ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Church or social club?

Updated on February 25, 2010

One of the huge advantages that American churches possess is the social network they include.  I don't know if this holds for other types of congregations in other parts of the country or the world, but Southern evangelical churches are great at this.

Southern Baptists in particular seem to excel in this area.  To be honest, I'm not sure if the churches exist to support the gymnasiums or vice versa, but the suburbs of the American South are littered with Baptist churches the size of small universities.  Some of those spaces are dedicated to services, community service, and such, but there are a hell of a lot of taxpayer-subsidized gyms and game rooms out there too.

Some denominations, like the Church of Christ, refuse to devote money to such things on doctrinal grounds, but they build their social networks too.  Instead of having social hour at the building, they just take it to someone's house.  It soothes their consicience, but I see little practical difference.

So what's the point of all this?  Well, if you have a lot of buddies down at 1st Baptist, you'll attend more events, become more engaged with the church, and probably hand over more cash as a result.  You'll probably think twice about leaving, too.  Who wouldn't want to shoot hoops after service, right?

The Church of Christ goes a little further to the dark side here.  For one thing, some of them highly recommend that you socialize exclusively with other Church of Christ members, or at least minimize friendships outside of "The Church."  Then, once they've got you dependent on them for your social needs, they then threaten to yank the rug out from under you if you don't follow the rules.

Actually, it's not just a threat; they'll really do it.  It's a drastic step that they don't employ too often, but if you go too far (especially if it's related to sex or drugs), they'll withdraw fellowship. 

If you haven't had the pleasure of witnessing this, what happens is that one of the church leaders will stand before the congregation and read a prepared statement detailing the bad things you did.  It usually contains just enough information for people to guess what you were doing (assume they haven't already heard through the rumor mill), but not enough details to be at all interesting.

So now that they have aired your dirty laundry, they then instruct the other members of the church to no longer socialize with you.  They use friendship and social ties as weapons to persuade their members to fall in line.  These were some of the ugliest scenes I recall from my church-going days.  I feel dirty just writing about it.

I will say that it's not all bad though.  They do take care of their own, you form close friendships with lots of really good people, and you could always count on them for help when you needed it.  And if you picked up and moved from one city to another, you usually could find a local congregation that would welcome you with open arms.

That's one of the aspects I miss the most.  Atheists don't have that ready-made fraternity, and I felt lost without it for a while.  I suppose that was the point though, wasn't it?


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)