Reporting on Wild Goose East 2012

Tom & I at the Mustard Seed/Overflow booth at Wild Goose

Tom & I at the Mustard Seed/Overflow booth at Wild Goose

Tom and I are back home after several wonderful days at the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina. It was hot, humid and dusty but in spite of that we had a wonderful time. Tom was in fine form talking about intentional community and moving beyond the Western dream and I had fun speaking on reimagining how we pray.

Tom was in fine form

Tom was in fine form

More than anything we enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones. Had lots of good discussions, shared lots about the Mustard Seed Village and Cascadia and just thoroughly enjoyed a relaxed but provokative festival.

Together with fellow Australian Dave Andrews

Together with fellow Australian Dave Andrews

I also loved the grievance wall and the opportunity for people to share their frustrations with life & faith

Grievance wall Wild Goose festival

Grievance wall Wild Goose festival

What I didn’t enjoy – having to check for ticks every day and came home covered in itchy bites.

Uninvited guests

Uninvited guests

You can check out my complete festival album on facebook. enjoy

Still to come for the summer – Creative World Festival in Mission B.C. and Wild Goose West 


The Promise of Hope

Yesterday I was in the pits.  As many of you know I was really struggling in the morning because of our lack of finances.  Then I discovered that all my seedlings for the autumn garden have been eaten by something.  Broccoli and cauliflowers neatly cut off, lettuce just devoured completely.  Talk about devastation!!!

Garden bounty

Garden bounty - the first tomato of the season

Then the mail arrived with two small cheques for MSA – two more mustard seeds to add to the others that have been planted.  And in the afternoon I went out to harvest garden produce – spectacular runner beans, squash in abundance, small florets of broccoli, the most enormous cauliflower I have ever grown and the first real tomato of the season.  The story of God lived out in the garden.  The promise and hope of abundant provision in its season.

Suddenly I could start to count my blessings.  First thank you to all who responded to my post yesterday with prayers, comfort and encouragement.  Some shared your own stories of struggle to hold on to faith in the presence of daunting obstacles.  Others shared scriptures and prayers.  It really lifted my spirits to realize how many friends I have who care about what God is birthing through the Mustard Seed Village and pray for us regularly.

This morning I continue to thank God for all my blessings and even though the path ahead still seems full of obstacles I know now that with God’s help it is possible.  And I have so much to be grateful for.  God continues to provide for our needs day by day and is providing a growing circle of friends, and volunteers to walk alongside us.  It is amazing and awe inspiring.

Perspective changes everything.  If we focus on God life seems filled with hope and promise.  If we focus on our burdens it is full of despair and discouragement.  I have experienced the transforming power of God today and I hope that you have too.

The peace of God rest on the

The peace of Christ live in you

The peace of the Spirit flow through you

The peace of all peace be yours today and forever

The New Shared Economy – Is God Up To Something New?

Yesterday I wrote about the new shared economy and the concept of collaborative consumption and commented that I thought this could be a move of God. Later in the day I conducted a mini garden seminar with my students here at OMSC.  At one point I used Graham Kerr’s comment “chefs compete, gardeners share” and I started to wonder – is it a coincidence that this new sharing economy is emerging at the same time that people everywhere are becoming gardener?.  Maybe there is a link between the two.  Maybe it isn’t just the internet that encourages us to share.  The sharing of garden produce is encouraging us to share other aspects of our lives too and behind it all I think is a God who wants us to share our lives just as generously as we share everything else.

Whatever the reasons I am excited by this new movement and wanted to share another important resource I came across this morning on The New Sharing Economy


Technology is connecting individuals to information, other people, and physical things in ever-more efficient and intelligent ways. It’s changing how we consume, socialize, mobilize— ultimately, how we live and function together as a society. In a global economy where the means of production are becoming increasingly decentralized, where access is more practical than ownership, what do the successful businesses of the future need to know?  Read the entire article

Sharing is Everywhere

Celebrating the Big 60th

Today is my 60th birthday.  Hard to believe that I have been on God’s good earth for such a span of time.  And it has been a wonderful time so far.  I am humbled by the numbers that have contacted me in the last couple of days to share ways in which my life and ministry has impacted them.  I feel privileged to be a part of what God  is doing to transform the world and am so appreciative of the many friends and family who have made that possible. Milestone birthdays like this are not just a time to celebrate but also a time to remember and give thanks to God.

