Sharing the Warmth
Living in the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Closed on Sunday, part 2

Willow_creek_1smWhew!  The controvsersy has really heated up throughout the blogosphere over this issue surrounding some megachurches choosing to be closed on Sunday, December 25th.

In particular, check out the 60+ comment posts at each of these sites:

Ben Witherington's Blog

Scot McNight's Jesus Creed

And... all the hoopla has even appeared now in a New York Times article by Laurie Goodstein.


I'd love to hear your "read" on all the controversy, or any other thoughts you may have.


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hmm. I wonder. I've heard more than one family (not in blog world but in real world) say, "I can always just worship at home with my family" (even a pastor friend of mine who's main objection is the entertainment worship team won't be available.

Wonder what would happen if 12 families stayed home this sunday, and when he called they said "well, I can just worship at home"

When I've said, don't we have an obligation to be a good witness? I was told we didn't owe the secular media anything...

this am reading your blog again I think werent' we told to 'always be ready to give an answer?' I think about how Christians today lament the fact we blew it as far as 'prayer in schools'. Now we can't even be open on Sunday because it's Christmas. I think because it's Christmas we should be open in spite of it being SUNDAY!

Yarg! LYB


Sometimes I wonder about the role that convenience should/shouldn't play in the life of the Church.

The effects of consumerism and individualism certainly seem involved here. And yet there seem to be several other principles, values, and what-not at work here as well: e.g. Christian liberty, missional mindset, financial stewardship, the "priority of family", etc.

A final thought: if Church is not where we meet but "who we are" -- then why doesn't "who" we are trump "when" we are? It seems to me that because of "who" we are, all other identities and priorities should take a second row seat.

It is an interesting dialogue, but I think people have made to big an issue on this. Most churches are celebrating on Christmas eve instead, and since Sabbath doesn't HAVE to fall on Sunday, why the hub-bub?

Check out Jordon Coopers take at:


Jamie, thanks for the link to Jordan's post. As always, he has something helpful to contribute.

In concluding, he comments that a lot of the hoopla my be driven by those wanting to simply pick on megachurches. That's a very good point. People often criticize those who are far more successful than they are, and try to find clever ways to do so.

But you know, Jamie, that's not what has grabbed my attention on this one. Church size or affliation seems irrelevant here.

Many folks are quoting scriptural evidence -- or the lack thereof -- but I I haven't seen anyone apply the principles of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral to this scenario.

Do you feel up to the task? (hint, hint!) :D


btw and off-subject: every time I visit your site, it just makes me want to whip out my 5 point trade blankets and don my capote! I absolutely love your banner and your blog concept.

It is not just the mega churches, our little church on the Revervation has also opted to be closed Christmas Day...
Our Christmas Service will be on Friday evening. On Saturday my family will go to Midnight Mass at the Episcapol Church in town, the priest there is a devote Christian and a good friend. We are still looking for a Church to go to on Christmas Day. The Catholic in me believes that going to Church on Christmas, no matter what of day of the week it falls on, is an important part of the Celebration. So far, two of the area Baptist Churches and the United Methodist Church are closed on Dec. 25. None of those Churches are mega - with regular attendance less than 100. Ofcourse to me, Christmas is a much longer Holiday than just one day. It starts the weekend after Thanksgiving (not with shopping) and ends Dec. 31 which is our wedding anniverary-26 years-wow!

Maryellen --

Here's an early HAPPY ANNIVERSARY> goin' out to you and Art!

26 years? That's impressive. Congratulations!

I woulda thunk that a reduction of Sunday services or going to a "family worship" format with no Sunday School and no childcare would be preferrable than to shutdown operations for the whole day. I'm one who has a family tradition of not staying home, but attending as many church services as possible. What about my family tradition?! :)

dj -- thanks for stopping by. And yes, what about your family tradition?! :D

Which has me wondering... what about the authority of "tradition" (i.e. big picture)as it relates to the importance of the Sunday gathering?

Which has me wondering about something else... I sure haven't heard much from our Orthodox brothers and sisters on this one. Maybe they're just kicking back, watching the fireworks, and having a good laugh!


this topic has sparked quite a debate at theOOZE as well.

i was surprised at the intensity of these debates. it doesn't seem that important, that we should be arguing about it. some churches are closed, some are open. those of use who want to go, can go. those of us who want to stay home, can stay home.

freedom is a good thing. freedom means we won't all be alike. that's good! let's celebrate that instead of debating it.


I'm all for celebrating our freedom to be different. That's a very good reminder.

I suppose we're also free to debate -- or better -- to explore our differences and enjoy dialoging and sharpening one another. Unfortunately, when the dialog heats up too much, it can become hurtful or even divisive. That's certainly not worth celebrating.

I'll have to swing by TheOoze to see what all the hoopla looks like there. But I've gotta wonder... why has "this" topic seemed to hit such a nerve?

Have you (or anyone else else reading this comment) given any thought to this?

I would most have to agree with Scot McNight and Tammy on this one. Scot really did a great job of summing up my thoughts and feelings, with a lot of good research to back it up!

I just don't see what the big deal is or that it really matters a whole lot. People that want to go can, it isn't like there is a shortage of churches in this country. Options and freedom are important to consider here.

By the way, I love the idea willowcreek has and made a dvd they are giving away for everyone to watch.


I'm not surprized. Scot is a masterful communicator with a terrific heart.

You'll also probably enjoy the excellent blog post on this topic by our friend Dan Edelen.

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