Sabbath: The Ancient Practices

Sabbath: The Ancient Practices


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Sabbath: The Ancient Practices by Dan B. Allender, PLLC

What would you do for twenty-four hours if the only criteria were to pursue your deepest joy?

Dan Allender’s lyrical book about the Sabbath expels the myriad myths about this “day of rest,” starting with the one that paints the Sabbath as a day of forced quiet, spiritual exercises, and religious devotion and attendance. This, he says, is at odds with the ancient tradition of Sabbath as a day of delight for both body and soul. Instead, the only way we can make use of the Sabbath is to see God’s original intent for the day with new eyes. In Sabbath, Allender builds a case for delight by looking at this day as a festival that celebrates God’s re-creative, redemptive love using four components:

  • Sensual glory and beauty
  • Ritual
  • Communal feasting
  • Playfulness

Now you can experience the delight of the Sabbath as you never have before—a day in which you receive and extend reconciliation, peace, abundance, and joy.

The Ancient Practices

There is a hunger in every human heart for connection, primitive and raw, to God. To satisfy it, many are beginning to explore traditional spiritual disciplines used for centuries . . . everything from fixed-hour prayer to fasting to sincere observance of the Sabbath. Compelling and readable, the Ancient Practices series is for every spiritual sojourner, for every Christian seeker who wants more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780849946042
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 12/28/2010
Pages: 213
Sales rank: 853,168
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Dr. Dan B. Allender received his MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary and his PhD in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University. Currently, Dan serves as Professor of Counseling Psychology and Founding President at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology in Seattle, WA. A therapist in private practice, he is a frequent speaker and conference leader. He and his wife, Rebecca, are parents to three adult children and grandparents of two grandsons and one granddaughter.

