March 5th, 2008

compass rose

On my way at last

I finally got around to purchasing my ticket to the UK today. I am leaving on Thursday afternoon, May 22, and returning late Saturday evening, May 31. It's costing me a little bit extra, 'cause prices rose a bit while I was trying to find someone to go with me. But what the heck. My money's down. Now, I have to go.

The plan calls for me to hit Glasgow Friday morning, May 23. From there, I plan on driving down to the Lake District and camping in Wasdale. Saturday, May 24, I'll hit Scafell Pike, camping again by Wast Water.

After that, I need to arrange camping spots in Yorkshire and Northumberland. On the agenda: Jorvik (medieval York) and York Minster in York; Vindolandia on Hadrian's Wall; Holy Island and the Farnes (Lindisfarne); Durham Cathedral with the tomb of St. Cuthbert; across the border into Scotland, probably camping outside Edinburgh.

I may have an extra day to piddle in Edinburgh, or I may not. Gotta check my guidebook and on-line resources carefully. Anyway, I drive up into the highlands for my last quarry: Ben Nevis. I'll camp near Ft. William; if no camping is available, I'll swallow hard and nail a B&B. After Ben Nevis, it's on down the road to Glasgow.

Depending on how it turns out, I might camp somewhere between Ft. William and Glasgow (it's farther than you'd think). But I don't have to stay overnight in Glasglow. I fly out Saturday afternoon, May 31, arriving back in Indiana that night. Of course, you compress time when you fly west across The Pond, so I'll have travelled several hours more than those listed by the time I land again in Indiana.

But, it's gonna happen. I'm on my way at last.

Much study is a weariness of the flesh

"The beatings will continue until morale improves!" So goes the old saying in my Annual Conference. We UM folk are worried about clergy morale. And so we should be -- hey, my morale sucks much of the time. I should be glad that the Powers that Be are interested in my morale. Which is why our Bishop's office or Conference or somebody has commissioned a confidential survey of Indiana UM clergy on "The Well-Lived Pastoral Life."

Anyway, I just got done taking the survey, and I have to confess, I look like a sunny optimist on this instrument, rather than the hard-boiled cynic people know me as. I can think of two reasons for this.
1) I really am happier and better adjusted than I was back in the day. I'm doing pretty much what I wanted to do, getting paid reasonably well for it, etc. All this comes out loud and clear on the survey.

2) The things that make me crazy or angry or just weary aren't measured very strongly on the survey. There were no questions like, "How often are you embarrassed by what your denominational leaders say?" or "How does it feel to be a local outlet manager in a declining industry?"

But I'll give 'em a big Attaboy for at least doing something to find out about clergy's attitudes toward their work, their congregational and Conference leaders, their sense of fit with the role, and so forth. That's good stuff.