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Sabbath (The Ancient Practices Series) Hardcover – February 10, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849901073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849901072
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this reflection on the many faces of the Fourth Commandment, Allender (The Healing Path) tries to reinvigorate the Judeo-Christian idea of the Sabbath as a time of joy, celebration and holiness rather than a time for sporting events and grocery shopping. The author, who is president of Mars Hill Graduate School, urges his readers to go play in the fields of God. The book, part of the Ancient Practices series, is founded on three central ideas. The Sabbath is a commandment, not an option. It is not a minivacation but a day of delight. It is also a time for feasting, a remembrance of Eden and an anticipation of eternal life. Allender liberally sprinkles his work with personal anecdotes as he proposes a Sabbath theology that includes time, sensual glory, feasting, ritual, abundance, play and justice. While this volume may be really helpful to those readers seeking to take a fresh look at Sabbath observance, the often convoluted and confusing prose makes it a bit of a slog. (Feb.)
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About the Author

Dan B. Allender, PhD is a founder of Mars Hill Graduate School where he serves as President.  He has written a number of books including The Healing Path and How Children Raise Parents.  Dan and his wife Rebecca are the parents of three children.

More About the Author

Dr. Dan B. Allender has pioneered a unique and innovative approach to trauma and abuse therapy over the past 25 years. Central to Dr. Allender's approach are the categories of Faith, Hope and Love and their converse betrayal, ambivalence, and powerlessness. Through engaging these categories and in learning to identify them in one's personal story, healing and transformation can occur by bridging the story of the gospel and the stories of trauma and abuse that mark so many.

Having received his Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary, Dr. Allender went on to earn his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University. Dan taught in the Biblical Counseling Department of Grace Theological Seminary for seven years (1983-1989). From 1989-1997, Dan worked as professor in the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling program at Colorado Christian University, Denver, Colorado. In 1997, Dan with a cadre of others founded The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology in order to train therapists and pastors to more effectively serve in the context of the 21st century. Dan served as President of The Seattle School from 2002-2009.

Dan continues to serves as Professor of Counseling Psychology at The Seattle School. He travels and speaks extensively to present his unique perspective on sexual abuse recovery, love & forgiveness, worship, and other related topics. Dan is the author of The Wounded Heart and The Healing Path and has co-authored several books with Dr. Tremper Longman (Intimate Allies, The Cry of the Soul, Bold Love and Bold Purpose).

Customer Reviews

I was not required to write a positive review.
Joel S
Allender shows that we were made to DELIGHT in the creation God made, and rejoice in the Sabbath He gave us as well.
Amazon Customer
And to be honest, if I had not agreed to read and then review this book, I would not have finished it.
Philip Hoppe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Engineer on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dan Allender is a noted evangelical psychologist and, true to form, this book contains some powerful psychological insights. "Whomever we envy will become an enemy; what they possess becomes an addition." (p. 121.) "Grief is similar to vomiting. At its deepest convulsion it exhausts, nauseates, and relieves." (p. 171.) But notice that these insights have nothing to do with the Sabbath. We envy all seven days a week. We grieve all seven days a week.

I didn't purchase this book looking for psychological insights. I purchased this book to help penetrate the enigma of the Sabbath. Unfortunately, Dr. Allender misses the mark. The publisher promotes the Ancient Practices series as designed for those who "are beginning to explore traditional spiritual disciplines used for centuries." However, Dr. Allender doesn't mention any ancient practices at all throughout the book. He does occasionally mention Jewish practices (presumably modern) and he does occasionally cite Biblical references. However, I got the impression that he does so to support the points that he wants to make rather than to learn from either the practices or from the Bible.

Judging from the frequent references such as "As I was writing...", this book seems to be more a stream of consciousness than deep research and insight into the topic at hand - the Sabbath. I wonder what Dr. Allender's frequent collaborator, Dr. Tremper Longman, would say about the Sabbath.

