Search This Blog

Sunday, March 29, 2009

America's Favorite Temple -- the Shopping Mall

How many Americans go to church every week? Hard to say. Gallup polls generally show 40-42% of responders who claim to have attended a religious service in the last week. But since pollsters depend on self-reporting, reliability is a big question mark. How many people tell the truth; how many choose to paint a rosier picture of their behavior than reality?

A more accurate count-based estimate was provided by researchers C. Kirk Hadaway and Penny Long Marler. In 2005 they authored an article, "How Many Americans Attend Worship Each Week? An Alternative Approach to Measurement," published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, September 2005. Using local samplings for varying churches they estimated that the actual percentage of those attending services was 20%.

Compare that to those who shop on Sundays, 75% according to Gallup. Which raises the question: Who is really being worshiped on Sunday - God or Money? And how many Catholis and non-Catholic Christians try to do both getting their 45 minute Mass/service over with before heading to the Mall?

What does it mean to "Keep holy the Sabbath?" Do you think shopping on Sunday is okay or a violation of the third commandment?


Ryan O'Neil Seaton said...

Its true that materialism / commercialization can be the God's for many people, however ,

What's wrong with a watching a good sports game or going to the mall on Easter Sunday and every other Sunday that I might freely choose ?

Britney Spears attended a Lakers Game on Easter Sunday and then shopped at Lisa Kline's stores after the game.

Are both of these people wrong, Mary, for having shopped and opened on that day?

Ray Schneider said...

Different strokes for different folks. I do think Christians, i.e. those who profess to be Christians, should be doing something else than attending sports events and shopping on the highest holy day of the Christian year.
The fact that they do do those things puts their Christianity in perspective. That's all!
We have come a long way from the days when stores were closed on Sunday and people didn't work. God didn't change the command "Keep holy the Sabbath (which Christians celebrate generally on Sunday in honor of the fact that the Lord chose that day to rise from the dead.)" but man has chosen to secularize it.
Having just come from the store myself on this beautiful Sunday morning, I can't complain too much. But I do think Easter should be honored more than it is.

Ray Schneider said...

Mary asked the question about what the third commandment should mean. When I was in school (I went to a Jesuit High School and a Jesuit College when they still pretty much taught religion and were identifiably Catholic) we were taught that the admonition not to work on Sunday applied to servile work and that necessary work was also an exception (Jesus asked which would not pull a donkey out of a well on the sabbath, contrasting his view with that of the Pharisees.)
Servile work is work that is laborious where man is working like an animal. Very little work in modern times would qualify. But there is also the additional admonition to keep the day holy and that should include going to church and perhaps reserving some of your time for spiritual reflection and prayer to set the sabbath aside as special. Each person has to answer the mail in their own judgment/discernment. However, if Sunday is just another day off, perhaps you're not keeping it holy in any identifiable way.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Ryan said: "Britney Spears attended a Lakers Game on Easter Sunday..."

Britney Spears is hardly a Christian role model. She may have been doing exactly what is consistent with what she worships. And that's the point. What do we value?

And what did Jesus mean when he told us not to put our treasure in what corrodes?

God gave us free will to choose the good. What do you think he would say about choosing the mall and the stadium on Easter Sunday?

Ryan O'Neil Seaton said...

I'm coming to your post Ray, but have to get this in before i head out down to the office (yes on Sunday) to sort some work out, but

Mary wrote: "Britney Spears is hardly a Christian role model."

Well you're right, since this is not a mickey mouse issue,would Lisa Kline be a better role model, since she is also successful, rich and diligent ?

Remember Mary, there are always , good , better and best examples or role models of which I am cognizant.

But there are "different strokes for different folks" as Ray mentioned who don't think God would have a problem with us going to the mall or even the stadium on a Sunday. To what extend, then should they be allowed/denied the freedom "to choose the good"?

"Very Ironic.[like the laws in the Old blue laws in the State of Virginia where Ray is or was] Catholic author G.K. Chesterton, I concur that 'Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere'"

Lines were drawn. Joseph of Arimathæa chose to give of his best to the master and so did the women who followed Jesus from Galiliee
But there is something we are missing. Look closely , is this simply virtual Art (Rev 5:1,6)
Look to the cross and tell me the first example of obedience that day after his blood drained from the cross.,

Ryan O'Neil Seaton said...

