Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Sabbatical has taken us back on the road again, but now in the United States. We have been traveling up the west coast with "sabbatical-mates." Pastor Erik Goehner, associate at Mount Cross Lutheran Church in Camarillo, CA, and his wife Desta and their three young children (almost the same age as ours) are on their way to Holden Village in Washington - and we're on our way to other ventures in Seattle - so we decided to travel together. It has been good to share with one another the joys and challenges that are uniquely understood by families-in-ministry.

As the ten of us traveled together today along the Oregon coast, we took a quick, unplanned road stop. It came as the result of a desperate 5-year-old squirming as he screamed, "I HAVE TO GO PEE-PEE NOW!" It was at that moment that we spotted a sign for a lighthouse trail - which had public restrooms (thank God) - and a fantastic little bay in which a crystal clear little river bed made its end. It was misting, yet gorgeous, and the children ran barefoot through the ankle-deep chilly waters to the other side of the bay, squealing with joy, spinning circles with outstretched arms, and praising life. Hannah, in breathless enthusiasm, ran in God's wonderland and exclaimed, "It's an amazicle!" And amazing-miracle, we surmised... a word that came forth out of pure and utter joy... a word that captured the beautiful moment we were all sharing. Hannah repeated the word several times. So did we.

Tonight we are all resting snugly in a 2-bedroom lovely, yet inexpensive, suite overlooking the ocean in Newport, Oregon. Tomorrow, we meet with Pastor David Robinson, a Presbyterian pastor who wrote the book THE FAMILY CLOISTER. The book came out of Robinson's experience in Benedictine monasteries and his desire to take those rhythms into his family life with his wife and three boys. The idea of "family monasticism" has a growing tug on us. After wandering through the old monasteries of England, living for a week in the monastic community of Taize, France, sitting in San Francisco and talking with Mark and Lisa Scandrette and their children about the "neo-monastic vows" of their community (, and preparing for tomorrow... well, we wonder what rhythms God may be writing anew in us???

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