Podcasting, Relaxing, Sabbaticalizing

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was invited by my college friend, Brian Nissen, to join him and his partner, Mark Arnett, on an episode of their podcast, Story Babble. Mark and Brian have a great rapport on-air (they’ve known each other since high school) and plenty of experience at telling (and writing, analyzing, and just listening to) stories of all sorts, and it’s always an entertaining show.

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My episode is now up, and even with some questionable sound (I was on a Bluetooth headset and sometimes tend a bit toward vocal fry inadvertently, shame on me) it’s a fun time, I think.


My wife is about to do something she’s never done before—take a vacation. A working vacation, in a sense. Still.

It’s a psychological thing, although that’s pretty much the deal with vacations anyway. Most of us don’t need to physically rest, I suspect, as much as mentally disengage for a bit.

And even with school out for the summer, there’s always church. Always. And as is common in churches, her stated, limited hours per week are always a goal, never a practice. She can easily fill out her timecard on one day of the week, and that’s not Sunday, either.

She doesn’t actually have a timecard.

Even for a small church, we take care of our leaders and their multiple, uncompensated hours. After six years of continuous employ, pastors are entitled to up to three months of sabbatical for continuing education and reflection, and really just to recharge. Our senior pastor took his a few years ago, mostly to finish his doctorate but also with a family trip to Europe and lots of hiking, what the doctor ordered.

So it’s her turn. Following this Sunday’s worship service, she’ll be on her official two-week vacation, and then begin her sabbatical in July, going through September (and including our trip to Scotland in August).

We had our final choir rehearsal of the season last night, followed by dinner at a local Italian restaurant, where we had fantastic meals and I demonstrated my lack of group selfie skills.

I wasn’t all that surprised to find out people were confused about this sabbatical. She was ordained as an associate pastor 7 years ago, but her main visibility is as the music director. She preaches from time to time, and certainly presides and acts in her position as a pastor (teaching elder, in Presbyterian talk), but people mostly see the music.

This isn’t a problem, this confusion, although it might get tricky. Julie’s been serving this congregation for nearly 11 years in one capacity or another. People get used to you being there, taking care of things, and I won’t be surprised if she gets an email or three.

Because disengagement is critical in this, as you can probably imagine. Again, it’s not a physical rest she needs, although she enjoys the resting part as much as anyone. She needs a break, and knows how to take one after all these years. Me, I’d get suckered into helping out, dismissing concerns and ruining the whole thing by being a wuss about it.

She won’t have that problem. No wuss in this woman. On with the sabbatical. There should be at least one good story, I would think. Might run it by the story babble guys to see what they think.

Chuck SigarsComment