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Religious Tolerance logo


An essay donated by Katie Johnson

Misconceptions That Some
People Make About Churchgoers

church congregation 1

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For those of us who attend church, we cherish the experience of belonging to a community, a group of people who care deeply about each other and are committed to supporting each other for longer than just a few hours every Sunday.

Yet, to our non-churchgoing friends, there are a few sticky misconceptions that can be annoying and even rather hurtful. Here are a few stereotypes that we can start breaking down in our daily lives, so that our faith is never clouded by those pesky outside opinions:

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1. Churchgoers are "stuck up:"

For families committed to a life of faith, there are a few traditions 2 that are non-negotiables in the household. Of course, every family expresses their faith a little bit differently, but most attend church once a week, some say grace before dinner, and many encourage nightly family prayers. These rituals become an important and joyful part of the daily routine. Yet, to outsiders it can seem a little exclusive and constrictive. One way to deal with this misconception is just to by having honest and inviting conversations with non-church going friends. They'll probably be surprised to see that the activities they found to be rigid were actually great family-bonding opportunities.

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2. Churchgoers aren't friendly to newcomers:

For newcomers, the idea of attending a new church can be a little intimidating. Even if they've lived in the community for a while, entering a new church can feel like traveling to a new country. Some have a hard time with it. What we may see as interconnectedness and support, a newcomer might interpret as closed-off and unfriendly.

Luckily, as long as everyone in the church is committed to warm welcomes, it's pretty easy to give this misconception the boot. After all, we know we're the friendliest bunch around! We just need to share the love.

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3. Their houses are covered in gaudy decorations:

Some people see crosses, candleholders, and paintings as over-the- top displays of religion, but this misconception really comes down to personal taste. It's your home, and you can feel free to express your faith any way that feels good to you. Plus, there are a ton of great websites out there selling tasteful home decor.

Nip this stereotype in the bud by looking at Holyart religious items. 3 Your non-churchgoing friends might start asking you for interior design tips!

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4. Churchgoers are closed-minded:

You don't have to be a historian to know that the church has changed a great deal in the past few thousand years. And while some core values will always remain, the church isn't doomed to a future of inflexibility. All you have to do is talk to some of your fellow churchgoers to know that there is a wealth of diverse opinions and ideas that make each church unique and accepting.

If you know of a non-churchgoer who is worried about this stereotype, invite them to bring up their concerns with members of the church, who are often from all walks of life. They'll be surprised at the kinds of conversations to take place within this encompassing gathering of people.

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Links to other web sites that sell religious products:  

  • Part 1  Jewelry.

  • Part 2:  Websites selling a broad range of products. Also, sites selling a narrow range of products from Apparel to Lamps.
  • Part 3:   Websites selling a narrow range of products: including Memorial gifts, mouse pads, mugs, party supplies, photographs, quotes, scrolls, and T-shirts.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Image courtesy of Pixabay at: https://pixabay.com
  2. Sara Elliott, "10 Family Christian Traditions," How Stuff Works/Culture," 2011-JUL-25, at: http://people.howstuffworks.com/
  3. "Religious items," Holyart, 2017, at: https://www.holyart.co.uk/

How you may have arrived here:

 Home > Visitors' essays here

 Home > Spirituality here

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Originally posted on: 2017-MAR-28
Author:
Katie Johnson
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