Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Portal

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.
Arundhati Roy

Greetings from Central Oregon. Three weeks ago, we moved across town into a one-bedroom cottage a couple blocks from what the Northern Paiute people called Towarnehiooks ("Deschutes River"). Our place is small and we are sheltering in. For the past six years, we have been working together while consistently navigating new contexts. Now a pandemic. We really are stuck with each other! We are learning firsthand the unique challenges that couples face in this new, indefinite season. And we are deeply grateful that, if indeed this pandemic is a portal into Another World, we get to walk through it together. Almost impossible to fathom it otherwise!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Cocoon Time

San Clemente, CA
Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming.
Alice Walker

Two weeks ago, Lindsay flew to Orange County to get six days with her mom, sister and the nephews. Those six days doubled in length and quadrupled in intensity. She suddenly found herself quarantining and homeschooling. Meanwhile, Tom drove to Portland to pick up his mom. No way in hell she was getting on a plane flying out of the Pacific Northwest! They road-tripped down to Orange County as businesses shuttered and residents sheltered.

We are grateful for the resources and flexibility to be able to connect with family during this dramatic shifting of heaven and earth. We drove back to Bend on Saturday and facilitated our first Zoom church gathering on Sunday morning (left) with Storydwelling, a faith community of belonging, ritual and resistance. At the beginning of March, we began a four-month stint as the interim pastors while their pastor Erika is on parental leave. For the Zoom gathering, we spent time with seniors in full quarantine mode and parents with little ones out of school and workers on sick leave, some with pay, others without. We will host this digital faith community every other Sunday at 10am, in addition to facilitating a virtual lectio divina gathering on the other Sundays at 7:30pm.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Shimmering

Towarnehiooks ("Deschutes River")
A circle of lovely, quiet people becomes the ring on my finger.
Rumi

We love facilitating spaces that cultivate what our deepest selves yearn for: the nurture of soul, the strengthening of community and the amplification of hope. Most of this kind of creative experimentation seems to be happening outside the walls of “institutional” churches. We desperately need fresh wineskins for the new wine fermenting inside us and around us. We feel commissioned to create new kinds of containers that can hold what is good, beautiful and true.

Monday, February 3, 2020

To Make America What It Ought To Be

“In this country American means white. 
Everybody else has to hyphenate.”—Toni Morrison

We The People of Detroit
(www.wethepeopleofdetroit.com)
As most Americans know, February is Black History Month. We are grateful for this national focus on an alternative perspective of America. It is a perspective that is transforming us spiritually. At the memorial service for Dr. James Cone, Cornel West described the Black church like this:

A people who have been traumatized for four hundred years,
but taught the world so much about healing,
terrorized for four hundred years,
but taught the world so much about freedom,
hated for four hundred years,
but taught the world so much about how to love.

Yes. In our own spiritual journey, this is one of the traditions that we are humbly pledging allegiance to. Ruby Sales (left), a veteran of the Black Southern Freedom Struggle of the 50’s and 60’s, reminded a group of us white men in Washington D.C. in October, that despite all they’ve suffered (and still suffer), there’s never been anything remotely like a Black al-Qaeda in the United States. Instead, Black people have embodied belovedness in a million different ways for the world to see.

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

Belonging

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.

A Portal

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, ...