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Sabbath: The Ancient Practices 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
sara97 More than 1 year ago
Part of Thomas Nelson's "Ancient Practices" series, "Sabbath" is Dan Allender's exploration of what it means to set apart one day of the week as holy to God. He sketches out his own history and story of Sabbath keeping (and lack thereof). He challenges Christians to prioritize Sabbath keeping and then spends most of the book discussing what that does and does not look like. Allender has a clean, conversational and intimate writing style. In some ways, this book is an easy read. But in many ways this is one of the more difficult books I have read. The matieral that he lays out is dense and demands much consideration. I found that I could no more read this book quickly than I could eat an entire chocolate mousse cake in one sitting. Allender aims to be both grace-filled and convicting in this read. He points out that keeping the Sabbath is one of the ten commandments and views ignoring it is a sin right there together with murder and adultery. On the other hand, the vision that he paints for keeping Sabbath is so anti-legalistic that he leaves you wondering why anyone would not want to keep it. I found this book peculiarly unsatisfying though because Allender is extrapolating in large part from personal experience and he starts from a massively different stage of life from the one in which I presently find myself. As a mother with four children, my life, my worship, and my work are entangled with each other. The children still need to be fed on Sunday. More, the children still need to be taught and trained on Sunday. In fact, training them in worship is one of the fundamental duties and responsibilities of a Christian parent. It's one I'm priviliged to have, but--make no mistake--it *is* work. In addition, as a pastor's wife, my husband's work week culminates with Sunday morning. Sunday is not his Sabbath. So then, if Sabbath is in part about community, how do we attend to it together as a family? Do I personally try to keep it separate from my children? Or how do I keep it together with them, when the work of parenting them is my work? Allender addresses none of these concerns. What he can do as a man with a day job, weekends off, and children grown is something different from what I find available to me. Recommended with caveats. Four stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How do you review a book that literally changed your life? Dan B. Allender's book on Sabbath explores the Biblical mandate for Sabbath-keeping by looking at the biblical text themselves, exploring some of the history around how God's people have traditionally and creatively celebrated the Sabbath over time, and sharing his own experience with the discipline/joy of keeping the Sabbath. His mission from the very beginning of the book is to dispel both the rule-bound, legalistic perspective and the laissez-faire, "oh-that's-just-the-Old-Covenant" perspective on the Fourth Commandment, and to transform them into a new, joyful anticipation of what the Jews have long referred to as "the Queen of days." (And he succeeded.) I was encouraged by literally every chapter in the book to rethink my perspective on Sabbath, and to see it not just as a day of rest in which I do absolutely nothing except whatever I feel like doing or as a day off to catch up on housework and run errands, but as a day during which God's kingdom come and coming can and should be experienced more fully. I've taken Allender up on a number of his challenges over the past few months: I've taken a walk with an "enemy" - I've stopped completely retreating from the world and begun to invite people over for dinner - and I've started to plan a little more carefully for the day. Sabbath is no longer just a stopping place at the end of a long week for me, but a deliberate pause in which to celebrate with Him and spend quality time in His word and with His people, enjoying creation, freedom, and time - and looking forward to eternity. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's willing to have their life - and perspective - rocked a bit. My response to this book was to literally change the way I structure my time - and it's been an incredibly life-giving change. Disclosure in agreement with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising": I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
sberbec More than 1 year ago
If we're to be honest, most of us give little, if any, regard to the fourth commandment: Sabbath. Our assumption is that it's an easily fulfilled commandment that can be crossed off the list, weekly. Namely, Sabbath has become associated with church on Sunday and/or having the day off. According to Allender, this is not a Sabbath. Rather, Allender presents an alternative perspective challenging the so-called norms of what it means to really Sabbath without all the legalistic connotations typically associated with the term. A day of Sabbath is a day of delight. In order to participate in a day of Sabbath, one must ask what it is that brings them most delight. The Sabbath is sensual. Delight is experienced with the senses in what we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Sabbath activities include, but are not limited to: enjoying savory food, drinking expensive wine, listening to good music, worship, sex, reading, conversations, going for a walk, being quiet, etc., while experiencing holiness and God's presence in each. Sabbath does not involve a particular day (i.e., Sunday). Nor does it necessarily involve going to church, taking an afternoon nap and preparing for the week to come. It is worth noting that Allender presents this material from first hand experience. Not only does he teach Sabbath classes at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology (formerly known as Mars Hill Graduate School), but he and his wife routinely practice the Sabbath together, making his writings credible. That is, Sabbath as taught by Allender can really be experienced and many of such personal experiences are shared within this book. That being said, I highly recommend reading Sabbath by Dan Allender. It is an easy read and leaves the reader craving an experience with God in a day of Sabbath. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com 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."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BananaPeelStudios More than 1 year ago