On Saturday we are holding a big celebration.  We are calling it  A Feast of Friends because we want it to be a celebration of those many friends who have walked with me along the way.  More than anything I am aware at this time that I do not walk my journey alone.  There are so many who have supported, encouraged and strengthened me along the way.  There are saints past and present who have been Godly examples for me, providing role models that have made it possible for me to follow God even when the going got tough.  Friends have provided a shoulder for me to cry on when I was depressed, and a loving embrace when I was in need of comfort.

So may good memories and I thought that I would share a few of them with you here in this video.  My apologies to friends in New Zealand where I lived for 5 years .  In the years of travel my photos from that part of my life seem to have disappeared.  But they are still stored in my heart.


God may we in all things seek you

We are now at CCDA (reports to follow) and as so often happens when I travel I find that writing prayers is very therapeutic for me.  Here is one I wrote during our flights as I thought about all that I am looking forward to at this conference – the challenging presentations, the renewal of friendships and the opportunity to meet new people in particular.

God may we in all things seek you

God may we in all things praise you

God may we in all things know you

Remold us, remake us build us into you

Christ may we in all things seek you

Christ may we in all things praise you

Christ may we in all things know you

Remold us, remake us build us into you

Spirit may we in all things seek you

Spirit may we in all things praise you

Spirit may we in all things know you

Remold us, remake us build us into you

Stop, Revive, Survive

I have just returned from my trip to Australia where I virtually disconnected from blogs, email and facebook for 2 weeks.  It is the first time that I have done this for a long time.  At first it seemed weird and I did attempt to stay in touch posting the occasional random blog post, but as I relaxed and enjoyed my time with my family I realized how easily I get my priorities out of focus.  Having realized that I didn’t even try to connect to the internet again until I was sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting for my connecting flight back to Seattle.

This has been a very special time especially with my mother.  We drove from Sydney to Brisbane, spent time with other family members including her one remaining sister, visited art galleries and just enjoyed each other’s company.

It was a wonderful and refreshing time though I wish there was a better cure for jetlag.  I have only logged about 6 hours sleep in the last 48 and am definitely feeling a little fuzzy around the edges.  As we drove north along the highway we were continually confronted with this sign – STOP, REVIVE, SURVIVE reminding us of those who have accidents and sometimes kill themselves because they don’t take enough breaks.  It was a great excuse to stop for another cappucino every couple of hours, and along the way we discovered some wonderful out of the way coffee shops – one in an 1880s house with incredible pressed metal work on ceiling and walls, another a beautiful spot on the riverfront at Kempsey – the outside seating was a little chilly on a cold winter’s day but well worth it for the homemade apricot scones we enjoyed.

This trip and the recurring sign – STOP, REVIVE SURVIVE – was a good reminder to me too of my need to rest and refresh myself on a regular basis – though not quite every 2 hours as the signs suggest.  When I get back into work mode it is easy for me to forget that work is not everything – particularly when the garden is overflowing with produce and my email account is bursting at the seams with new messages.

So what are you doing this summer (or winter for those of you Down Under) to STOP, REVIVE and SURVIVE.  And what do you do on a regular basis that maintains the rhythm of rest and revitalization necessary for survival in our high pressured world?

Do Your Friends Know Each Other – It Might be Your Genes

This is amazing.

“We find that how interconnected your friends are depends on your genes. Some people have four friends who know each other and some people have four friends who don’t know each other. Whether Dick and Harry know each other depends on Tom’s genes,” Christakis said in a telephone interview.  Read more

Health Healing and Wholeness

I don’t usually blog on Sunday but I have so many thoughts swirling in my mind after the medical mission’s conference here in Pasadena that I thought I would commit some of them to the blogoshere.

