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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A Stunning Range of Beauty

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. 
I want to be light and frolicsome. 
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, 
as though I had wings.
Mary Oliver

We've been told that Spirit often speaks by seconding the motions. The transcendent gets our attention by shimmering the same thing over and over again. This month, Spirit grew some wings. One of the books on our bedside is Sue Halpern's Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly. We bought it in Ypsilanti a few days before we headed West last month. On a recent day on the Deschutes River, there were dozens of Monarchs dancing in the sun, fifteen feet above the earth. Apparently, these were taking a rest stop on their Spring solar-powered trek from Southern California to Canada.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Taking the Bull by the Horns

On the road, an hour south of Lorain, Ohio
We have a transformative moment before us that starts with telling the truth, but it requires sacrifice, a rethinking of moral values, and dismantling systems of oppression. Deputize yourselves to figure out where you are in the fight.
Monica Lewis-Patrick

On March 15, we moved out of Michigan. Again. This second half of the month has served up separate vocations for the two of us. Lindsay headed West for a few days of spiritual retreat and recovery, followed by deep and meaningful time with family, friends and partners in this work of soul accompaniment

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Transition Time [Again]

And when they spy
on us
let them discover
Alice Walker, Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart (2018)

February sent us south to Southern California for more book readings, a baby shower for our sister-in-law Casey and our annual staffing of the Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute 100 miles north of Los Angeles (see this for some of Tom's reflections). But before all this, Casey and Greg (Lindsay's brother) treated us to our first excursion on cross country skis. When the Cascades call, we come.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Family, Friends and Ferries

Something as simple as 
asking me 
Nayirrah Waheed, "the perfect date," Salt (2013)

Corvallis, Oregon

We left the California coast for the Pacific Northwest on January 10th after time with family and book readings in Pasadena and San Clemente. After a week off in Bend, Oregon, we hit the road for Kirkland, Washington where we re-connected with the Rutenbars, beloved community partners from our days in Orange County. We had a fascinating book gathering in nearby Woodinville with former staff from Saddleback Church (now at a megachurch in Seattle) and joined by a cluster of dear friends we've gotten to know over the past five years. It was a deep and encouraging time with a circle that included many pastors, a theology professor, a spiritual director and a couple who work with teens recovering from substance abuse.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Serving Up 2018

A sign from Steadfast Love.
It's time to slow down
Be nobody's darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Alice Walker

2018 flew by quicker than a first serve from Serena Williams. And, just as it is staring across the net at the greatest athlete ever, it was often hard to see clearly enough to return what Life delivered. 2018 was a blur of travel and recovery, often resulting in some form of illness. Like a grinding loss in the finals of a Grand Slam event only to gear up for the next tournament.

2018 was one gigantic, exquisite privilege to soak in dear friends and spaces, old and new, all over the country from Southern California to Seattle to Atlanta to Charlottesville to Philly to Minneapolis to Denver to Oregon. And back again. And down for the count again. Sustainability beckons in 2019. That's a promise, not a threat. Like mustard seeds, superlatives sprouted up along the Way. We offer this 2018 recap of mosts, firsts, worsts and bests from our Journey.

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 a...