Update: In this week's class a pastor's wife quite innocently mentioned, in reference to our spending more time with God, that "marriage conferences always tell you to have a date night with your husband." Wild gesticulations and vaudevillian irritation from the AVI ensued. Has anyone tested 100 couples with a year of date nights and 100 couples who didn't and measured marital satisfaction? Or anything? This is the sort of thing that drives me crazy about Christians. Or social workers, management consultants, or a dozen other groups. (She was amused, not offended by the way. Very nice person.)
In the context of Adult Sunday School, one of the pastors mentioned Pete Scazzero's book Emotionally Health Spirituality, and the concept of taking 10-minute mini-Sabbaths every hour of the day. I haven't read the book - it may be wonderful. But this is one thing about Christian culture, and I think especially evangelical culture, that is just wrong, and irritating.
People dream up these Good Ideas, with no basis whatsoever, and figure hey, that's just got to help! I'm not asking for double-blind studies or classic A - B - A experiments or suggesting that sanctification can be reduced to scientific principles. But these things just keep popping up at the rate of a hundred new ones a year. There is a cost in discouragement and guilty feelings, and thus in people leaving quietly out the back door, of encouraging people to put effort into time-wasting activities that sound good.
The teacher has absolutely no accountability here.
What basis does he have for thinking this will feed lambs, except that it sounds like it just should, somehow? Did the author get a hundred people to try it for six months and then record some kind of result, either of self-evaluation or by others? Were there another hundred put into another self-help spirituality, and a hundred into a directed exercises group and a fourth control group told to not change a thing? Even at a non-rigorous level: Does he know anyone who tried it and hated it? Would they tell him anyway?
Of course not. He thinks - well, feels, or imagines might be a better verb - about these things, and decided that people need more sabbathtime; he stuck in his thumb and he pulled out a plum.
Why should I rant? It's not going to change. These are the sort of people who go into pastoring professions, secular or Christian. Let's all have mini-sabbaths. Or ride minibikes. Or have miniconferences. Miniprayers, minihymns, minifellowships. Minisomethings has just eventually got to work.