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Sabbath: The Ancient Practices

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  222 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
What would you do for twenty-four hours if the only criteria were topursue your deepest joy?

Dan Allender’s lyrical book about the Sabbath expels the myriad myths about this “day ofrest,” 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 ofSa
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 8th 2009 by Thomas Nelson (first published 2009)
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Richard Duncan
Jan 03, 2016 Richard Duncan rated it really liked it
It took me several months to finish this book, not because it was uninteresting or unprovocative but because my son's invitation for me to enter into the world of GK Chesterton derailed my reading of dan Allender's Sabbath. But after spending a little time with Chesterton, I'm sure he would approve of Allender's book because Allender is calling us to use the Sabbath as a way to enter a world of childlike joy. (And I feel confident that Allender would approve of my reading of Chesterton.)

Jun 14, 2016 Brian rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Thought provoking. Inviting. Beautifully written. Occasionally weird. Worth the time: makes me want to be more intentional in observance of sabbath & rest.
Tony Villatoro
Aug 21, 2015 Tony Villatoro rated it it was amazing
Some say we shouldn’t “keep” the Sabbath because Christ is our rest while others say that we must “keep” the Sabbath because it is a command from God.

Dan B. Allender, in this book, lays out a practical balance between those two mindsets.

I enjoyed this book because, although it did not tell me that I “must keep the Sabbath,” it encouraged me to figure out a day to rest. Whether that is a full day or a few hours, the author left it up to the reader to decide.

Another reason why I enjoyed this boo
Josh Morgan
May 27, 2011 Josh Morgan rated it it was amazing
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (

Back in my first year of undergrad, I spent a couple of weeks intently trying to keep a traditional Sabbath: I would do no homework or studying on a Sunday and spend time in prayer, in nature, and reading non-school-related books (I can't say non-academic--I read those for fun :) ). That didn't last long. I have a lot of trouble not being busy. It's very hard for me to take a break and just have fun (you should see ho
Mar 09, 2011 Hattie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hattie by: Thomas Nelson

Dan B. Allender's SABBATH is an inspiring book about a journey you can take one day every week for the rest of your life. This day is the SABBATH. This one day chosen by GOD for man is not to be filled with legalisms. The Sabbath is like a fine dessert eaten after other heavy meals. The other heavy meals are activities done during the other days of the week. During the week trash is taken out, clothes are washed, school papers are graded, homework is scrutinized and moaned over, drivers try our
Jul 24, 2011 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: blog-review
Wish I could provide a glowing review of Dan B. Allender’s, Sabbath, but my grade rests firmly in the B- range. One of seven books in The Ancient Practices Series (published by Thomas Nelson), I admire the intent behind the text, which is to challenge modern Christians’ understanding (and practice) of the Sabbath in hopes of inspiring a return to a genuine engagement of this precious day. To this extent, I held high expectations of Sabbath, hoping to find a biblical grounding and a sprinkling of ...more
Feb 03, 2011 LaDonna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all believers
This book is a slightly warm, gooey chocolate fudge brownie, fresh from the oven, served with steaming hot coffee on the deck midafternoon on a cool fall day. For those of my readers who don’t like chocolate or coffee, I don’t know how to describe this book for you. I’m sorry.

I have been reading on this topic for a number of months and seem to be gobbling up the information like I would the brownie and coffee mentioned above.

I would give you some quotes from the book, but I don’t know where to b
Stephanie Berbec
Aug 10, 2016 Stephanie Berbec rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, own, seminary
If we’re to be honest, most of us give little, if any, regard to the fourth commandment: Sabbath. Our assumption is that it’s an easily fulfilled commandment that can be crossed off the list, weekly. Namely, Sabbath has become associated with church on Sunday and/or having the day off. According to Allender, this is not a Sabbath. Rather, Allender presents an alternative perspective challenging the so-called norms of what it means to really Sabbath without all the legalistic connotations ...more
Mar 15, 2011 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Although I had not read any of Dan Allender's previous works, I knew of his reputation, and I both hoped for and expected great things from this book, SABBATH. I was not disappointed.

Reading this book really challenged my thinking on both the purpose and the pleasure of Sabbath. Allender encourages us to take delight in this God-created day, not to spend it in pious, legalistic solemnity. After all, God is pleased when we relish in Him and His creation.

"Sabbath is not about time off or a break i
Sep 15, 2014 Ethan rated it liked it
Shelves: christianity
A discussion of the value of various rest practices under the heading of "Sabbath."

