Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Read and Learn: On Reading and Learning

Being that I am in seminary right now I have been thinking a lot about reading and learning. Our brains are amazing things. How do we retain information? How do we connect ideas? Though there are scientific answers for these questions, there is one aspect of reading and learning that is directly related to the world of faith: Sabbath. I use this term in a general way not in the "going to church on Sunday" kind of way that is transferred over from the Hebrew Scriptures. I use the term to mean a time for rest and even enjoyment.

To put it succinctly, Sabbath is good for the brain. There have been many times of late that I have forced myself to stay at the task of school work even though I am quite tired. And I must admit, sometimes that is necessary. But I have been pleasantly surprised what happens when I choose to give my brain a break. Translation exercises that I labored through one night were somehow easier after I allowed my brain to rest and do something I enjoyed followed by a good nights sleep. I have often joked that I think taking naps is my favorite spiritual discipline. While there is a sense in which this is a joke, I actually think it's quite true.

I admit some may find this post quite ridiculous, but it seems to me that our bodies, our brains, need Sabbath time. So whether it's a good nap, a nice walk, or a glass of wine by the fireplace or veranda, I hope you find some time to rest your mind today. Leave a comment if you do. Maybe others might like your ideas.


Quotidian Grace said...

Three cheers for a nap, a walk, and a nice glass of wine on the porch! I'll add a good book (not religion-related)and lunch with good friends to your list.

Elaine said...

I never say no to a nap or a glass of wine. This whole exercise thing, though, you can't be too careful about that.

I have claimed Saturday as my sabbath for years. I'm not obsessive about it, but as a general rule I try to do no work on Saturdays. Work by the way is defined as anything I don't want to do. I figure on Sundays I am going to get up early, get dressed and go to church. Kind of defeats the point of a Sabbath, so I use Saturday.

Pinkhammer said...

QG: I like your additions!

Elaine: I love your definition of Sabbath. : )

jairus' daughter said...

yay for sabbath!! we students and church-workers who don't have 9-to-5s struggle a lot with that...
i and several of my housemates (i live in intentional community) have (re)-discovered sabbathing this year. But the funny thing is we all do it at a different time, depending on school and work schedule (if you're "on" at church, teaching or preaching, it's hard to count that a sabbath).
I just found the sabbath manifesto and became a fan of them on facebook (check it out on their site too:
and my housemates and I are planning to sabbath TOGETHER this summer when things are more relaxed. I think it'll take on a whole new aspect when we do it communally.