I’m relying on other contributors for much of what I am offering in this second round of writing on Sundays and Sabbaths. Today I want to thank my friend Kyle Oliver of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching in Alexandria, VA. For his reflection on the keynote address given by Brene Brown at the Forma Annual Conference which I attended in Houston last week.
Reading through Kyle’s comments to Dr. Brown’s insights exposes an ethical demand for Sabbath as well as a therapeutic demand. Here’s some of what Kyle said about what Dr. Brown presented:
So Brown’s message was good news in my life because I can believe in enough, trust in enough, hope in enough, take courage in enough. Enough will preach, I think. It did for me.
There’s plenty of biblical warrant for a theology of enough. Sure, we have countless biblical images of God’s abundance, from the multiplication of loaves and fishes to Amos’s ever-flowing stream of righteousness and justice.
But the characters in scripture also know plenty about enough.I’m thinking about the Hebrews in the desert, gathering just enough manna for the day to come. Or the widow of Zarephath, who found that she had just enough meal and oil to make bread for herself, her son, and Elijah until the rains came. Or Jesus sending out disciples with no extra cloak, and no guarantee of welcome in the towns they would visit.
Enough is not the only biblical perspective on God’s providence in scripture. But it is a significant one. There are places and times when we should expect abundance. But most of us are too scared or too scarred. Brown gave us permission to admit that.
She’s not asking us to transform our lives overnight. She knows that’s not the way most people change. She’s not asking us to pretend we’re not afraid. Quite the opposite, in fact. I believe she’s assuring us that when a leap of faith seems utterly beyond us, a step or two will get us through the day. And probably the next day too, but that’s tomorrow’s problem.
Read everything Kyle said here. What is in this for our consideration of Sundays and Sabbaths – other than our previous attention to Lauren Winner’s question “who can afford a Sabbath?” -- is how our living while admitting the fears and anxieties surrounding us in our American culture has yet to embrace the understanding that “enough is enough.”
Adopting Sundays and Sabbaths and silence and sleep as our part in God’s blessing of creation can be our introduction into this theology of enough. In time we can rest assured that what God has provided and is still providing in six days is more than enough for our seven.