On the other hand, Dr. Allender writes with a lucid, enjoyable prose style.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patrice Fagnant-macarthur VINE VOICE on April 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
What would you do with a day dedicated to delight? That is the question that Dan B. Allender poses in "Sabbath," one of the books in the "Ancient Practices Series" edited by Phyllis Tickle and published by Thomas Nelson. Allender's take on the Sabbath is unique. While other books on keeping the Sabbath tend to focus on dedicating the day to God or resting from work, Allender expands on that, stating that "the Sabbath is a day of delight for humankind, animals, and the earth; it is not merely a pious day and it is not fundamentally a break, a day off, or a twenty-four hour vacation. The Sabbath is a feast day that remembers our leisure in Eden and anticipates our play in the new heavens and earth with family, friends, and strangers for the sake of the glory of God."

Allender acknowledges that it is difficult to dedicate one day to experiencing joy and beauty and delight. It might be hard to dedicate one day in a lifetime to that, much less one day each week! Yet, Allender invites us to make a concerted effort to do so. Allender examines how we treat time in this over-stressed twenty-first century world and encourages us to take a second look at the value of taking that weekly Sabbath to sanctify time. He also discusses the value of feasting and of play. It will take some preparation on the other days of the week, but we need to open our hearts to the gift of the Sabbath.

One chapter that was very insightful was "Sabbath Play: Despair Surrenders to Joy." Allender explores what it means to regret and despair. "Both regret and worry assume there is no God, or at least not one who loves and pours himself out for his children. . . Despair shows itself in cynicism, conventionality, and consumerism." Sabbath invites us to set those feelings aside.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scandalous Sanity VINE VOICE on February 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Remembering the Sabbath is probably the most ignored commandment, and therefore one of the most misunderstood. Dan Allender tries to remedy that in his book Sabbath, part of the Ancient Practices Series. It is a simple study of a practice that God instituted at the beginning of time.

Allender begins the book by describing the pillars of Sabbath--sensual glory, holy time, communal feast, and play day. He is careful to define what Sabbath is not, and warns not to drift into legalism when practicing Sabbath. He then moves into the purpose of Sabbath, which is mostly play. Allender's main point is the restoration that Sabbath brings. To illustrate, I'll use chapter names: "Division Surrenders to Shalom," "Destitution Surrenders to Abundance," and "Despair Surrenders to Joy." The final portion of the book is dedicated to the actual practice of Sabbath. Allender gives some of his own Sabbath rituals as an example, as well as sprinkling in stories of others and quotes from various church fathers.

The prose that Allender uses is whimsical and light, yet somehow sacred. The sentences wind their way across the page, describing sensual details of life that most authors overlook or just leave out. There are times when Allender gets a little too poetic and loses track of his point, but for the most part he stays on topic, making the book an enjoyable read. This book isn't for people who enjoy formulaic chapters and plans. This title describes the Sabbath with care and purpose, and that's the best you can ask from a book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joel S on March 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Given my own Sabbatarian beliefs, I was intrigued to read Sabbath by Dan Allender. It is not something that is discussed regularly in broadly evangelical circles, so seeing it from a broadly evangelical publisher and a broadly evangelical author made me curious.

There is some that is commendable in the book. Allender illustrates in practical ways why a Sabbath is helpful, he unequivocally argues that the Sabbath is a command to be obeyed, and he gets at the root of why many people do not observe the Sabbath in any form. Further, he emphasizes helpfully that the Sabbath is supposed to be a delight, not a hindrance. Too often we view any sort of restriction on the things we want to do as a bad thing, but in this case, in can be a healthy and wonderful thing.

Nonetheless, I cannot recommend this book for several reasons. First, he rarely lets the Scriptures speak in order to determine what the Sabbath is or how it is to be used. Most of it is practical reflections on the Sabbath-some helpful, some not-with precious little biblical interaction. Other than a brief mention of Matthew 12, he does not address the New Testament's teaching on the Sabbath at all (Hebrews 4, Colossians 2, Romans 14).

Secondly, his presentation is quite out of tune with church history. There is a rich reflection on the Sabbath in the Reformed tradition, and he does not even attempt to interact with it. And this leads to the third problem.

Thirdly, in his eagerness to show how the Sabbath is a delight, he puts emphasis in a misguided direction. His summary of the delight of the Sabbath covers four areas: (1) "sensual glory," (2) "rhythmic repetition," (3) "communal feasting," and (4) "just playfulness" (31).
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