The great Old Testament scholar Walter Bruggeman has written and spoken extensively about the concept of Sabbath as resistance. He argues that we as Americans need to set a higher priority on finding time to be quiet, still, and prayerful by returning to the old tradition of not working on the Sabbath. More to the point, he contends that we shouldn’t be trying to fill that time with ballgames, road trips, television and movies, or any of the other distractions so pervasive in our culture. Bruggeman contends that our materialist, consumer, advertising-driven culture has a vested interest in seeing that people fill every minute of every week with stuff rather than keeping the time of quiet rest prescribed in the Bible.
I agree in principle with what Bruggeman says, though I will be the first to admit that I am anything but a model citizen when it comes to observing Sabbath. But, just because I don’t do it very well doesn’t make him wrong. I propose, however, that we shouldn’t stop with Sabbath. I propose that the Daily Office produces a similar type of resistance.
Last time my sister-in-law and her kids came to visit, we gathered everyone around the table for board game night. I’m generally okay with board games, but, this particular night, it was the game of “Life.” I deeply, deeply loathe this board game. It is long, tedious, boring, and, worst of all, completely random. None of the choices made by any of the players (not that there are many choices to make) influence the outcome of the game.
Last weekend I went with family to the Worlds of Fun theme park in Kansas City. It was a fun day out, as much because of the day spent with family as because of anything at the park. I don’t explicitly dislike amusement parks, but I can overdose on them. About one trip a year is plenty for me.
First off, I’m not much for crowds. Plus, I will freely admit, I’m a lightweight where thrill rides are concerned. I’m not much for roller coasters and my stomach revolts at any ride that involves circles inside of circles (spinning teacups or whatever). That rules out most of the rides. I do like most of the water rides, but last Saturday was still a bit cool for getting wet. Even on the water rides, I find myself wishing I was out on the river in my kayak–surrounded by only a few close friends and experiencing real adventure.
I took an intro to philosophy class as junior in college. The class wasn’t the most riveting one I ever had.
To put it mildly: It was boring.
And I say this as someone with an advanced degree in history! I studied a lot of philosophy and I was a good student who paid attention. But, this class was boring.
However, the professor made one good observation that stuck with me:
The Apple Macintosh is the reverse of the Protestant Reformation.
Strange? Perhaps. But, on reflection, it makes perfect sense.
I’ve written elsewhere on this blog about my own journey from an Evangelical background to my current home in the Episcopal Church. Most of my family remains relatively conservative and Evangelical. Though I still have some connection to that world, I feel increasingly like a stranger in a foreign country when I attend church at home with family, listen to contemporary Christian radio, or wander into a Christian bookstore. I don’t do any of these things with great frequency, and the Christianity I see there seems increasingly at odds with my own faith.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
We celebrate the resurrection today. This year, the weather has at least partially cooperated. We had a long winter–not bitterly cold or snowy, just long. But, finally, in the last week, spring has arrived. The flowers are starting to bloom, the grass is starting to grow, the trees are starting to bud. This is as it should be. The resurrection occurs just as the world is turning from the long death of winter into the new life of spring. It doesn’t line up that way every year, but every now and then, we get lucky.
It’s Holy Saturday. Even as a layman within the church, Holy Week is pretty hectic–I can’t imagine how it is for clergy and people with bigger responsibilities than mine.
Unfortunately, this year our church was without an organist for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. I missed out on singing one of my favorite Holy Week hymns: “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” Isaac Watts’ brilliant paraphrase of the 23rd psalm:
I’m trying out a new look for the liturgiablog.com site. The old one was dry and wasn’t quite working for me. I’m not sure this new one is any better, but it may change quite a bit in the days to come.
I’ll also start posting again with more frequency in this space soon. Drop me a line if you have feedback on the new look or suggested essay topics.
It has been far too long since I’ve posted. I have been unusually busy with the beginning of school and a lot of general life stuff. I’ve used some of that downtime to think about this blog. I’ve decided that the general format isn’t quite working for me any more. I’m taking a hiatus of a few weeks to think about what direction I want to go with this space in the future. Rest assured, I’ll be back!
In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I acknowledge that it seems somewhat eccentric to review a book of the Bible. But (work with me here) that’s not exactly what I’m doing.
I have written quite a bit recently about the importance of the Psalms as part of regular worship. I also recently reviewed Robert Alter’s translation of the Five Books of Moses. I have now finished reading Alter’s translation of the Psalms and I can highly recommend it as well.