Rhett Smith Podcast 62: Sabbath Rest and Anxiety

RSP62As I mentioned in my podcast last week (Sabbath Rest and Identity), I have been thinking a lot about the topic of Sabbath over the course of the last year. It seems that it comes up in more and more of my conversations, and it’s absence in the lives of many people (especially evident in many of the clients I work with), lead to a lot struggles, conflict, and issues with anxiety and depression. And it’s absence in my own life is the source (I believe) for much of the anxiety that I have struggled with.

For a period of time (I actually blogged about Sabbath about 5 and half years ago, and here almost 6 years ago). So in reality, I guess I have been thinking about this topic for a long time…but maybe I’m just now starting to take it seriously.

This seriousness began last year when I read Walter Brueggemann’s powerful book, Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now.

Last week I focused more on how identity relates to Sabbath rest, and though I will talk about that again in this podcast, I focus more on the anxiety that happens when we are caught up in a culture of productivity. In Sabbath as Resistance, Brueggemann writes:

“There had been no work stoppage for the slaves, because they had to gather straw during their time off; no work stoppage of anybody in the Egyptian system, because frantic productivity drove the entire system. And now YHWH nullifies that entire system of anxious production. There are limits to how much and how long slaves must produce bricks! There are limits to how much food Pharaoh can store and consume and administer. The limit is set by the weekly work pause that breaks the production cycle. And those who participate in it break the anxiety cycle. They are invited to awareness that life does not consist in frantic production and consumption that reduces everyone else to threat and competitor. And as the work stoppage permits a waning of anxiety, so energy is redeployed to the neighborhood. The odd insistence of the God of Sinai is to counter anxious productivity with committed neighborliness. The latter practice does not produce so much; but it creates an environment of security and respect and dignity that redefines the human project.” (Kindle Loc. 476, pp. 27)

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Link to Episode 62

Resources and People Mentioned in the Podcast

Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to a Culture of Now by Walter Brueggemann

Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight by Norman Wirzba

Sabbath: The Ancient Practices by Dan Allender

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