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Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family's Experiment with Holy Time (The Young Clergy Women Project) Paperback – September 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

From Publishers Weekly:
Dana, a Presbyterian pastor, brings a fresh voice and energy to the familiar topic of time management as understood by people who would describe themselves as either religious, or spiritual but not religious. Dana writes in a distinct voice about making a traditional religious practice meaningful to contemporary families.

From Christian Century: "One of the most helpful and well-conceived books on spirituality I've ever read... Dana contends that 'we can act ourselves into a different way of being.' Her family's brilliantly narrated experiment with holy time proves her point as they grow and change together, learning to love each other and the world more fully through spiritual practice."


From Presbyterian Outlook:
MaryAnn McKibben Dana makes a persuasive case for Sabbath-keeping. She writes eloquently about the excuses that so many of us make for NOT practicing Sabbath, or for practicing it in a haphazard and slapdash way when it is convenient for us. With gentle humor and without harsh judgment, she points out the ways so many of us overfunction, and how we think that we are letting the world down if we take time on a regular basis for renewal, reconnection and recreation. We make idols of our "to do" lists rather than savoring the gift of life.


From Englewood Review of Books: Readers of MaryAnn McKibben Dana's Sabbath in the Suburbs will find the practice of Sabbath keeping less foreign and ritualistic and be encouraged to embark on their own Sabbath experiment. Small groups, book clubs, Sunday School classes, or even entire churches, may find this a useful book to read and practice together, thus finding strength in numbers.

From NetGalley:
Other than getting a little tired of reading the word "Sabbath" I loved this one. It was a thoughtful and funny and realistic description of one family's attempt to have Sabbath time each week for a year. Both MaryAnn and her husband work outside the home, so I found this to be much more relatable than many books that focus on spiritual practices. Many of these year-long experiment books feel forced, but this one was head-and-shoulders above the pack. Recommended for: anyone interested in the practice of Sabbath.


Dana, a Presbyterian pastor, brings a fresh voice and energy to the familiar topic of time management as understood by people who would describe themselves as either religious, or spiritual but not religious. Dana writes in a distinct voice about making a traditional religious practice meaningful to contemporary families.</span><br \><br \><div>"</div><br \><br \><span>From Presbyterian Outlook:</span><div><span>MaryAnn McKibben Dana makes a persuasive case for Sabbath-keeping. She writes eloquently about the excuses that so many of us make for NOT practicing Sabbath, or for practicing it in a haphazard and slapdash way when it is convenient for us. With gentle humor and without harsh judgment, she points out the ways so many of us overfunction, and how we think that we are letting the world down if we take time on a regular basis for renewal, reconnection and recreation. We make idols of our "to do" lists rather than savoring the gift of life.</span></div> --Publishers Weekly, 09/03/2012

One of the most helpful and well-conceived books on spirituality I've ever read... Dana contends that 'we can act ourselves into a different way of being.' Her family's brilliantly narrated experiment with holy time proves her point as they grow and change together, learning to love each other and the world more fully through spiritual practice. --Christian Century

Readers of MaryAnn McKibben Dana's Sabbath in the Suburbs will find the practice of Sabbath keeping less foreign and ritualistic and be encouraged to embark on their own Sabbath experiment. Small groups, book clubs, Sunday School classes, or even entire churches, may find this a useful book to read and practice together, thus finding strength in numbers. --Englewood Review of Books

From the Author

Interested in videos and discussion materials for group studies of Sabbath in the Suburbs? Check out SabbathInTheSuburbs.com and click on Sabbath Supplementals.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Young Clergy Women Project
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Chalice Press (September 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0827235216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0827235212
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MaryAnn McKibben Dana is a writer of numerous articles and essays and author of Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family's Experiment with Holy Time through Chalice Press. The book has been featured on PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and in Publishers Weekly and was named a "must read for 2013" by Ministry Matters.

She is a frequent speaker and workshop leader around issues of spirituality, leadership, and congregational transformation. She is co-chair of NEXT Church, a movement that seeks to call forth and nurture vibrant and creative ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She served as a congregational pastor for twelve years.

