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By Stephen Miller
Sunday observance within the Christian West was once a huge spiritual factor from past due Antiquity till a minimum of the early 20th century. In England the topic was once debated in Parliament for 6 centuries. in the course of the reign of Charles I disagreements approximately Sunday observance have been an element within the Puritan flight from England. In the USA the Sunday query loomed huge within the nation’s newspapers. within the 19th century, it was once the lengthiest of our nationwide debates—outlasting these of temperance and slavery. In a extra secular age, many writers were haunted by way of the afterlife of Sunday. Wallace Stevens speaks of the “peculiar lifetime of Sundays.” For Kris Kristofferson “there’s anything in a Sunday, / Makes a physique suppose alone.”
From Augustine to Caesarius, in the course of the Reformation and the Puritan flight from England, down during the a long time to modern debates approximately Sunday worship, Stephen Miller explores the interesting background of the Sabbath. He can pay specific recognition to the Sunday lives of a couple of popular British and American writers—and what they've got needed to say approximately Sunday. Miller examines such observant Christians as George Herbert, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Hannah extra, and Jonathan Edwards. He additionally seems to be on the Sunday lives of non-practicing Christians, together with Oliver Goldsmith, Joshua Reynolds, John Ruskin, and Robert Lowell, in addition to a gaggle of lapsed Christians, between them Edmund Gosse, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, and Wallace Stevens. eventually, he examines Walt Whitman’s advanced courting to Christianity. the result's a compelling learn of the altering position of faith in Western tradition.
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Extra resources for The Peculiar Life of Sundays
49 It may be that those who worry about the transformation of Sunday exaggerate its negative effects. The authors of an article “The Sunday Gladness, Sunday Gloom 21 Church versus the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition” argue that in states where there were blue laws that did not allow malls to open on Sunday, about 37 percent of people attended religious services at least weekly. 50 The 5 percent decline is not significant. Though it is too soon to gauge the long-term effect of the commercialization of Sunday, it is safe to say that the traditional Sunday—whether regarded as a holy day or as both a holy day and a holiday—is a thing of the past.
If Constantine wanted to appease sun-worshiping Romans, why did he say he was a Christian? He told the historian Eusebius that he converted to Christianity because of a vision and a dream he had in 312, on the day before a major battle, which took place outside Rome, near the Milvian Bridge. Eusebius tells us: Around noon-time, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw before him in the sky the sign of a cross of light. . He said he became disturbed. What could the vision mean? He continued to ponder and to give great thought to the question, and night came on him suddenly.
Constantine believed he had been anointed by the Christian God to rule the Roman Empire. ”11 Historians have pondered the question of Constantine’s religious beliefs. ”12 Perhaps Constantine did not change religions so much as add a new god, Christ, to the ones he already venerated. ) He may have come to the conclusion that the sun god and Christ were one and the same. Whatever Constantine’s religious beliefs, he clearly favored the spread of Christianity. He built many churches, destroyed pagan temples, and decreed tax policies that were favorable to Christian clergy and Christian institutions.
The Peculiar Life of Sundays by Stephen Miller