I have just had the luxury of almost two days self indulgent study time, and am anticipating a weekend 'almost off' with great delight. It has been - is being - good, I needed it. Hopefully I'll be less grumpy and more positive as a result; hopefully I'll have enough energy to last in the whirlwind of events between now and 27th December when I next get a break.
At the same time, I have been following the adventures of folk at BU Council as they wrestle with tough questions around a Baptist apology for our participation in the slave trade. It has (thankfully) been agreed, and the tarted up version will be published shortly. One of those who was involved in the meetings rightly commented on the difference between formulating some words and living differently, between reacting to expressed pain and being proactive in addressing injustice.
So here's the balancing act - between the seemingly self-indulgent and the blatantly obvious self-giving. I think my justification - to myself, cos no one else is going to ask for it this side of eternity - is that actually my research is ultimately linked to this kind of balancing act. What is it that we can learn from reflecting on Baptist involvement in slavery that can inform our practice now and secure a more hopeful, more Gospel, future for others? How can we employ the lessons from our past? How can we read or write the story so that it is useful? What can we learn for today and tomorrow from yesterday and today?
I'm glad that the people entrusted with the work of BU Council worked so diligently on this issue, and I hope that they get some R&R after their labours. I certainly hope that we in local churches can find ways of making it meaningful at grass roots level. I am glad, too, that I have had some space for refreshment.
It is easy, too easy, to feel bad about the things we don't do, the causes that we fail to get behind - and even the research work that never quite happens - but for now I'm going to stop stressing and enjoy the relative calm of this week!