Sabbath keeping fell by the wayside sometime last spring. Certainly our commitment to rest and family togetherness took a hit when I took on the summer preaching gig, but… truthfully… in the press to complete last semester… work of all sorts was finding its way into Sundays- my own work, and requiring the work of others.
Well, here we are at the end of the first week of a new semester. It is Friday. And for the first time since I got here, I do not have any Friday classes or other commitments (well, a once a month afternoon commitment, but that’s not bad!) When the church asked me to extend my preaching relationship with them indefinitely, one of twinges was the sabbath time that would continue to be lost. I realized that if I consider Sunday a work day, which it clearly is again, I could take Fridays as a rest day. At least theoretically. Of course, half the day is taken up by something other than school work, and some time is required for worship prep (though I’m being VERY economical about that.) So… I’m nervous that there won’t be enough time to get everything done. But I felt that way about taking Sundays off and everything worked out.
So… starting today… Friday is sabbath for me. What will that mean? I hope that will mean fun morning activities shared with Caroline (zoo today, I think)- activities that will wear her out so she gets a good, long midday nap and perhaps I will nap too! And then family time together in the late afternoon/evening (today, convocation at the div school- never went the past two year, I was always too wiped out by Friday of the first week to stick around! a worship service and then free food! woohoo!)
I didn’t have the most restful start to this new sabbath, however. I was fairly wound up before bed last night, for a variety of reasons. And I woke up in the 5:00 hour, mind racing about the paper for one of my two classes. I’m glad I seem to be getting accustomed to waking up in the 5:00 hour (I’ve been continuing the early morning workout discipline I started during my Latin class last month) though I had hoped to sleep in a bit today. Eventually I gave in and took a few notes about my thoughts regarding the paper to let my mind move on to other things. And then I decided I might as well go to the gym (I had planned to go later, when I could drop C at childcare.) I spent 45 minutes on the treadmill, jogging for 35+, getting closer and closer to that 5k goal! And now I’m nursing C… letting her catch some extra rest while I spend some time with this oft-neglected blog.
So, what’s on deck this semester? Other than, hopefully, Friday sabbaths?
- a class on contemporary theology- the second of two required survey classes (for my area), being taught by the man who taught the 19th century survey I took last semester, the man who did, indeed, agree to be my dissertation adviser earlier this semester. I am FINALLY going to spend some time with Barth. And maybe I’m crazy, but I’m looking forward to this! Lots of weekly reading, brief weekly writing, one paper, and a comprehensive exam (as I mentioned below, daunting, but great practice for what lies ahead!) Another course component was supposed to be an in-class presentation on one of the assigned readings, but as the class is so big he is waiving this requirement for the doctoral students in the room. A RARE treat. Usually the doctoral students get MORE work, not less. That said, our paper will be longer and somehow different (certainly held to different standards) than the masters students. So it really seems fair. Yes, looking forward to this class.
- a class on research for ministry, focusing on marriage- this is the second of the two required seminars (for my fellowship). Perhaps you recall that last fall I took a seminar on teaching for ministry, well now a seminar on research for ministry. The idea is that each of us will produce a publishable article for a journal specific to our discipline. The article will in some way be on marriage and will be responsive to a particular ministry circumstance or the needs of a particular religious community. There are two professors and two pastors co-teaching the class. We will have site visits at a Roman Catholic tribunal where decisions are made about annulments, and at a very progressive Baptist church that frequently hosts same-sex ceremonies. Much of the seminar will be a writing workshop. They hope to teach us how to write a publishable article. Alleluia! I certainly need to know how to do that! And the paper for this should satisfy another requirement of my program as well.
- officiating at my little brother’s wedding in november- how fitting in a semester of thinking about marriage!
- t.a.ing an integrative course for seniors at the div school- this class that I am t.a.ing is essentially a writing workshop too, only in this case I’m in the teacher’s seat. This t.a. work fulfills another requirement of my fellowship.
- preaching three times a month- at least until the end of September. Long story. For another time.
- continuing (wrapping up?) that guided reading I started this summer- the last course requirement for my minor in history. Much more reading to be done about Theology in America.
- finishing (?!) that Aquinas incomplete- I hope. I have some Latin to read now! Woohoo! Just need to budget the time!
- participating in a new Latin Bible Study- to keep up the Latin I’ve just learned and have a bit of a spiritual discipline worked into my academic life.
- miscellany- various and sundry other things.
Perhaps it is clear why I’m nervous about taking Fridays off. Perhaps it is also evident why I need one day off. Thanks for your continuing prayers as I seek balance.