What Is Religion For? Family Sociability

This series talks about the importance of religion in our lives and society.  Church is one of the cornerstones of socializing families.  After a rough week of work for parents and school for kids, some families put on their Sunday best and go to church.  This means a combination of: be on time; find the family's space; get situated; watch other arriving families; plan who to talk to, be attentive to instructions and the message............................. .............................. ............................... ........................... ........................... ........................ ............................... ...........................; plan what to think and say socially; socialize; plan and get caught in conversations that are both nice and different; leave to go to brunch; go take a nap.

Going to church is the social test of how well we relate to strangers and friends alike.  What is our public image?  Are we detached or involved in our relationships?  Do we require our kids to behave and relate?  Are we happy and grateful for the experience to show up and engage with others?

Church leadership enables family socialization by setting up potluck dinners, fundraisers, church school, leadership meetings and study groups.  Attendance is necessary to be relevant and stay involved.

Family and individual sociability is also informed by setting limits.  Perhaps the family had an argument, is tense, and needs to resolve after church.  They choose to leave early to avoid venting their anger to other people.  Sometimes it is necessary to leave a church conversation because it crosses boundaries of sacred space, misleading intentions, and painstaking permissions.  Careful diplomacy is needed to excuse oneself to leave.  Head is held high, and the reputations of all are kept right.

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