Church and Money

This week the article “At ease with our own kind” written by Nelson held the argument that social status and religion are both subconsciously and unconsciously intertwined. Nelsons’ use of the word Habitus is the basis for this argument and he defines it as “is a mechanism, internalized within the individual and usually preconscious, which generates both patterns of action and patterns of likes and dislikes” (Nelson, 51). Within the Habitus are his three sub-arguments in which economic status and upbringing influence a religious person’s preference for aesthetic, linguistic and physical expression. In the creation and maintenance of a congregational visit decisions involving these aspects are all done. I find the subconscious preferences the most fascinating as they are the one’s people on the inside cannot realize they have but as outsiders analyzing certain types of religion can.  In the sectarian congregation visit I heavily noticed the warmth that the church had for newcomer’s which was drastically different from the cold handshakes I received at the denominational visit. These are unconscious difference that the member’s have done most likely influenced by their notion of what it is to be a part of that church.

This week visiting the Redlands Christian Center I was really able to see the differences between a church with a lot of wealth and one with not as much. The sectarian congregation heavily brought to attention that the members should feel as though they need to donate at least ten percent of their income. The Redlands Adventist Church didn’t emphasize donations as much. Before this article I never realized how segregated some congregations are within race and socioeconomic background and how it can make going to a worship service so different.