Monday, May 29, 2017

Migratory Patterns

Anytime and anywhere, the person who exerts himself or herself with dignity, without worrying about results and without giving in to disappointment, is a true practitioner, a true person of the Way.  I believe that just this is the form of true human well-being.
Soko Marinaga  

Lawrence, Kansas

Over the past four months, we enjoyed our little “sit-spot,” right in front of our apartment in Ojai, the perfect position to watch two dozen mourning doves hunker down in a centuries-old Oak tree across the street.  Our favorite afternoon adventure was our Shelf Road run, a three-mile jaunt from our door to a bench overlooking the entire Ojai Valley (above photo: Lindsay with our friend Grace Aheron, a member of Charis Community Cville in Charlottesville, Virginia).  It was a challenging climb up a steep fire road, but the endorphin-infused walk down together always stimulated the conversation. 

On the way home from our final, wheezing pollen alerted jog, a large lizard shimmied across the street right in front of us.  When we looked up, we saw a red-tailed hawk fifty yards away coming right for us, trying to turn the poor little guy into happy hour.  The lizard barely escaped under a conveniently parked Jeep.  The hawk perched up on that rig, waiting for him to journey back home.

At the end of April, we facilitated a “MarriageStrongTM, Movement Strong” retreat weekend for three couples.  Lindsay organizes and teaches the eight two-hour sessions.  Tom leads off each session with a short meditation and prepares the six meals.  We love doing these together, mostly because we are reminded of the pain-and-peace cycle patterns so pertinent to our own relationship.  We always start by sharing our own quirks and copings to give couples a model of how it all works.  This vulnerability is a reminder of where we want to be in our own coupleship! And as always, it was deep honor and new learning to get to journey with each of these beautiful couples.

We got the opportunity to head over to the Melrose district in L.A. and meet Rob Bell in his back cottage (photo left).  He interviewed Ched for his popular Robcast.  It was a fascinating conversation about faith in the Trump era (click HERE to listen).    

Last weekend, Josh and Grecia Lopez-Reyes (photo right) and Sue Hur (photo below, with daughter Lynn and son Yul) hosted us in Pasadena.  Josh organized a reading of the first chapter of Tom’s book manuscript (tentative title: An Evangelexit Strategy).  It was a wonderful time of mutual sharing and honest feedback from friends who grew up in Evangelical Christianity, but like us, have journeyed with Jesus into new pastures.

While the red-tailed hawks and mourning doves stay in SoCal all year long, we’ve taken on the lifestyle of migratory birds.  From Orange County to Detroit, back and forth for two years, then on the road for fifty days, back to Orange County, up to Portland, down to Ojai and now, we are pivoting back to Detroit for the summer. 

We are currently en route to Philadelphia for a long weekend (June 1-4) to facilitate a marriage retreat for a couple who participated in a “MarriageStrong” weekend with us back in early 2014.  They are moving to Kurdistan for three years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). 

Post-Philly, we’ll be staying in Ypsilanti, Michigan, a little blue-collar university town thirty miles west of Detroit.  We’ll be working on some writing projects and getting trained in ethnoautobiography curriculum (to learn more about ourselves and to be able to utilize it in some of our pastoring and healing work with others).  We are planning on spending three days a week in Detroit.  On Wednesday nights, we'll be participating in the lectio divina group (listening to the Presence of the divine in the context of our own lives) that we helped start up in the neighborhood where we were living back in Fall 2014 - yes! It is still going!  We also plan on working with the women of We The People of Detroit in their strategic efforts to aid victims of water shutoff and change city policy to guarantee clean and affordable water for every resident.  An epidemic of shutoffs continues to oppress tens of thousands of long-time residents. The work continues!

We covet your thoughts and prayers as we continue to discern both the What and the Where of this Fall.  Although we are meeting so many new friends and we tend to get absorbed in the work right in front of our faces, we are deeply grateful for the deep, diverse and scattered network of spiritual sojourners we have gotten the chance to know all over the continent.  Your support and friendship is vital.  Some birds migrate, some post up in the same watershed for life.   In the work of healing, recovery and liberation, each of us is called to something, not the same thing.  It’s the precious process of how the puzzle of peace and justice pieces together to reveal the final picture.

We are so grateful to be part of weaving that picture together with you all...

 (photo below: a late Spring drive through the Rockies gifts us with the last snow of the season).     


  1. Safe migration to you two - and don't be afraid to use the blue ball on the long stretches of driving.

  2. YES! Mike, you are reading my mind. I was just thinking the other, I could really use on of those lacrosse balls right about now. Thanks for the reminder! AND all your love and support!! I think I might be guilty of being a broken record on this front, but we are more grateful for your friendship than you can know. Much love and power to you during this season, Brother! xo