Sunday, October 31, 2010

Coming Soon

Okay, so we PROMISE the Sabbath video on Rest is coming soon. We filmed it Friday and Ang has been having trouble with the uploading.

But, here is a schedule update. After both of us re-reading the book, we decided to combine Time and Happiness. This will also still allow us to finish the book before Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 31 - Rest

Sunday, November 7: Rhythm

Sunday, November 14: Time and Happiness

Wednesday, November 17: Wisdom

November 21: Consecration and A Sabbath Day

We are so grateful to be reading this book with you all. Thank you for your patience as our schedules have (ironically) been wild and we desperately need to heed Wayne's words about Sabbath.

Jessica (and Ang)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sabbath Update

Angie and Jessica at Relevant
So this weekend at Relevant we spent time hanging out with friends, celebrating baby news, laughing, crying and praying.

Needless to say, we just plain ran out of time/energy to shoot our Sabbath video.

You understand and forgive us, right?

But we are getting together this week to shoot one, and then will post two next week.

Many people came up to us this weekend (including several pastors' wives) and said how much they have loved the book. We hope you are enjoying it too.

Much love and grace,
Ang and Jess

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Delayed One Week

Hello sweet friends.

We are so sorry to have to do this, but we are delaying the start of the book club one week. Our lives have been crazy and filled with lots of deadlines and travel, and we just couldn't get the video filmed and the donated books out. (Today we needed some Sabbath...)

We are going to start next week Monday since we both will be at The Relevant Conference through Sunday. We will do Rest AND Rhythm next week to then get us back on track.

Those of you that are getting one of the 100 books donated to us by the publisher should get them by the end of next week. They are going in the mail on Tuesday. The reading is quick though and you should be able to catch up. :)

Here is the revised schedule
October 25: Rest

October 28: Rhythm

October 31: Time

November 7: Happiness

November 14: Wisdom

November 21: Consecration and A Sabbath Day

Thank you in advance for your patience and grace.

Jess and Angie

Monday, October 4, 2010

Encouragement from Author Wayne Muller

Dear Friends,

I am deeply grateful that Jessica and Angie have given me this chance to be part of your family as you read and listen together, being challenged, comforted and nourished by uncovering what you may find – and what may also find you – in Sabbath.

Wayne Muller
It has been ten years since Sabbath was first published. I wrote it because I simply had to. I had created a life built on seemingly good ideas: ever-expanding acts of service, overcommitted, overworked care for anyone and everyone but myself, fueled by delusions of invincibility and flavored with a dose of grandiosity. It was as if I believed I could always call on some source of limitless energy and vitality to do, fix, or heal, anything, anywhere, anytime. But I slowly became bone weary, trying to save the world as I knew it. Still, surely God would support and protect his (rarely) humble Servant with a little extra insurance?

As it happened, God did provide me that insurance – just enough to cover an
extended hospital stay in intensive-care. My saintly frenzy had so corroded my immune system that I contracted a case of case streptococcal pneumonia, a disease as rare to get as it is to survive. The real insurance is my being alive to tell my story, which I do, in the book – but as a cautionary, not an example to follow.

We all, myself included, thirst for this Sabbath promise of rest, ease and delight. But we will also uncover our own particular challenges in creating Sabbath time in our increasingly busy, complex, and overwhelming world.

As we begin, I have the unique opportunity to share with you a few potent, valuable teachings I could only have learned from speaking with, and listening to, thousands of people who have already read Sabbath. Because they have lived with its message, and tried to make real its invitation into Sabbath time, I can now offer a few guideposts along the way that I could not possibly have known before the book was published. So I offer here the gifts unearthed by those many who have come before, in hopes they may offer some guidance and mercy as you plant these Sabbath seeds in the garden of your own life.

I have, for the past two years, been accumulating many of these lessons in a new book, A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough. I continue to learn from, and share with, many people who call me for mentoring. But for now, let me share a few insights I describe in the new book.

The first lesson I have learned, and would like to share, is this:

1) Regardless how beautiful its invitation, and no matter how clear our need for it, Sabbath time is fiercely elusive. Yet without Sabbath, many good- hearted people feel more exhausted, overwhelmed, and discouraged.

