Friday, August 27, 2010

Shabbat Shalom!

I'm worried that this may start to sound like a fundamentalist religious blog with all this talk about prayer and stuff recently, but I'm going to go out on a limb and tell you about a new thing I'm starting today: Sabbath.

I know, I know. Even my Judaism professor from seminary would tell me that Gentiles (non-Jews) are not required to observe The Sabbath in a biblical sense. But the more I read and interpret scripture and generally am alive, the more I sense that taking one day off in seven is fairly essential spiritually, personally and theologically. More and more I feel the need to be convinced (through direct experience) that the world going around does not depend on me accomplishing things in it.

Now what I'm not talking about is taking a day away from physically being at work in order to run errands, continue to respond to work emails and calls, and clean the house. I'm talking about a day away from work of most types, especially my professional work but also work from my life and relationships and home.

As you may know if you are also a minister, a pastor's work has the ability (and the tendancy) to ooze out into pretty much every other area of your life. Which leads to the fact that I feel pretty much "on call" 24 hours a day 7 days a week and do at least a little work for my job every single day that I am alive and have been for the last 422 days. But this isn't really going that well, so I'm making a change.

I'm going to try, just for this fall season, to take 24 hours of rest from work per week, usually the same day each week, and see what happens.

Today is my first day (actually I started last night) and I woke up with the most profound and hilarious awareness: what in the sam hell am I going to do today? I've decided I won't be checking email for work or responding to non-emergency phone calls. And I've sort of ruled out watchcing television all day or running errands. Which doesn't leave a lot of things on my list of normal activities.

This morning when Mr.LIOLI asked me the same question, I answered: I'll probably just read the bible or something. (I am SO pious!) But here it is, not even 9:30 a.m., and I've given up on that completely. I already "accidentally" logged into my email twice. (When I sat down at the computer it was the first thing I did, my fingers almost unconsciously typing my log-in, which is a scary testament to the force of habit.). And I've checked my phone several times to make sure it is working, even though I've agreed not to answer most calls. I've walked the dog and boiled some potatoes for the potato salad I'll make tonight when we have some friends over, but other than that, I'm free as a bird. And I have no idea what to do.

My friend LW has a blog about the Sabbath, which I love and I will read some of today for inspirtation. But other than that, who the heck knows?

Perhaps I'll have a mystical experience and go on to become a monastic theologian. Or maybe I'll come up with a soluntion for some complicted problems that have been lurking around, simply by ignoring them for a day. Or maybe I'll just be frustrated, check my email 12 more times, talk on the phone "by accident" and realize that this is a practice that takes practice. Heck, the Jews have been doing it for 4000 years and I bet some of them still sneak onto gmail once in a while on a Saturday.

So wish me luck, my reading friends!

Signing off for now,


  1. What about talking to FRIENDS on the phone? Some of us have every Friday off too, and would love a reminder NOT to run errands all damn day.
    If you want to read, I am reading a book right now that made me think of you multiple times last night when I was reading it and laugh/crying on the couch. The Brothers K by David James Duncan.

  2. @MWK: Let's totally talk! Don't run errands all damn day...that sucks the life out of you!