Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A life-giving vehicle?

We've spent a lot of time pondering and researching how we will go on our journey.

We want everything we do to be life giving. And so it is not enough to ask, what gives us life? We also are asking, what will give the earth life?

We thought for about two seconds about riding our bikes. But without a lot of logistics, support along the way, and major training, the trip would become more about getting places than being present to people once we got there.

For a while we thought an old Volkswagen camper van was the ticket. Some have beds and a fridge, stove, and sink. We even researched how to put a new turbo diesel engine in one and then convert it to run on vegetable oil fuel. This is still technically a possibility. We found one in Atlanta on the Internet. It's getting a new diesel engine this week. It's an 82, and the owner needs $11,500 to get his money back out of it. That's a lot to pay to drive around an old, loud van without power steering or air conditioning and without veggie oil conversion.

On Monday I was pretty frustrated about the whole vehicle situation. On Tuesday, Nate from Veggie Wheels in Venice California emailed with a brilliant idea.

Convert an old ambulance.

Most have heavy duty diesel engines and plenty of space. A friend of his did this and it worked great.

Built in "bookshelves," electrical outlets for the laptop.

We're pumped by the idea.

So, if anybody has an old diesel ambulance they'd like to get rid of, just let us know.

Friday, June 8, 2007


Sometimes for my morning meditation, I listen to Krishna Das. Because his songs take about ten minutes (which seems like a good amount of time for meditation/reflection). And since I have no idea what he is saying, it is rather meditative, because I don't get caught up in the words. The one I like the best does break out into English at the end though. It's something like this: "Calling out to hungry hearts, all the lost and the left behind. Gather round to share this meal. Your joy and your pain, I make them mine."

The truth is, I'm already ready for a listening tour. Listening is a big part of my job. It's certainly my favorite part. Listening to people. Listening for God. Listening for God among gathered people. Etc. I'm not saying I've perfected the art, but its definitely part of what I do.

And here is what I have learned from listening:

There is great transformation afoot. In the world, in the church, and in the lives of many people. Some of it painful. Much of it a struggle. But all of it moving, growing, changing. All of it pushing people towards life.

And I long for a place where people can share that transformation. Deep pain and deep joy. I know I'm not the only one hearing these things. But I spend a lot of time talking to people about them. One on one. With the door closed. And I think, "All these people should be talking to one another. All these people know something. but it's so big and scary, they think they have to keep it to themselves."

So I want to build a community that can call out to the hungry hearts. I want a place where, as Mary Oliver puts it in her poem "Wild Geese", people can "tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine." A place where we don't have to grovel, but just have to be. A place where we can find belonging.

"Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. "

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Universe is moving

I'm preparing for a retreat with my spiritual community, St. Hildegard's in Austin. Before we all show up we are to meditate on some quotes that have shaped the vision of the community. One I read last night rang with truth and hopefulness.

"There is one elementary truth--the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that never otherwise would have occurred...

Whatever you can do,
or dream you can do,
Begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Begin it now."

- Goethe

A small curious thing has been happening lately. Old friends have started calling and emailing. For both of us. Some people we haven't talked to in a long time. Lot's of them. It's wild. And very cool.

Committing to starting Join the Living has moved our internal intention even more toward community. Finding, building, strengthening, creating, community.

It's like all those scattered folks we have a spiritual connection with are feeling the tug. And picking up the connection again.

Just a bit of magic we've been noticing and enjoying.