Day 86- 87

Writing, piling books. Eye breaks. Tea breaks. Writing.  I think Norman is somewhere in the house, but the poor man is a thesis widower! Spare a kind thought for this long-suffering spouse who has been so unwaveringly supportive.

Day 85:  Whatever day it is. (I don’t even know if I’m counting right!!!)

Whoever thought “Literature Reviews” were a good idea,…  I have opinions….. no, yes, none of that is printable!  And to think, when I was in academic ministry, I used to  enjoy writing book reviews.  I’m over that, so over it!  A quick look at the study floor, it looks like my bookshelf had a gastric upset!!  I have had serious doubts that I can pull off this accelerated completion rate, and today nearly undid me completely, but the best revenge is success, right?  Tomorrow we climb a little closer to the summit…..

Day 83: Sunday Dec 3

Sundays are the days when I feel most keenly my own absence from the community which nourishes my own faith.  I’ve also noticed how easy it is for that morning to be filled up with other things… long gone are those days when Sunday mornings were empty of other public options… Now all sorts of activities beckon!  So my hat goes off, and my heart goes out to all of you who choose to shape your weekends to include  worship in community – whether you do that weekly, or monthly, or even rarely.   Sunday blessings to you all.

Day 80: Thursday November 30

Back to the desk indeed, with the smell of Christmas baking still lingering from yesterday’s baking marathon.  And a shift of gears to write what is arguably the kernel of this thesis: just what is a midrashic biblical imagination?  This is the second chapter of the thesis, but I saved it to close to the end, because I truly wanted to let the experiences we’ve had as a community shape my answer to that question, and those experiences are recorded in later chapters,… which I wrote first.   I think I’ve said it here before;  I much prefer to be creating midrash than writing about creating it, but I am actually looking forward – a bit – to writing this now.  In a nutshell: midrashic biblical imagination approaches the Biblical text with curiosity and openness to multiple possible understandings of a text.  It trusts that when this ancient text meets each new generation or geographical context, new meanings emerge.  And the sign of a good midrash?  Do you have yet more questions, more curiosity than you started with? If the answer is “yes” that’s a GOOD thing!

Day 79: Wednesday November 29

One of the distinct gifts of a sabbatical is that you have a wide open schedule. So today, it was possible to set aside the prepping for the penultimate chapter in favour of introducing the newest grandson to the smells of Christmas baking. Sarah, our daughter, is the keeper of family traditions, especially around Christmas, so, despite the face that none of us need the extra calories, a Christmas Cake (traditional British DARK fruit cake) must be baked,  puddings must be steamed, and pastry prepared for the butter tarts and mince tarts.  I don’t think I’ve done this in November since, well since Sarah was herself a small child! (Certainly not while being Minister at CPU!!)

Once again, and for yet another reason, I am grateful for Sabbatical time!  Tomorrow it will be back to the writing desk!

Day 77: Monday November 27

Another day, and another chapter is being proof-read one more time before being sent off for review.  There was a week, back at the beginning of November when I despaired of the tight agenda I had set myself to complete this work before returning in mid December.  There’s still a lot that could get derailed, and a lot of “rear in seat, door shut” ahead, but that week’s  despair is replaced by a hopeful determination.   Not a bad way to move into the Season of Advent, which is one of “preparation”, not the passivity of a waiting room.