Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sabbatical, week 2

Rereading the first few sentences of my last post, I sound rather out of touch, no gravity, like I'm floating around what's happening rather than participating in it, and my privilege is showing.  I've got no gears.  With no weekly mandate to connect scripture, faith, reason, heart with what's going on in the world, I read about what's going on, and it does feel like a lot of jabbering.  I realize that I don't have a lot of conversations about what some might call the petty things, transitions like menopause and sabbatical and getting older and theological shifts in my thinking.  But when I put it like that, they aren't so petty; they're foundational.  And that's one thing we don't do a lot of on social media is talk about the foundational stuff, what makes us who we are, our bone-deep identity.  Which makes me wonder - are we talking about it at all?

Sunday afternoon my husband and I went to see the movie "On the Basis of Sex", about the landmark case argued by Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the 10th circuit Court of Appeals in 1971.  So one of the on-again, off-again, might/might not happen things we jabber on about is the state of RBG's health.  We post memes about her cocooned in bubble wrap.  We hashtag her #NotoriousRBG.  "You can't spell TRUTH without RUTH."  She's raised dissent to an art form.  Every time she has a medical procedure, we hold our breath and pray, even those who don't usually pray.  Or believe in God.  We're scared to death what will happen without her on the Supreme Court.

We've elevated her to icon status with a cult following.  Which is the very essence of idolatry.  So what, you might say.  These are scary times, you might say.  And yet it's the same behavior, the same attitude of a Trump supporter.  Or a Bernie bro.  Or any of those throwing their hat into the 2020 presidential race.  When we look to any one person and give them messiah status (I'm looking at Jesus, too), expecting that one person makes all the difference in the saving of the world, we have handed over our will, our agency, our heart, and our brains to the lowest bidder.

On the flip side, we can't lean solely on our own will, agency, heart and brains, or our own clan or cohort, to get the job done.  It takes a village to save a village.  It takes a nation to save a nation.  It takes a world to save a world.

Ubuntu: I am because we are.  My identity is connected to your identity.  It's important that I say unequivocally who I am, you say unabashedly who you are, but at some point we have to move to who we are, this human tribe, that we're in this together.

I'm disconnected from my church clan, so no wonder I sound like an ass.  Maybe the next time someone else sounds off like one, keep in mind they might be disconnected from the ones who could help make them whole too.


I'm off to Munich on Thursday night, then India on Monday, returning home on Feb. 1.  I may or may not have access to internet, so posting about weeks 3, 4, and 5 might be delayed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Sabbatical, week 1

It's funny what we don't talk about.  We spend a great deal of energy jabbering about pretty scary stuff that might or might not happen (there is no crisis at the border, except the humanitarian one created by the present administration) but we don't talk about stuff that really matters.  Like major transitions in our lives.  Sabbatical is one of those.  I've never really had an honest conversation about what it's like with a colleague who's had one.  True, it's temporary, only three months, but all the "doing" framework of one's life is put on hold so that we can tend to the "being" framework.  And so, this being my first one, it feels weird.  And good.  And weird.

I'm also taking a sabbatical from Facebook.  I'm realizing how much time I spend there but also how much it keeps me in contact with people I care about and what they care about.  I feel a bit cut off from the world, one step removed.  As a kind of substitute, I've started reading my Twitter feed more.  Though it keeps me informed, I now know that I am not made for Twitter.  Reading, maybe.  Tweeting, rarely.  Commenting, even less.  I'm also posting photos on Instagram if anyone wants to catch up with me there at @revmom35.

Like any pastor I know, I have a stack of books waiting for me, as well as books I have been waiting to read on sabbatical.  This one falls into both categories.

That last paragraph is going to be a theme in my writing when I get to Sedona next month.

This is a calendar I'm following for the next year.  I'll post photos of the days that say something meaningful to me.  And ones I disagree with too.

These works of art are from a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art with my offspring.  One of these days I'll go back to see more, especially to see Tanner's Annunciation, which was on loan.

This is a photo of playwright and author James Baldwin whose novel is the name for Giovanni's Room, an LGBTQ and feminist bookstore and thrift shop that benefits Philly AIDS Thrift and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

This past Epiphany Sunday we went to Painting with a Twist in Newark and had some fun.  Painting, or doing art of any kind, is a great way for me to meditate, relax, and take a reality break for a while.  And at the end of it, I have this to hang on a wall.

Starry Tardis Night

AJ went in their own direction. 😊

We each had our own interpretation.

Yesterday I got my vaccinations for India and a prescription for anti-malaria pills.  David and I have our visas, train tickets, hotel reservations, names of folks who can be drivers and tour guides, and we've connected with an old friend of mine who lives in Stuttgart that we will visit with while we're in Munich for a few days.

I've also been lining up places to stay on my road trip to and from Sedona, Arizona.  Luckily David has Marriott points and so we've used many of those when I haven't been able to find a couch to surf on.

So this stuff is getting real.  Trying not to be too anxious about the long flights to Munich and New Delhi.  Lowering the bar of expectations because it will be waiting for me when I return to work.  Working on walking most days.  Taking it one day at a time because it will be over before I know it.