It is a luxury to be in a field of work where I get a change of pace and place every seven years. People might think that all professors do on sabbatical is sit around and take it easy, but while I’m sitting around at home I’ll also be reading approximately 30 books and 10 articles about spiritual formation generally, and specifically the spiritual formation of young adults and vocational discernment. My thesis in 1997 was on the topic of young adult spirituality so this will provide some much needed updating and will become the background for a new core course I will be teaching at the college in the fall.
My secondary area of reading includes about 15 books on Prussian/Russian Mennonite history and contemporary global Anabaptism.
I’m also writing a book with the working title, Spirituality with clothes on: Examining the things that shape us. This includes everything from gender, age, personality, and family to history and culture.
And to get me out of the house occasionally, I will be speaking and preaching in churches. It looks like it’s working out to about 10-12 engagements in 6 months. Some people might think this would be a draining activity but I find that it exercises very different muscles than daily teaching in the classroom and so I find it invigorating.
To begin my sabbatical I will be cloistering myself in silence and solitude for the next five days, away from the people I love and the props which give structure to my life. The anticipation includes a bit of fear since it will not be a familiar place, but as an introvert I know that it will be personally refreshing once I settle into the groove.