Sabbatical Blog

...chronicling some of my projects and learnings during this time apart from parish ministry

Monday, February 27, 2006


I realized some months ago that my Sabbatical will begin on Ash Wednesday...The first day of Lent. Lent is a period of preparation for Easter.

I'm not a big fan of Easter. There are some spiritual lessons available in the Christian story of the Resurrection, but overall, Easter is a struggle, and my taking a sabbatical over Easter is not an accident. But I do rather like Lent, and its sister season, Advent, and I've often undertaken projects, special meditations, and sometimes, fastings during those seasons. It's good to take a rest from one's usual addictions and to try new things for a defined period.

This Lent, my fast is going to be a fast from Computer Games. In "normal times" computer games are a source of relaxation for me. Not only do I get away from whatever I was thinking about when I play them, but I enjoy the feeling of mastery. When I play computer games, I feel in control of my world. This little habit takes more time out of my life than I wish it did. I'd really rather be quilting. Unfortunately, quilting is too often an exercise in letting things be out of control, so while I enjoy the results, the process isn't always a source of relaxation.

With a little less stress in my overall life, I think I will have less need for veging out in the world of Luxor, Suduku, Arcade Lines, and Troyis. I have bought a book of Suduku puzzles to do on paper and am looking forward to the very challenging Math puzzle in the daily paper. That should keep my mathematical mind exercised for the duration.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sabbatical To-Be List

My colleague Robert Fulgum wrote a lovely Christmas essay about turning his holiday "things to do" list into a holiday "Ways to Be" list. Looking at my sabbatical to do list, I think I had better do the same.

How do I want to be on this sabbatical? The words that come to minds are quiet, attentive, open, calm, appreciative, awaiting, contemplative.

I am struck by the protective gear that the Olympians are using; all manner of helmets and high-tech shiny, stremline suits and who knows what else. This gear, though often ugly, is made necessary by their high speed sports and carefully honed competitive edges.

My own life competes only with the clock and my expectations, but it has enough speed to it that I, too, have developed a bit of a hard shell to cope, and its that shell that I hope will soften in this four month break from "regular" work. The only way for the shell to soften is for me to slow down, calm down, and listen up.

Is my "To Do" list compatable with my "to be" list? That will be the challenge!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sabbatical To-Do List

Here are some of the things I plan to do this sabbatical

Spiritual Life

  1. NM Spiritual Directors Meeting
  2. Clergy Quiet Days in March, April, and May
  3. Spiritual directors International Conference on Dream Work
  4. Called Back to the Well Retreat
  5. Pastor's Group in May and June

UU Networking

  1. MDD UUMA Meeting April 21-22
  2. MDD-NM Clergy Meeting May 31-June 2
  3. GA June 19-24

Prepare for New Church Challenges

  1. Spend a few days in Madison WI, to study how they do their third service, campus ministry, and TV stuff.
  2. Go to several local services to observe "contemporary worship"
  3. Take an on line course
  4. Publish a blog
  5. Visit Portales, Pagosa Springs, and perhaps Roswell and Gallup
  6. Critical Incident stress management course
  7. Look into getting a grant for this satellite church project

And....Work on the Absence of God book and check with Skinner House Books about publishing the Covenant Group Materials which Alicia and I have created over the past two years.

Not to mention the quilt, the garden, my father's 80th birthday party, and watching the birds....

Is that enough for four months? :)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ready, Set, Go...

One thing I've takes a sabbatical to plan a sabbatical. I can see that my first week of sabbatical is going to be spent making the plans and arrangements that I need to make to complete the sabbatical.

But I have my blog set up! Yeah!