Sabbath: The Ancient Practices
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This "day of delight," as instituted by God, has become a dirge for millions of believers. For many, it is simply a break from the busyness of the work week. So, what keeps us from properly understanding, sanctifying and celebrating this important day? Allender looks at not only the history of this discipline, going all the way back to ancient Israel, but also at the modern manifestations and misunderstandings of its practice. Drawing upon the Hebrew word Menuha, Allender bases his premise upon the forgotten definition for this word (best translated as joyous repose, tranquility, or delight) and what it truly means to rest.
Sabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of RestLynne M. BaabInter-Varsity Press / 2005 / Trade Paperback$11.99 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 2 Reviews
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Bestselling author Dan Allender presents an insightful and fascinating look at the origins and purpose of Sabbath. Serving as volume three in The Ancient Practices Series, Sabbath examines the key issues of this oft-misunderstood day of the week.
This "day of delight," as instituted by God, has become a dirge for millions of believers. For many, it is simply a break from the busyness of the work week. So, what keeps us from properly understanding, sanctifying and celebrating this important day? Allender looks at not only the history of this discipline, going all the way back to ancient Israel, but also at the modern manifestations and misunderstandings of its practice.
Allender bases his premise on the Hebrew word for rest, Menuha, which is best translated as joyous repose, tranquility, or delight. It is through this lens that he resurrects this lost definition of what it really means to rest.
Allender develops his book around three core premises: keeping the Sabbath is a commandment and thus is incumbent upon every child of God; the Sabbath is to be a day dedicated to delight; and the Sabbath is a feast day which remembers our leisure in Eden and anticipates our play in the new heavens and earth (p. xiii). It is important to note that Allender does not draw any of his premises from Scripture but rather from Jewish tradition (pp. 11-12), ancient and modern practices and rituals created and imagined by Allender and those in his mystically oriented camp.
For example, Allender claims that since Sabbath is part of the Ten Commandments Christians are to keep it. Not only does this ignore the frequent New Testament statements proclaiming us free from the Mosaic Law, but Allender also has no intention of actually following the prescribed Old Testament manner in which Sabbath was kept. Working from Deuteronomy 5:12-15, which states Sabbath as a day of rest, Allender immediately twists the passage to teach Sabbath is a day of play and celebration of creation (p. 64). At no point does the author mention, nor does he intend to apply, the many and stringent Old Covenant regulations regarding Sabbath. Instead, Allender makes an inexplicable leap from the pages of Scripture to an imaginary understanding of Sabbath as a day of pretense and delight.
In order to delight in Sabbath, Allender recommends many options from lighting candles (p. 24), smoking pipes (pp. 24, 58, 136), drinking good wine (pp. 135-136), finger painting (p. 42), taking a hike (p. 42), reading a novel (p. 78), fly fishing, even if it is an imaginary adventure on the lawn (pp. 78, 108) and eating the best of food. The only stipulation is that Sabbath must be pursued with delight: What intrigues, amazes, tickles your fancy, delights your senses and casts you into an entirely new and unlimited world is the raw material of Sabbath (p. 28).
Not only is Sabbath a day of play, it is also a day of pretense. It is a day we pretend that all is well, our enemies are not at war with us and the peace we will one day enjoy for eternity, is an eternity that utters this day on our behalf (p. 86, see also pp. 88, 108-109). Sabbath then is a fiction (p. 88) a day lived as if there was no sin (p. 88), a day of curiosity, coziness, and care (p. 89). It is a party (p. 103). We are to pretend and play on Sabbath as if the new heavens and earth were here (p. 110). Such pretense will require props which could include candles, using our finest china, or rituals such as Sabbath sex or a walk in the woods (p. 131).
In Allenders theology, the Jewish year of jubilee is also to be kept, but true to form, not as it was kept in the Old Testament (pp. 153-166). Instead it is twisted into a call for social action.
In other words, Allender has created a totally unbiblical view of the Sabbath, one that would be totally unrecognizable by Old Testament Jews as well as church age Christians. He has not drawn his concepts from Scripture, nor has he made any serious attempt to do so. He is content with the opinions of his peers, his own imagination and the direct communication that he receives supposedly from the Lord (pp. 106, 112, 141, 146, 151-152). In short Sabbath is in fact a work of fiction, not exactly the kind of fiction Allender recommends but fiction nevertheless. -- Gary Gilley, ChristianBookPreviews.com
sberbecSeattle, WAAge: 18-24Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Sabbath by Dan AllenderJuly 20, 2011sberbecSeattle, WAAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4If we're to be honest, most of us give little, if any, regard to the fourth commandment: Sabbath. Our assumption is that it's an easily fulfilled commandment that can be crossed off the list, weekly. Namely, Sabbath has become associated with church on Sunday and/or having the day off. According to Allender, this is not a Sabbath. Rather, Allender presents an alternative perspective challenging the so-called norms of what it means to really Sabbath without all the legalistic connotations typically associated with the term.