Wherever I go, I am privileged to meet with parents and teachers, business people and community volunteers, doctors, clergy, nurses, and civil servants. Each describes some relentless assault of increasing expectations and demands. They confess they feel bone-weary, spent, used-up. What is required of them feels impossible. Nothing they do ever feels like enough.

How many of us take on increasingly impossible pressures and responsibilities? Most good, ordinary people ache simply to do what they can, to help their families, communities, and their world become more beautiful and more loving. Yet each in their own way feels some corrosive pressure to go faster, produce, perform, more and more perfectly, every day.

The second lesson:

2) We rarely, if ever, feel any permission from anywhere or anyone that it is all right for us to stop, to rest, to take Sabbath time.

Even if we believe in taking Sabbath, we rarely know if whatever we have done is enough. We cannot feel when we have accomplished enough, given enough,loved enough - we are drowning in an inner maelstrom of heart-shredding self-judgment, and a shameful sense of insufficiency.

It is as if our soul’s inner thermostat is broken, incapable of sending or receiving reliable information that signals us to stop. We seem to have lost the deep exhale of knowing in our gut that now we can rest, without worry or regret. Without that permission from our own soul’s wisdom, we will never stop mindlessly shoveling more and more coal into the fierce and unbearable furnace of our overheated lives.

The third lesson I have learned:

3) There is a reason that Sabbath is a commandment, and not merely a lifestyle suggestion. Because, left to our own judgment, we may never make the choice, nor feel the permission to stop.

Only when we finish everything on our desk, to- do list, calendar, deadline, perfectly, every time, then (we say), we will have earned our rest.

But this ridiculously impossible moment never arrives. How can we feel safely comfortable enough to put it down, walk away, let it be, and call it a day?

Here’s the problem: We won’t. We can’t. We never will. Knowing this, God takes it out of our hands. Makes it a commandment…Do not kill, Do not steal, Take a day off. Leviticus makes it clear: at sundown, we stop. No excuses, no special circumstances, one more meeting, email, phone call, report. Nothing. Done. Stop. Now. God can take it from here.

This gets us to lesson four:

4) We need to find some deep, inner permission to take Sabbath time.

As silly as this sounds, even though Sabbath rest is a Biblical commandment, most of us never feel we can let ourselves take it. Nearly everyone I have spoken with feels guilty for taking time off; can’t justify it if others are still working; worries things will fall apart if they are not watching over everything; feel unworthy when they are not contributing; worry about being seen as lazy; worry if they stop, their latent, inner sloth will take over and they might never work again, eat ice cream on the couch and watch Oprah until they die; are afraid of what they may find in the stillness and quiet; and finally, we are actually worried that, in the end, God can’t really handle the universe very well without our help and, well…supervision.

Not surprisingly, this last one is most popular among church-goers and clergy.

I could go on, but I won’t. Let me end with a few observations, and offer a blessing on your own adventure.

We cannot do this alone. This is extremely important.

What we need instead is what you are doing together here, now. We must have honest and honorable conversations with our family, our work, our congregation about how we wish to live and work together in time. All things precious and sacred need Sabbath time. Children need unhurried, undistracted Sabbath time. Love can only flourish in time. Marriages and families can only work peacefully and compassionately together with sufficient time. Friendship needs time; trust needs time; community, prayer, worship, all need time. If we refuse to set aside sufficient time for what is sacred and undervalued by worldly time, everything we claim to hold as precious will get dropped, will break, will get lost forever.

We can only do this together. We need to remind one another that Jesus said to all who would toil, heavy laden, that he would give us “REST.” He didn’t offer Seven Spiritual Tools for Inner Success, or Time Management for Busy Christians, or anything like that. Just rest. Stop.

We need to remind one another that Jesus said “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

He actually says it twice, for emphasis. As often as we embrace the suffering servant, Jesus offers mercy and rest. Without the love of good, honest friends to remind us, we will forget.

May your journey be gentle, easy, nourishing, and filled with the grace of a loving community listening together for the innumerable sounds of the divine creator blowing through us as wind through a flute, as we are used to make the music that may heal the world.


Wayne Muller

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Just So You Know :)

I'm going to do my best to write the following in an objective, peaceful way. Know that before I even begin, I mean absolutely no ill will towards anyone and deeply appreciate the few of you who have taken the time to address your concerns about the book we chose. I'm not really the kind of girl who likes to ignore and blow past these thoughts because I believe they come from legitimate desire to be a holy, God-honoring person. With that in mind, please hear my heart on this (*please*).

