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Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
The Way Some People Die
Ross Macdonald
Envy of Angels
Matt Wallace
The Fellowship of the Frog
Edgar Wallace
Code of Conduct (The Jani Kilian Chronicles Book 1)
Kristine Smith
A Good Death
Christopher R. Cox
The Black Cargo
John P. Marquand
A Highland Christmas
M.C. Beaton
Tales from Moominvalley
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
Moominland Midwinter
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton

The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man

The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man - Abraham Joshua Heschel, Susannah Heschel This is a short, rather interesting reflection on the institution of the Sabbath, as in "remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy". It was written by a Jewish scholar, so is specifically related to the Sabbath as celebrated by Jewish people. But, it has some interesting ideas and concepts that people of other faiths might find helpful as they try to understand and relate to their Creator.

The lives of men, according to Heschel, are primarily lived on a structural (physical) plane, i.e. we build things, we manage things, we fix things, we sew and reap crops, we write/plan/calculate, and so forth. All we create, even our mightiest structures, e.g. the pyramids, or our most elevated ideas, eventually decay back to nothingness. Time is different. Time is eternal. The structural is consumed by time, but time never changes, it just goes on...eternally. Something like that.

So, although we work in the structural world for six days of the week, we can escape to the temporal when we celebrate the Sabbath. Creation was done and continues to be done in time. So the Sabbath becomes a day of re-creation, a day of holiness ("...and on the seventh day, God rested...and called it holy"), and also a day, because we are living it in time and in holiness, where we deepen our relationship to and celebrate our relationship with our Creator. In so doing, we attain glimpses of eternity.

I am, of course, missing a lot, and perhaps making some stuff up (and didn't have a clue what he was talking about when he likened the Sabbath to a Bride to be celebrated at the wedding feast). Properly read, this book would be studied, i.e. re-read, notes taken and so forth. I won't be doing that, in part because the book is due back at the library muy pronto. But it is interesting to contemplate how the world might differ if we all took off one day from our normal pursuits—many of us, one day off from being assholes—and considered our relationships with our Creator, and consequently with each other, since we are each of us a little piece of our Creator's work—all many parts, but just one body kind of stuff. That's not going to happen any time soon, of course, because the love of money—allegedly the root of all evil, or so Paul would have it—has pretty much trumped everything else in our modern world. But just think, if each of us reduced our personal assholism by just one seventh, how much better a world we would share with each other.