Ray Schneider said...

That URL does not resolve as listed so you might want to put it up as a tiny url so we can read it.

It might be appropriate in a discussion of this kind to point out that much of this is highly subjective and judgmental. I am responsible for my out soul and only for my brother's in a cautionary sense it seems to me. If I see a brother stray I should admonish him or her but in a charitable way, not in a "I'm better than you" way. We should also grant I think that there is a wide range of custom and culture (mores rather than morals) to contend with and what is customary to us or seems appropriate to us may reflect a non-absolute reference system ... i.e. let's not be too quick to think we are necessarily right.
When all is said and done, "Easter" is a big deal. It is a much bigger deal than it is commonly given credit for in our contemporary culture. If Jesus was raised as the first fruits then we are all children of the kingdom and ought to act that way. If he was not raised than as St. Paul points out, we are the most abject of fools.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Ryan said: "To what extend, then should they be allowed/denied the freedom "to choose the good?"

From the very beginning God gave us absolute freedom to make choices both good and bad - hence Satan and his minions. But doesn't He want us to be saints? If I'm a serious Christian do I try to do the minimum or look for the best?

Re your comment above, I'm not pushing for re-establishing blue laws. I'm talking about reflecting on what it means to keep holy the Sabbath. From my perspective I don't want others to have to work so I can go to the mall on Sunday. I'm reorienting Sunday as a family fun/outdoor day.

As a general question don't you think when Mall attendance greatly outstrips Church attendance on Sundays, something is unbalanced?

I agree with your comment, Ray. "If Sunday is just another day off, perhaps you're not keeping it holy in any identifiable way." So what are good ways to keep the Sabbath holy?

Ray Schneider said...

Good Ways to Keep the Sabbath Holy
I'm certainly no expert on "holy" and indeed I'm not always exactly sure what the word means. I suppose it means something like "sacred" or "of God" or maybe "focused on God" but it clearly means something "higher" than say "mundane" or "earthly."
So keeping the sabbath holy seems to me to mean something like "God directed" or "God aware" and so it can be accomplished by metaphorically "raising one's eyes to God."
Since God indwells His Creation, one need not look far for ways to raise one's mind/eyes to God. It can be accomplished in the most seemingly lowly ways. I have a dew-drop on my hydroponics blog that makes that point I think.
This does mean I think that we can't know, looking from the outside, whether someone else is keeping holy the sabbath or not.

Ryan O'Neil Seaton said...

Good news Mary and Ray!
" Crisis-hit Croatia drops Sunday retail ban: report" - [ Agence France-Presse (AFP)- 6/19/2009 11:56 AM GMT at] :

A Croatian court has annulled a ban on Sunday shopping imposed six months ago after retailers hit by the global economic crisis launched a legal challenge against the move, a report said.

In a unanimous decision, the Constitutional Court overturned several articles of the Trade Act prohibiting Sunday retail trade, whose introduction has coincided with plunging sales.

On Friday, the judges ruled this was "a violation of constitutional freedoms" for retailers and their "equality" because of a significant number of exceptions, according to a report on national television.

They said "the law did not protect employees, whereas this was its main objective."

The law, which came into force in January after years of lobbying by Croatia's influential Roman Catholic Church, prohibited businesses to work on Sunday, except during tourist seasons in summer and December.

The judges' decision came as official statistics revealed retail turnover declined by 14.5 percent in April compared with the same month in 2008, blamed on the ban and the global economic crisis.

In the first four months of 2009, around 1,150 small businesses were closed in the Adriatic country because of falling sales, while nearly 2,900 workers lost their jobs, according to national television.

The Constitutional Court had annulled the same legislation in 2003, but Croatia's conservative government adopted it again later in parliament under heavy pressure from the Catholic Church.

Catholics comprise around 90 percent of Croatia's 4.4 million population.
See also

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Your sarcasm is unbecoming. But the real answer is for Catholics not to shop on Sunday. It's seldom necessary.

RyanO'NeilSeaton said...

