Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sabbath (The Ancient Practices Series) by Dan B. Allender

“The Sabbath is the day to experiment with beauty that teases your hunger to know more glory….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.”

Remembering the Sabbath is perhaps the most misunderstood of the Ten Commandments. It is typically seen as a day of forced religious attendance and rest. In his book, Sabbath (2009), Dan B. Allender provides a much different interpretation of this holy day. He claims that the Sabbath should not focus on merely abstaining from labor and sitting idly in a recliner. Instead, the day should involve activities that bring us the greatest pleasure. Fly-fishing, cooking with a loved one or reading a favorite author are all examples of Sabbatical celebrations, according to Allender. As he explains, personal delight is the key to keeping the Sabbath holy.

Although Allender does provide an interesting explanation of the Sabbath, his book is disappointing in several aspects. First, there is very little biblical support for his arguments. The majority of the book consists of anecdotes from Allender’s life. Since the book claims to “expel the myriad of myths about this ‘day of rest’”, I had expected a more scholarly approach to the topic. Second, there is little practical advice on how to actually honor the Sabbath correctly. He instructs the reader to plan a day of extreme pleasure, but does not provide any real advice on doing this. Instead, Allender alludes to how he and his wife celebrate the Sabbath. Finally, Allender makes bold claims that are not fully supported. For example, he argues that Sabbath should be rooted in nature without connecting this claim to any scripture.

In spite of its flaws, Sabbath is still a decent read. I find Allender’s conception of the Sabbath more appealing than traditional practices. While this book is not designed for serious or academic Bible study, it is a quick read that introduces a new view of the Sabbath.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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