Building towards Sabbath part two: Technology Saturday

Iphone 4 review 21 user interface

Good morning bloggers!


As I left you in the last part of this series, I had come to the sudden realization that I had not taken a real Sabbath in a while. It is indeed a spiritual discipline, in that it's extremely easy to fall out of if you're not careful. The feeling that comes from falling out of the Sabbath practice is subtle, creeping up on you until one day you're cursing your phone out while driving down RT 28 in the middle of the day like a lunatic. 


So what is a Sabbath? Take a moment to reflect on this definition from Exodus:


“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.


So really, at the heart of things, this is about not doing any work. That would be hard enough, right? It leads to some pretty serious discussions about what is work. Our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Jewish tradition believe that even something as simple as turning on a light switch would qualify as work. That's not as really silly as it sounds though. Is a game of dodgeball work? It is to a youth pastor! Work can be defined in lots of different ways by lots of different people. I think at the end of the day, it's a heart issue for each person. 


What helps to solidify things is a sneaky little phrase in this passage, one that is too easy to look over. The seventh day is a sabbath TO the Lord your God. It's as if God knows (because he does) that the things we do as work actually wind up separating us from Him. God wants just one day out of our week where our primary focus is on Him, and our relationship with him. He wants us to stop producing things. He wants us to stop placing our value or hope in the things that we DO. He wants (I believe) to speak into us our worth and value, and he needs our undivided attention to do it. 


So if you were going to start a Sabbath-keeping practice, what would you do? What kinds of things would you stop doing because they get in the way of your relationship with God? What kinds of things would you have to START doing to enhance your relationship with God? If you find God in nature, would it be beneficial to have a day each week where you spent the majority of it outside? If you find God with people, would it be beneficial to have a day where you invited your closest friends over for a meal? 


For me, I realize that while I have a deep and profound love of technology like my Macbook, iPhone, iPad (ok, maybe just Apple Tech) that these things do little to nothing to enhance my relationship with God. I understand I could use them for that, and wouldn't discourage anyone who would want to go down that road on their Sabbath. But my technology devices remind me of work. The texts, e-mails, tweets, Facebook messages, all point in the direction of work sometimes, which can make Sabbath hard. I combine that with the fact that as an introvert, I connect with God best when I can sit on my porch for a while, reading, studying scripture, praying, and thinking in silence. So a new Sabbath for me looks like a Monday where I shut the phone off, leave the laptop at work, keep the TV at bay, and spend time in study and prayer. I would deeply encourage each of you to figure out what activities keep you from God and which activities enhance your relationship with God, and set aside (the definition of Holy by the way) a day to the Lord.


Incidentally, this presents a problem for the olde J-Blog. Monday is the first day of writing, and writing is a big part of what keeps me sane. You'll note that I've had more posts in August this year than I have in any month in the last three years. But if my laptop is turned off, I can't very well write for the J-Blog. What to do, what to do?


And so we're introducing Tech Saturday. I'm going to move the whole J-Blog's week back a day, so there will be no posts on Mondays. But then, on Saturday, since I'll be turning off my tech on Monday, we'll spend a little bit of time on the intersection of Technology with our four big areas (Youth Min, Worship, Seminary, and Book Reviews). I'll work through products, apps, websites, and other things related to the techy world. I think it will be fun! If you have any ideas for a Tech Saturday post, please let me know!


As for me, it's time for a Sabbath. See you next week J-Bloggers!