Sabbath and Tithing - One Quaker's Half Formed Perspective.

I've been hearing more and more people talk about needing to slow down, to simplify their schedules. No one seems to be succeeding. Even children are over scheduled.

Friends are called to be in the world but not of it.

But are we doing this? It can be hard to tell the difference between a Quaker and your average liberal American. At times I think that we are a secularized society of friends (intentional absence of capitals).

At my meeting today, we shared our concerns and frustrations with this issue. Sabbath is an old concept, starting in the old testament. Many of us think of it as a day of rest, but a Jewish friend corrected me. Sabbath is time dedicated to God. How much time do we devote to our spiritual health?

Tithing is thought of as giving money. What if the concept is expanded? How much time do we tithe to our relationship with God? With members of our community?

We are part of a larger society that values doing over being. When I return to work this week, coworkers will ask me, "did you do anything this weekend?" If I say "I relaxed, saw friends and sat with Friends", my weekend will be judged boring. Just being has no worth.

I've come to realize that Quaker Worship is being present with God and these my Friends. It is being. Our testimonies are ground in that relationship of being.

In The Silent Cry, Dorothee Soelle argues that mysticism is resistance. It is being, refusing to be defined by doing.

Three days ago, I awoke to intense vertigo that interfered with walking, driving, working. The diagnosis is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

I did not go to work for 2 days. Work did not fall apart. I could not attend ministry and worship committee. The committee went on. Friends gave me transport to meeting and I was able to sit in prayer with my community. I reached out to F/friends for help and no one turned me down.

The world will not fall apart if we slow down, if we take the time to truly hear what Spirit calls us to do.

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Comment by Jan Lyn Lewis on 1st mo. 17, 2010 at 10:53pm
All very true Stephanie and I cringe that most children in our society today are so over scheduled and rushed. I feel it robs them of so much of what should be their carefree childhood days. Friends have some thing big to offer here, I think. I know I need to work on this area myself and often am forced to due to was I like to call health "challenges". It's often when I am forced to slow down, that I realize just how much I've been missing. I hope that you gain some wellness and your symptoms subside.
In Friendship,
Jan Lyn
Comment by Pat Pope on 1st mo. 18, 2010 at 8:52am
Comment by Bill Samuel on 1st mo. 18, 2010 at 9:57am
There's a Pendle Hill Pamphlet which addresses these subjects very helpfully - Improvisation & Spiritual Disciplines: Continuing the Divine-Human Duet by Carol Conti-Entin. #288. It has sections on Sabbath Observance and Tithing, as well as on Bible Reading, Journal Keeping and Praying. I think you would find it helpful.


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