When I was baptized at 12, I refused what Baptists call “the right hand of fellowship.” I wanted the water but not the fellowship.
In Strasbourg, my husband and I became ecclesiastical two-timers. Once we'd done that, it was easy to become three-timers.
I knew that mainline congregants tend to be older than the general population. The average member is about 58, whereas the average American is age 38. The latest survey from Hartford Seminary fills in the picture with this piece of data: in more than half (52.7 percent) of mainline Protestant congregations, a third or more of the members are 65 years old or older.
Do people join a church because they share its members' beliefs? This has become the putative ideal, the only pure motivation for church affiliation. But I have seldom heard it voiced at our new members' class.