Thursday, 5 May 2011
Sabbath by Dan Allender
Dan B. Allender
Thomas Nelson, 2009
(Ancient Practices Series ed. Phyllis Tickle)
This book is part of the eight book Ancient Practices series under the general editorship of Phyllis Tickle. Others have included Fasting by Scot McKnight and Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher.
Dan B. Allender, of Mars Hill Graduate school, has a Masters from Westminster Theological Seminary and a PhD in Counselling Psychology from Michigan State University, so is well placed to look at this important topic of Sabbath from the theological and pastoral aspects. This is a well written book, it it light, anecdotal, refreshing and lively. Sabbath, he writes, is 'not a day off, but a day of celebration and delight. The Sabbath is a day when the kingdom to come has come and is celebrated now rather than anticipated tomorrow'...it is 'far more than a diversion; it is meant to be an encounter with God's delight' (p.12).
As with all in this series the aim of the book is to consider an ancient practice, here Sabbath, in its ancient roots to its current practice. However, it concentrates on current practice with only glimpses of its 'ancient roots' in the scriptures. There is no looking at how the biblical horizon might fuse with the contemporary horizon - it's not that kind of book.
What springs to mind when we think of Sabbath? Church going, no shopping, no driving - unless its to church - a day off from the pressures of work? Allender maintains that it should be a day of delight not merely the cessation of work. God rested on the seventh day, not because he was weary, he celebrated and delighted in his creation. Allender's enthusiasm for the Sabbath comes over and provides some inspiring examples. It's a book that promises much - the first chapters were really inspiring, but the promise seemed to fade the further I went into the book, which was a shame.
This is an important topic, particularly in our work-driven culture. If this book does no more than raise the question: what does Sabbath mean for me, how can I delight in God in it and encounter God's delight through it? it will have been worthwhile.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”