Down to the Finish Line

It’s been a rugged Holy Week at Plymouth, not just with the usual pressure of wanting to preach well on Palm Sunday and Easter, not even with the special service on Maundy Thursday. It was a tough week with the resignation of our two music staff members, and the hiring of a great interim choir director (in a three-day turnaround)….and working with our Personnel Committee and Leadership Council to design (and get ready to search for) the first full-time musician in Plymouth’s 109-year history.

I AM ready for sabbatical! Jane Anne, Chris, and I are going to start with a long weekend in Santa Fe. (Cam has newspaper production at school that weekend, as well as a play rehearsal with Debut Theatre, so can’t join us.) New Mexico has always has a sort of spiritual magnetism for me, and getting “out of Dodge” is the best way for me to clear away the cobwebs.

I also brought home a ginormous stack of books from the office yesterday. People always ask me, “Have you read ____?” and it’s hard to say that I just haven’t been able to find time to read anything (except for 15 minutes of mystery novel before bed). I am really looking forward to spending time reading. On the docket are: God and Empire and In Search of Paul by John Dominic Crossan, The Rise of Western Christendom by Peter Brown, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmuid MacCulloch, A People’s History of Christianity by Diana Butler Bass, and Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson. Do you detect a pattern? (History was my major area as an undergraduate and at the LSE.)


I was cleaning out a box of old stuff from the basement and found, among other things, lots of 35mm Kodachrome slides. I have them in plastic pages and looked at one set from an exhibition I visited at the British Museum (about 31 years ago) called “The Image of Augustus.” It was a wonderful exhibition of statues and bas reliefs of the emperor. While I can’t convert the slides, the above image is an Egyptian bronze from the British Museum website which has a really cool viewer if you want to check it out. (This is Caesar Augustus, of whom Luke writes in his birth narrative of Jesus.)

I seem to be coming full-circle: two years of Latin in college that I took for no apparent reason, lots of Roman history, and studying with Marcus Borg and Dom Crossan over the past 20 years all seem to have led me to this time of sabbath exploration. Thanks to Plymouth for the gift of time away!

(And because I had comments that the previous blog was hard to read, I changed to a new design! Hope you like it.)