My spouse, Brian, teaches and studies at the University of Minnesota. From late August until early May, he’s in a flat-out sprint: teaching, learning, the little administrative details that take up so much (SO MUCH) time. And now, all of a sudden, the semester is over. The summer stretches before him, long hours for study and play and rest and imagination! In our house, in the past week, the collective sense of humor — and sense of margin for things like, say, pleasure reading– has increased exponentially.
Those of you who teach, who have children in school, who take part in the intense program year of your faith community — all of you know some of what this is like. Sliding into home base after Pentecost, perhaps exhilarated, perhaps burnt, ready for rest. Ready to think about something different. Ready for the pleasure of learning what you want, on your own time.
Summer reading isn’t just about beach books or requirements for next year’s English class: it’s about following your curiosity and allowing it to shape your imagination in ways that allow you to be bewildered, confused, awed, perplexed — much like those disciples who found themselves speaking new tongues — set alight, with new words and images, hearing Good News in new ways. This must be part of what the sabbath commandment is for: enough space from the list of ‘shoulds’ that our minds can dive into our longing for beauty, displacement, thrill, longing, and discovery.
If your summer reading (and listening and watching) list looks a little sparse, check out these recommendations. And feel free to send along any others you’d like me to highlight in future posts to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Likewise, summer is a good time to plan your opportunities for continuing education for next year. Check out the links here for some great suggestions.
May the Holy Spirit enliven your world with many voices, many languages, and many kinds of wisdom this summer!