Day #1

I arrived safely in Helena MT. Warren dropped me off at the Burbank Airport. We reminisced about when he and Rachel began coming to the church and talked about Drew, Mande, Trevor, Smallwood, who have left recently, and the network of ‘young adults’ who have connected with one another and became community to each other for the past 5-6 years. I knew the transitions were coming, but now I’m feeling them. I realize how much ‘being church’ is always a process, a journey, and never a destination. I had a brief lay over in Salt Lake City and landed in Helena in the early afternoon. Flying into these cities, over snow capped mountains, frozen prairies, was a meditative experience, but not as strong as flying over Burbank on this clear day. Seeing my city from this different perspective, made me think about the 100,000 plus people who live in our town and our church’s role in this community. The higher elevation allowed me to see the entire city at once, the houses, condos, schools, sports fields, the freeway arteries and side street capillaries carrying people on their morning journey.

Perhaps the morning conversation with Warren was like this perspective from the plane. An overview, to see the big picture, to see the web of relationships and how people have moved from strangers to friends, and then saying goodbye to some. Perhaps my sabbatical will help me reach a higher elevation, to see my ministry and pastoral role from a higher elevation. To see some of the ebbs and flows.

While on the planes, I read an entire book, “Parts Work: An Illustrated Guide to Your Inner Life,” by Tom Holmes. I read it to prepare for an upcoming series on prayer and meditation that I desire to lead with the young adult Thursday evening group and eventually others. The book forced me to reflect on the ‘big picture’ of my own inner life. Just as I saw the ‘web’ of relations in our church, and of our connected city, so I began to see the web of relationships that are internal to me. I believe each individual has a whole cast of characters within them – these are the “parts” of Parts Work. I can clearly identify certain ‘parts’ or ‘characters’ within me (helper, perfectionist, completive game player, childlike spirit, debater, father, etc…) Some parts are in conflict with each other. Some take center stage when I’m pastoring. Some parts of me have been ignored and I haven’t been mindful of them. I feel that grasping a sense of my inner parts and the web of relationships that are internal to me is central to developing my spiritual life. It sounds paradoxical, but I need the ‘big picture” of what is most interior to me, my own complex self.

Well, I’m only a few hours into my sabbatical and already my mind and soul are activated. I thought it was just going to be a travel day.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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About burbankchristian

First Christian Church of Burbank is a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation. Pastor Steve Borgard is blogging about his sabbatical. The Sabbatical will include: Courgage to Lead Retreats (focusing on Circles of Trust and the Seasons of Ministry), Preaching (Homeletics Conference), Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Formation (Oregon Extension Summer Contemplative Retreat) and an Interfaith Experience (Thich Nhat Hahn - Mindfulness Retreat)
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6 Responses to Day #1

  1. Rachel McCrickard says:

    Great post, Steve. I’m looking forward to reading your reflections as you are on this journey.

    I’ve been thinking about the different “parts” of myself lately, as well – and I think it’s interesting to consider the different roles we play among different groups and environments. In some circles, I’m a leader, and in others, I sit back. In some situations, I respond passive-aggressively, and in others I am assertive. I wonder if this has to do with how close I am staying to the “source” – by this, I mean the source of Love that lives in me and has been in me since the beginning. I think this must have a lot to do with how the different parts of me respond in certain situations – though I rarely make the connection between the two. But, it’s important to do so, isn’t it? It’s important to pause and recognize that when I am the best of my parts, it is when I am most closely connected to the source of Love within me.

    • Thanks for the post Rachel. From my perspective all of our parts play a helpful role and are there for a reason – but some parts can get out of hand, over exert themselves, while some parts get ignored. Being centered and close to our source of compassion helps us transform our parts – and helps them function in a healthier manner. Trying to get rid of parts or seeing parts as bad, isn’t a healthy strategy from my understanding. Accepting our parts and being mindful of what they are trying to accomplish, helps us integrate, transform and balance our parts.

  2. Ken Truitner says:

    Thanks for this discussion; it is very relevant to my situation as well. I find that in balancing these roles/persons it often helps to wait and let a larger perspective emerge. I sometimes am too quick to respond through one person or attitude, though situations may push buttons that seem, at the time, to require an immediate response. Still I often feel I could have waited and reflected longer. Yet, I can not avoid a response either.

    • All of us know our buttons can be pushed and trigger our “parts” or “sub-personalities.” Rather than ignoring them, or trying to negate them, I’m trying to contemplate them. Jay Earley calls these moments “trail heads”. The moments that are the beginning to identifying and listening to our “parts” (sub-personalities). Thich Nhat Hahn offers similar advice about welcoming these triggered responses that arise from our “stored conscious”.

  3. Olivia Hein says:

    Steve,
    I do hope, during your travels, you were able to see the role you play in other’s lives and how your ministry helps shape those around you. Your words of encouragement, kindness, grace, and unlimited supply of iced tea helped me through a time of real uncertainty. It was also a time where I experienced first hand the love of Christ through others. Your ministry shaped my faith back then and helped lay down a new path for me to journey on. It lead me to a place of personal strength (so I could have the courage to move to a new city), a deeper relationship with Christ (so I would continue trying to find a church I connected with until, lo and behold I did find one in Chicago), and a better understanding of living a Christian life (so I can hopefully help others who find themselves in a place of uncertainty.) I hope you know how grateful I am to you and your ministry and how blessed I feel to have been part of the ebb and flow of Burbank Christian Church.

    • Olivia, your kind words mean a great deal to me. They have truly warmed
      my heart and gave my soul a shot of encouragement. I’m happy to hear of the joyous ways your life has developed.

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