"A ''must-read'' for 2013." -Ministry Matters
"Life felt like a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle with 600 pieces." So writes MaryAnn McKibben Dana in the introduction of her book. As she considered her family''s frenetic suburban existence--a relentless list of work, errands, carpool, dishes, email, bills, yardwork--she knew something had to change.
The family faced a choice: to continue at the same frantic pace or to fight back with a radically different way of being. They went radical. For one year, they committed to a practice of Sabbath-keeping. For a whole day each week, they set aside their doing in order to simply be. Work took a backseat to games, walks, Legos, naps, homebrewing, and leisurely contentment. The practice never got easier--the house was a mess, the kids still fought--but Sabbath became the one essential "to-do" each week.
With lively prose ("a fresh voice and energy" -
Publishers Weekly), Dana documents the Sabbath experiment as a guide for families of all shapes and sizes. Each chapter includes tips to help you claim Sabbath moments--to see time not as an enemy to subdue, but as a friend to savor.
Part of the Young Clergy Women Project series.
From Publishers Weekly:
Dana, a Presbyterian pastor, brings a fresh voice and energy to the familiar topic of time management as understood by people who would describe themselves as either religious, or spiritual but not religious. Dana writes in a distinct voice about making a traditional religious practice meaningful to contemporary families.
From Christian Century: "One of the most helpful and well-conceived books on spirituality I''ve ever read... Dana contends that ''we can act ourselves into a different way of being.'' Her family''s brilliantly narrated experiment with holy time proves her point as they grow and change together, learning to love each other and the world more fully through spiritual practice."
From Presbyterian Outlook:
MaryAnn McKibben Dana makes a persuasive case for Sabbath-keeping. She writes eloquently about the excuses that so many of us make for NOT practicing Sabbath, or for practicing it in a haphazard and slapdash way when it is convenient for us. With gentle humor and without harsh judgment, she points out the ways so many of us overfunction, and how we think that we are letting the world down if we take time on a regular basis for renewal, reconnection and recreation. We make idols of our "to do" lists rather than savoring the gift of life.
From Englewood Review of Books:
Readers of MaryAnn McKibben Dana''s Sabbath in the Suburbs will find the practice of Sabbath keeping less foreign and ritualistic and be encouraged to embark on their own Sabbath experiment. Small groups, book clubs, Sunday School classes, or even entire churches, may find this a useful book to read and practice together, thus finding strength in numbers.
Other than getting a little tired of reading the word "Sabbath" I loved this one. It was a thoughtful and funny and realistic description of one family''s attempt to have Sabbath time each week for a year. Both MaryAnn and her husband work outside the home, so I found this to be much more relatable than many books that focus on spiritual practices. Many of these year-long experiment books feel forced, but this one was head-and-shoulders above the pack. Recommended for: anyone interested in the practice of Sabbath.
Interested in videos and discussion materials for group studies of Sabbath in the Suburbs? Check out SabbathInTheSuburbs.com and click on Sabbath Supplementals.
Sabbath In the Suburbs is the beautiful story of one family''s decision to spend a year exploring the meaning of keeping Sabbath. It is a powerful affirmation of living a life that does not just manage time, but embraces the moment. MaryAnn McKibben Dana writes with elegance, clarity and humor about the family''s search for a creative and workable Sabbath framework, while pondering the transformative and restorative quality of rest. It is a luminous reflection with deep resonance in our culture of perpetual motion.
-Carrie Newcomer, musician, performer, and Grammy Award-winning songwriter
With this book, MaryAnn McKibben Dana has given the church a great gift: a funny, insightful chronicle of her family''s beginnings to live into the "crusty old practice" of Sabbath-keeping. Sabbath in the Suburbs is decidedly not only for mothers of small children. It is not only for those who live in the suburbs. It is for anyone interested in resting with God--anyone interested in freedom--anyone interested in honestly struggling with the spiritual life.
-Lauren F. Winner, author of Mudhouse Sabbath and Still
With sincerity and honesty, MaryAnn McKibben Dana portrays the challenging quest of living the Sabbath while seeking a faithful balance in the abundance of choices and endless demands placed upon families today. This book is beautifully written and a joy to read from start to finish. Once I began I could not put it down. I wish I''d had this resource when I was busy raising children. I encourage all parents to have this book where it can be read and shared with other busy families seeking to "live Sabbath-ly" within the "holy scarcity" of time that is so very precious.
-Kathleen Long Bostrom, author of 99 Ways to Raise Spiritually Healthy Children
Some books negotiate the practical things of life, while others hover on a spiritual plane above the nitty-gritty details of human existence. But it is a wondrous gift when an author can lead us through realistic demands while burrowing a spiritual depth. MaryAnn McKibben Dana has the unique ability to find the mystical in the mundane, and her gift challenges us throughout the pages of Sabbath in the Suburbs. The words of this text will not only delight you, but if you take up Dana''s spiritual daring, they will make you more human.
-Carol Howard Merritt, author of Tribal Church
MaryAnn McKibben Dana is a frequent retreat and workshop leader and has written for a variety of books and publications, including her website, The Blue Room. She served as a congregational pastor for 12 years. She and her husband Robert Dana have three children.