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    All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Chapter Three

    January 14, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    Since this chapter, entitled Would You Take Jesus to See This Planet?, spends time discussing the Sabbath, I feel I should just come right out and admit that we’ve never had a tradition of observing the Sabbath, or celebrating it, or whatever one calls it. With that said, we don’t have a tradition of non-observance, either. What I mean is, it’s not like we work eight days a week, even though I always thought that song was catchy.

    I can’t say that I’ve given the Sabbath much thought. I believe I allowed it to be brushed aside for me once in my late teens or early twenties when someone observed in my presence that Sabbath-keeping was the only Commandment not explicitly repeated in the New Testament. And then there is the slightly enigmatic passage where Jesus first declares that He is Lord of the Sabbath and then says that it is lawful to do good on such a day. I’ve never really known what to do with that passage and I’ve never heard it preached on.

    So please forgive my ignorance.

    Myers definitely gave me pause. My husband and I have been quite passionate about, for instance, the nobility of work because it preceded the Fall, and also because God Himself performed the work of creation. So though we might often experience work as being painful, we know that the pain is a result of the Curse, while the actual work was meant to be a joy and reflection of God’s image. {Unless, of course, your job is cleaning toilets. I think that such work is a result of the Fall also. But I digress.}

    When Myers wrote that “the Sabbath {like work and marriage} is rooted in the nature of creation” I couldn’t believe I had never noticed that before. How did I ever miss that?

    My husband and I tend not to do much of anything on Sundays because that is what comes naturally, not because of some sort of religious conviction. {Cindy: I don’t even read blogs on Sunday.} But I found myself asking my husband what it means to observe the Sabbath east of Eden, so to speak, and why we don’t observe it in any religious sense.

    I believe this is something we’ll be talking about further.

    The unexamined life is not worth living, right?

    Moving onward, I like what Myers said concerning Christians existing within the culture:

    Not even the people of God in our epoch of redemptive history are called to create a holy culture, because Christians are called to go out into every culture with the gospel. We are a people, to be sure, but our peoplehood is spiritual. Culturally, we are Jew and Gentile, Greek and Roman, European and African.

    [snip]

    Until our bodies are made new, like the body Jesus now enjoys, our calling is not to escape fleshly existence, nor to sanctify culture {since it is “common,” shared by believer and unbeliever, and cannot be made holy}, but to so influence our culture as to make it more consistent with the created nature of man, and to sanctify our own lives, because we are also living in the Spirit, with our minds set on the things that are above.

    Ken Myers wants us to “attempt to influence our culture to make it more fitting for human beings bearing the image of God.”

    And Cindy wants this applied to the Internet.

    That’s an abstraction I’m having trouble with. I suppose I can just admit that I think that with the Internet, as with all technology, less is more. I have tiny children in my home. I love to read and write, but really, children are where I should be right now {well not right now as they are sleeping, but you get my point}. I spent a lot of time on the Internet when we were dealing with food allergies. We didn’t know anyone going through what we went through, and all the online assistance was amazingly helpful. I really don’t know how we would have done it without the internet. I simply had no concept of how to live a GFCF everything-free life.

    But that is in our past. And so just two days ago I went through my Google Reader and weeded out all the blogs I had subscribed to concerning for the purpose of dealing with allergies. When we had the need, such reading was time well spent. Now, it is time that could be spent doing something else which is needful.

    Whenever I begin to think about technology {and this isn’t limited to my arch enemies The Microwave and The Cellular Phone}, I always come back to the idea that humans as humans deserve my full attention. If my face is to a computer screen, chances are my back is turned on someone.

    Frankly, I have a fear that I will blink and my three-year-old will be twenty and I will have missed it.

    And also the dishes won’t be done. I don’t underestimate chores. I sometimes visualize myself as a keeper at home in the warrior-sense. I am defending my home against the chaos that will overtake us if I don’t. I remember once that I was ironing my daughter’s dress and felt that I was truly making paths straight for her. It was a transcendent moment.

    The Internet might make me miss the little things like dishes and the big things like Children Growing Up.

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    7 Comments

  • Reply Dominion Family January 16, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Dana,
    I do believe in a remnant also, it is especially good to remember that when we are feeling discouraged. I have had a rather awful year and yet even now I am feeling that God has used it to draw me closer to Him in a new way. It really has been His kindness towards me that has brought these hard things. Things that aren’t quite over yet but I have more hope now.

  • Reply Brandy January 14, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement, Dana. I’ve been sick for almost two weeks, and I’m trying to force myself to remember that this usually taints my view of life. 🙂

    I really liked your second entry, by the way. I started to comment on it, but then the toddler fell down and the rest is history. I’ll check back in on your blog to follow comments…

  • Reply Dana January 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I admit to feeling disheartened from time to time, Brandy, but I do also want to encourage you.

    In reference to the verse about the crumbling foundations? I dont believe that there’s never nothing to work with in society and culture.

    You know, the remnant.

    I’m hanging my hat with that group, however small.

    My second entry reflects my confidence in meeting Jesus and showing Him around my place 🙂

  • Reply Brandy January 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Gina, Thank you for the book suggestion! It is definitely going on the Wish List. You are an answer to prayer, for just last night I mentioned to the Lord that I wished I had a starting place for thinking through this subject that I have neglected.

  • Reply Brandy January 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Dana,

    I’m really trying to wrap my mind around the idea of culture, and today I feel less clear than yesterday. I woke up thinking about Myers explaining that culture can’t really be sanctified, but that we can work to make it more human, and then also that we are culturally still Jews, Gentiles, etc. Why can’t a culture be sanctified, when it certainly can be depraved? At what point do we say the culture has simply gone too far? For instance, with the p*rn industry, which has built a frightening subculture (culture?) in most countries, one would have to say not that a convert could remain in such a place, but rather that they should go and sin no more.

    And maybe that is the question. Where is the line between becoming a Christian in our own cultures (something that can be so beautiful) and the call to leave everything to follow Christ, the call to sin no more? That is what I’m grappling with…

  • Reply G January 14, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    I came across a really good book on Sabbath called The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. We ended up getting it for all of the men in our life for their most recent birthdays. We are also trying to incorporate Sabbath more into our lives.

  • Reply Dana January 14, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Surprised a little at your take on the Sabbath, but delighted that you are convicted of the importance of your most valuable contribution to the culture: your children.

    I’m looking for perspective when reading Myers…. since the covenant community is now scattered and dispersed within broader human cultures, I wonder about my approval or disapproval of many pieces that make up culture.

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