With the wedding behind me and youth camp a few days away, I had some vacation time to burn. So, to answer one parishioner’s question (asked prior to my leaving), “What does a senior minister do while on vacation?” I offer the following in chronological order, but without delineating each day. Here goes…

I finished Mike Matusow’s autobiography, Check-Raising the Devil. I sat at the breakfast table and chatted poetry, politics and piety with some of the greatest artistic minds alive. (We solved nothing…but it was a great two-hour chat.) I checked in with Jenna. I borrowed a friend’s red Mazda Miata (license tag DIR8ON) and scooted around San Juan Island, Washington. I watched a large pod of orca whales feasting and frolicking in the channel that separates Washington from Victoria, British Columbia. I ate a couple of roasted oysters at a harbor town farmer’s market. I checked in with Jenna. I began reading Half Earth by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward O. Wilson. I ate Ivar’s fish and chips during a layover in Seattle on my way to the California bay area. I took a morning run around Lake Merced. I checked in with Jenna. I started catching up on my stunted viewing of Breaking Bad. I did final preparatory study for teaching the Gospel of John at next week’s youth camp. I visited the premier ukulele store in the continental United States. I went to AT&T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) and saw James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt in concert…and of course, I checked in with Jenna.

Here’s the deal: There are only a few days of summer vacation remaining. In just a few more spins of the earth, the familiar rhythms of the academic year will be in full swing. In these remaining moments of recreation and refreshment, I would encourage you to do whatever it is you love. Do what brings joy and rest to your life. Immerse yourself in a good book, music, nature, sightseeing, outdoor activity, eating, travel or some time with friends. And if you’re wondering what’s happening next at church…or where you can offer your services at church… feel free to check in with Jenna…

— Jim