Churchgoers Essay

Three Types of Churchgoers Essay

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Age and Life Experiences Product Three Types of Churchgoers The religious fanfare in America is overwhelmingly Christian. There appears to be a major increase of interest in spirituality. However, there is a vast difference in the devoutness of churchgoers in frequency of church attendance. The manner in which these individuals attend church is influenced by their ages and also whether or not they have endured difficult life situations. After attending a few church services, one becomes very aware of the various types of attendees. There are three types of churchgoer categories: the Never- Miss-a-Service Churchgoers, the Show-Up for Sunday Morning Service Churchgoers, and lastly, but certainly not the least, Holiday Churchgoers.…show more content…

Usually, they are married and are likely parents themselves. They are very family orientated; only one member of the families work, which are the fathers, and the mothers are stay at home wives. For the males of the families, working and holding a job is of utmost importance to them. In most cases, they get along well with co-workers and their bosses. Members of the Never-Miss-a-Sunday group come from families who have experienced hardships and who have focused on God in order to endure. They or their parents have lingering memories of War World II, the Depression, and the crashing of the Stock Market. Not only present but also past difficulties drive these individuals perpetually to attend church. The second group is the Sunday Morning Service Churchgoers. This group considers themselves as the modern day Christians. Their lives are very busy, but they find free time on Sunday morning for church. In fact, it is important to attend church on Sunday morning on a regular basis because of the image it portrays. Baby Boomers make up a portion of this group. The Baby Boomers were raised watching television, while their mothers and fathers went out to work so they could have more tangible things. They are the “Me” generation. Their upbringings have given them a sense of “entitlement” to the finer things in life. They tend to tailor their spirituality and beliefs to

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ONE of the most striking scientific discoveries about religion in recent years is that going to church weekly is good for you. Religious attendance — at least, religiosity — boosts the immune system and decreases . It may add as much as two to three years to your life. The reason for this is not entirely clear.

Social support is no doubt part of the story. At the evangelical churches I’ve studied as an anthropologist, people really did seem to look out for one another. They showed up with dinner when friends were sick and sat to talk with them when they were unhappy. The help was sometimes surprisingly concrete. Perhaps a third of the church members belonged to small groups that met weekly to talk about the Bible and their lives. One evening, a young woman in a group I joined began to cry. Her dentist had told her that she needed a $1,500 procedure, and she didn’t have the money. To my amazement, our small group — most of them students — simply covered the cost, by anonymous donation. A study conducted in found that frequent churchgoers had larger social networks, with more contact with, more affection for, and more kinds of social support from those people than their unchurched counterparts. And we know that social support is directly tied to better health.

Healthy behavior is no doubt another part. Certainly many churchgoers struggle with behaviors they would like to change, but on average, regular church attendees drink less, smoke less, use fewer recreational drugs and are less sexually promiscuous than others.

That tallies with my own observations. At a church I studied in , the standard conversion story seemed to tell of finding God and never taking methamphetamine again. (One woman told me that while cooking her dose, she set off an explosion in her father’s apartment and blew out his sliding glass doors. She said to me, “I knew that God was trying to tell me I was going the wrong way.”) In my next church, I remember sitting in a house group listening to a woman talk about an addiction she could not break. I assumed that she was talking about her own struggle with methamphetamine. It turned out that she thought she read too many novels.

Yet I think there may be another factor. Any faith demands that you experience the world as more than just what is material and observable. This does not mean that God is imaginary, but that because God is immaterial, those of faith must use their imaginations to represent God. To know God in an evangelical church, you must experience what can only be imagined as real, and you must also experience it as good.

I want to suggest that this is a skill and that it can be learned. We can call it absorption: the capacity to be caught up in your imagination, in a way you enjoy. What I saw in church as an anthropological observer was that people were encouraged to listen to God in their minds, but only to pay attention to mental experiences that were in accord with what they took to be God’s character, which they took to be good. I saw that people were able to learn to experience God in this way, and that those who were able to experience a loving God vividly were healthier — at least, as judged by a standardized psychiatric scale. Increasingly, other studies bear out this observation that the capacity to imagine a loving God vividly leads to better health.

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