But Mary, if you think "... the real answer is FOR CATHOLICS [or whosoever desires] not to shop on Sunday" since "It's seldom necessary" then we can agree; however, if " looking at life from a Catholic point of view " means prohibiting the rights of others to work on Sundays as has been done in Croatia, then you have tampered with the rights of others to not only "protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money " but their right to follow obedient example of les femmes of Luke 23:56 in honor of Christ (not in the commandments of men ) as expressed in this letter of mine relating an experience which I will never forget as the irony is stronger than the Iron in the figure of Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2), which follows the bronze/brass symbolism of a metal used extensively by the Greeks, followed by the Romans who introduced (or at least started to use )the iron-headed Javlin ( a super tangent, sorry lol :-). I'll be sure to register it should Satan try to disable the link:

A biblical matter

Friday, April 21, 2006

Dear Editor,

As a business student at a certain Miami college campus one day in the mid 1990s, I had an unforgettable discovery in a discussion I had with a Christian Peruvian student. I was a recent convert to Christianity at the time and met people of varying persuasions. One day after playing table tennis at a recreation spot, this "Mr Peruvian" (I think his name was either Louis or Sunny) asserted that it was not possible to determine which day of the week was the seventh-day Sabbath.

We took out our Bibles with the intention of reading Luke 23:50-24 - three days in the passion of Christ - which should have logically established the point that the Sabbath had to be (and still is) the seventh day, if we note that the day after the Sabbath day in the narrative is shown to be the the first day of the week (Luke 24:1), the resurrection day! But "Mr Peruvian's" countenance suddenly changed when I got to verse 56 because it was missing from his bilingual Bible which juxtaposed Spanish with English!

I still remember his accented exclamation, "Verse fifteee six, verse fifteee six", dere is no verse fifteee six!". He sought to accuse me of fabricating the verse, but in my King James Version it read, "They (Mary and the other women) returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment."

Looking into his Bible served only to confirm the missing text, with no trace of a footnote. (This was possibly due to a printing error or a deliberate omission, which in this case is not generally common as the reference appears in most respected Bibles, the New International Version, et al.)

Luke 23:56 shows us that the pious women kept the Sabbath after Jesus's death, yet many Christian businesses will pause half-day on Holy Thursday, pause from work on Good Friday, then resume work on a not-so holy Saturday, then sandwich the insult with a pause on Easter Sunday and then maintain that holiday (not to say holy day) until even Easter Monday as we do in Jamaica and England.

How ironic! There is a missing link of true reverence for this Jesus who said, "If you love me keep my commandments" (John 14:15). And if you've been tuning in to Christian networks (like 3ABN, TBN ) on cable, you'll realise the irony is stronger than that classic Ten Commandments movie being shown every Easter.

Ryan O'Neil Seaton

RyanO'NeilSeaton said...


LETTER OF THE DAY - Celebrating freedom of commerce
published: Monday | October 17, 2005

Heroes Day

IN THIS Heroes weekend, a time I see as constituting celebrations of freedom, leadership and advancement, I'd like to thank and encourage the many entrepreneurs and companies in Jamaica in their heroic challenge to that narrow-minded counter productive Towns and Communities Act of 1843.

Last year, between July 11 and October 10, a giant retail company ran Gleaner and Star advertisements concerning the opportunity for customers to get a 'Sunday Savings Card' and gain "$2,500 in free merchandise" if they made "every Sunday count!" and purchased $13,000 worth of merchandise (with other conditions applying) within the time period, and this, I feel, must be commended and developed.


There's nothing wrong with Sunday commerce, at least not in the Bibles I've read, provided the labour force comprises people who are either willing to work or have no allegiance to man-made Sunday sacredness. As Gleaner columnist Martin Henry observes:

"When the law forbids commercial activity on one particular day, then everyone who has voluntarily chosen to observe some other holy day of rest is forced by the state to give up a second day, which in effect is a time tax in support of a religion to which one does not subscribe." (Flexible Work Week, January 3, 2002).

I think this law should be dismantled [annulled], especially when the reality is that it is not impossible to make or amend the laws relevant to Flexible Working Arrangements! (FWA).


Would it be right for me as an SDA Christian to lobby for most, if not all, businesses to close on Saturdays simply because I want to keep the Sabbath?[NO!] It must be remembered that the majority vote is not always right, especially since they'd rather have a murderous Barrabas than an honest hardworking yet Sabbath keeping carpenter.

