It's been tough to keep up with blogging lately. Even though I've had a break from coursework this summer, I've been reading and working a lot. I've filled my idle time with lots of productivity... Which should make for an interesting (if not ironic) segway into the Fall Semester. I'll be taking some good classes next semester but perhaps the one I've most anticipated is the one called "Sabbath and Youth Ministry" with Nate Stucky (a PhD student under Kenda Creasey Dean's advisement).
When I was an undergraduate theology student at Azusa Pacific University, Dr. Dennis Okholm talked a lot about the importance of practicing Sabbath - dedicating a time in our week to rest and celebration, indeed a liberation from the toil of productivity and "keeping up." At his recommendation, I read a book called Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva Dawn. Sabbath awareness was liberating to me, not just because rest helped to revitalize my life for more work and more productivity - indeed, that would be missing the point - but it was liberating precisely because it freed me from seeing my productivity as the goal and point of life. No longer did sabbath exist for the work week, now the work week existed for the sake of the sabbath. However I might have explained it back then, now I would say that it freed me because it changed the way I saw life and the world. It changed my theology of creation. It freed me from seeing the world as something to be controlled, managed, dominated, and subdued. It freed me from seeing life as a mechanism of things acting upon one another. Through the grace of Sabbath, the world is revealed as God's creation, and knowing it, living in it, becomes an act of participation.
As Jurgen Moltmann has said, "True knowing does not desire to dominate what is known in order to possess it. It wants to arrive at community with the object of its knowledge." This is the kind of knowing which emerges with sabbath awareness. We live in the world not as managers, always trying to keep up with the work that's before us. We live, rather, as partners in relationship in the world, working for the sake of celebration, and rest.
This will be the first time I've formally thought about Sabbath in the context of Youth Ministry and I'm thoroughly excited about the opportunity... Hope I can keep up with the work...