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

4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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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: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering what ever happened to that sense of joy and peace? Some ideas on how to find Sabbath rest and some honest (and occasionally humorous) reflections on the journey to that Sabbath rest can be found in tthis great book. We are using it for a group study at our church and I have been recommending it to other clergy. Bravo!
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Everyone - and I mean everyone - should be reading Sabbath in the Suburbs. Even if you don't live in the suburbs. Even if you don't think you need a Sabbath. Even if you think it is impossible to keep a Sabbath.

So many of us complain/suffer/find ourselves in the fetal position dealing with our lives. We are too busy. We are exhausted. We are overwhelmed.

Especially in the fall, especially if we have school-aged children, just one glance at the calendar can make our hearts pound -and not in the good way.

MaryAnn is a very gifted writer and you will love the way she describes even the most mundane activity. Clearly she is a deep spiritual thinker with much humor and grace.
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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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MaryAnn McKibben Dana, a pastor at a small Presbyterian church in northern Virginia, has written a book that while aimed primarily at the suburban family, has thoughtful, often humorous observations and comments for all readers. Her style is light, but informative, illuminated by nuggets of wisdom that will appeal to most readers.

The book details a year in the life of the Danas and their three small children experimenting in how one day a week can be set aside to observe "Sabbath." In other words, a day when the usual hustle and bustle of daily battles with duties ranging from housework to homework to meetings can be put aside. A day when one can take a brief but psychologically important time to reflect, to engage in activities that refresh rather than doing out of necessity, to sense what it really means to live in God's world. Not easy by far, and Dana cheerfully or sometimes ruefully details the failures.

Although there is a deep sense and feeling for how people, Christians and non-Christians alike, should live their lives, it is not a book filled with Scriptural references, or verses to read. In other words, it is not a book with a Biblical outline of what God's wants us to do--the theme of so many books by various pastors and authors. Rather, it is a sip of refreshing sanity in a world increasingly tied to the wheel of 24/7 regimens.

Note: MaryAnn was for several years the associate pastor of the church which my late wife and I were members.
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