How do you justify international travel? People are homeless!

That’s a question that is worth asking…not just for clergy, but for us all: for the 20+ choir members going to France this summer, for the people at Plymouth who go on vacations to exotic places, even for people who still bear the expense of skiing right here in Colorado!

The way I look at it is to pose a second ethical question: What is the result or the impact? Will investing in a pilgrimage have a broader impact than my own spiritual satisfaction? Or a further question: Will it be generative in some way? (And a third aspect is not to let our travel hamper our efforts to aid cutting at the root causes of homelessness, as we are doing through HPI and One Congregation, One Family.)

One way to answer is to look at previous experience. I’m not aware of all the impacts that my pilgrimage to the UK and Ireland had during my last sabbatical, but here are a couple:

  • Each week, more than 20 people are still meeting in Celtic Christianity small groups that I started as a direct result of my pilgrimage to Ireland with Marcus Borg and Dom Crossan.
  • Each Sunday night at Plymouth 3.0 we use music from the Iona Community, which springs from my time on Iona and our hosting John Bell for a weekend workshop at Plymouth.
  • There is a beautiful stone cross in our Memorial Garden whose design is from a standing stone cross in Glendalough, Ireland, that I photographed in 2007.

Plymouth Celtic Cross

Who knows what will come of a pilgrimage to Rome and Naples? (I’m not anticipating toga parties at Plymouth…but I’m open to suggestion! BTW, did you know that the linen cassock albs that Sharon and I wear actually did evolve from Roman togas? Makes me like my black academic robe better!)

So, I’m trying to stay open to the movement of the Spirit and be moved by what comes our way.

More travel plans

300px-Healing_of_a_bleeding_women_Marcellinus-Peter-CatacombI found that in order to fly directly to Germany to meet the other pilgrims for a flight to Naples, I’ll need to fly into Munich a day or two ahead of time. (Bummer, right?!) So, the plan now is to fly DEN to Frankfurt on April 29 (arriving April 30) and then take a short hop into Munich, where I’ll meet the rest of the group for a flight to Naples on May 2.

Found a great pension in the center of the Munich Altstadt. The last time I was there was the year before Cameron was born, when a friend and I designed our own two-week bike trip from Munich to Vienna.

Looking forward to seeing the catacombs in and around Rome. This photo is a very early depiction of the the woman with the hemorrhage touching the hem of Jesus’ robe. (Interesting that they chose a scene from Jesus’ healing ministry, not an exalted theme of cosmic royalty.)

Pilgrimage Map

Pilgrimage Map

A concentrated pilgrimage in central Italy will allow us to examine the contrast between the imperial theology of Caesar Augustus and the kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus and perpetuated by the Apostle Paul in and around Rome.

Getting Ready!

Whose Kingdom: Caesar's or God's?

Augustus and Paul: Whose kingdom is it?

I’m planning my sabbatical (April 8-June 8, 2013) and am looking forward to three main aspects:
1) time with family
2) a pilgrimage to central Italy with Marcus Borg and Dom Crossan called “The Apostle Paul and Roman Imperial Theology”
3) a time of spiritual deepening

Plymouth’s Leadership Council approved my sabbatical plans on February 11, and I’m excited by the prospect of regeneration personally and also hitting the “reset” button on my ministry.
My sabbatical plan and goals are here if you’d like to read them.