Before I begins this blog post, I must apologize for the lack of reading reflections. My last reflection was March 27th. That’s been a month and a half ago.
This book was FABULOUS. I enjoyed it thoroughly. So much so that it is actually changing the way I live my life.
Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight by Norman Wirzba. This book is one of the many in the Christian Practice of Everyday Life Series, which I think is a great move on BrazosPress’s part to publish this. If you haven’t gotten familiar with this publisher, I would encourage you to check them out at www.brazospress.com.
Onto the meat.
Part One focused on the idea of living the Sabbath, not just on Saturdays or Sundays, but throughout the entire week– living a life of rest. For those of you like me who have a hard time slowing down, enjoying the little things, and resting without guilt or having that “thing” in the back of your mind that robs you of true complete rest, then this book is a must read for you. So back to part one– it’s the set-up, the basis for why we should live this way, and not just on one special day. The tricky part is that to do this, one must decide to live a life that is not going to make you successful in America. We tend to be workaholics– working full days or longer days or more days or whatever that may be in order to make enough money to support a certain lifestyle that we want. To make sure we have the things that we want. Would anyone consider working 20-30 hours a week to support one’s basic needs, and then spending the rest of the time enjoying the garden to make your own food, or spending time with the neighbors, or hanging with one’s community? In America we would label that person as lazy, boring, underambitious, foolish, whatever. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. What I REALLY like to do is hang out with people, talk, etc etc. But in reality, there is little time to do that because jake and i are both working very full jobs that allow us to spend little time with people who are not a part of our immediate job circles. Currently I’m blessed that most of my friends are at work, but there are a few right here in Columbia that are not, and I rarely see them because we’re all so busy.
The second part focused on specific areas of life and discussed the idea of Sabbath living in context of each of those…work, home, economics, education, environmentalism, and worship (sunday morning corporate gathering).
One thing I really liked and was incredibly challenged by was the idea of living in such a way that allows others to live the Sabbath lifestyle as well. Wirzba brought up the fact that many of us buy things that are inexpensive so that we spend less money on necessities so we can spend more money on other things… but a lot of times those inexpensive things are inexpensive for a reason– they are not well made and will break easily (making us buy another one, which leads to more waste), or they were made by people who are not being paid a fair wage. Of course it’s really hard to know that, because we don’t buy locally and don’t see who is making what, and in what conditions. Wirzba encourages buying local when possible, in order to support things where you know that it was produced fairly.
Although I agreed and was challenged by most things in this book, I didn’t agree with the chapter on education. Maybe that’s because I have training in that area, I’m not sure. Wirzba seems to think that technology is harmful to our children…and suggests the only real technology we need is one computer class in high school to learn the basics. I see that he’s not happy with the ultra-reliance and addiction to technology that some have….and I either. But I feel that if we teach our children how to use technology well, in a God-glorifying way, then that’s better than saying “forget technology” in the students’ learning.
I HIGHLY recommend this book to all.
And I was wondering…what is the thing that keeps you from living the Sabbath lifestyle? For me it’s the constant wanting to produce one more thing…the need to do something in order to prove my worth as an individual. What’s yours?