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Sabbath: The Ancient Practices (Ancient Practices) [Hardcover]

By Dan B. Allender, Pllc (Author) & Phyllis Tickle (Foreword by)
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Item description for Sabbath: The Ancient Practices (Ancient Practices) by Dan B. Allender, Pllc & Phyllis Tickle...

Allender presents an insightful and fascinating look at the origins and purpose of Sabbath. He looks at not only the history of this discipline, going all the way back to ancient Israel, but also at the modern manifestations and misunderstandings of its practice.

Publishers Description

What would you do for twenty-four hours if the only criteria were to pursue your deepest joy?

Dan Allender's lyrical book about the Sabbath expels the myriad myths about this "day of rest," starting with the one that paints the Sabbath as a day of forced quiet, spiritual exercises, and religious devotion and attendance. This, he says, is at odds with the ancient tradition of Sabbath as a day of delight for both body and soul. Instead, the only way we can make use of the Sabbath is to see God's original intent for the day with new eyes. In"Sabbath," Allender builds a case for delight by looking at this day as a festival that celebrates God's re-creative, redemptive love using four components:

Sensual glory and beautyRitualCommunal feastingPlayfulness

Now you can experience the delight of the Sabbath as you never have before--a day in which you receive and extend reconciliation, peace, abundance, and joy.

The Ancient Practices

There is a hunger in every human heart for connection, primitive and raw, to God. To satisfy it, many are beginning to explore traditional spiritual disciplines used for centuries . . . everything from fixed-hour prayer to fasting to sincere observance of the Sabbath. Compelling and readable, the Ancient Practices series is for every spiritual sojourner, for every Christian seeker who wants more.

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.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Thomas Nelson
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.6" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2009
Publisher   Thomas Nelson
Series  Ancient Practices  
ISBN  0849901073  
ISBN13  9780849901072  
UPC  023755026804  

Availability  0 units.

More About Dan B. Allender, Pllc & Phyllis Tickle

Dan B. Allender Dan B. Allender, Ph.D., is a fly fisherman who also serves as president of Mars Hill Graduate School near Seattle, Washington. He is a professor of counseling, a therapist in private practice, and a frequent speaker and seminar leader. Dan is the author of "How" "Children Raise Parents "and" The Healing Path," as well as "The Wounded Heart, Bold Love, and Intimate Allies. "He and his wife, Rebecca, are the parents of three children. For more information, visit his website at

Dan B. Allender currently resides in Seattle, in the state of Washington.

Dan B. Allender has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Intimate Marriage

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > General

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Books > Christian Living > Spiritual Growth > Spiritual Formation

Reviews - What do customers think about Sabbath: The Ancient Practices?

Enjoyable, Extremely Readable, Insightful, Yet Lacking  Feb 20, 2010
Dan Allender loves the Sabbath. That much is clear. I appreciate this. As one who does not observe Sabbath faithfully (at times I engage in outright rebellion), Allender's love for this ancient practice kindled my own. The Ancient Practices Series has had that tendency, as on the whole I have greatly enjoyed these volumes.

Within this installment Dan Allender writes in clear, enjoyable prose concerning the practice of Sabbath. I devoured this book in a couple of days, and after I had put it down, I was eager to return. With three clear divisions (Sabbath Pillars, Purpose, and Performance), the reader is shown theological and biblical foundations for Sabbath observance, the reasons this practice has been given, and how this day can be most deeply enjoyed. Throughout his book, Allender quite thankfully avoids a bland description of Sabbath, and instead opts for the language of pure delight, play, and abundance. Allender also avoids legalistic prescriptions, and rather inspires the imagination for how Sabbath might be engaged with the totality of one's being.

Despite the fact that I read this book quickly, and on the whole found it enjoyable, I did find it lacking in a couple of ways. First, this book did refer to the biblical foundations for Sabbath practice, most notably the fourth commandment. But as has been true of more than one volume of The Ancient Practices Series, I found the level of engagement with Scripture lacking. What significance did Sabbath practice have for the people of Israel? And, for those in the Christian community, in what way did Jesus challenge Sabbath practices and open up new possibilities for Sabbath observance among those called as his disciples? Such questions deserve attention, for the Scriptures serve as a foundational and critical narrative for the establishment of these practices in the life of the Christian person.

As another critical observation, it was quite clear that Allender made a choice to avoid discussion of the Sabbath that focused too heavily on our need for rest in a world addicted to work, hurry, and busyness, a move that took something away from the overall value of this volume. Though teachings on Sabbath commonly take this angle, the value in stressing rest as a gift to be received as part of our life rhythm clearly remains, and all signs within American culture (and perhaps others, but I speak from my location) tell us this lesson has yet to be learned. Allender does nod in this direction, but does not treat this aspect of Sabbath fully enough.

Simply because Allender's love of Sabbath is contagious, I would recommend this book. The shortcomings I have noted do not outweigh the potential benefits this book could bring. Allender describes this practice as something to be cherished, and I believe that his description, in many ways, provides an uncommon lens through which to see God's good world that includes his gift of Sabbath.
Disappointment  Jan 10, 2010
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.
Sabbath: The Ancient Practices  Nov 21, 2009
I received the book in just a few days. It was in excellent shape. Thank you.
Much Food for Thought  Apr 21, 2009
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. Gratitude and joy are to be the dominant emotions of Sabbath.

The only criticism of this book is that Allender didn't seem to place much value on attending religious services on Saturday or Sunday. My sense is that he tried to make this book accessible to all people of faith, even those who consider themselves to be "spiritual but not religious." Overall, however, Allender offers considerable food for thought.
An overlook of the Sabbath...  Mar 3, 2009
Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy is one of the Ten Commandments. What does it really mean to keep it Holy? He is careful not to express legalism and yet to define the importance of setting one day aside to experience a day of delight.

This is the third book in the Ancient Practices Series. Dan B, Allendar, author of Sabbath, offers readers an overview of a misunderstood day. The Sabbath is a day to delight in the Lord. We are to separate ourselves from the stress of our lives and celebrate the joy of God our creator. Allendar uses the Hebrew word Menuha (tranquility) to help define Sabbath. He takes back to through history to study how the Israelites used the Sabbath through present day and our misconceptions. Beautifully written, this book will help you to find your own Sabbath.

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