A day of Sabbath is a day of delight. In order to participate in a day of Sabbath, one must ask what it is that brings them most delight. The Sabbath is sensual. Delight is experienced with the senses in what we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Sabbath activities include, but are not limited to: enjoying savory food, drinking expensive wine, listening to good music, worship, sex, reading, conversations, going for a walk, being quiet, etc., while experiencing holiness and God's presence in each. Sabbath does not involve a particular day (i.e., Sunday). Nor does it necessarily involve going to church, taking an afternoon nap and preparing for the week to come.
It is worth noting that Allender presents this material from first hand experience. Not only does he teach Sabbath classes at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology (formerly known as Mars Hill Graduate School), but he and his wife routinely practice the Sabbath together, making his writings credible. That is, Sabbath as taught by Allender can really be experienced and many of such personal experiences are shared within this book. That being said, I highly recommend reading Sabbath by Dan Allender. It is an easy read and leaves the reader craving an experience with God in a day of Sabbath.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.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."
FeliciaWhittierAge: 55-65Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5Was not what I anticipated.March 9, 2011FeliciaWhittierAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 1Value: 1Meets Expectations: 1This was too much of the author's personal experiences.
I was expecting a book that really talked about Biblical events, so I could have greater understanding of Bible time customs etc. The book did not do that.
TheorybellWIAge: 25-34Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5New perspectives but forgets oldMarch 7, 2011TheorybellWIAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3Sabbath by Dan B. Allenderâ€”a book review
The fourth commandment, found in Exodus 20, is "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Because this is one of the Ten Commandments, Allender writes this book about the importance of observing this day of the week. Delighting in this day is a prevalent theme throughout the book. "The Sabbath is an invitation to enter delight. The Sabbath, when experienced as God intended, is the best day of our lives" (p. 4). Allender gives personal examples and suggestions of how to delight in this day, especially through enjoying God's creation. He recognizes the fact that most Christians do not observe this day or even think twice about it.
This book, overall, has some interesting points to ponder regarding how to observe the Sabbath, points that I have never given much thought to before. For example, delighting in the day, rather than just resting and not working, is a new thought to me. I have tended to be somewhat legalistic on how to approach the Sabbath, so this book was refreshing in that regard. Experiencing new parts of God's amazing creation brings us into closer relationship with Him and is something we can truly delight in. It gave me a new perspective.
On the other hand, Allender did not address the issue of rest, other than saying there is more to the Sabbath than that, or that one doesn't necessarily even have to rest at all. In the passage in Exodus above, God commands His creation to rest and make it holy. Other passages throughout the Bible indicate this concept as well, such as when Moses was leading the Israelites in the wilderness and they were to collect manna for the day before the Sabbath as well as the Sabbath. While I understand the need to make it holy in ways other than rest, not working, and not being caught up in legalism, I thought leaving this important piece out of the equation did not do justice to these Sabbath verses.
I would recommend this book to someone looking for new ways to approach the Sabbath. Otherwise, I was somewhat disappointed. I was hoping for a book encompassing the whole of the Sabbath, to challenge me. I have read books by Allender before and have appreciated his writing, but in my opinion, this is not one of his best books.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program.
berfSeattle, Wa.Age: Over 65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5January 29, 2011berfSeattle, Wa.Age: Over 65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A book of celebration. Yeah! A book of do's instead of don'ts. I bought six copies so I have some to give to my friends. When I run out, I'm ordering more.
kitkatm5 Stars Out Of 5Poetic and StraightforwardJanuary 20, 2011kitkatmQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Very point blank, Dan Allendar writes from the viewpoint that the Sabbath is not just merely a day to go to church with like-minded people, but a day to revel in God's splendor. His allegorical style of writing can seem a bit choppy at times but he gets the point across. Slowly, we are guided as to how we can change our prosaic lifestyles.
A study guide is provided in the back so one can pause and reflect upon the words expressed within the book. The ideas are so different and non-conforming as to what most churched people are used to hearing that time for reflection is needed and encouraged.
Written Biblically, this book is given 5 stars.
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