January 27, 2021

A Big Announcement

sabbatical.jpgWent to the post office this morning (where Crazy For God and an Exodus Commentary by Peter Enns were waiting for me) and got my mail. Last letter in the stack was from the Louisville Institute.

It opened with the usual “Thanks for applying…..400+ applicants….lots of deserving people….” And so on…

And then the second paragraph. Congratulations. You have received a $10,000 grant for your 8 week Sabbatical proposal.

I had my iPod going and was standing in line with four other people. I looked up at this guy behind me and grinned like an idiot. He probably took a couple of steps back.

My Sabbatical is approved. The proposal itself, taken from my application, is below. Louisville. Wheaton. Chicago. Asbury. Marriage retreat at cleftrock. Gesthemani. Time with the kids and family and money to stay in some nice places, eat out, etc. The grant is larger than my annual salary.

If you prayed for this, or for me, or for us, recently, thank you. Now pray that God will open all the doors so I can make this Sabbatical a true rest in God’s goodness, and as my proposal states, a restoration and rediscovery of balance for the second half of life.

The schedule and outline of the Sabbatical.

My sabbatical would begin immediately after 2008 graduation at our school and the conclusion of my duties as school chaplain.

I would go on personal retreat on the campuses of Louisville Presbyterian and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, May 19-25. This would be my “transition week” to my sabbatical. I would rest, read, spend quality time in spiritual disciplines, use the Health/Recreation Center, work on my writing projects and participate in worship experiences in the Louisville area. I would stay at the Legacy Center on the SBTS campus.

I would spend the week of May 26-31 in quality time with my wife, and possibly travel to see our families in Western Kentucky.

I would spend a week of personal spiritual retreat at the Archabbey of St. Meinrad, St. Meinrad, Indiana, June 1-6, 2008. While there I would seek to deepen my spiritual disciplines by consultation with a spiritual director. Saint Meinrad is a spiritual second home for me. Our family enjoys exploring Catholic spirtuality, so this would particularly be a time for us to worship and pray together.

My wife and I would spend time visiting with my daughter in Ohio and my son in Lexington, and worship with them in the churches they attend, and explore worship and enrichment activities during the week of June 8-13. We seldom have the opportunity to worship with our children or to spend more than a day or two with them.

I would attend the Summer Institute on Apologetics at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois June 15-20, 2008, sponsored by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. This will contribute to the sabbatical by deepening my vision of cross-cultural ministry, something that is a major emphasis of the campus ministry I lead. It is also an opportunity to create new relationships, to worship and to explore the Wheaton College community.

My wife and I would spend a week on personal retreat participating in specialized ministry and enrichment for ministry marriages at cleftRock Retreat Center in London, Kentucky, June 22-27, 2008. This would include time with my pastoral counselor, who specializes in working with ministers.

July 1-6 I am one of the seminar leaders at the Cornerstone Festival near Chicago, Illinois. I will be spending that week speaking 6 times to various groups.

I would like to conclude my sabbatical spending the week July 7-12 at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, with some time spend at Gesthemani Abbey at Bardstown. This will be my week to transition back into my regular routine, write up what I have learned during my sabbatical and return to my “spiritual home” as the conclusion of my sabbatical.


  1. Congratulations! You have a wonderful schedule of events that should bless you and your family.

    By the way, what was with the previous post? I took it as a joke, an absurdly funny one at that. It reminded me of that old Steve Allen Show “Meeting of the Minds,” I believe was the title, where famous people of different times met to talk. Woody and Billy would have had quite a conversation, to state the obvious.

  2. Thank you.

    Graham is an incredible model of how to relate to the world. I had never seen this before and thought it really modeled the warmth and boldness that we need to combine in relating to the non-believing world.

  3. God is good, Michael. I can’t think of anyone else who deserves this more.

  4. Congrats, Michael. Sabbaticals (remembering the etymology of that word) are increasingly necessary in the kind of world we live in and it’s great to hear that you are being so well-supplied for what sounds like a great experience.

    St. Meinrad is truly beautiful. There are a lot of places like that in southern Indiana.

    Will you be blogging while on sabbatical, or are you going to take a break from IM as well?

  5. That’s a good question. Blogging will probably continue, though it might be affected in some way. The time I spend blogging would have to go into a schedule that is different than my current one.


  6. I hope this doesn’t sound like a bad comment because it isn’t meant to be, but after reading your excellent blog for several years, I seem to notice it is mainly about the Bible Belt. I also notice that is where you will spending your sabbatical. I have always wanted you to get out here to California (or some blue state) and see what it’s like for us Christians who live in the unBible Belt. Maybe you can get out here another time.

  7. Outstanding, Michael.

  8. I too wondered about your ability to blog while on Sabbatical. Frankly, the volume you write amazes me. I long gave up trying to keep up even a fraction of it on my own blog. I mean, you write “daily” and sometimes even more frequently, yet still maintain quality.

    Yet, to not have the “Internet Monk” to inspire, question, and infuriate me at times (all in love), I would not be the growing Christian I am today. Yet, I don’t want to be selfish either. If it comes between your purposes for the Sabbatical and blogging I (sob!! weep! gritted teeth) urge you to chose the Sabbatical. Somehow, I think your wife will keep you in line that way. Listen to her (as if you really had a choice).

    That $10,000 is more than your annual salary only shames me and is a tribute to you and your mission as a teacher. No one I know (even in writing) deserves a Sabbatical more!

  9. Nice. All those activities sound fun. Congrats.

  10. Congratulations, and may God continue to bless you and your family

  11. That’s wonderful, Michael. Congratulations.

  12. Simply a GOD thing. I am both elated and anticipating. It has been evident over the last few months that the Lord has allowed you to be greatly tried. For He also took a forty day sabbatical before beginning the most recorded years of His earthly life. A week of transiton on each side and a couple of travel days leaves you with forty days. I will pray specifically during those days.
    God has never greatly used anyone He has not greatly tried.

  13. Congratulations, Michael. Well deserved.

  14. Michael,your sabbatical plans sound excellent. It’s good that you have included some spiritual direction as well. I don’t know if you currently have a spiritual director, but I have found this to be extremely helpful. It’s good to have someone to be accountable to regarding spiritual goals that you’ve set.


  15. Good for you!

  16. Blessings for a rich and rewarding sabbatical. Much deserved !!!

Speak Your Mind