Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Posts are in reverse chronological order.

What do you want to do on Sunday?

The question of what are proper activities on the Sabbath continues to be contentious. And I really do mean contentious. My experience has been that this is viewed not as a question of Christian liberty—but one of absolute yeas and nays—we just can’t agree on what they are. Oh, people won’t get into outright brouhahas, but I occasionally sense true hostility in the person taking the more conservative position.

Of course that may well be because this is the rare issue where I tend to find myself in the more liberal camp (it hurts just to write those words).

Here are a list of things I’ve heard people debate about, and where I stand. I would be interested to hear what you think.

    Work That’s the only no-brainer—no work (other than of necessity).

    Yard Work I don’t do it. (I also don’t like it, so the oft-heard justification that “it’s not work , I enjoy it” is not a viable one in my case.)

    Restaurants I will go to a restaurant. Once someone told me that they would never go to a restaurant because you might be contributing to other Christians (i.e., restaurant employees) having to work. He said that he went home after church and listened to Christian radio. I pointed out that it is possible that some people (announcers, technicians, etc.) have to work at those stations on Sunday.

    Shopping Yes I will go shopping with the family. And in some sense it is work.

    Non-Christian Movies, TV, Music To the limited extent that I do these on any day, I’ll do it on Sunday. (I spin-doctored that didn’t I?) Mostly this involves watching professional sports on TV.

    Playing Sports, Exercise Inconsistency rules the day: no team practices but I would let my kids play in a scheduled game. I take bike rides with my kids. Shoot hoops and catch football in the yard. When I was still jogging, I would not jog on Sunday.

    Musical Instrument Practice We don’t “ask” the boys to practice on Sunday. They appear, for once, to be in perfect harmony with a parental restriction.
    Musical Recitals We will allow the boys to participate in recitals, the only limitation being we won’t skip church.

My guide in all this, to be honest, is the untrustworthy “gut feeling”.

The Verse That May Ultimately Cause Me to Reevaluate

And then there is this from the Holy Scriptures:

"If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word, Then you will take delight in the LORD, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 58 13:14, NASB)

I have been saying: no work, but play is Okay. This passage is evidence that such a position may not be defensible. I really have to study and pray about this.

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