So I'm three days into the sabbatical. I've had lie-ins and done some gardening - the former were good, the latter not so!
I've also been giving some thought to what I need to take away to Prague. There'll be everything I need for study purposes in the excellent IBTS library. So, I've picked up the latest John Drane - After McDonaldization - and John Gray's new one - Black Mass (I love Gray's writing even when I don't agree with him).
I'm planning to do a little thinking about ministry, so the Drane will help and I've also got the new book on preaching by Walter Brueggemann The Word Militant: Preaching a Decentering Word to help me think about how we preach in today's world.
And I've picked up the latest by old teacher at Manchester University - The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven: Kinds of Christianity in Post-Reformation England. Chris Haigh is one of England's most creative and stimulating reformation historians, as well as my undergraduate supervisor when I wrote a dissertation on the reformation in Yorkshire in the 1530s (so, of course, I'm biased).
I sometimes wonder whether there's a much closer connection between the post-Reformation world and ours than we give credit for. A reluctant nation had to come to terms with religious changes it didn't want and protestant preachers had to communicate the new faith to people who weren't really interested, while conservatives (those we sometimes wrongly label catholics) had to find a way of keeping their faith in hostile conditions.
So, I'm hoping all that will jump start my thinking about ministry in the autumn - and beyond.
And for light relief I've got Things the Grandchildren should know by Mark Oliver Everett, otherwise known as E, the creative genius behind Eels. If he writes prose as well as he writes lyrics, it'll be a stormer.