Heintzman’s book is unique. Admittedly, prior to reading this work, I was unaware of the entire field of leisure studies. Yet, having read the book, I am deeply intrigued and blessed to have been exposed to it in such a thorough work. In his introduction, the author sets the stage for the rest of the book. After briefly detailing the nature of work and leisure across generations, the author deftly addresses the possible problems and potential benefits of leisure. He states, “The challenge to contemporary Christians is to establish a biblical understanding of work and leisure and their relationship that is appropriate for 21st-century society.” This challenge is what Heintzman takes on in his work. The book is broken up into six parts. Part one addresses the study of leisure within the contemporary society. Part two details the history of the concept of leisure from its classical perspective and its activity perspective. Part three engages with the biblical text in an attempt to understand how the concepts of rest and the Sabbath relate to the modern Christian also addressing less prominent concepts that reflect the concept of leisure. Part four considers the matter of work both from a contemporary perspective and a biblical perspective. Part five offers an evaluation of the different concepts of leisure before proposing a holistic approach to leisure that balances the ideas of spiritual attitude and Christian activity. Part six concludes the major sections of the book with reflections upon the relationship between spirituality and the concept of leisure. The book concludes with a brief epilogue that highlights “the principles of Sabbath-keeping, rest, and a balanced rhythm of work and leisure.”
All in all, this is a quality book with helpful insights into an exceedingly practical aspect of life. While some might be tempted to squabble over aspects of part three in regards to the perpetuity of a Sabbath pattern from creation and its application for a Christian, the major point of the book does not depend upon one’s understanding of the validity of the Ten Commandments for the New Covenant Christian. Heintzman’s principles stand fast and are easy to receive. This work is not polemical, but it is scholarly. If there is something ironic about the book, it might be that it not exactly a leisure to read (at least in an activity sense), but is certainly informs the vita contemplativa of the interested Christian. Heintzman has written a fine book. I would encourage all with an interest in leisure studies to put in the work to read and digest this thorough contribution to the field.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Academic through the Baker Academic Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.