I spend this last week writing, but it wasn’t a blog entry. I was applying for a grant to fund a 12-week sabbatical next year. Since we have been encouraged by the scriptures to be bold in our prayers to God, I would ask my friends who are of the praying type to pray that I am receive the sabbatical funding grant. The money will fund some travel with my family along with a variety of other expenses that go with putting aside my pastoral ministry for 12 weeks (including guest preachers).

Here’s the short summary of my sabbatical proposal from my grant application, in case you are interested:
I have found many loves on this journey of life. I love my Savior. I love my family. I love my church. I love preaching and teaching. I love writing and other creative projects. I love hiking in the wilderness and exploring new environments, both urban and rural. I love fantasy stories, from children’s literature such as “The Chronicles of Narnia” to high fantasy epic journeys like “The Lord of the Rings.”

I propose a sabbatical of renewal in life and ministry that encompasses my many loves through relational connection, challenging journeys, and the chance to be creatively energized.

Fantasy fiction often resonates with my soul. The struggles, triumphs and failures of a well-written character mirror those of real life. The applicability of fantasy fiction to Gospel teaching has been part of my ministry for a long time. Fantasy stories from “Toy Story” to “The Hobbit” offer fertile ground for contemplating and illustrating our spiritual journey as Christians.

My sabbatical journey will include a variety of actual journeys — a road trip with my family, a solo hike on the Appalachian Trail, walking through various city and country environments — and the journey of writing fantasy fiction that wrestles with biblical teachings.