[su_note note_color=”#d5d5d5″ text_color=”#91201f”]The following is the Letter from the Editor for Volume 3, Issue 9 of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine: “Dispelling Work Haze and Vacation Daze.” You can subscribe to Christ and Pop Culture Magazine by becoming a member and you’ll receive a host of other benefits as well.[/su_note]
Americans are funny. Perhaps not any more funny than humans from other countries, but we have our own sort of strangeness that I know about because I know it in my being. I see it particularly—but not solely!—in the way we go about working and vacationing. For the one informs the other, affects the other. They are two sides of the same coin.
Work consumes us, stealing away our peace and our thoughts even when we aren’t at the office. When the pressure builds, we assume what’s needed is a break, so we schedule a vacation. But to get out the door, we must put in extra hours to clean out every last message and wrap our essential projects. We head into vacation weary, worried about what was left undone. It takes a few days to stop worrying, but by then, it’s almost time to go home, and the worries return. We return to work, our vacation days spent with little of lasting value to show for it.
There must be another way to pursue work and vacation in a way that doesn’t leave us wrung out. In this issue of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine, we take a look at various ways to dispell the haze of work and daze of vacation. Chad Thornhill lays the foundation with his article titled “A Theology of Vacation,” in which he asserts:
“Few of us realize that God actually intended vacation, or rest, to be a part of our pattern of life. Or, if we do realize it, we generally fail to integrate it with much regularity into our life rhythms.”
The pattern I see among most Americans is a pattern of work with just a blip of rest once a year. Thornhill rightly recommends that we adjust our life rhythms to be more in line with the one God modeled for us, a pattern of work with daily rest, weekly Sabbath-keeping, and yearly extended time away.
And when we do practice this thing called vacation, we must not forget to take our faith with us. When we forget what God says about loving our neighbors, our American mentality takes over, pressing us to take as much vacation goodness as we can, no matter the cost to others. So Trudy Smith reminds us, in her article, “Who’s Paying for Your Vacation?”, that the way we vacation directly impacts the amount of work and rest others have access to:
“Yet if we continue to depend on low wages, unsustainably sourced food, and ecologically damaging activities to make our vacation affordable, then what we are really doing is asking underpaid workers, their families, and the ecosystems that sustain them to foot our bill.”
But squeezing every ounce out of our vacation time and funds isn’t the only way we abuse much needed times of respite. We are also guilty of pursuing time away as a means of escape. Chris Chacko speaks to this in his article, “Don’t Look Down”:
“All of us can potentially fall for the lie of ‘out of sight, out mind’ and use our vacations as a form of escapism rather than a time to recharge and grow closer to God.”
The patterns we keep in our work and play reflect our faith—or, at least, where we are in our faith journey. We all have stunted areas where our faith is weak. It could be that for us, as Americans, we have a collective weak spot when it comes to how we work and vacation. If that is the case, thoughtful pieces such as the ones in this issue just might clear out some of the haze and daze we find ourselves in.
Image: Polina F
Corrections: “A Matter of Conscience,” Volume 3, Issue 8
We regret that in Joel Heng Hartse’s article, “Within a Dark Woods Where the Straight Way Is Lost: Listening to Torres and Reading Jamie Quatro,” the name of singer-songwriter Torres was listed as MacKenzie Smith. Her name is MacKenzie Scott.