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Sunday morning quote 2.19.12

February 19, 2012

We live in what is now called a 24-7 global culture, where someone somewhere is conducting some sort of business every millisecond of every hour of every day.  So, how did Sunday become our designated day of rest, exactly why are we supposed to observe it instead of some other day, and is it really such a bad thing to amuse oneself on Sunday?

It turns out that the Church’s designation of Sunday as a day of worship came about as the result of an administrative decision in the year 363 (or maybe 364) at a business meeting known as the Council of Laodicea.  About this time, Church officials were concentrating on administrative aspects of the Christian Church that set them apart from their organizational exemplar, since they really began as a sect of Judaism.  A clear point that differentiated ‘us’ from ‘them’ was rejecting the Sabbath as Saturday and designating Sunday instead, an effective – if seemingly arbitrary and certainly provocative – choice.

Side-stepping to the realm of public policy in 2012, we are daily affected by many political choices that seem to be founded upon an adversarial ‘us against them’ motivation.  But haven’t we, as the human race, evolved?  Aren’t we better informed?  We offer quotes from this article by Mortimer B. Zuckerman, published in US News & World Report, June 4, 1995:

The media bear a major responsibility for the disassociation of freedom and responsibility. Decades of second-rate television have habituated Americans to seeing conflict and violence, rather than wit and wisdom, as the solution to all problems. In the 1990s, we have hate radio as the part of talk radio that has become a megaphone for community anger. Fundamental to this trend is the perversion of a culture of rights. Once we had rights against arbitrary power; now society is fractured with one group claiming rights against another, while every group claims to be a victim. It is white hats against black hats, us against them and them against us.

The adversary culture provides a certain spurious drama that the media have been overly tempted to exploit. Too often, the only way to break into the realm of public attention is through controversy; declarations of values or beliefs in the American way are seen as boring or corny. Everything is the subject of ridicule. The media sense that assaulting social norms is good business (Madonna has made an entire career out of this). So we have trash books, trash TV, trash newspapers, trash magazines, trash talk. The public may seem to abhor this out-of-control media, but mainstream America still cannot seem to stop watching or reading the stuff. The consequence is a subversion of the moral authority of everyone, from pope to president.

Sound familiar?

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