The author has many compelling points. He does well talking about both the difficulties in life which come from, are exacerbated by, or from which we run away through our cults of busyness and work as well as the work and benefits that come from intentional periods of rest. One does not generally think about all the ways that we need rest, reflection, etc. and how we in many ways are afraid of grappling with the q
Ben Zajdel
Dec 17, 2011 Ben Zajdel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remembering the Sabbath is probably the most ignored commandment, and therefore one of the most misunderstood. Dan Allender tries to remedy that in his book Sabbath, part of the Ancient Practices Series. It is a simple study of a practice that God instituted at the beginning of time.

Allender begins the book by describing the pillars of Sabbath--sensual glory, holy time, communal feast, and play day. He is careful to define what Sabbath is not, and warns not to drift into legalism when practicin
May 08, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
Preparing to lead a discussion among working people at my Lutheran congregation, I chose to focus on the theme of "sabbath." I do not have sabbath habits, nor have I ever really worked to develop an understanding of what sabbath means. When I mentioned this to my sister, she pulled this book from her collection and mailed it to me, straightaway.

What a gift! My learning began with the first page and never stopped, chapter upon chapter. Dan Allender reminded me that keeping the sabbath is a comman
Tim Beck
Apr 29, 2010 Tim Beck rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
"the sabbath is not merely a good idea, it's a commandment."

in America, we tend to puff up our chests, proudly proclaiming how busy we are. really? how absurd is that? why do we resist slowing down and spending time at rest in quiet? why do so many resist the idea of sabbath?

we would all say that we crave it - but we seldom make the appropriate changes.

i anticipated finding in Dan Allendar's book Sabbath some practical ways to take a sabbath day of rest. i was sadly disappointed.

over and over (a
Catherine Gillespie
Feb 07, 2015 Catherine Gillespie rated it really liked it
Dan Allender’s thought-provoking book Sabbath will not:

Give you a list of things you can and can’t do on Sundays,
Give you a tool to pat yourself on the back because you’re such a good Christian for not shopping or eating out on Sundays,
Give you an easy out for keeping the fourth commandment.
What it will give you is a very nuanced, deeply thoughtful invitation to really meditate on and consider what the concept of Sabbath means at its heart and what God’s vision for it is, rather than seeing it a
Adam Shields
Jan 27, 2011 Adam Shields rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short review: If I had to pick one book to read on the Sabbath. This would be it. (Ok it is only book I have read on the Sabbath, but it was very good.) The central theme of the book is that Sabbath was not created for utilitarian purposes (we need the rest) but for delight. God did not rest on the seventh day because he was tired, but because he wanted to delight in his creation. At the same time, Allender does not at all minimize the Sabbath. He is quite up front in his question about why the ...more
Jenny Wells
Feb 06, 2010 Jenny Wells rated it really liked it
I wanted to give this book five stars. It is a book I wanted to read again even as I finished it. It's what I believe and want to live...that life in God means a day a week to remember his abundance and life in the embracing of play, justice, and feasting. I was challenged to not use the day just to rest...a practice that was not bringing life, especially to the children whose unfettered hearts need not rest, but are able to embrace fullness with such ease.

I couldn't give it five stars because i
Kelly Hovey
Jan 12, 2014 Kelly Hovey rated it really liked it
For the first time in my life, I am excited about the Sabbath. Allender's book offers a deeply compelling image of what Sabbath can be. More than a defense of the Sabbath, This book is a vision of a life lived in tune with God's rhythms, a vision I cannot ignore. Sabbath is a bit of a meandering creek, but stick with it and you will find a river of life.

I appreciated the insights from Allender's own practices of Sabbath but as someone who grew up with Sunday morning church followed by football
Dec 04, 2009 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
This was a very good read, but it ignored all but one verse on the Sabbath. If the other verses were added, the main message of the book is obviously not based on Scripture:

Isaiah 58:13-14

13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the LO
Andy Mitchell

Not the first word that comes to my mind when I think about Sabbath, a once-weekly remembrance of God’s resting on the seventh day of creation.

But in this book, Dan Allender paints a beautiful picture of the implications of experiencing Sabbath as God intended.

If you feel overworked, pressed for time, fearful, or just plain bored, then this book is for you.

Some books offer quick fixes.

This book demands a lifelong commitment to Sabbath as the fourth commandment, one intended for today as
Jul 27, 2014 Sam rated it really liked it
When it comes to the Sabbath, Dan Allender steers clear off both legalism and indifference. Sabbath, according to him, is an invitation to stop and delight in what God has done in the past and is doing in the present.

