The summer of 1974 was a time of uncertainty, bargaining, and ultimately resolve for us. I had decided to enroll in Matthew Fox's graduate program at Holy Names College in Oakland, known as the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality, or ICCS. Sally had encouraged me, stating that it seemed preferable to having me committed to a different type of institution.
Once the decision was made, we began the process of figuring out how the two of us, with our two little girls, would actually move from Wisconsin to California for the year. How would we support ourselves? Where would we live? What would we do with our possessions? One early thought was that I would ask the church I was serving for an academic year off, with the commitment to serve them for at least a year after completion of the program. This seemed a safer course of action than just dropping off the grid.
As we talked about and lived with the idea of proposing an agreement with the church we came to the conclusion that we were in a psychological bargaining phase. We were trying to hold on to some semblance of security to blunt the risk and impact of our decision. This phase ended when we considered the prospects of returning to a church that had been incredibly difficult to serve. How would that feel after the changes we would experience in our lives and insights? Thus we came to the conclusion that, despite how high and scary the precipice, the best course of action was to make the leap. I gave notice at church, and we began the process of cobbling together our financial resources while simultaneously shedding the material possessions we could not afford to move.