Take a Sabbath from Divisive Devices and Poison Politics
Most people, whether Christian, Jewish or secular, know at least tangentially what a sabbath means. (I’m sure other faiths have something similar but I’m not conversant so I don’t want to insult anyone.)
A sabbath means a day of rest. Our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate ‘Shabbat’ or ‘Shabbos’ from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Some Christians do the same, others among us keep Sunday as the day of rest. And casseroles. (It’s not in the Bible but we’re pretty sure it should be.)
Most of us, Christian, Jewish or secular, do it pretty poorly. I can only speak as a Christian, but we are mostly really, really bad at keeping our ‘sabbath,’ our ‘day of rest,’ in commemoration of God’s resting from the act of creation. We certainly give only loose obedience to the 4th Commandment of the decalogue: ‘Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.’
Christians spend Sundays going to and from Sunday school and church services and then back for evening services, punctuated with meetings, cooking meals (or standing in line in restaurants) and at the end of it all collapsing exhausted in preparation for the coming week.
We need to do better. Rest is good for our souls. If we do not rest, ever, and simply enjoy our lives, simply enjoy the presence of God (or if you are not a theist then nature, loved ones, science, literature, etc.), then we tell the world that there are things vastly more important than our rest, than higher things.
For a Christian that means saying ‘all my activity is more important than resting to spend time with my Creator.’ An odd thing, if we really believe what we say we do about who God is. I am throwing stones in a glass house.
But I have a Sabbath message for all. Or rather, a plea. Maybe we should all take a Sabbath rest from dispute. From politics. From posting and reposting. From anger and anxiety. From rage. It might help if we would step away from the Internet and put down our phones. If we would ignore Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and every other idol where we worship clicks and likes and the latest conspiracy or clever meme. (They’re idols, make no mistake.)
What if, one day a week (it needn’t be the same for us all), we just stopped. We just left behind the endless fruitless arguments and attempts to force others to agree with us. What if we put the devices away and walked outside, or looked at art. What if we read our Bibles (believers) or great literature if you don’t like the whole ‘God thing.’ What if we went to an art museum or a creek, a forest or a concert.
Rest assured, as a physician I can assure you that all of your organs will function just fine even if they are disconnected from all of your devices and accounts. (Your pacemaker, if relevant, should stay connected. You need that.)
Please people! Tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, put it away and take a Sabbath from device and dispute and live again. You were made for more than this. You were made to love and explore and create and connect. And you’re probably getting carpal tunnel syndrome or a blood-clot in your leg just sitting there finding clever, sarcastic links.
Finally, remember that your anger and constant attention to your devices and accounts are all profit generating machines for companies like Facebook, Twitter, and others, as well as for Google and all the rest. Don’t give them your life.
At the end of your days you won’t wish you had posted more. I promise.