Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rest as Revolution

Noon: Rest From Work (After Millet) 1889-90; Musée d'Orsay, Paris
The choice of laborers in art was a distinctively rebellious move in art at the time this was painted.

What if we slowed down and trusted God with Sabbath, could we challenge injustice just by taking a day off work? Could we challenge the current economy of oppression and materialism by limiting the work we do to 6 days a week? Can we change the world by doing something restful regularly?

Reading Jesus for President Shane makes the argument that Sabbath challenged the unjust Roman empire. I just went to one of City Churches Summer Conversation the topic of the night was rest. Dani just posted that she was taking a month of rest for July. It seems that in one of the busiest times of the year (weddings and babies and all) rest is a theme everywhere.

Rest as a spiritual discipline, that I have been working to mature in, is revealing itself to me as something far more exciting than not working on Sunday. (Sabbath is on Saturday if you are going to be pay attention to the rules, but most evangelicals don't so lets say Sunday.) Anyway, the radical nature of Sabbath came up in my reading and I mentioned it in my conversation tonight. Funny thing, I felt so awkward mentioning it. City Church is a pretty traditional crowd and this crew seemed to be on the side of interest in the personal spiritual growth elements of the conversation. Nonetheless, I said it. I said rest can be a way we set ourselves apart as Christians seeking justice. I should not make assumptions about people, everyone responded well, many with agreement, and others with intrigue.

After the official chat some of us went to BiRite ice cream and we chatted some more. One of the women went right to it, "I want to hear more about rest as us seeking justice." So I tried my best to flesh out what is really a new idea for me. (Shane says it better, and I am massively adding to his words, but here I go.) If I am working someone else has to work to keep up with the work I do, partially because whatever I am doing creates demand because I am obviously using resources (right now I am using my Mac and its energy). The more I work the more someone else has to. I am perpetuating a system of over worked people when I over work. Plus, I am feeding into a materialistic system, add to that I am feeding our current global economy that requires slavery to keep up with the cheap labor that is required to produce the cheap goods I want to use. If I slowed down (and all other Christian's with me) the market would slow down and that might seem bad (we need the market to improve, right?) but if the system slows down we can take time to examine it. We can figure out why it requires oppression and we can take time to think about how to fix it. If we keep running we are never going to be able to look at the thing we are running in.

I am (obviously) not an economist. I am barely a theologian. I am mostly just wondering, if I trusted God enough to obey the commandment to honor the Sabbath, could that really be one of the most powerful ways that I fight injustice.

1 comment:

melody said...

I love this post, Sarah. I love the concept, and the practicality of it....just beautiful. I miss our conversations immensly--and your face. When are you coming here again? :) xoxoxox

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