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Christian Sabbath-keeping as a Spiritual and Environmental Practice

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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Though the Christian observance of Sabbath-keeping has been inconsistent throughout history, the concept has become popular in devotional literature. This paper argues that because of three characteristics of Sabbath-keeping—an altered, theocentric perspective, a slower, simpler style of living, and an eschatological encounter—it may be a useful "tool" for more environmentally sensitive modes of living. Observing the Sabbath reminds Christians to view Creation as God did while resting on the seventh day in Genesis; it prompts a simplification that often has environmentally salutary effects in its lessened consumption; and it draws Christians into a shared vision of a redeemed, healed creation. The paper draws on insights from Jürgen Moltmann, Abraham Joshua Heschel, John Paul II, Seventh-day Adventists and Sabbath Economics thinkers (including Wendell Berry, Marva J. Dawn, Ched Myers, Norman Wirzba, and Richard Lowery).

Affiliations: 1: Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, USA


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