3 Stars Out Of 5
It's Not Really About the Sabbath
October 11, 2014
Wirzbas Living the Sabbath is a book with unexpected interpretations and analyses. From the outset, he explains that [t]his book lays out the case for Sabbath observance that does not depend on the cultural sanction of complete rest for one day of the week (p 14). He continues by asserting that we need alternative rituals to practice during the week to help us realize the ultimate goal of Sabbath keeping. His expanded Sabbath seems to touch upon every area of life, from recycling and lobster harvesting to daily worship and delight. So this book is not really about the weekly Sabbath, but about Wirzbas greening and hyper-spiritualizing of some quotidian Sabbath-creation ideal.
I read "Population Bomb" as a teenager and likely hold many of the same ecological values as Wirzba. I am overly concerned for the environment, I dont like being in debt, I think it is healthy to have a garden to care for, and I am a rabid recycler. But I did not come to these conclusions because of the Sabbath; instead, they are informed by a growing knowledge of Gods plenary word and an understanding of environmental science. While other reviewers are more forgiving of his frequent non sequiturs, this reviewer finds it difficult to accept a position that redefines the Sabbath in order to provide a platform for a pet ideology. What he manages to accomplish is to convince like-minded environmentalists that they have a biblical rationale for every idea or goal to help the planet and its people through a loose interpretation of the Sabbath. And that is the overwhelming shortcoming of this book. It is all about trying to effect menuha in this worlds institutions, connections, and relationships rather than exulting in the soulical and eschatological menuha in Jesus Christ.