Thursday, January 21, 2010


Our first chew* conversation is scheduled for today. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do this evening than discuss with friends ideas about living simply in a world that is broken and busy. We’re planning (with crossed fingers) to record our discussion in the hopes that you’ll be able to listen/view our ideas and share some of your own.

In preparation for our discussion, I’ve begun to read a book Jordan and I picked up in Thomasville last year. Sabbath, by Wayne Muller, may be the most life-changing book I read this year, and I’m only on page 23.

At the close of 2009, I read the hilarious story of A. J. Jacobs, an Esquire writer determined to “live biblically” for a year. Raised Jewish but today a resolute agnostic, Jacobs literally followed—as closely as possibly—every rule and guideline he could find in Scripture. At the end of his year, Jacobs did not turn back to his Jewish roots or find a new life in Christ. He did, however, become what he termed a “reverent agnostic,” a man who grew to a deep respect of the divine and sacred.

And after all those rules and regulations, Jacobs still maintains one aspect of biblical living: the Sabbath.

For Jacobs, the Sabbath was one of the hardest rules to maintain, but one of the most rewarding. Like other Orthodox Jews, Jacobs came home on Friday evenings and lit candles, turned off electronics, and entered a weekend of absolutely no work. None whatsoever.

Can you imagine the possibilities?

Wayne Muller can, and his book is full of stories about people who finally decided to allow periods of rest into their lives and schedules. Each chapter contains a practical idea in how to achieve the Sabbath in our own lives, even in this world of constant doing.

As I try to enter 2010 living more simply, I’m drawn to this concept, this idea that phones and computers be put away, that candles be lit, and long meals be eaten. I have friends with no televisions in their home, and I wonder: could that be me?

Now, I think there is something to be said about keeping our hands busy and finding the work God created for us to do. But I am beginning to wonder if part of maintaining some sense of Sabbath, some grain of simplicity, comes from committing purposefully, only accepting and agreeing to do that which is thrilling to our souls.

by Marcia Falk

Three generations back
my family had only

to light a candle
and the world parted.

Today, Friday afternoon,
I disconnect clocks and phones.

When night fills my house
with passages,

I begin saving
my life.


Mom said...

I want to know about that book! My year didn't start exactly as I had "planned"! New floors, car shopping, all things that can really "mess" up your plans for quiet! I love your blog!!! (But I love you more!) You make my day:)

Jessica said...

I struggle with this so much. I want to have a home that is a haven of rest. I want to say no to certain commitments so that Matthew and I can be renewed. It just feels like people don't look at it as being a time that you've committed for something you value as sacred. They look at is as you don't want to participate in this activity I planned or you're flaky or you can't count on them or they aren't faithful members. UGH. As an introvert, I really need this time to disconnect, disengage, whatever. I wish those who are extroverts understood the deep, deep need that we have to be alone. It has absolutely nothing to do with not wanting to be with others. It has to do with wanting to maintain my sanity!

Anonymous said...

Simple living sounds divine! When I think back my parents never had a TV in the bedroom. We didn't have cable until I was a teenager. Goodness we didn't even have call waiting and a voice mailbox. It seems like I would miss those things but I bet it actually would work out fine:)

Brooke Premo said...

Sounds like I need to read this!

Thanks for your kind words of encouragement on my blog the other day. "when will it be my turn" syndrome is such a great name for it!

Lindsey said...

God and I had a little chat this past weekend after chew, and we decided that I'm going to start to better understand what the Sabbath and rest mean. I think I might try to find this book while I'm here. I appreciate your wonderful finds and wisdom on this blog. It's inspiring.