Sabbath and the Common Good
* Book: Sabbath and the Common Good. Prospects for a new humanity. By George Victor Browning. Echo Books, 2015
George Victor Browning:
"Just as there are laws of physics by which the physical universe can be defined and understood, so the natural order has principles of relating which can be ignored, but cannot be abrogated by humanity, Science and religion converge in testifying to the truth that the earth is a single house with an underlying interdependence. When this interdependence is ignored, when humanity acts as if it is somehow apart from the created order rather than part of it, when contemporary appetite is satisfied through unregulated exploitation with no reference to, or responsibility for, the future; the consequences are potentially calamitous.
I have written this thesis to argue that care of creation is a non-negotiable responsibility for a person of faith, especially of the Christian faith, and that the Christian narrative offers a way forward, in support of science. Further, to argue that the environmental crisis is essentially a crisis of the human vocation, that cooperation is a more essential mode of being human than competition; that rampant individualism is at the heart of the environmental crisis and that this individualism drives an economic culture which worships individual profit rather than the well being of human and nonhuman life.
Finally I have written the thesis as a witness to hope, that a different way, a path with appropriate limits, that builds equity and community, is more not less; indeed that common life equates to common and abundant wealth."
"In his classic work on the Sabbath, the great Jewish rabbi and philosopher of the last century, Abraham Heschel, wrote, “There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern.”
“He who wants to enter the holiness of the day,” he observed, “must first lay down the profanity of clattering commerce, of being yoked to toil. He must go away from the screech of dissonant days, from the nervousness and fury of acquisitiveness and the betrayal in embezzling his own life. He must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man. Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul.”