Sabbath by Dan Allender is part of The Ancient Practices series put together by Phyllis Tickle. Allender's approach to the Sabbath is to view it as a day that God gives us as a gift to find what we delight in. While practicing a day of Sabbath takes work and intentionality in preparing for it, setting aside a day to focus on delight is intended to bless and benefit us. I personally would have enjoyed pragmatic ideas for observing the Sabbath; however, Allender's approach is very theoretical. He gives us his principles for why the Sabbath was given to us and some illustrations from how he enjoys the Sabbath, but don't expect to find any specifics laid out for observing the Sabbath. And this is understandable as he stays clear of being legalistic about it and notes that each of us will have different areas of delight. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze 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
gadfly1974 More than 1 year ago
Delight. Not the first word that comes to my mind when I think about Sabbath, a once-weekly remembrance of God's resting on the seventh day of creation. But in this book, Dan Allender paints a beautiful picture of the implications of experiencing Sabbath as God intended. If you feel overworked, pressed for time, fearful, or just plain bored, then this book is for you. Some books offer quick fixes. This book demands a lifelong commitment to Sabbath as the fourth commandment, one intended for today as it was thousands of years ago. Even if observing Sabbath really is optional in today's world, I no longer want to skip it or avoid it. I want to delight in God's creation and rest in his arms. Disclaimer: The publisher gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.
Real4Truth More than 1 year ago
Sabbath by Dan Allendar Christians are not exempt from the wild and fierce rapids of our busy, hustle and bustle culture that seems to leave our souls drained of desire, passion, and vibrancy. The Sabbath is a biblical antidote to the above dilemma. Dan Allendar offers his remarkable and fresh take on the Sabbath and is by far a dry, reductionistic, theological and exegetical treatise on the subject. Certainly Allendar's approach on the topic is theological and biblical but his reflections on the Sabbath are drenched with Spirit, passion, and rich practical life-giving wisdom. Allendar knows how to get to the heart of the matter. Allendar beautifully challenges his readers to accept the Sabbath as a biblically mandated delight that all Christians should embrace. Allendar proposes that God didn't rest on the seventh day as a person who rests on the couch after a long hard day of work but that God rested or "delighted" in his creation. The seventh day was a day of delight for the Lord and so should it be one day a week for us. Allendar writes, "Our war is not with flesh and blood; our reluctance to Sabbath is not a fight with busyness, drivenness, or time. We are caught in and fight battles against delight. Delight unnerves us. God's call to delight terrifies us. To surrender to delight is to hear God's passionate extravagance spoken in a manner that is uniquely crafted for joy" (p.92). It is a day to celebrate and delight in wildly awakening all of one's senses. It is not merely an individualistic endeavor but it is a practice that is relational at its core. Sabbath can also be a day of justice, allowing the captives and captors to be set free to divine delight. Instead of being a dry, legalistic and joy-deprived holy day, I now see the Sabbath as something extraordinarily beautiful and God's wooing us to a day of beauty, desire and the heart's delight. I thought it was a wonderful book that drastically changed my perspective on Sabbath. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze 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."
NikiMcC More than 1 year ago
In his book, Sabbath, Dan B. Allender does a wonderful job of challenging us to keep the Sabbath holy. And, as if we need yet another person in our lives telling us what we "should" be doing, he does it in such a way that makes it something that we want to do. Because, after all, the Sabbath is a gift from God, given for our own enjoyment and restoration. Allender's writing style is easy to follow and the book is a moderately fast read. Allender lays out what he believes the Sabbath to mean (with biblical references of course) and gives helpful suggestions for how to transform the Sabbath into what God intended it to be. If you feel that you could be getting more out of your Sabbaths or wonder if there's just anything more to this holy day, I recommend this book. At 194 pages, it is not overwhelmingly long, plus it has a study guide in the back, making it a good choice for both personal study as well as group studies. I received this book from Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program and am under no obligation to provide a positive review.
CalvinLewis More than 1 year ago
This book offers some considerable food for thought, basing almost the entire premise on the Hebrew word for rest, Menuha, which is best translated as "joyous repose, tranquility, or delight." Understanding the proper meaning of the Sabbath will uncover most of religion's misconceived notions about rest and joy, but that's just it. The book did not focus directly on Christianity. It certainly had a more Jewish feel to it, being that it was an ancient Jewish practice, but even then, I feel that the book could have elaborated on a few more of its ideas about joy, rest, and delight. This, of course, is because I am a convinced Christian Hedonist and attach human delight to delight in the sovereignty of God - but that's another post on another blog. One more critique; Granted that the sabbath is a way to seek joy and delight in the Lord, it is not the only way, nor is it necessarily the most important way. The book really failed to mention the rest of the spiritual life's disciplines, even in passing (I know that this book is part of a larger Ancient Practices Series, but a little clarity would be appreciated, especially if it happens to be the only book in the series one might ever read). Other than the few editorial remarks above, I found this book a suitable read for satisfying my curiosity on the subject. It certainly opens up portals in your mind to think and reflect and encourages you to take some time to meditate and delight yourself in the Lord. This, I will certainly do.
mom2kchmwr More than 1 year ago