This delight is experienced with all our senses in activities that include, but are not limited to: enjoying food, drinking wine, listening to good music, worship, sex, reading, conversations, going for a walk and being quiet, all while experiencing holiness and God’s presence in e
Timothy Maples
Apr 15, 2009 Timothy Maples rated it liked it
Rather than a strictly theological or doctrinal examination of the Christian sabbath, this book looks at the topic from a personal or practical point of view. There is much here that can help individual Christians redirect their sabbath focus Godward, regardless of their denominational, or non-denominational, leanings. I think the book misses an opportunity for discussion by generally ignoring the corporate nature of the sabbath and its major components, the Word and sacraments, and opting for a ...more
Feb 23, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Highly
Recommended to Jennifer by: It came to me.
Shelves: religion

This book is really having me reconsider the Sabbath and how me and my family attend it.

"The Sabbath is not merely an event that happens in time; it defines the nature of time and how we are to live it."

"The only paramteter that is to guide our Sattath is delight. Will this be a merely a break or a joy? Will this lead my heart to a wonder or routine? Will I be mor greatful or just happy the I got something done? Delight requires the courage to be attentive, intentional and diligent."
MariAn Nyce
This book is part of THE ANCIENT PRACTICES SERIES. i quote:
"Sabbath is not about time off or a break in routine. It is not a mini vacation to give us a respite so we are better prepared to go back to work. The Sabbath is far more than a diversion; it is meant to be an encounter with God's Delight."

Many definitions of Sabbath abound in this book as he freely shares his own patterns of Sabbath rest. I like this especially and I quote:
"Sabbath celebrates the God who frees the heart from slavery"

Feb 17, 2010 Amie rated it really liked it
Shelves: devotional, paige
This book challenged me to rethink how I spend my Sabbath-- whether that's Saturday, Sunday, or a different day all together. It was a different view of the matter than I've usually heard, and it gave me a lot to think about. Play, feasting, and community are the main elements of Sabbath that I tend to forget about. There have been times in my life when I've lived this, unintentionally, but now I'll think about how I can better live the Sabbath as God intends me to-- joyfully and fully.
Megan Taylor
Jul 30, 2016 Megan Taylor rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I was torn on how to rate this book. It's easy to read and well-written, hence the three stars. But I didn't agree with what the author said. His ideas on the Sabbath seemed rather "hipster", focusing on senses and experiences. In a way it challenged me to think beyond my idea of Sabbath as just attending church services, but I wasn't really convinced that his way of doing it was actually better.
Jul 17, 2016 Dustin rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, y-2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Sabbath means so many different things to people and is so often a set of rules or merely a day of religious observance. Allender reminds us that it was intended for so much more. It is a day to be anticipated and celebrated. After all, it is an amazing opportunity to commune with our mysterious Father God. This book will open your imagination as to what Sabbath can be, and get you reaching for God's desires for your own personal Sabbath tradition.
Feb 07, 2011 christina rated it really liked it
Shelves: booksneeze
Some parts of it I LOVED. Others were thought-provoking, and I'm still formulating my verdict. One thing is certain: if Allender's thoughts are taken to heart, this book will prove disruptive to most American lives. His thesis is that practicing Sabbath is not defined primarily by what we omit but by how we fill the day, with delight.
I am going to mark this as read, because I did read it, but I am not going to rate it. I sort of get what the author was trying to say but the last few weeks have been rough for me so I'm not sure I was prepared mentally and emotionally to understand this book right now. I may try to read again in the future.
Aug 14, 2016 Kate rated it it was amazing
I have just finished Dan Allender's beautiful and insightful book on Sabbath rest. What a refreshing the view of the delight that God would have us take in this regular rhythm of rest. This book offers such a rich understanding of Sabbath shalom, considering topics such as joy, rest, community, delight, and justice. I highly recommend this book.
Carol Kuniholm
Jul 26, 2011 Carol Kuniholm rated it it was amazing
Allender does a great job of repositioning Sabbath - not about rules, not even about rest, but about finding a way to see time, work, relationships, ourselves through God's eyes, not our own. As Allender defines it, Sabbath becomes an opportunity for rebooting - finding our way clear of the world's programming and realigning ourselves with God's vision instead.
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Dan B. Allender, Ph.D, is a fly fisherman who also serves as president and professor of counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School near Seattle, Washington. He is a therapist in private practice, and a frequent speaker and seminar leader. Dan received his M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University. He is the author of To Be Told: ...more
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“Time has become a precious commodity and the ultimate scarcity for millions of Americans. A 1996 Wall Street Journal survey found 40% of Americans saying that lack of time was a bigger problem for them than lack of money.”6” 0 likes
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