An upcoming event at Reinhardt University offers a prescription for a happier and healthier life by following God’s command to keep the Sabbath and to keep it holy.
The lecture by Dr. Matthew Sleeth, author of “24/6 - Embracing the Sabbath: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life,” is Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon.
Sleeth will speak and answer questions from the audience. The public is invited to attend the lecture free of charge.
The Rev. Jordan Thrasher, Reinhardt’s chaplain, is organizing the event with support from RU Green, a campus wide committee which promotes sustainability and responsible stewardship of the environment.
At the University’s annual Wesley Lecture, Thrasher hopes participants will gain a fresh perspective on the “critically important relationship between our faith, how we spend our time, and how we feel.”
“I have this deep hope that the lecture will be a pressure release value – that we will gain perspective of what it is we do… and Sabbath keeping as a serious component to our faith that’s been ignored a very long time,” Thrasher said. The lecture will highlight topics from Sleeth’s newest book which “talks about rediscovering the Sabbath as necessary for health.”
Sabbath keeping may be a term that’s new to many, so it’s important to understand what it means. It isn’t about keeping restaurants closed on Sundays or about worship, like going to church, Thrasher said.
Instead, it’s about “mindful disentanglement, about thinking before adding one more thing.”
“We tend to think that we have to do something all the time. We have to be actively studying. We have to be on the go. If you aren’t on the go, then you are falling behind. What (our speaker) has discovered is that it’s damaging us by not having a Sabbath, to not have… an actual break from all the things that sort of consume our minds.”
“He really talks about how keeping the Sabbath might be the cure for our society’s wanton unhappiness,” Thrasher said. “Recent Gallup polls say that Americans are some of the most unhappy people on the planet. Is the key to happiness more stuff, and being on the go, an active lifestyle? The book explores a different approach.”
Thrasher became familiar with Sleeth and his work through their mutual involvement in environmental stewardship. Sleeth is executive director of Blessed Earth, an educational nonprofit that inspires and equips people of faith to become better stewards of the earth.
Sleeth and his wife, Nancy, will be in Atlanta from Feb. 6 to 9 as the keynote speakers at the Caring for God’s Creation Conference.
Sleeth was an emergency room doctor and chief of staff at a New England hospital when Nancy asked him, “What’s the biggest problem facing the world?” After thinking for a while, he replied, “The earth is dying.” Nancy’s second question was harder to answer, “If the earth is dying, what are we going to do about it?”
Sleeth decided to leave his medical career and lead by example. His family moved to a house the size of their old garage, reduced their energy usage by more than two-thirds and cut their trash production by nine-tenths. The Sleeths founded Blessed Earth, which has been invited by more than 1,000 church, educational, media, and environmental groups to share the biblical call to care for God’s creation.
A graduate of George Washington University School of Medicine, Sleeth has also written “Serve God and Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action,” the introduction to the Green Bible, and “The Gospel According to the Earth: Why the Good Book is a Green Book.”
Reinhardt’s Wesley Lecture series brings speakers to the campus who seek to engage the university and the community with challenging perspectives on faith.
The lecture will take place in the Bannister Glasshouse, Hasty Student Life Center at Reinhardt University in Waleska. For more on the Wesley Lecture, visit reinhardt.edu/campusministry/wesley_lecture.html.