a little something extra

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sabbath 16

Cristopher has summarized this chapter, the final one in the "Rhythm" section. It consists mainly of examples of putting into action the principle Muller has explored in the section: to value that which only grows in time, as much as or more than one values that which only grows with money. Tripp's post on the chapter appears here.

Between my first reading of the chapter and my second a couple of days later, I thought a bit about changing my own life vs. changing society. For most of the book, I've been considering its principles and recommendations just in the context of my own private life. This chapter suggested the extension of "Sabbath values" into our interconnected, societal lives.

As you saw in Cristopher's post, if you followed the link above, the idea of stewardship for one another's well-being permeates this chapter. Not that we should impose Sabbath on one another, but that creation of the elements of Sabbath -- rest, ease, companionship, abundance -- can and perhaps should happen outside our own four walls, as well as inside.

I had never thought of myself as a politically or societally powerless person (Bush "elections" notwithstanding), so it was interesting to me that during some of my consideration of this chapter I kept hearing in my head the refrain "I can't change society... I can't change society... I can't change society..." But the work of Bread for the Journey, and especially the example of the now-Nobel-winning work of establishing the world's first microcredit bank, shows how much good can be done with resources that are not enormous. Time to get rid of that mental refrain.

The exercise this week is challenging. There's never been a group I couldn't feel outside of. But, lame though that is, I do have some minimal experience establishing conscious community. For example, when I lived in Minneapolis, I had a mutual airport transportation pact with another single friend who lived alone -- any time I needed a ride to or from the airport I could ask him and he'd say "Yes" if he was free, and vice versa. This small, articulated contract relieved us both of a lot of stress, since we knew we would not be bugging the other person and potentially endangering our friendship by asking too often.

Living so far away from all the people who are most important to me, it is that much more incumbent upon me to keep up my end of all of those long-distance relationships. It may be more work than usual, not just to do the calling/emailing/etc., but to remember to do it, and not to let anybody go too long without contact. But that's just what Muller is talking about in this chapter -- our relationships only really grow with the application of time and attention. There is no substitute for that.


At 5:27 PM , Blogger Tripp Hudgins said...


Per your comment on my blog, I could say the same thing. Maybe I should reread it. Ha.

In either case, the work that is creating/maintaining relationships is essential to Sabbath. Or is one facet to Sabbath.

So, when I say "community is sabbath" I am thinking about those life-giving relationships. It's not that I think all communities are so wondrous, but I do think that they are called to be.

BTW, I am thinking about rewriting the Octaves piece. It is surely Sabbath-bearing. But I am not sure that was its intention. Does this make sense? I am thinking about how Wayne Muller wrote in the begining of his book that even things we love can sap energy. Music is sometimes that for me...well, when I have to run the band it is. Heh.

At 4:41 PM , Blogger meeegan said...

Would you delve further into this idea, "the work that is creating/maintaining relationships is essential to Sabbath."

Really spell it out for me. I have a hard time following your thinking in this direction, but I would rather understand if I can.

Are you essentially saying, "People can't rest (partake of Sabbath) by themselves"?

At 4:47 AM , Blogger Tripp Hudgins said...

Ooo. Good. Hmm...

It is not that we cannot have Sabbath by ourselves. Hardly. Jesus goes off by himself all the time. People go on retreats to hermitages. I test as an introvert. I am all about being by myself. In fact, sometimes I take it too far and Sabbath becomes Isolation...or reclusiveness. I am not seeking rest or restoration, but, I dunno, escape? The fantasy that there is no one in the world but myself. Something unhealthy.

It is in these healthier times alone, however, that I realize how essential community is in giving structure, definition, and grace to solitude. It is a yin/yang kind of thing. I felt like Wayne was touching on that for me in this recent chapter.

Does this make more sense?

At 4:39 PM , Blogger meeegan said...

Slightly, but I'd like to know more.

What do you mean by community "giving structure, definition and grace to solitude."

Say on?


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