This island is blessed with a tolerant "out of many one people". Each of us must valiantly challenge the status quo when it threatens freedom. That's our hero's legacy.

I am, etc.,


RyanO'NeilSeaton said...

This matter is very important to me as the common factor in the last three consecutive Christmas eve letters show ( , , )

based on the substance of the conflict over worship :

Debating the Christian agenda
published: Sunday | December 25, 2005


REGARDING THE Gleaner Letter of the Day "Christians pursuing divisive agendas" by Ivy Isaacs-Bulgin (Dec 19), I'd like to first commend the writer for acknowledging in her first sentence "that Christ has commissioned those who follow Him to ensure that the good news of salvation is spread". I accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour on May 20 1995, and rejoice in the fact that " the everlasting Gospel" goes "to every nation, kindred, tongue and people" (Revelation 14:6).

We need to understand that, of all places, divisiveness started with the "war in heaven" (Revelation 12:7) and that, on earth, Satan has a destructive agenda with a certain group according to Revelation 12:17: "the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ". The Greek word for "war" used in both cases is "polemos /polemon" from where we derive our cognate English word "polemic" ­ a theological dispute/debate especially over some [prominent]"controverted" point. [


Mrs Bulgin argued that "Some so-called Christians harp about the right day to worship - which is exactly one of the ills of some of these people who profess to be Christians." To this I would reply that religious activity is quite useless if it is not in the will of God. (See Matt 7:21-23) .

Mr. Editor, what would you think of me if you told me to specifically meet you at the Gleaner head office at 7 North Street for a job interview, but ended up going to 1 North Street because I felt it was just as good? What role did obedience play in the fall of Jericho? God told Naaman the leper through Elisha the prophet to dip seven times in the Jordan river? What difference does the river make? The truth will march on to tear down the gates of hell! As an SDA christian, accepting and following Jesus Christ is not only about unity, brotherly love and humanitarian work, but it's about upholding unpopular, unappreciated truth, despite the consequences.
[ such as ccc2298,THE SECOND OF EXACTLY TWO PLACES using the word PROTEST : " In times past[and times to come?], [when] cruel[and selfish?] practices were commonly used by legitimate [yet totalitarian] governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors[and generally people] of the Church ]

I am, etc.,


lyrical stunt to be doctored later : I'll stop here lest I end up in "warsaw" pol-and asking the "pol-"their opinion about a recent "pol-arized" issue causing "polemos" between a Jamaican Roman Catholic Police Commisioner and Adventist Police who do not study "polemology" and are usually "polite" despite hard interchurch "politics"

Kingston 20

RyanO'NeilSeaton said...

polemos must come before there is peace. but in the final analysis it is the Fruit(not to say fruits) of the Spirit which will tell the tale.

Mary wrote: But doesn't He want us to be saints? If I'm a serious Christian do I try to do the minimum or look for the best?"

" Here is the patience[endurance] of the saints here are they[those counter-culture people like salmon swimming upstream] that keep the commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus" Revelation 14:12

"hupumone" for the conflict saints. !

"Saying with a loud voice :Fear God and give glory to him for the hours of his judgment IS come: Worship HIM THAT MADE THE HEAVENS THE EARTH The SEAS and the fountains of waters " Revelation 14:7

Back to the topic. Let there be freedom of choice to worship or not worship , to work or not work on Sundays.

like Ray reminded us, "Different Strokes for different folks"

Like the seven last plauges of the 10 which affected only the egyptians, seven will come upon this earth, and that's seven with more purpose that putting seven spikes on a "a femme" in France and shipping her over to the Big Appple as lady liberty in New York.

RyanO'NeilSeaton said...

first attempt at doctoring the previous lyrical stunt sentence :

Polished Polish furniture in Warsaw Poland sometimes Polarizes the Polish Police who Polled Polite Politically Principled People as to whether they delve in Polemology

Makes no sense anymore than Cain's offering before God, which like Sunday keeping, sounded like a good idea , but in the end , was presumptiousness.

Revelation 14:12 on my tombstone followed by the second of the seven beatitudes in Revelation --Revelation 14:13.

love you guys.

RyanO'NeilSeaton said...

the three consecutive Christmas Eve letters should work here now :

Fists of Fury in France over Sunday Shopping