Clergy Renewal Update – reading list and unplugging

Clergy Renewal Update – reading list and unplugging

Some of you have asked and maybe wondered about some of my hopes and goals for the three weeks that I will be on sabbatical. The purpose and point of a sabbatical is to allow a person to take a leave for learning, renewal, writing, or in some instances to volunteer.

For me, part of resting and renewal is having time to sit and read! I love reading! Yet over the past two years, my time and quite honestly, desire for reading has been lacking due to lack of time, energy and focus at the end of the day. Please don’t get me wrong, or misunderstand … I LOVE my call as minister, I LOVE being your pastor, and am amazed and filled with gratitude that I still am feeling called to be your pastor! I’m simply ready for a reset in my routine, which hopefully will bring me back refreshed and lighter in how I show up in the room and in space with all of you.

In preparation for this time, I have had to condense my stack of all the books that have been piling up and narrow it down to a few key books…which I have done. Well, thanks to my Kindle and audio books, I am able to bring a few more with me, but here’s the list of my hopeful reads over the next three weeks: (I’ve already read one this week, and 1/3 of the way in to another one.)

  • Sacred Pulse, Holy Rhythms for Overwhelmed Souls, by April Fiet
  • The Invisible Girls, by Sarah Thebarge
  • Be the Brave One, by Ann Kansfield
  • The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimney Suleyman
  • Good Enough, by Kate Bowler
  • Wholehearted Faith, by Rachel Held Evans and Jeff Chu
  • Wish You Were Here, by Jodi Picoult
  • We are Not Like Them, by Christine Pride

Ha, ha, as I type out this list I am realizing how lofty this goal looks, but I’m pretty excited to sit and read over the course of the next three weeks! And in looking at the list, I’m curious to see what the common thread (if any) will connect these books. I guess time will tell. [I did leave a copy of a couple of these books in the back of the sanctuary if you’d like to read along with me]

What does it mean to unplug? It means that the only device I’m bringing is my phone and kindle. I have already deleted the social media apps from my phone and Wednesday evening before I fall asleep, I plan to disconnect my email from my phone, turn off notifications, and put it on silent and in ‘sabbatical mode’ for the next three weeks until I return. It means that by purchasing a camera to take pictures, I won’t be as tempted to always grab my phone and then look at it. It means that I will constantly struggle and wrestle with the desire and need to see who texted or called, fight the urge to respond to a text, listen to a voicemail, or call someone because “I just realized …” or “I forgot…” It means that my time will be nearly screen free!

Each week at the beginning of worship, we pause to take a breath in and out … to breathe in God’s love and grace and presence … and breathe out the chaos of our lives.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus speaks these words “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

It is my hope and prayer that you all will also be able to find some space to unplug (even if it’s for a few minutes) to rest, catch your breath, and bask in the fullness of God’s love and grace in your lives.

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