Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming.
Alice Walker
Some frequently asked questions:

Q: Are you exercising out there?
A: We go on a couple of runs a week. There are some safety concerns in our neighborhood so we always run together. This week, we joined some of the women from the block on Saturday for a morning jog at Belle Isle (above), a 982-acre island in the middle of the Detroit River. We are members at the Roberto Clemente Rec Center in the Mexicantown neighborhood. It’s got a small weight room and a great basketball court and it’s less than $10 per month. This will be a godsend as the temperatures keep dropping.

Q: Are you still vegetarians?
A: For the past 4 years, we have been committed to vegetarianism for a lot of reasons that have to do with the disastrous effects of factory farms on the Land (deforestation, use of fossil fuels & water, industrial run-off, etc), how workers and animals are treated and the fact that it is the #1 contributor to the overheating of the planet. We survive on a lot of oatmeal, granola, almond milk, kale salads, lentil dishes, black bean tacos (with loads of guacamole…yes, we have avocados in Detroit) and plenty of other good stuff (if you want to maintain your usual eating habits don't read this). We buy from independent grocers in the neighborhood, get our kale & tomatoes from the community garden (for another week or so) and get some staples from one of the corporate chains (Kroger) in Dearborn (the 139-square-miles of Detroit has only one corporate chain grocery store and one Whole Foods…this is called a “food desert”). Lindsay still has a sweet tooth, but no ice cream because we don’t have a freezer! And, yes, Tom still enjoys a beer from one of the local craft breweries from time to time.

Q: Most of your posts are about what you do together. Do you have separate lives or are you totally enmeshed?
A: Lindsay is committed to shifts at the water hotline, run by We The People of Detroit & The People’s Water Board and is heading a committee with Peace House of Kalamazoo for a planned march and rally against drone violence in Battle Creek (about a 2 hour drive) on November 8. In addition, she is planning & facilitating a Strong Marriages group with three other couples that we host every Tuesday night. Tom is spending more time at the church, working with tenants and building issues in the parish hall and he is serving at Manna Meal every Tuesday morning, a soup kitchen run out of the basement of the church. There is also ample time for writing and editing the new RadicalDiscipleship blog that he is co-curating with Detroiter Lydia Wylie-Kellermann.

Q: Did you meet anyone interesting this week?
A: We attended the Meta Peace Team annual awards ceremony on Sunday at a Lebanese banquet hall in Dearborn. MPT was honoring our pastor, Bill Wylie-Kellermann, with the scholar-activist award. We sat next to Valerie Jean (right), a Detroiter who has denied workers trying to shut-off her water (not once, but twice in the past few months). She can’t afford the payments and has 5 children living in the home. She has become a leader in the water struggle and consistently speaks with Palestinians and Bolivians, whose countries have been down this road before (in Bolivia, millions organized & were historically successful in pushing out the privatizing forces of multinational water companies who tried to take control of their water). Valerie Jean received a notice from the city that she will be arrested if she doesn’t allow the crew access to her front yard the next time they come. And, for the third year in a row, she won't have the funds to pay for heat through the winter. Add Valerie (and so many others) to your prayer list.

Q: Any exciting weather this week?
A: It was 70 degrees on Monday and there was a thunderstorm yesterday. There is a slight chance for snow on Friday night and/or Saturday morning…just in time for our The Day of the Dead 5k/10k that we are running!

Q: Do you plan on watching game 7 of the World Series tonight?
A: Unfortunately, we have not owned a TV for the last 10 years and access to TV is quite limited out here. If we were in California, we'd definitely be at Linsday's mom's house, homed in on the flat screen, gorging ourselves on red enchiladas. Tom remembers quite vividly game 7 of the 1985 World Series when the Royals humiliated the Cardinals eleven-to-nothing. In his elementary to junior-high years, Tom was a gigantic George Brett fan, collecting hundreds of his baseball cards. And, of course, Kansas is a special place for both of us and it would be amazing to be on Mass Street in Lawrence watching with the locals. We’ll see if, perhaps, we can get around a TV for the late innings tonight. Go Royals.

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