Ok, now what? Am I blogging? One of my goals for the Sabbatical time I am taking is that I will learn how to blog. I am learning right now. I have already lost my first attempt at posting an entry, but I am back.
This is a first post to friends about my progress on Sabbatical, but I think I should offer a little background in case you came to this sight and are for some reason reading this and you don't have any idea who I am or why I am taking a three month Sabbatical. I am a pastor, and pastors sometimes get extended time off. Theoretically we are supposed to get some time every 7 years or so, but I have been a pastor for 33 years and this is my first Sabbatical. I capitalize "Sabbatical" because it is a form of the word "Sabbath" which is a special day celebrated by Jews, some Christians, and Moslems. It's in the Bible, the Ten Commandments, which can be found in Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5.
I am two and a half weeks into a 13 week Sabbatical. So far I have managed to sleep in till 7 a.m. at least twice, played 4 rounds of golf, attended two conferences, and traveled to Oregon and Washington to see friends and family. I also drove by fields of tulips in the Skagit Valley and took some photos even though it was freezing cold and raining. It is colder than normal up here, and that is just too cold for this California boy. I am heading south tomorrow.
I came to Seattle to attend the "Everything Must Change Tour" of Bryan McLaren and "Deep Shift." Bryan is a well known Christian author and Deep Shift is a consulting/coaching group for churches. Some of the material in the seminar reminded me of the kind of things that Saul Alinsky used to write about in books like Reveille for Radicals. It is good stuff about community organizing for justice and sustainability. Bryan makes the point that our current usage of natural resources is simply not sustainable and that we need change our way of living, producing, and buying. You can read his book, Everything Must Change. It is challenging, inspiring, and offers practical insight for living a more sustainable lifestyle.
We can get into trouble if we do not pay attention to sustainability. For instance, on the way up the California coast I passed through the town of Scotia, home of the Pacific Lumber Company. This company was family owned and operated from 1882 until it went public in 1975. The Murphy family held considerable acreage of redwoods which they cut and milled at a sustainable rate. They did not cut more than they could replace. They employed about 1,000 workers. In 1986 Pacific Lumber was the victim of a hostile takeover by the Maxaam Corporation of Texas. This company changed policy, cut as much redwood as they could, were sued and tied up in court, and currently employ about 300 workers. There is more to the story, but the point is that sustainable use of our resources guarantees more jobs than do the alternatives.
The "Everything Must Change Tour" gave me much to think about. More will rise to the surface as the Sabbatical continues. I am currently in Port Townsend, Washington with friends who understand the habits of a student and traveler. Yesterday I visited my nephew and his family in Bellingham, Washington. He is a great father and a good man. It is a pleasure to see my sister's son all grown up.
That's enough blogging for now.