presence to grief in the face of this shocking & horrific blow) and for Lindsay's entire extended family (comfort, strength, holding, and resource to be able to move through this horror with needed support, one day at a time).

It was almost ten years ago to the day that we were with Annie and Curtis, and their extended family network, celebrating the joyous love and blessed union of these two long-time best friends in La Jolla on their wedding day. This life is a beautiful and terrifying journey. There is creation. There are deep wells of love and joy. And then there is the heart-and-soul-wrenching crucifixion that shatters our worlds, worse than even our darkest nightmares. Once again, we find ourselves at the tomb, punched to the gut, waiting for resurrection. Wishing we could see her face again.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Cultural Contours

Portland, Oregon
Obedience to a calling is more than pursuit of a passion, it is a legacy and lineage governed by a higher power and guided by those whose shoulders we stand on.
Tawanna Petty, Detroit-based poet and community organizer

One of the things we are committing to in this new vocational season is taking a few temp jobs a month to (A) supplement our fundraising and (B) get out into the community and see what's going on. This month we worked at a grocery store and at the front gate of the rodeo in the little town of Sisters (a half hour from Bend).

We faced product at the store for back-to-back 8-hour shifts. We felt it in body and soul. We reached, flexed, squatted, lunged and pulled. The number of brands and types of mayonnaise alone is cause for serious concern on many fronts. The immense waste (of wrapping, shipping and unsold food) coming from this little store in this little town is mind-blowing. To be immersed in this world is lamentation in itself. The playlist was entirely country music, twangin' about places where there's "biscuits and gravy and the pretty waitress calls you 'baby'."

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Safe Spaces

Mirror Pond. Bend, Oregon.
Love is the most difficult, the most dangerous, the most subversive force in the world. When you are talking about love, you are talking about a steadfast commitment to the well-being of others and you are willing to do what it takes to make sure that their humanity is always affirmed. 
Cornel West

May brought rain, trail runs, some travel for Lindsay, plenty of time to reflect and write, attending a dozen church services, raised garden beds, precious time with the newborn nephew, grieving the Trailblazers swift exodus from the NBA playoffs, green stuff from the Wednesday Farmer's Market, a float down the Deschutes River, phone and Skype calls with friends and partners all over North America and a few temp jobs to supplement our income and to get out into the marketplace to learn this new context.

We are in the process of sending out a mid-year report. See below for an excerpt and, if you are not on our mailing list but would like to be, send us your snail mail address!
Back in the Summer of 2015, we attended a round table gathering of about two dozen pastors and community organizers. At a crucial point in the conversation, the Black poet, retired professor and native Detroiter Gloria House pleaded with us white folk to "go back to the suburbs and other white-majority spaces to build bridges for justice. Because we can't." Then she added, "We've been asking this since the Civil Rights Movement." Bam! This prophetic commission has been seasoned with many conversations, experiences, feelings and prayers.

Bye Bye

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out....