Religion & Beliefs

Work On the Sabbath—Or Else!

Over at the religion blog for the Times of London, Ruth Gledhill has a fascinating post about SPCK bookshops. The SPCK is a trust that, according to their website is actively engaged in identifying, acquiring and supporting redundant churches throughout … Read More

By / May 18, 2007

Over at the religion blog for the Times of London, Ruth Gledhill has a fascinating post about SPCK bookshops. The SPCK is a trust that, according to their website

is actively engaged in identifying, acquiring and supporting redundant churches throughout Britain. Its purpose in doing so is to provide them as a place of worship for new or existing Orthodox Christian communities of all stripes: Greek, Russian, Romanian and other Orthodox bishoprics. Saint Stephen is not a church, para-church, religious sect or denomination. It is a trust which aims to save church buildings so they can be used for their founders’ intent: worship of the Holy Trinity according to the praxis of England’s Christian Orthodox heritage.

Um, okay. Sounds fine, I guess. SPCK bookshops are just stores that sell Bibles and Christian books and church supplies (hymnals and stuff, I guess?). So here’s what Gledhill has to say:

More amusing leaks from SPCK, where staff have been given a strong theological Christian argument for why they must work on Sundays. And on Bank Holidays. And, incredibly, even Good Friday! I think this is the first time I've heard of a Christian organisation telling its staff they actually must work on Sundays. Normally they're on the other side of the argument. But apparently, staff at the St Stephen the Great bookshops must be there on Sundays and holy days to fulfill their vital mission of selling bibles and other literature to the faithful who flock to the churches and cathedrals in which the bookshops sit. The argument of the heads of the company comes from the Council of Laodicea, which said that for a Christian to try to take the Sabbath off was to be guilty of Judaising. Willing and happy Judaiser that I am, I post this up on Friday afternoon before disappearing to have my sacrosanct Saturday off. I wish you all a joyful 'shabbat shalom'.

(Emphasis mine)

I love it when people try to say that resting on the Sabbath is bad for business. But when they say it’s bad for religious business, I just get confused. The Sabbath is not supposed to be about business, guys. Seriously. And the people using your stores to buy stuff for their churches and their worship are mostly in Church on Sunday mornings. Yes, you might get a few people in the store on Sunday who can’t come on any other day, but are they worth sacrificing your principles? I mean, I assume one of the Ten Commandments carries some weight for you “Orthodox” guys, right? Let’s “Judaise” a little this Shabbat, shall we? Don’t buy anything during the 25 hours of the Sabbath just to show the SPCK who’s boss.