Because with an active family and fidgety teens, (okay, maybe the family is fidgety and the teens are active) three hours at church oughta just about fill up the sabbath-y part of the day. I do try not to let the rest of Sunday disintegrate into stuff that would make it feel like Tuesday or Friday or Saturday. But don't we LOVE to shed our Sunday threads and slink into sweats or PJ pants? Mmmmm.... It's like dessert for the body. And typical to our Sundays is having someone over for dinner or dessert. And also traditional is the 'question of the night.' It's a great way to get to know people, give everyone at the table a voice, and learn some things we might otherwise not have known. It's also a great distraction: a way to break away from an awkward pause, spilled milk or quarrelling. But none of those things ever happen at our table--just mentioning the distraction attraction bonus because I'm kind-hearted and like to think of others' needs like that. SO, because sometimes I plan things out perfectly in my head before they ever happen in real life, I thought in addition to our question, it might be entertaining to read an excerpt from 'The Naked Quaker' to our dinner guests. Let me point out that I borrowed this book from my mother, who is always eager to learn things about our predecesors, and I picked out bits from the chapter titled 'Sunday Meeting.' I thought, who wouldn't want to learn about Massachusetts in the mid-1600s? A book about true crimes and controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England is sure to have some unique and interesting conversation fodder. The chapter dealing with Sundays seemed somehow conducive to maintaining more of a Sabbath feel to the day.
Well ~WOW!~ was I wrong. I began by expaining that in the 17th century there was a law in place requiring ALL residents of Massachusetts (regardless of religious preference) and those areas under the jurisdiction of Mass. to attend Puritan church services. And they weren't required to attend for an hour, or even three; the Puritan services typically lasted six to seven hours, with a brief break for lunch. Enter a church in Newbury. Imagine the surprise of the congregation when a Quaker woman, angry about being fined (for missing 20 consecutive Sundays!) and persecuted for not choosing Puritan-ism chose to disrobe in the church and use nudity as her form of protest. I think the rest of the interesting facts I was sharing with ears-at-table were lost in a sea of blah-blah-blah, as my husband's jaw dropped, and the four guests were stunned into silence. The kids thought it was an entertaining story, however, mentioned to me later that the point of the telling was lost in the experience. My husband thinks my name should be changed. He's worried about the fact that I was fine with discussing nudity with first-time dinner guests over salad. So what did you talk about over your roast or ham or whatever you have on Sunday? Maybe your attempt at maintaining spirituality was more successful than mine.