Monday, September 08, 2003

Sunday afternoons

There's an interesting tidbit in the September issue of American Demographics. I don't have a subscription, so I can't read any further into the Indicators' note "Shop Around the Clock," but the teaser line is:
Americans drop the most dough on Sunday afternoons and the least on Wednesday mornings.
Then I came across a summary on the Christianity Today weblog (scroll down) of a Dallas Morning News report that the Family Christian Stores' chain is now going to open their stores on Sunday afternoons.
Christians are too busy to shop for Christian merchandise on other days. "Customers tell us that they work Monday through Friday, are occupied with soccer and the kids' activities on Saturday," [CEO Dave Browne] said.

"This was a decision that we took very seriously," Browne said. "But after prayer, study and seeking the counsel of others, it became clear to us that the ministry opportunity of opening on Sundays vastly outweighed the operational preference of the status quo."
Operational preference?? I thought it had something to do with keeping a Sabbath day. Although I try not to frequent stores or restaurants on Sundays, I confess I occasionally go to Borders, stop by Burrito Express, or pick up half a gallon of milk and the Sunday paper at the drive-through dairy on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe society overall has shifted enough that opening a Christian bookstore on Sundays is not such a big deal. Or is it?

Maybe it's not the act of shopping on a Sabbath day that's the issue so much as the seeming disregard of observing a Sabbath at all—whether for explicitly religious reasons or for physical and mental renewal.

I used to debate with my grandmother why her sweeping the back porch on Sunday was fine, but it was not OK for my grandfather to drive the tractor—because the neighbors could see the tractor and know my grandfather was working on Sunday but they couldn't see her, and anyway, sweeping wasn't really work? We never did resolve that argument. . . .

Perhaps previous generations have been too legalistic at times regarding the Sabbath. Perhaps our disregard of a day of rest is to our detriment.

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