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John 21:17

The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

Nov. 15, 2011


by Dan Allender

This is a book I really wanted to like. But that's not what happened.

Allender has a few good ideas about what Sabbath is for, how to enjoy it and experience it as God intends for us. I have no problem with his overall take on Sabbath.

However, the book was a difficult read for me because three things kept getting in the way.

First, Allender bases much of his argument on extensive quoting of Moltmann, Barth, Augustine, and others. It's not really his argument in this book---it's him agreeing with those who have gone on before.

Second, like many Christian leaders are prone to do, Allender blames individual Christians for not making room for Sabbath, resorting to the tired accusations of people "caring more about their careers" and "working too hard to get ahead" etc. Not much sympathy for people who are working crazy hours just to make ends meet, or whose job culture requires them to put in the long hours. Or for people worried about losing their jobs. It is tiresome when Christian leaders automatically assume the fault lies with individuals, rather than the system under which they are forced to work.

Finally, the glimpses Allender gives us into ways he celebrates the Sabbath seem to border on bragging about his own (better than most people's) circumstances. Sabbatical in Europe while others in the family care for the dying? Most wouldn't do that, and most of us don't get sabbaticals in our lives. Exotic times in Ethiopia? Not many have lives that allow for that. Even feasts of expensive food, pipe smoking and fine wines with groups of friends---out of the reach of many. I would have liked to see simpler examples of Sabbath from Allender, ones to which I could relate, or attempt.

ISBN 0849901073

©2011 Rebecca Copeland


Too much polemic and blame, not enough sympathy for our condition.