Downward Mobility and The Doctor

nerd art by Travis English

The series on Downward Mobility is only a few weeks old and already I have heard so much feedback. People have come out of the woodwork to say “oh, isn’t it strange–I have the same funny ideas too!” There has been a lot of push back, from people I know and people I don’t; people who love the term and those who loathe it. There are people who think the phrase “downward mobility” doesn’t do enough, there are others who think it legalistic, and there are many who struggle with knowing what it all means. It has caused me to think, long and hard, about why I want this space to be about this topic.

I will have smart people here to tackle many of the questions and concerns, but I wanted to clear something up right quick: I don’t have all the answers. I am not telling you how to live your life. I am not saying you have to sell all your possessions and give to the poor (but somebody I really love said that, and I do want to be able to even entertain that as a possibility). This isn’t going to be about some iron-clad ethic for your life. It is a place for all of us to reach out towards each other, with our questions, fears, hopes, and dreams, and be challenged and encouraged.


On that note, I will leave you this fine Tuesday with a quote from Doctor Who (you can thank Sarah Bessey for getting me hooked on this silly, stupid, marvelous show). I think it sums up the whole thing nicely:


“You know when you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all

‘Grow up,

get a job,

get married,

get a house,

have a kid”

and that’s it.


The truth is the world is so much stranger than that.

It’s so much darker.

And so much madder.


And so much better.”



(from the episode Love & Monsters. I highly suggest you check it out).


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7 thoughts on “Downward Mobility and The Doctor

  1. Lilian says:

    As so often, The Doctor says it best! 😉

  2. Matt says:

    Sounds wonderful. I hope I am in the “don’t understand and willing to learn more” crowd. Looking forward to hearing about the why and learning to understand to the reason for the cost. I love the intro!

  3. The one reservation I think I’d have is with the term “downward mobility”. The people we’d spend time with if we were downwardly mobile, would they like the idea that we’re lowering ourselves to be with them? That might stick in my craw, even if I knew the whole “the least of these” ideas in Christianity. What do your neighbors think of the term?

    • such a good, hard question. honestly, my neighbors would be all over the map about it (they have VERY mixed feelings, because they are a diverse group of people). but what you are getting at is a critique that could be applied to any word we try and stick on a lifestyle of trying to emulate Jesus: both “incarnational” and “missional” still smack of privilege and savior-complexes a bit, don’t they?

      i guess “living simply and serving others” just doesn’t sound as catchy.

    • Becca says:

      I’ve been thinking about this for awhile as I struggle with the phrase as well but I guess that’s where the kingdom of God is, and where real live joy and life is … “Down” is not less than, its just where the kingdom is happening, because God is one who always is coming down to us (and who will ultimately come down again and make his home permanently on this old earth). and since pain and joy are inextricably intertwined, when we open ourselves up more and more to the vulnerabilities of life with others we experience joy to a greater depth as well. It’s about becoming more and more free, and in my family’s case it’s more of a gift to us than it is us doing anything for anyone else. Because its where we are finding real community and friendships that give us more than any amount of money or stuff ever could.


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