Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vineyard Sabbatical

I'm always amazed at how quickly time flies.

In fact, the only time in my life where I felt like time had slowed unnaturally and was merely dragging its heels was Grade 5. And that season was so long ago that I can't remember why it stands out.

Summer and early fall has been a whirlwind of activity: as a musician, "festival season" means a much more intense schedule of live performances. When you play in several bands, that only increases the level of hot, sweaty work fun.

It's also been a whirlwind of doing construction work. For the record, construction in the heat of an Okanagan summer (August averaged temperatures around 35C/97F) is remarkably draining.

Add in the afore-mentioned musical adventures, and there's not much time left for anything more demanding than sleep.

As a writer, this has actually been something of a gift. My latest project, the first sci-fi novel I've written since junior high, is in the "beta-reader" stage, where various people are reading, critiquing and offering stellar input before the final draft is created. During this phase, you don't write. You can only wait.

An enforced sabbatical from the fun and hard work of writing, in other words. But now, as festival season has ended and the beta-readers are sending their copies back, I am excited about getting back into writing. 

And one of the benefits of taking a break from writing is that you come at it again with a lot of energy, but even more importantly, a fresh perspective that is invigorating.

Speaking of sabbaticals…

It's been almost exactly a year since I was invited to attend the 2014 BC Vineyard's leadership gathering in the Lower Mainland. It was a significant couple of days for me, which would eventually (although I didn't realize it at the time) result in our return to the Vineyard at the beginning of 2015.

This elicited a variety of reactions from others, ranging from, "I've always thought you should be here," to "Vineyard?!? Why on earth would you go back there?"

The book-ends of those reactions are actually a pretty accurate picture of our own thoughts and experiences with the Vineyard. We really resonate with the words of David & Anita Ruis: "At heart, you're Vineyard, and this is where you belong."

And that's very true: despite not attending a Vineyard church for years, our "spiritual DNA" (if you will) has remained Vineyard-influenced to a large degree. Relationally, our friendships with about half of the congregation at our local Vineyard church go back some 20 years.

So, returning to the Vineyard has been a good fit, both relationally and theologically.

And the incredulous "why would you go back" question makes sense as well, because like any other church or denomination, the Vineyard is full of real humans who have not achieved complete sanctification just yet. (That's a wee little joke for my Wesleyan friends.)

But in many ways, it feels very much the same as diving back into writing again: there is a renewed sense of energy & anticipation, and a fresh perspective. And while I am fully cognizant that the Vineyard is not exactly nudging into ecclesial utopia, there is still the same sense that I felt when I attended the conference last fall: this is where I'm supposed to be.

I don't know why, to be honest.

But one faith step at a time, I intend to find out.

1 comment:

  1. Like! We took a Vineyard break as well and have just returned after about 4 years.