Today's Religions: Leisure

I’ve been quoting a lot from David Zahl. In his book, Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do About It, he shows all sorts of good things get turned into the new religious treadmill for modern Americans.

One of the most fascinating is the realm of leisure. Have we become zealously religious about our leisure?

Perhaps, like many people, you work too much. But at some point, perhaps not enough, you stop and put work aside. Then what? What do you do then? What do you do just because?

Zahl’s not just bringing up the activities we do, he’s peeling back the façade to ask what’s under the surface: What are we telling ourselves about exercise, CrossFit, marathons, tough mudders and hot yoga? Does our downtime truly provide restoration, respite, and renewal, or are we just as frantically achievement-oriented with our free-time as we are at work? Are we working for our self-validation on our down-time?

Theologian Walter Brueggemann says the ancient concept of Sabbath is “the most difficult and most urgent of commandments in our society.”

We might wonder: does sabbath, rest, naps, or silence come easy to us? If we can’t seem to stop long enough to find out, then maybe we’re out of touch with something deeply important about our soul… and about life itself.