Friday, January 18, 2013
a (UK) sabbatical update
Well first, importantly, it snowed. Very important experience for a UK sabbatical.
I’ve been back at work writing for a week. It’s been productive, with a 5,200 word book proposal now with an editorial board. That feels a significant milestone, and has involved 3 significant re-edits over the last few months, while I try to work out exactly what I wanted to say. Now the nervous wait begins, but in the meantime, there is clarity on each chapter, a clear plan for the way ahead, which will greatly focus the writing over the coming weeks. Time to stop analysing data and produce some conclusions!
I’ve continued to read: a refresh on recent trends in practical theology plus working my way through congregational studies. The highlight has been discovering Nicholas Healy, Church, World and the Christian Life: Practical-Prophetic Ecclesiology (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine) (thanks Pete Ward). It is a critique of the ideal (what he calls blueprint) church, any approaches that systematise and idealise. Instead he argues for “concrete” church, fallible, open to critique, always seeking to grow.
This week I’ve also begun to organise the research phase of the sabbatical, trying to set up around 20 interviews around England, Wales and Scotland. The research is in two parts. First, wearing my Principal hat, is talking with a some theological colleges about how they are training leaders in mission, what they are learning, how they are resourcing their staff for that challenge. Second, is to seek to interview again the alt.worship groups I interviewed back in 2001 in the UK. My hope is to reflect with them on their mission learnings, to glean from fragile edges.
Now we’re off to Glasgow for the weekend – snow willing! – to catch up with John and Olive Drane. Which will be great.