Working on the Sabbath

I wrote this on the CBIA (Comic Book Industry Alliance). It is a closed forum, so I can't direct you there.

After reading through the entire thread, I've decided I will give an explanation of my religious convictions on the issue. This is my own personal beliefs, and I won't hold it against anyone who doesn't agree. If you disagree, then feel free to post your comments. I won't be offended. I'm in theological discussions all of the time over at my college's alumni forum. I've actually started a thread on this discussion to see what they think. (Jim - can I quote your comments on why you think it is okay over there to help start the discussion?)

Obviously, it centers around the Sabbath principle taught in the Torah. Before I get going, I also understand that the true day of the Sabbath is actually Saturday. Christian tradition has moved it to Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on a weekly basis. I'm talking about the moved day of Christian tradition.

To me (this is the only time I will use that phrase - the rest of the time just assume that it is a belief to me), Jesus was upset with his religious peers (if you can call them that) because they didn't follow the principles behind the laws, they just followed the letter of the laws. I would have to come to the conclusion that either the Sabbath is irrelevant in modern culture or we can personalize it.

First, I will deal with the option that Rory pointed out that some Jewish shopowners take. Selling the business in order to have it still operate and then buying it back after the allotted time period appears to be exactly what Jesus was attacking when he attacked the Pharisees throughout the book of Matthew. Excusing myself in a way similar to that would seems like I'm being dishonest with myself. I would be following the letter of the law while ignoring the principle behind the law.

Concering whether the Sabbath is irrelevant: I think its disappearance is one of the reasons of the downfall of the family in our culture. We no longer have that day set aside where everyone rests and spends time together.

Concerning whether it can be personalized: Having my own personal Sabbath doesn't seem to be the same as celebrating the Sabbath. It also might fall into the category of adhering to the letter of the law while ignoring the larger principle behind it. God is concerned with healthy communities rather than just healthy individuals. Although healthy communities consist of healthy individuals, healthy individuals don't automatically create a healthy community until they spend time together. This isn't easy to do in a culture where everyone works various days of the week. Creating a healthy community (kingdom in the Bible's language) is one of God's greatest concerns. Being open on the Sabbath would feel like I am joining in with our culture's attacks against healthy community. I know I'm a hypocrite because the mall store is open on Sunday, but that isn't something that I'm as in control of as our stores outside of the mall.

I would love to come to a conclusion that could make me comfortable with being open on Sundays, but right now I'm just not there.

It comes down to who do I trust to make the business successful. Do I trust myself or do I trust God? I need to do all that I can as an individual (trusting myself), but in the end, I need to make sure that I never do anything that crosses the line into doing things that God doesn't want done - even if I know those acts would make me more money (trusting God). I know that this will all sound like foolishness, but it is where I am at.

I know the CBIA might not be the best to have this discussion, but it is important to retailing. I make many decisions (even concerning what I stock and sell) based upon my religious convictions, so I guess it would be good to have this discussion. If we do have it, we need to be careful to not offend one another. We also need to be careful and understanding that others involved aren't trying to offend us.

Watch out for the potholes.