In fact, the American religious establishment is largely governed by this commandment. We've built churches and organizations that are designed for the primary purpose of honoring the Christian sabbath, on Sunday. You may know that before Jesus, the Jewish sabbath was honored on Saturday. The Jewish sabbath was, and is, strictly honored by practicing Jews. For some reason, the early Christian church began to honor the sabbath on Sunday, rather than Saturday.
The Ten Commandments were, strictly speaking, Jewish in origin. However, Christians honor them as well. Although we believe that Jesus' crucifixion paid the price for all sins, we also believe that having faith in Jesus without obeying him doesn't make a lot of sense.
So, the question is, which is right- a Saturday or Sunday sabbath?
Answer: it doesn't matter.
God wants us to honor the sabbath, but more importantly He wants us to be Christ followers 24/7. Jesus' disciples were picking grain one sabbath and the religious establishment criticized them for it. Jesus taught that the sabbath was made for man, and not the other way around.
Have you ever noticed how people can get so caught up in the business of church that they forget to follow Christ the rest of the week. Worse, we can get so caught up in all of the church activities that we forget the point of church.
We get so caught up in the forest of religion that we can't see the trees.
Jesus taught us that there were two primary commandments. We are to love God, first and foremost. Then, we are to love each other.
My book, "The Reasonable Person- Due Process of Law, Logic, and Faith" is somewhat unconventional. It wasn't published within mainstream Christian publishing. I tried that route, unsuccessfully. According to a local Christian literary agent, it's really more about who you are, than what you have to say. The book wasn't reviewed by any Christian celebrities or even "name" Christian preachers. As a "wrong side of the tracks" Christian, I worried that my doctrine might be off in some way. So I asked several heads of the largest Nashville area churches to check it. Everyone was too busy.
If you take a stroll through the electronic aisles of internet retailers, you'll come to the "Christian" section. I can spot those books a mile off. They are the ones with Christian singers, celebrities, publishing czars and other dignitaries raving about the book. The Christian publishing machine is a pretty amazing thing. But the thing is that, with the recent Federal Trade Commission guidance on bloggers, all of the reviewers now disclose that they received a complimentary copy of the book in question, in exchange for an unbiased review. So, you get a pretty good sense of the books that originate from the machine.
I read "The Reasonable Person" now and am amazed. I believe that other than contributing finger movement across the computer keyboard, I had very little to do with it. I don't have a background or education in Divinity, Theology or any other formal religious education. All I have are careful reading skills, the skills of any lawyer. And I apply them, as well as logical principles in my bible study and in the way I think about God. I am absolutely sure that God had and has a purpose for the book. Perhaps there is one person out there who needs to read it. I don't know. All I know is that I was faithful to the challenge and completed the book.
Some of you know that I've been busy promoting the book. I've done radio interviews and other outreaches, in order to give the book some visibility. I've been pleasantly surprised by some of the smaller things- an email here and there from a reader, interest by a popular website, "The Berean Call." (http://www.thebereancall.org/content/are-you-wrong-side-spiritual-tracks) I received a very kind note from the pastor at a large church in Hendersonville and the church's bookstore is now carrying the book. Even more touching is the fact that Parnassus Books, Nashville's only remaining independent bookstore, carries the book. (http://www.parnassusbooks.net/book/9781477640623)
At the same time, there are plenty of mainstream Christian organizations that are simply too busy to consider the book. At first it bothered me. As a corporate attorney, father of two young girls, and author of three books, I'm a pretty busy guy myself. I spent almost seven years of 6:00 a.m. writing sessions on the book, on top of my day job and family responsibilities. And yet, if I run into someone who has a need, I generally try to find time to help them. I just think that it is what God wants me to do.
Instead of taking it personally, I've given it to God. It's His book. It was written for Him. If the religious establishment isn't interested in it, then so be it. The book wasn't intended for people who think they already know everything they need to know about God. It was written for people like me, or at least like I was for the better part of my life- searching for God. "The Reasonable Person" cuts through Christianspeak and debunks many of the myths the religious establishment has perpetuated about Christian faith. At it's core, this faith is that of a child; and the good news of Jesus is so simple, that a child can understand it.
I can always hope that the religious establishment will one day see the trees for the forest. After all, it's what Jesus taught us (and them) time and time again. But something tells me it probably won't happen. There's just something too comfortable about all of it- big church buildings, this and that ministries, the business of religion.
But I can always hope.