Posted by Gary on October 26, 2006
Take a moment and read the following article from the November issue of Atlantic Monthly:
Sunday Morning Coming Down
Churches may have God on their side, but they can easily lose parishioners to the lure of the shopping mall, the cubicle, or even demon rum, a new study suggests. Two economists examined the effect of repealing “blue laws”—regulations banning certain retail activity on Sundays—on church attendance in the sixteen states that have done away with such laws since 1955, and found that when the laws fall, so too do church attendance and church donations. The drop-off in church attendance was steepest among people who had previously attended weekly, while those who attended more than once a week were unaffected by the laws’ repeal. States that repealed their blue laws also saw a noticeable increase in the consumption of alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine, and this spike was concentrated among precisely the people whose churchgoing had dropped off.
—“The Church vs. the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?,” Jonathan Gruber and Daniel M. Hungerman, National Bureau of Economic Research
Some interesting observations: First, the overall effect of our nation’s effort to do away with the recognition of the Sabbath. Our national laws, which in the main were based on God’s laws, served to keep us from distractions and temptations to lead us away from focus upon God.
Next, it struck me that those whose church attendance was not effected were those who attended church more than once a week. While it would not be fair to make this say more than it does it is hard to deny the light this shines on those who insist that Sunday morning is enough. Deep commitment breeds lasting commitment. Jesus said that only one thing is necessary and it will not be taken from us. Those who seek God first are kept by Him from temptation’s influence. I am not surprised to see that those who feel an hour or so in the house of God with the people of God is enough could be easily distracted from coming at all.
Most strikingly, apparently this one time a week person is most susceptible to falling back into worldliness (the article’s reference to alcohol, marijuana, cocaine use is directly tied to this group). As people begin to neglect the house of God sin begins to make its way back into their lives.
If we know anything about the condition of our hearts we know that we need to keep ourselves from temptations. Blue Laws didn’t guarantee that people would go to church but repealing them has opened a flood gate of temptations that many of us have proven we cannot resist.
So often we as Christians ask ourselves if we would be able to die for Christ. Well, let’s be honest. If we are not strong enough to say no to the calls of the world on the day that God has set aside for Himself I don’t think we have much reason to believe we will make greater sacrifices.
This article was taken from research entitled, "The Church vs. the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?” What effect has the mall had on your heart on the Lord’s Day? I wonder how much of our time is spent perusing the Sunday sale ads on Sundays. Yes, we’ve gone to church but where are our hearts? I fear that we tell ourselves that we have given God what is His but spend the bulk of the day looking at ads thinking about all the things we want to buy. It is possible to give homage to the mall without going to the mall.
What is your commitment to the Lord on His Day? Do yourself a favor, leave the Wal-Mart, and Home Depot ads for Monday. Don’t tempt yourself.
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