Sunday, December 2, 2018

Distance

There's a hole in the middle of the prettiest life 
So the lawyers and the prophets say. 
Not your father nor your mother nor your lover's ever gonna make it go away. 
Now there's too much darkness in an endless night 
To be ashamed of the way we feel. 
Let's be kind to each other 
Not forever but for real.
David Wilcox, "For Real" (1996)

November has been a blur. The month began with the two of us separated by 2000 miles. Lindsay flew to Orange County at the end of October to immerse herself in important relationships and projects, while Tom stayed behind in Michigan for a veritable bevy of events on the calendar. "Dividing and conquering" sounds far too colonizing, but it was something like that. We re-connected mid-month for family time, some book gatherings and the wedding celebration of Chris and Alyssa Dollar on the beach in San Clemente!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Way

Society miseducates us. Society gives us a lot of prompts and a lot of encouragements to be reactive, emotionally reactive. In this, we have received tremendous tutelage. So the ability to do what our societies seem incapable and unwilling to do is important. It's incumbent upon us to be reflective, to be complex, to be subtle, to be nuanced, to take our time.
Junot Diaz

Over the past four years, right around this time of year, we have been repeatedly baptized into the anticipation of autumn. The temperatures drop and the leaves glow. At least for a few weeks. We are currently peering into that brief window on the calendar. And it is glorious.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Book It

We begin to ask ourselves: 

“Why do I spend so much of my life trapped like this, on the outer circumference of the inner richness of my own life? 

Why do I spend so much time unaware of that which alone can fulfill my heart?” 

This aching or longing is our teacher. It helps us to realize that we are called to something infinitely beyond what any egocentric pursuit can offer us. And then in obedience to that teacher we set out on this path.
James Finley, The Contemplative Heart (2000)

This month, we are back in Michigan, celebrating the release of Tom's book Descending Like a Dove: Adventures in Decolonizing Evangelical Christianity. It is available on Amazon.com here. The book project has been a full-time labor of love over the past two years. It recounts growing up in Evangelical circles and some of the nurture we received there, as well as chronicling the many ways we became disoriented by that movement as we journeyed through, and eventually out the other side of it over time. However, most of the book is a series of stories about people we've met along the way, and the ways that a more critical and compassionate faith speaks to the issues of our world. And to us. We commissioned our sister-in-law Casey to do the art and design for the cover (see more of her work and hire her for a project or event here).

Friday, August 31, 2018

Listening

Mt. Hood, Oregon
I don't know exactly what a prayer is. 
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down 
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, 
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, 
which is what I have been doing all day. 
Tell me, what else should I have done? 
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? 
Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"

This month, we've been on the move. First, we hauled our belongings to a one-bedroom place on the other side of the river in Ypsilanti. The landlord is still working on the flooring so he's allowing us to store our goods until mid-September. On the day we moved (July 31), Lindsay flew to Southern California for a week of being with family and friends and Tom drove the silver Corolla (188,000 miles and counting) across the frontier towards Oregon territory. He visited dear friends in Kansas and Colorado and, along the way, stopped at St. David, Illinois, the birthplace of his maternal grandmother Elizabeth Griffith. We met back up on August 7 in Bend, Oregon, at the home of Greg and Casey (Lindsay's brother and sister-in-law). We get to stay with them until September 11!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Pivoting

Create no images of God. Accept the images that God has provided. They are everywhere, in everything. God is Change— Seed to tree, tree to forest; Rain to river, river to sea; Grubs to bees, bees to swarm. From one, many; from many, one; Forever uniting, growing, dissolving—forever Changing. The universe is God’s self-portrait. 
Octavia Butler

July brought an extremely hot and humid blast and then cooled into fresh breezes and rainy afternoons.  It delivered sad news of relatives of dear friends transitioning from the world as we know it, as well as new life emerging with squirming cries.  It gifted deep conversations with couples unlearning old patterns, but also contemplative sighs on the banks of the Huron River. It sent Lindsay on a journey to the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, while Tom soaked in some extra early mornings at the soup kitchen in Detroit.  It beckoned us to Grand Rapids to see our friends working with a touring band and across town to our new one-bedroom apartment (note the address change: 1035 Holmes, #2, Ypsilanti, MI 48198)!  Here are a few sights that we delighted in as we pivoted through the early summer.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Accompaniment

Philly, PA.  100 degrees.
I reckon we must approach the sweltering heat of the compost heap with the curiosity of children, instead of the righteous confidence of the priest.
Bayo Akomolafe

June bursted forth with relationship and travel.  We celebrated Melisa's retirement in SoCal after her three-decade+ reign in the classroom.  We hosted Chris and Alyssa for a MarriageStrong retreat as they prepare emotionally and spiritually for their November wedding.  We joined pastors, professors, parents and young professionals on the streets in Lansing, Detroit and D.C. for the Poor People's Campaign.  We shared intimate meals on many occasions, with leaders from Philadelphia, Kentucky, Indiana, multiple contexts in Southern California, North Carolina and, of course, Detroit.  These, and more, brought a harvest of prayer and protest, listening and learning, testimony and tears.  It was rich.  We are grateful and tired.  Spirit is diagnosing a heavy dose of sleep, solitude, salad and sits by the Huron.  Enjoy these images from the road.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Movement That Made Martin

We who believe in freedom will not rest until it comes. 
Ella Baker 

We are deeply grateful to be living into an alternative form of pastoral ministry. We envision the core of our work as “soul accompaniment.” Our vocation is part-pastoral-counseling, part-spiritual-directing, part-advocating-for-the-most-marginalized. We partner with organizations and communities and families and couples and singles courageously facing into this world which often (and increasingly) offers inadequate supports.

For the most part, we are freed from the constraints of a “normal schedule” during the week. Although we naturally tend to keep a full calendar of meetings and appointments, events and gatherings, the therapists, mentors, soul friends, supporters and twelve-steppers in our life continue to teach us the immense value of vigilant margin-building. This helps us tend closely to a practice of personal recovery, out of which healthier boundaries can flow. This also keeps us accountable to the two key aspects of our vocation:

Distance

There's a hole in the middle of the prettiest life  So the lawyers and the prophets say.  Not your father nor your mother nor your l...