Unplugging for a season (well, sorta...)

Yesterday I asked Dianne to make a "sabbatical logo" for me. I posted it on Facebook as I plan to disconnect from there for a season. This blog, however, will continue to be linked to FB but I won't be checking for comments, posting pictures, etc. Rather, I am going to honor the intent of my sabbatical retreat and truly go silent.
That said, I will be posting my sabbatical reflections during this time in two places:

+ First, most obviously, will be here. This is a weird blog in that it is part spiritual journal, part billboard for important personal events, part clearing house for the issues that touch my heart and part public prayer house via the ether-net. I don't think that is going to change. So, if you would like to stay up-to-date, check in here from time to time. 

+ Second, is the "Jazz for the Journey" site we've created to be a record of the sabbatical. In addition to my own posts, there will be insights from our music director, interim minister as well as others involved in making this sabbatical work. You can get to it here - and I hope you will take a look. https://jazzforthejourney.wordpress.com/

I have three reasons for unplugging - and I trust you will appreciate and honor them.  First, when I leave worship on Sunday - yes, that's right, THIS Sunday - I am going to experience an odd sense of withdrawal. For 33+ years I have been engaged in preparing for public worship; and, save vacations, have been in worship leadership for all of that time, too. Not so for the next four months. So, in order to enter the rhythm of being rather than doing, I don't want to interact in any way with my worshiping community. Not because I don't love them, but rather because I need to let go for a season. 

Second, in addition to letting go of the worship life of my community, I am also relinquishing any input into the administrative life of the congregation, too. That means, it would be best if I did not see - or hear about - the decisions and/or choices shaping the ordinary life of the church during this time. Unplugging gives me the chance to NOT see; it is a techno way of honoring the via negativa or apophatic spirituality of emptiness.  And while that sound uppity, I am serious: if I KNOW about things - or get notes about decisions - I will fret and want to interact. So, like the ancient monks, I'm headed for the desert silence (even if that includes NYC, Nashville and Montreal.)

And third, I want to break away from some of my internet obsessiveness.  Like some, I find this resource addictive. I love parts of it: throw back thursdays almost always make me laugh out loud as well as smile with affection and some of the jokes are drop-dead funny. But I give too much time to sitting in front of this screen. I sometimes feel like Leonard Cohen in "Democracy" where he sings: 

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean 
I love the country but I can't stand the scene. 
And I'm neither left or right 
I'm just staying home tonight, 
getting lost in that hopeless little screen. 
So some of the time I would ordinarily give to the computer, I am going to share with Di. Other time I am going to practicing my bass chops. And for most of the time, I am going to be wandering without a plan seeing what the Spirit presents to us during this "twilight time." I rather like the way twilight time was recently described by two rabbis who wrote:

In the Journey of the Soul, we have identified the wilderness as uncharted terrain.  Not only that, the wilderness is a place that is “in-between.” William Bridges in his book, Managing Transitions, identifies what we are calling the wilderness experience as the neutral zone -- time and space in-between ending and beginning - “a nowhere between two somewheres.”
Cultural anthropologist Victor Turner coined the term “liminal” for the times of transition when one is “betwixt and between.”  He noted that ritual helps us navigate the territory of “in-between states.”  Ritual allows us to transform in-between time into sacred time. (Victor Turner, Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de PassageIn Jewish tradition, the ritual of Havdalah marks the transition from Shabbat into the week.  This ceremony helps us move from holy time into ordinary time. We mark the power of the moment in that space in-between. Tonight, we offer this beautiful prayer for the liminal moments of sunset.
Twilight People 
As the sun sinks and the colors of the day turn,
we offer a blessing for the twilight, for twilight is
neither day nor night, but in-between.  We are
all twilight people.  We can never be fully labeled or
defined.  We are many identities and loves, many
genders and none.  We are in between roles, at the
intersection of histories, or between place and
place.  We are crisscrossed paths of memory and
destination, streaks of light swirled together.
We are neither day nor night.  We are both, neither,
and all.
May the sacred in-between of this evening suspend
our certainties, soften our judgments, and widen
our vision.  May this in-between light illuminate our
way to the God who transcends all categories and 
definitions.  May the in-between people who have
come to pray be lifted up into this twilight.  We
cannot always define; we can always say a blessing.
Blessed are You, God of all, who brings on
the twilight.
(Siddur Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco: 2009)
So, that's where I am with all of this - I hope you will join me when you can.


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