She is a mother of three, a haphazard knitter, an aspiring marathoner, and a baker and eater of muffins.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jay on October 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a non-theist single guy, I didn't expect it would speak to me. I was surprised when it did. I'm not sure the message I received is the one that was sent, but I learned from it regardless.

The book traces the Dana's one year experiment in keeping the Sabbath. MaryAnn McKibben Dana writes about the very real challenge of carving out time each week for this busy family of five and the things they tried that worked and didn't work. This is not just a treatise on the value of the Sabbath but a rubber meets the rode report of what worked for them and what didn't. Written almost like a journal, it feels less like reading and more like a conversation with a wise neighbor. But all along Dana also discusses her family's growing understanding of Sabbath, what it means for them, and their growing appreciation for the choices and sacrifices they've made to keep Sabbath.

The takeaway for me was making explicit time for what is important to you. Dana points out the many ways that our lives revolve around the next thing we have to do. Whether externally imposed (jobs, family) or internally mandated (I should be more productive, what am I missing out on) we are often over committed and focussed on getting it all done. For the Danas, Sabbath was a time to slow down, to be with family, to do the restorative, contemplative, and spiritual things that were important to their family. Whether you are a person of faith or not, there are things important to each of us that we are likely not taking time for. MaryAnn makes the case that while not easy, taking that time brings rewards greater than what is given up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Boubel on October 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
MaryAnn McKibben Dana's excellent new book, Sabbath in the Suburbs, is, simply put, a delightful read. Her thoughtful reflections on her family's year with the Sabbath are encouraging and uplifting, without being didactic or out of reach. Dana raises interesting, relevant questions (e.g. what is the role of commerce on the Sabbath? How can I take a sabbath and engage in activities that cause others to work?), without providing trite or easy answers. She leaves many of her own wonderings open ended, so that the reader can continue to explore outside of Dana's experience.

Her prose is direct, easy to read, and well written. I found her stories to be engaging, funny, and thought provoking. And lest you believe this is only a book for parents with young children or people in the Suburbs, it is not! Dana's experience is, of course, specific and contextual. However, she does a masterful job of making the concepts both broad and flexible, applicable beyond her own experience. I could see this book finding a home in a high school book group/Bible Study, a college small group, a weekly gathering of elderly men and women, or with a Mothers of Preschoolers group. It's fresh and engaging enough to reach anyone with a heart for a good story!

Do yourself a favor, go read this book right now. The 3-5 hours you invest in it will be well worth it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MegSmocks on October 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sabbath in the Suburbs by MaryAnn McKibben Dana is a wonderful conversation about her family's exploration of what Sabbath means to them. It is written in a light easy to read format with much humor interspersed throughout each chapter as she shares the ins and outs of making it work. I often found myself laughing out loud and then reading that section to my husband.
I began to read it in September... a month that often leaves me feeling overwhelmed by the busyness of everything as I head back into the classroom, my husband's travel schedule ramps up, church commitments, school starts up for our four children, Scouts, dance, theater...a month that leads to an ugly calendar and a house that takes a hit in cleanliness. (Typical suburban stuff.) This book became a place of refuge and I was grateful for the glimpses of sanity it was providing. I yearn for that bit of Sabbath... a time to regroup, recharge and enjoy my family. MaryAnn shows us that it isn't easy and it isn't pretty all the time but by making the extra effort to create a Sabbath time we are rewarded multiple times over. Just as our situations and families are different, one way of Sabbath doesn't fit all... it isn't about doing it the "MaryAnn McKibben Dana" way it is about finding a way to make it work for each of us. Sabbath may be a regularly set apart full day for some, for others it may be an afternoon here or there or a once a month special time. It is a goal to retrain our thinking of time. To quote MaryAnn, "Even if you don't observe Sabbath, a shift in perception is helpful. It doesn't ever all get done, We need to train our vision. We see failure when we should see alternatives. Better to focus on the good and important things we did do instead of berating ourselves for falling short of an ideal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Molly James on November 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Maryann's book, Sabbath in the Suburbs, is wonderful. For someone who has a full work life (also a pastor) a daughter and a husband who works full time, it was refreshing and inspiring to read about her family's year of sabbath. I already find myself using her insights and "hacks" to help make days feel more sabbath-ful even when I can't have a full day off with my family. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning how to live well with the time we have.
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