Friday, January 12, 2007

Reimagining Christianity 2.1

Affirmation 11 charges us to care for our bodies, and insist on taking time to enjoy the benefits of prayer, reflection, worship and recreation in addition to work. This affirmation takes the fourth commandment seriously and reminds us of the central importance of Sabbath time. In a culture addicted to work and productivity, this may be the most countercultural idea of all. So, how do you find Sabbath time? Are you able to do so in a practiced manner, or is it random? How does such time shape the rest of life? How do you re-create yourself?

The Sabbath commandment is meant for liberation and not to create rule that condemns -- remember that the Sabbath was made for us, not the other way around. And, if that scriptural reminder to tread lightly is not enough, perhaps this is:

Morris and Lenny are strolling home from shul one Saturday morning. Suddenly a cab speeds past, and their friend, Irving, is running frantically behind it, flailing his arms wildly.
"Well," said Lenny, "I never imagined our good friend Irving was a Sabbath violator! Look at him running for that taxi."
"Wait a minute," Morris replied. "Didn't you read that book I lent you, 'The Other Side of the Story', about the command to judge other people favorably? I'll bet we can think of hundreds of excuses for Irving's behavior."
"Yeah, like what?"
"Maybe he's sick and needs to go to the hospital."
"Come on! He was running 60 miles an hour after that cab - he's healthier than Arnold Schwartzeneger."
"Well, maybe his wife's having a baby."
"She had one last week."
"Well, maybe he needs to visit her in the hospital."
"She's home."
"Well, maybe he's running to the hospital to get a doctor."
"He is a doctor."
"Well, maybe he need supplies from the hospital."
"The hospital is a three minute walk in the opposite direction."
"Well, maybe he forgot that it's Shabbos!"
"Of course he knows it's Shabbos. Didn't you see his tie? It was his paisley beige 100% silk Gucci tie from Italy. He never wears it during the week."
"Wow, you're a really observant! I didn't even notice he was wearing a tie."
"How could you not notice? Didn't you see how it was caught on the back fender of the taxi?"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I have a dream ... if anybody cares

I've been pondering the upcoming King Day holiday, and I ran across this picture from the 1963 March on Washington where King delivered "I Have a Dream."
I've been to rallies and demonstrations on the Mall numerous times, and to several events centered at the Lincoln Memorial, so I've got a sense of scale. I've never seen this many people there. Which makes me wonder -- in the midst of an unpopular war -- what would it take in our time to stoke the passions and turn out the people on such a scale as this? If unjust war, unresponsive government, and attacks on civil liberties don't stir us, what would? Loss of cable service? A shortage of i-pods?
In any case, I hope you'll join me over the last weekend of this month on the Mall to raise our voices against this stupid war. King would be there.