Clapham Christian Classical School

Clapham Journal

Summer is Time for Leisure

by Julie Reynolds, Director of Instruction

What is leisure? After a hard week’s work, we crave total relaxation, rest, time to unwind. We watch the tennis on TV, a movie, or search for something “mindless” in order to reboot.


These activities merely masquerade as leisure. Though physically “at leisure” in your reclining position on the sofa or at the computer screen, your mind is only passively taking in…that’s labeled entertainment.  True leisure involves both mind and heart in a whole process that takes in and digests in a way that enhances rest.



Josef Pieper, in his book “Leisure: The Basis of Culture,”[1] says leisure is


“The disposition of receptive understanding, of contemplative beholding, and immersion — in the real.” 



The “real” Pieper refers to are the everyday, everybody experiences, the people, the play, the boundary lines and pleasant places of our lives. Having a conversation with a neighbor, shooting baskets with your child, working the soil of the garden, and, yes, watching a good film and contemplating what it says about God, man, the human condition – this is the immersion of leisure.


Leisure is rest, but resting in way that recognizes with Robert Browning’s Pippa that “God’s in his heaven – All’s right with the world.”[2]  This rest realizes that the joys of earth are but a reflection of the astounding and completely satisfying joys to come.  “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73:25)


May summer bring you and your family moments of true leisure and peace.

[1]Josef Pieper, Leisure:  The Basis of Culture and the Philosophical ACT, Ignatius Press, 2009.

[2] Robert Browning, “Pippa’s Song.”

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