This is more emotional than I can begin to post, and for fear of a complete nervous breakdown, I am going to give the very short version.

Girl is raised in a home without Christ.
Girl meets people who tell her about Christ.
Girl feels judged, condemned, and like she could never be one of them.
God tells girl she is wrong.
Girl becomes a Christian.
Other Christians tell her she isn't a good "Christian" and makes her feel like a failure.
Girl starts to run from church in fear and shame.
Girl loves God too much to get very far.
But the girl still hurts from the sting of judgment, and it shapes every decision she makes about her faith.
Girl realizes she must speak, and again, she fears.

It's a pattern I have struggled with for many years, always worrying if I'm good enough, too "liberal," too "open," too "accepting." The truth is that my beliefs in Jesus Christ would line up with the most conservative Believer on the planet, but I LOVE people deeply, and even in spite of our differences. I'm going to be completely honest (and it will probably bite me in the booty!) and tell you that when we received a few comments on our post, I called Jess and told her we needed to change the book, send money to people who ordered it, beg for forgiveness and call it a day. I just don't like conflict. Like, at all.

And then I got on a long plane ride and I opened the book again. I read it nearly cover to cover as I traveled, and cried the entire time. Not only did I mark pretty much EVERY single page of text, I felt very deeply (and Jess agrees) that this book is life-changing. It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, and I don't say that lightly. Even as I have put some of it into practice since I have been home, I have been BLOWN AWAY by the difference it has made.

With that said, I want to address some concerns that have come up in the event that this isn't a good book choice for you.

Wayne Muller is an ordained minister, and a *truly* amazing soul. I have spoken to him by phone and through email and I will tell you that we have (sadly) put him through the ringer in these past few days trying to figure out how to handle all of this. I'm not going to share all of the details of our conversations, but I will assure you that he is a gentle, kind, precious man who has lived his life in a way that would make most of us blush with embarrassment at how we haven't served the Lord.

And here's the deal.

He quotes Buddha.

And he quotes other religions.

And he makes statements that describe the way these different religions view Sabbath. I don't believe a Buddhist or even an atheist would be offended by the text (and I am sure that was not a mistake), despite the fact that it is fundamentally and overwhelmingly based on Christian beliefs.  In my conversations with Wayne, I have seen his heart on the matter, and his goal (and frankly, my goal) is to love others well. Like Jesus would.

There are sentences that I have underlined where people might have issue-it is common for him to cite what Buddhists call something (or whomever) for the sake of demonstrating the role of Sabbath for everyone ("When Hindis worship..." or "Buddhist believe..." or "Rabbi's interpret this to mean..."etc.)

Here is a direct quote from a page I have marked..."The Buddhists call this driving force tanha-literally thirsting, craving, or longing. Tanha includes not only desire for, and attachment to, material wealth and power, but also desire for, at attachment to, people, experiences, ideas, opinions, and even spiritual accomplishments. (pg 126)"

In this sense, there are areas where one might take believe that Mr. Muller sees all religions as equal, whereas I have found him to be, instead, tolerant and able to be inspired by other faiths.

There is most certainly a line between what we can learn from others and what we need to stay away from as Christians. But we can learn from people who aren't Christians. We don't conform to their beliefs. We don't back down from ours. We don't waver in a world where our goal is to preach the Gospel, but in my (humble) opinion, this doesn't mean that we have to shy away from things because they aren't our beliefs.

We will NEVER choose a book that we feel like would lead anyone astray. Our entire purpose is to make Jesus famous in a group of women who are seeking His face.

With that said, if you feel that you are at a place in your walk where these kinds of things concern you, please feel free to sit it out. I would be lying if I didn't say I think you are going to miss something amazing, but at the same time I completely respect that. If you are one of the people who has requested a book and these things bother you, go ahead and shoot us an email and we won't send it your problem :)

We aren't going to be discussing these other faiths in our videos, but I did want to address the concerns here. Know that we love and appreciate you, and as always, want to support and walk with you in your faith.

With love,
Angie (and Jess)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Request a Copy of Sabbath

All books that were donated have been assigned.

If you need a book, check your local library.