all the places i've been lately

May has been a quiet month here at, but a busy month for me in other work venues. 

Cloud Gate, Sir Anish Kapoor; Chicago (photo: Andy Bruner)

Cloud Gate, Sir Anish Kapoor; Chicago (photo: Andy Bruner)

When I look at what I've been writing and talking about in these other venues, it's all themed around toxic systems (patriarchy, toxic masculinity, toxic work environments, abusive marriages) and the harm done to the human beings trapped in those systems.

These are not fun things to talk about, but the joy is in helping people to recognize reality as a first step on the road to freedom and healing. The joy is in believing victims, listening to their voices, helping them know that they are not alone, and demonstrating that there is a life of freedom, peace, and healing outside of toxic systems.

I love what the Persian poet Rumi says:

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.

Help someone's soul heal. 

Walk out of your house like a shepherd.

It's been a good month of walking out of my house like a shepherd.

I've had two Facebook Live interviews this month.

This first one is with Covenant Eyes exploring why porn recovery doesn't seem to "stick" with some guys. (I think it's worth watching just because I'm so alarmingly orange. All I need is a towering blue wig and I'm Marge Simpson.)

I got to say a bunch of stuff about the patriarchy and toxic masculinity in a pretty conservative space, so that was really fun.

The second live session is with Sarita Hartz, talking about toxic environments on the mission field, another fun topic. I think Sarita is going to write a blog post that includes our conversation, but meanwhile the best place to find it is on her Facebook page

I wrote at A Life Overseas on the question of "Can I leave my abusive spouse when 'the bible clearly says?'"  

I made an animation on the topic of victim blaming, which is a common defense mechanism we all use to create a sense of control over our anxiety. The question I'm addressing here is: How can we stop victim blaming, including blaming ourselves

After all that exploration of toxicity, I'm happy to say that Andy and I were able to take a long weekend away over Memorial Day to do the fastest-ever Lake Michigan Circle Drive, Chicago to Chicago, via Wisconsin, Michigan, and even the corner of Indiana in four days.

aboard the ferry to Mackinac Island, Michigan Upper Peninsula

aboard the ferry to Mackinac Island, Michigan Upper Peninsula

We saw a lot of beautiful scenery likitysplit, and I wrote a post about it over at our new travel blog: More to Explore Travel.

If you want to keep up with travel posts, and read through the archives of many of our trips, you can follow More to Explore Travel on Facebook.

And, oops! One more project I forgot to mention: Andy and I started a secret Facebook group for folks who are faith-shifting while in ministry.

If you started out on our ministry journey conservative, and now find yourself not-so-conservative, andif you're afraid of losing your job if your church or ministry partners knew what you really believe about hell, lgbtq inclusion, the inerrancy of the bible, voting republican, etc., well, this might be the group for you.

It's secret, which means it can't be seen by anyone except members. If you want in, send me your email address via the contact form here

And now, to take a nap.

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