This book is a slightly warm, gooey chocolate fudge brownie, fresh from the oven, served with steaming hot coffee on the deck mid-afternoon on a cool fall day. For those of my readers who don't like chocolate or coffee, I don't know how to describe this book for you. I'm sorry. I have been reading on this topic for a number of months and seem to be gobbling up the information like I would the brownie and coffee mentioned above. I would give you some quotes from the book, but I don't know where to begin or where to end and I would probably share the whole book with you and I know that's not allowed. You will just have to read it for yourselves. In the book I learned what a treasure keeping the Sabbath really is for the Christian today. Did you know that keeping the Sabbath is a command, just like not murdering, not lying, not coveting? In today's world, we who call ourselves Christians do not keep the Sabbath. There is not rest, no openness, no communion with our Creator. How do we keep the Sabbath around here? It's a day to watch TV, not do the laundry, work or not work; for us, there is no real distinction between Monday, Friday or Sunday. One thing I was looking for was a detailed study of whether or not the weekly Sabbath is sundown to sundown on Friday to Saturday or whether we are allowed to choose what day we celebrate the Sabbath. My growing conviction is that the weekly Sabbath needs to be practiced or celebrated on Saturday. Sunday's worship service and fellowship then becomes another weekly meeting that we attend with our fellow believers. This book does not give clear guidance on this matter, but the Saturday Sabbath is definitely alluded to throughout the content. So that's what I did not find in this book. What did I find while reading this book? I learned that Sabbath is a day of play, a day of prayer, a day of building relationship with our Abba Father, of building relationship with each other. I learned that Sabbath is not all about stoicism and silence and Bible reading (although silence and Bible study are important parts of Sabbath). I learned it is not a day of legalism. Sabbath is a day of freedom. While writing this review, I came up with a non-chocolate, non-coffee description of this book. It's like Little Hotties (hand and foot warmers) at a fire-less sledding party. Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review!
MonicaD29 More than 1 year ago
I read this book & while its well wrote, it can be confusing at times, so I did some minor research & found out that its book 3 of a series, which I'm sure the first 2 will make it easier to understand. However, for not knowing about the first 2 books, it is a good way to grasp what the Sabbath is really about, and how to work it into your daily routines.
mojo_turbo More than 1 year ago
Dan is president and professor of counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School near Seattle, Washington. He is a therapist in private practice, and a frequent speaker and seminar leader. Keeping the Sabbath is one of the hardest of the 10 Commandments to truly keep. Seems weird that modern-day Christians can't observe a day off, but it seems to be true. Sure, we take the time to go to church for an hour, and maybe meet up with some friends at a diner for lunch, but is that what God had in mind? Scripture says that we are to observe a day of rest and keep it "holy." Holy would mean "sacred" and "set apart" from other days, but how "different" is Sunday from the other days for most of us? Author Dan Allender proposes that we as followers of God are to not just observe a "set apart day" but to also "rest" by observing God's blessing that day. The Sabbath is a day to delight in the Lord. On the Sabbath we should distance ourselves from the "daily" of our lives and find the joy of God. Allender makes an argument for how he sees "rest" on the Sabbath by defining four Sabbath pillars: sensual glory, holy time, communal feast, and play. "Time, food, conversation, sorrow, hope and companionship take on a rare, sweet, and compelling cast when one discovers holy time. 'The Earth is the Lord's' (Ps 24:1), and all space is holy; yet not all space has been sanctified. But time - a single day, the Sabbath - is to be sanctified as Holy." Together these pillars make up an attitude of "joy" and further defines how he sees rest. Like the previous Ancient Practice books I have read, I noticed the same complaints from reviewers. This book was light on scripture and light on being "like a textbook." I even read one reviewer who wanted the author to come out and say, "go to church" on the Sabbath. But again, I would stress if that is the kind of book you want to read; those books have been written already. The world is full of books that have been written and rewritten - the world is full of people saying the same things. If you want someone to tell you something that you already know, then you are only reading a book to confirm your faith. I would rather read a book to be challenged or to see a thing from a different angle. I am sure Allender is not opposed to "going to church" on the Sabbath, but I think he would rather you read his book and then make that connection yourself. Allender uses very vivid and poetic language, he paints a portrait of the Sabbath using phraseology the typical reader might not be used to. "The Sabbath is my day; it is our day. We are created to create the sensual rhythms and rituals to taste God's favor. All we must do is to go play in the fields of God and turn our senses to his faithful love. He is ready to play, nourish, and cherish us in a way that is not unlike the other six days, yet is different." Again I recommended these books to anyone who is open to a new and different voice; a person who appreciates hearing new words spoken into ancient truths.
SpeedMuser More than 1 year ago
I selected this book to read in the hopes that it would provide a means of understanding the biblical foundations for the Sabbath. I have always had an interest on what guidelines the Israelites were under for the day of rest. I have also had a growing feeling that I should begin practicing a day of Sabbath in my life to provide the rest my body and soul needs for continued existence. I have to say that I was disappointed, given my hopes for the book as previously outlined. I got the distinct feeling that the author of this book, Dan Allender, interprets the Sabbath as a day of feasting, playing, and pretending. He talks at length about preparing wonderful meals to enjoy along with wine and other beverages, as well as playing. The pretending aspect was brought into the discussion as a means of starting the week off right by acting as if things were just fine, no issues to consider. I find several times in Exodus commentary regarding the Sabbath as a day of rest. It does not sound like to me that feasting is part of the Sabbath. Perhaps I do not know all the iterations of the translation of the Hebrew word used here for rest, but I have to say that this book cuts across the grain with respect to the historical understanding of the Sabbath and rest. I would not recommend this book due to my disappointment. I feel as if it does not do the understanding of Sabbath justice. Another consideration for me regarding a lack of recommendation is the language used as well as some references to sexual activities within the context of Sabbath. The language aspect left the distinct feeling that some words were used to impress rather than explain. Regarding the sexual references, it was unnecessary and added absolutely nothing to the overall story. Overall, this book was very disappointing.