When does your week begin?

People talk about putting your best foot foreward, and they talk about the strength of first impressions.  In many things, we sandwich the unimportant between a strong beginning and a strong conclusion.

It stands to reason, then, that we can actually determine what somebody values based on what they choose to begin with.  This realization occured to me when I was scoping out my blog page.

I noticed something interesting about one of the widgets off to the right.  Check out the calender, over there.  ————————–>

Do you notice anything?

If you’re like me, you notice that Monday is the first day of each column.   Saturday and Sunday are thrown on the end.  To some extent, this is the natural out growth of that term “week end”, being made up of Saturday and Sunday.

I don’t know how common this is, or where it originated.  That part doesn’t matter.

But what I find interesting is the implication.  Monday is when the work week begins.  And that, apparently, is of primary importance to us.  That, after all, is what we put in the beginning of each row.

I’m not saying that there’s anything absolute about the traditional calendar, where the first day is Sunday.  This is recognized traditionally as a day of worship, as a result of the days of the week Jesus was crucified and resseructed on.  It makes sense to me to emphasize this as the important one.  But I guess what I’m trying to say is that the switch isn’t insignificant or accidental.  Subtext and world view are inescapable.   Dropping one day as the first day of the week doesn’t happen with out choosing another to replace it.  And the choice of Monday as the beginning of the week is laden with it’s own implications and baggage: our ultimate identity lies in our productivity; our professions define us; our participation in the world’s economic systems is the most important participation we have to offer.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “When does your week begin?”

  1. Duh, nice to see you’re back blogging again, bro. I often feel like I can’t or don ‘t want to go anywhere near my blog sometimes, and yet something pushes me. Could it be the same sort of urge like the one that makes me want to jump off the roof of a tall building? There’s something liberating about free fall, but then, of course, it ends in a big mess (splat!).

    That’s why, I guess, I’ve always wanted to fly… not in an airplane, of course… anyone could do that… but really fly, using the part of my anatomy that hasn’t emerged yet, but someday might…

    Putting the Lord first, we want to put the Lord’s day back into right perspective, but that only happens on church calendars that the funeral homes send out every year to Catholic and Orthodox churches as a kind of free advertising. “Hey man, we hope someone in your family dies this year… and if they do, you can count on us to make their journey to the pearly gates as pleasant and carefree as possible!”

    Seriously, it’s just the tension that the world has set up between the Reality it fears and its own self-loathing. The weekend is enjoyed in one piece, so why not chart it out that way.

    But for the believer, the sabbath is the Lord’s gift to us on the earthly level, and the Lord’s day is His gift to us on the spiritual level. Our work week is hemmed in by His presence in our lives at both ends.

    The world says, “Work first, and if you do a good job, you can have a couple days off to recover.”

    The Lord says, “Set your heart on My Kingdom first, and all these other things will be GIVEN you as well.”

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  2. Thanks Romanos. I’ve actually had lots of I’ve wanted to say but the beginning of the school year is generally a tough time for we teachers… And for a class like mine (which caters to behaviorally challenged adolescents) it’s particularly tough when the economy is bad. The lousy economy creates many more contenders for my services at the same time the lousy economy leads to cuts in support staffing… In short, it’s been a pretty crappy beginning of the year, but it’s slowly getting better.

    I love your thoughts on this post. I hope these form a post on your own blog, they may well be more worthy than my own ramblings about the order of stuff on a calendar.

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  3. That’s right! I forgot you are a teacher.
    The thoughts in my comment are not worthy of blogging any further.

    My blog post for today, “Love is like the feet,” started out as a comment on Andrew Kenny’s blog, and is edited somewhat for the Orthodox crowd so as not to cause anyone to have a panic attack, but then I put the teeth back into it clandestinely by linking to a rather provocative post from 2006 in the last line using the words “as we are.”

    Here’s a quick link to that post: http://cost-of-discipleship.blogspot.com/2009/09/love-is-like-feet.html

    Hope your school year gets better as it progresses. Things usually do.

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