I feel there has been a gradual eroding of values and standards - we do
things because the rest of society tells us it's OK. A trivial example;
since Sunday trading was introduced in Britain, a number of Christians I
know do go (guiltily) to shops on Sunday. Is this right, or not? The fact
is that it's convenient. And though I don't as a rule go to shops on
Sunday, I go to restaurants or pubs on a Sunday. Am I hypocritical to do
this? I don't know - but it certainly is easy to slip into the habits of
the rest of society, without considering what is the true Christian
perspective on this.
I doubt if anybody can categorically say that Sunday shopping is "right" or
"wrong" but your statement that you don't tend to shop on Sundays but do go
to restaurants or pubs is interesting. Why one and not the other, unless
you don't have cooking facilities at home?
Certainly there are many instances where "the rest of society" influences
the behaviour, thoughts, and values of Christians. The recent e-mail
exchange on homosexuality and the increased number of women in the pulpit
are just two examples where the "world" is ahead of the church (with "ahead"
I mean in a temporal sense).
Personally, I don't shop on Sunday but I don't go to restaurants or pubs
either on Sunday, unless I'm on vacation or on business. I do try to make
it to church wherever I am and have found it to be uplifting to experience
the "communion of the saints" in places like Harwell, UK, Nogales, New
Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada, and to hear the word preached in Swiss German
and in French.
My parents frowned on, not only to work on Sundays, but to make others work
on Sundays. So, they felt quite ill at ease when newspapers in Canada
started publishing on Sundays. My wife and I had to do quite a bit of soul
searching when one of our kids was forced to deliver papers on Sundays:
should we force him to cancel his paper route or let him work on Sundays? I
solved that by delivering the papers that day myself and made the point
that, for me, this was not work because I could stand the exercise.
However, society is so interconnected that the Monday paper is printed on
Sundays so, to be consistent, one should not buy the Monday paper.
I guess it all comes down to "the Sabbath was made for man" and not the
other way around. Jesus had no problem with his disciples picking grain on
the Sabbath (yet, some pietistic people would peel the potatoes on Saturday
so they would minimize their work on Sunday). When I was in college (in the
60s), professors would not give exams on Mondays to avoid tempting students
to study on the Lord's Day. Yet, it was deemed to be OK to study for exams
in religion on Sundays. To me, this did not wash: studying for exams is
studying for exams, whether it be Old Testament history or physics.
Yes, shopping on Sundays is convenient and there are now stores in the US
(e.g., Giant Eagle) that are open 24/7 with, maybe, a 10-hour break on
Christmas Day. Governments have agreed that this convenience is desirable.
Yet, as far as I am aware, government offices are not open 24/7!
Then, there is the question of worker's rights. Are workers, who feel that
they should observe Sunday as a day of rest, discriminated against?
True, the early Christians may not have Sundays off (I believe that Sunday
as a day or rest was instituted by one of the Roman emperors) and, as the
global economy becomes more and more integrated and more and more
non-Christian immigrate into Canada and the US, Sunday may well become "just
another day." That does not mean that we should not make a conscious
decision to observe the Lord's Day the way we feel best. Nobody is (yet)
forcing us to shop or attend sporting events on Sundays. We may be forced to
travel on Sundays and some of us may be forced to work on Sundays.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Aug 17 2001 - 21:19:14 EDT