A Sabbatical …

About ten years ago, I completed 24 years in the pastorate to begin a new chapter in my life and ministry, working as an author, speaker, and activist. For these ten years, I’ve been on the road 80-100 days a year. That means I’ve had the great privilege of meeting and speaking to thousands of pastors and other faith leaders and hundreds of congregations, across a wide span of denominations and interfaith gatherings. I’ve met amazing people and had the chance to speak and write about matters I care passionately about. It has been a great ten years, and I’m deeply grateful to God, my readers, my colleagues, and all with whom I’ve worked.
But these ten years have also meant a lot of hotel rooms, a lot of time zones, a lot of landings, takeoffs, delays, rental cars, security lines, airport food, early mornings, and late nights, a lot of emails and phone calls, and a lot of time away from my wife and our home.
Over a year ago, I started to feel tired – physically tired, but more, mentally tired. I felt that certain creative parts of my brain were constantly under pressure and weren’t getting a rest. My soul felt healthy, but I felt a growing need for four things:

1. To be at home to rest and recharge mentally and physically.
2. To spend time with Grace, so she didn’t need to ask, “How many days are you home for this time?”
3. To be quiet. To not speak or write for a while.
4. To discern what should change and what should stay the same for my next ten years.

That fourth item feels especially important because I’ll turn sixty next year, and this age milestone presents me with questions about the best ways to invest my remaining active years.
Because of the nature of this work, when you step on the brakes, you don’t stop for 12-18 months. So last year I stopped taking speaking engagements for a ten-month period (one month for each of the past ten years) that begins today. Here’s what that will mean:
1. If you would like to invite me to speak, I’ll be taking speaking engagements beginning September 10, 2016. That’s also when my next book will be available. (You can read more about Converting Christianity soon.) Laci will be handling speaking requests as usual, here.
2. I will be spending little time on email and social media, and won’t be responding to requests as I normally do. Thanks for understanding and for respecting this time of rest and reflection.
3. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. I want my next ten years to be as useful as possible to the causes and priorities so many of us care about so much. And I want to keep enjoying the incalculable gift of aliveness each moment, each day.