Philip Melancthon turned to Martin Luther and announced, “Today, you and I shall discuss the governance of the universe.” Luther looked at Melancthon and said, “No. Today, you and I shall go fishing and leave the governance of the universe to God.”
With thanks to Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God, p. 220.
Some of the best, most spiritual, faithful, creative, obedient, challenging, life-changing thoughts come to me when I am fishing. Or cycling. Or hiking. Or running. Or skiing. In an odd and wonderful way, when I leave the “governance of the universe” (or even of our church, or my family or my life) to God for a bit, somehow, in the middle of it, I get these moments that are like manna dropped into my soul. They are little morsels of insight, sustenance for my calling.
In many ways, I am looking forward to my sabbatical as a kind of long “fishing trip”, a long run, a long ride, a journey where I leave “governance” to God and allow my soul to open to God for direction and refreshment.
One of my intentions for my sabbatical is to treat it like an extended sabbath where I am able to temporarily set aside my obligations so that I can instead attend to things that I want to do, need to do and will ultimately enable me to fulfill my pastoral obligations from a place of increased peace, centeredness and fullness.
So to that end, my blogging will be changing in the weeks ahead, also. Ironically, I began blogging as a strategy for communicating with my congregation during my sabbatical. My friend, Mark and I were hiking in Idaho along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River after I had finished a morning of fishing.
He encouraged me to start blogging as a way of letting my congregation in on my process and thinking during the sabbatical. In order to pave the way, I started a blog nine months before I was scheduled to leave. But the blog began to take on a life of its own, and I became even more fascinated by its potential. My sabbatical got postponed but the blogging continued.
And the blog has been good, stimulating, but demanding work. (Mark Roberts has called it a "demanding mistress")
Only recently have I begun to realize that writing my blog has been more difficult, the well of thoughts and resources has grown dry and the subjects that I feel called/capable of addressing well has grown thin. So, in a sense, I am in need of a sabbatical from my blogging also.
I need to let God and the other bloggers take up the governance of the universe and instead go fishing.
Now, this is not to say that I will stop blogging for the next three months. It’s just that I am going to be changing the way I blog (indeed, I have been already) during this sabbatical season. In short, the blog will be on a sabbatical and my sabbatical will be reflected in my blog.
- I will soon be turning off the comments section. While my responses to comments don’t always show it, I feel a sense of responsibility to those who comment. I find it hard to NOT respond to questions, challenges and critiques. During my sabbatical I need to spend time responding to God and the questions that he is raising in me. So, if you read something that raises a response in you, please feel free to email it. I’ll read it in September.
- My posts will be random, more personal and more about process. Kind of the public section of my journal that I want to share with my congregation (and anyone else who may be interested, I guess.) Don’t hold your breath for the next post (I know I have already been heading this way for awhile--see next post), but I’ll post whenever I can.
- I am changing the Lists to be specifically about the sabbatical. In addition, I won't be adding any links for awhile. I think linking is an important way of building conversational communtity, but I’ll reestablish that practice in earnest when I return.
- I will not discuss anything current. No “Da Vinci Code,” no “Gospel of Judas” ,no “One Campaign,” nothing “emergent” or “revolutionary”, nothing even remotely relevant. (Not even Angels baseball.) Instead I am going to be traveling to another world both literarily and—at times—physically.
- I will post pictures. I like pictures. I like taking them and sharing them with others.
My intention is not so much to go on “vacation” as it is to “remember”. Not so much “vacating” my call, as “re-membering” to whom and to what my call is supposed to be as a faithful response to God and his Kingdom mission.
Feel free to follow along. Or not. (Or you can always just come back to look at the pictures.)