… He’s on Sabbatical for Summer and Fall and shares what he is up to and reflections on the process of not checking his voicemail and email daily and not keeping office hours.
After eight years of running full tilt to help the MFT program navigate HUGE changes, it feels really strange to not attend meetings or be in my office. It is uncomfortably passive to just study. But last week I read Diane Duane’s book A Wizard Alone,where she wrote that God does not differentiate between “active work” and “passive work.” Rather, we are called to different tasks in different seasons. Since many of you who are reading this are students, you probably already know this. Students choose to step into the academic world in order to serve God by studying, but for me it feels quite strange at this point.
One thing that makes it easier to step away is the great folks we have on the MFT team. Cindy McGrady, Adam Ghali, Autumn Lindberg, Mary Shamshoian, and Valerie Elwell, along with Delores Friesen and a great team of adjuncts, understand the changing status of the seminary and the MFT program. They are more than able to take the program through its next steps in growth. I don’t expect the MFT program to be the same when I return as it was when I left; in fact, I expect it will be better than I can imagine.
Instead of teaching or going to meetings, my plan for this time is to work on four projects.
- Integrating Anabaptist and Reformed Ethics with the ethics of the Wellness and Recovery movement
- Character Development of Students
- Develop workshops for pastors and counselors working more effectively with one another. Each workshop will be developed for the intended audience.
- Literature Review on the integration of Christianity with Family Therapy
Even as I write this blog, I can see that I have set some pretty high goals for myself. The people who are helping me with this sabbatical have told me I am trying to do too much (as if that were a new problem for me). Therefore, the list above reflects the order of importance of each project and I will get as far down that list as I can.
Finally, I want to say that despite the fact that a sabbatical is “time away,” I like being a part of “a community of learners.” I do not plan on doing all of this work alone. I am receiving help from faculty at FPBS and other schools. I am also hoping that some of you who read this would like to join me in the process. Every few weeks, I would like to meet with a few students, alumni and faculty who are interested in the topics I am studying. I will send those folks a draft of the paper I am currently working on along with a list of some readings I found helpful for that paper. Out of those conversations, I expect that my work will be significantly improved. And, who knows, maybe one or two of you will want to join in a project and become another author of the paper.
So, I ask for your prayers, and look forward to seeing you in the Spring. As you pray for me, please pray for focus as I study, clear insightful thought and sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit as I write, and faithfulness in this season of “passive work.”