sabbatical thoughts :: june

“How was your sabbatical?”

That is the question.  And we really appreciate the interest.

Here’s the first of three brief reflections on our summer break…

We began by driving as fast as we could to Northern Wisconsin.  We drove/ate/screamed in our minivan all day and slept in our little tent trailer at night.  It was cramped and cozy, intense and fun, long and hard and sweet.

We arrived at HoneyRock Camp on a Saturday.  The next morning I preached and began two weeks of ministry to the 80-90 college students and full time staff who run what I consider to be the most effective camp in the country.

Sienna and Isaiah participated in a one week residential camp for the first time and absolutely loved it.  They’re saving their allowance and hope to return next summer.

I taught almost every day on the temptations of Christ.  One of the results was a steady stream of meetings with college students wanting to confess sin, be honest about their temptations, and do the hard work of real, lasting spiritual formation.  It was wonderful, exhilarating work.  I experienced powerful times of prayer where God would lead me to speak specific words of direction to the people for whom I was praying.  I’ve rarely experienced this kind of depth of insight in prayer.  It was powerful.  It was exhausting.  Three weeks into our sabbatical I hit a low point and felt a nearly overwhelming need to just stop talking.

 I looked like this.  

The next two weeks we spent almost totally alone in a cozy cabin on the end of a lake.  We ate on the deck overlooking the water.  We watched bald eagles snag fish and painted turtles sun themselves on old mossy logs.  We slept a lot.  We read.  We canoed and kayaked every day.  It was wonderful.

We loved every minute and wondered how we could return to this very spot someday.

I spent several early mornings on the water watching the sun rise through thick mist and listening to the sounds of the forest waking up all around me.  These were mystical, memorable mornings when time seemed to stand still.

We’re so grateful for this gift.

[next: July: road trip!]

I Should Just Stick with Theology

I bought it for the title: In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.
I bought it on a whim.

I was driving, listening to a conservative, Jewish talk show host who thinks and speaks with remarkable clarity, and was, for reasons I do not understand, interviewing Adam Carolla.

The Adam Carolla who has the most-listened-to podcast in the world.

The interview was funny – Adam has a remarkable ability to observe human behavior and point out the inherent humor in it.  I love this kind of work.

And I happen to agree with Adam’s basic concern about the increasing feminization (Adam uses another term) of American men.  I actually think it’s a real and serious problem.

But I should have just stopped with the title.  The content that followed (at least for the next 30 pages – I put it down and took a bath after that) was so thoroughly soaked in verbal sewage that I failed to notice the humor and human insight.  I was too busy trying to rescue my mind from the wretched imagery evoked in nearly every sentence.

I truly appreciate accurate language, so occasionally a colorful phrase is simply the best one to choose (in my opinion).  Mostly, poor language is simply laziness.  You’re not willing to put forth the effort to express yourself precisely, so you just choose from about six words and make it a noun, verb, or adjective – whatever fits.

Adam writes with such vulgarity that if the publisher were to censor the profanity this book would be reduced to a pamphlet.

Should have spent my $12 on something else – anything else – beets, even.

I Made Breakfast in Rye Patch

There’s something good and right about a dad making breakfast for his family on a camping trip.  Don’t you agree?

Guys who don’t cook…
Guys who can’t find the milk in the fridge…

Will wake up at dawn, before anyone else stirs, and create a four-course feast over a Coleman – and will love it – on a camping trip.

Something gets accessed –
Maybe its the smell of the coffee and bacon.
Maybe it’s the outdoors.
Maybe it the fact he’s wearing boots.

Or maybe its the simple goodness of providing for those he loves.