Monday, November 17, 2008

No Longer Bi-vocational

I guess I need to wrap up my sabbatical, seeing as it's now finished.

The idea of the sabbatical, as you may remember, was to make church work better for us as a family. That just didn't happen.

So I asked the band leadership to release me from my return date. Based on an understanding of sabbaticals that I did not know, we agreed that what I wanted was more like stepping down from the band, so that's what I did.

I'd be really interested to know what you all think of sabbaticals and how you'd define them. I don't usually ask for comments, but I'd really appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you think on this one.

The main difference in what I was looking for and what I found, is that I have now come to a place of completely letting go of both my leadership role, my playing roles and my promise to return. Now, I have nothing.

Having been in this band for about 7 years, this is not a little scary! It is, however, exactly where I think I should be. I now understand that to lead a ministry which costs too much (IE family time or relational pressures) is to lead it badly. It is to model a type of leadership which is systematically dangerous, when taken to the nTh degree. It's very tempting to do this though; it's like getting too carried away on just one area. We do the same thing when we condemn homosexuals whilst forgetting what the bible says about loving people, but I digress...

In the meantime, God is showing me rather a lot through John Burke's book 'No Perfect People Allowed". More to come on that one. Work is busy but also a great place to be challenged and to grow. God is there too.

Most importantly, I am starting to see a shift in Sundays. We're getting better at how we do the practicalities, which impacts how prepared for the services we are. How the morning goes then affects the rest of the day. This Sunday was really good for us as a family.

I look forward to seeing what God does in this season.

Don't forget to post up below please!


  1. NOTE: If I go from your blog page to make a comment, the comment box is still within your blog, and I can see the original post. If I go from my RSS feed to see the original item, I just get the comment box on a which screen.

    Thanks for your post. My immediate thought is that of being impressed with you for making the decision to step down, and concentrate on family. For not ending the sabbatical and thinking, oh that didn't work so I might as well carry on as I was.

    I'm writing an essay on the Jewish Sabbath at the moment, and a little something seems to link in here. Many of the Rabbis and academics I've been reading about declare the sabbath as freedom. Freedom from the normal constraints of life, a chance to step back and get a fresh perspective. Along with a chance to spend more valuable time with the family which is so important for Jews.

    Particularly important for you is what Rabbi Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan says. "He sugests that it's ‘a pause in our brush-work’ of life and compares its importance to the critical rest moments of an artist. ‘An artist’, he observes, ‘cannot be continually wielding his brush. He must stop at times in his painting to freshen his vision of the object, the meaning of which he wishes to express on his canvas.’ For Kaplan, the Sabbath is a time for pausing, for taking a fresh look at what we are trying to do with our lives. It is a weekly opportunity to scrutinize our goals, hopes, successes, and failures. Getting away from ‘work’ allows us a chance to assess its worth and the value of what we are doing with our energies and talents.” (Fields,(1991) A Torah Commentary for our Times, p.89)

    My idea of a sabbatical, is an extended version of this. So in that sense, you've assessed what you've been doing in life/church, assessed it's value and worth and importance, and you're now putting into practice it's outcome.

    Hope that makes sense.

  2. Brilliant! thank you sparkles.

    And the rest of you?

  3. My first thought was that a sabbatical ought to be useful to the organisation you're taking it from, but I suspect that's just my sense of future-guilt talking about the idea that I might take one at some point...

    I think sparkles has already given the best answer.