First the bad news – I was stunned to hear that there are 3 counties in Memphis Tennessee in which infant mortality is higher than in any African country.  In Glasgow Scotland there is a 30 year difference in life expectancy between the rich and the poor.  And to add to this the World Health Organization estimates that the world is short 4 million trained health workers.  Not surprisingly 1.3 billion people – about 1 fifth of the world’s population, lack access to affordable and adequate health care.

Now the good news.  Ted Lankester founder and director of The Community Health Global Network and one of the plenary speakers, had to leave early because he was on his way to Geneva for meeting between faith based organizations and the World Health Organization.  Evidently 40 – 70% of health care in SubSahara Africa is provided by faith based organizations and for the first time ever the WHO wants to work collaboratively with these groups.

It was so good to be together with health care workers who care passionately about those who lack adequate access to health and who also take their faith seriously.  So many of the speakers are God’s unsung heroes – missionaries, nurses and doctors who work with the marginalized locally and globally.  This was a great conference to be a part of and I am already looking forward to the possibility of participating next year.

This was also a great time to reconnect to people I have not seen for years too – like some of the medical students I used to meet with regularly back in the mid nineties – now all doctors of course, and Jude Tiersma Watson who is a part of Innerchange, and Eithne Keegan a strong advocate for HIV/AIDS sufferers in Africa. I also made some new friends like Holly Hight who works with Bread For The World

I always return home from an event like this energized and excited by all that God is doing in the world.  Thre may be great need out there but God is still at work healing the sick, providing for the poor and setting the oppressed free.  God is still working through the mustard seed – the small and the insignificant – to change our world.

Taking a Break

Tom and I have just returned from a wonderful few days of vacation on Mayne Island British Columbia spent with our good friends Tom & Kim Balke.  We stayed in a beautiful cabin that looked out over the water refreshing our souls each time we looked out the window.  Much to our delight the blackberries were in season and a couple of apple trees laden with fruit stood just below the cabin.  Blackberry and apple cobbler made from just picked fruit and topped with ice cream is not only great for dessert, it also makes a  wonderful breakfast – after all I did use granola for the crumble crust.  Actually according to Tom it is a well balanced complete breakfast – fruit, grain and dairy all combined.

We did lots of walking, talking and watching of videos.  Caught up on our sleep and even managed to spend some time praying and refocussing though that was not the main purpose of the trip.  Good fun, good fellowship and good food.  What more could we ask for.  We returned to Seattle renewed and refreshed and ready to get into what promises to be a very busy Fall schedule.

Coping with Transitions

Yesterday we said goodbye to Peter and Anneke Geel who have lived in the basement apartment at the Mustard Seed House for the last 15 months. We have loved having them as part of our community. We had a great celebration and commissioning time the night before that I am sure all of us will look back with fond memories, but it was still hard to see them leave. Saying goodbye is never easy though it does often create good memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.  In fact I told Catie that Peter and Anneke are not leaving our community they are just extending it to Washington DC.  There will always be a place for them in our house and I am sure that there will always be a place for us in theirs.

Yesterday I also uploaded photos onto facebook from my early days on board the Mercy Ship Anastasis, another community that has played a very important place in my life and which has provided me with family literally all over the world. It was rather a nostalgic moment for me as I looked back over what had a been a very fulfilling period of my life. The Anastasis was scrapped earlier this year and many of us that lived through those early days have been sharing our photos as we looked back remembering both the good times and the struggling times.

Transitions are never easy especially when they mark the end of fulfilling and enjoyable times in our lives but whether they are good or bad they cannot be ignored. When I was on the Anastasis we would mark our move from one port to another with what we called our “Moving of the Ark” ceremony. The night before we sailed we would have a community meeting at which people would share their delight at all the good things that had happened in the port we were leaving. We would have a time of prayer and thanksgiving then take communion together. We would end the evening with a time of orientation for the port that we were about to sail to.

I always appreciated this ceremony. It affirmed and celebrated our achievements and focused us on the good things that God had accomplished through us while at the same time preparing us for change and the new experiences of our next port of call.

How do you mark the transitions in your life?