Sunday, July 22, 2007

Faith: Public or Private?

The question of how public one's faith should be touches off deep feelings around these parts. I know this from my work on an article that appears in today's paper. (Click here to see it.) It's about newcomers' feelings about being asked where they go to church.

In the South, public expressions of faith are still more common than they are in most other parts of the country. It makes some transplants uncomfortable.

Here's a link to my first blog entry that generated debate on this topic: Click here

And here's a link to my follow-up entry: Click here

If you have some more thoughts to express in response to today's story, please post here!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is this subject being discussed for the third time in the past two months... nothing else happening in Charlotte?

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a native of Mecklenburg county, I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would be offended by the question of where they attend church. Are newcomers offended by being asked what school do your children go to? What grocery store you like to shop? Sounds as if those of you who are offended by this simple question are either feeling judged and/or somewhat ashamed by your answer. It's certainly not like being asked what's your sex life like! Now that would be a little personal and intrusive. This sounds like a cultural difference, therefore, I would suggest that newcomers remember that they moved here apparently because they like the area. I personally cant believe people move to a new part of the country and then find fault with a cultural norm in their new community. Now that is rude, not to mention arrogant! Why dont the newcomers just tell us how we should be behave so we dummy southerners can fit in with all you proper and intellectually superior Northerners. Or maybe we Southerners can move north and change the culture up there. Newcomers - get over it and now that the honeymoon is over - try to appreciate the differences a new part of the country offers instead of feeling the cultural "shock" of being asked where you attend church. But be forewarned - if you run into me somewhere I might even ask which home builder you went with! AAAAghh!

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asking where someone attends church is tantamount to asking them what's their religion. It's no different than asking what's your salary. It is rude, no matter where you're from.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you choose to move down here then you need to accept the questions that come with it. Asking about one's church, which is a large part of this area, comes with the territory,

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Tantamount:

It is not rude here to ask where you attend church. If that is the way you were brought up, fine. But dont impose your indignant sensibilites on me - I love when someone I meet asks me where I attend church. I do have a question though for all those offended. Do you attend church in private? Are you the only one there? Do other people not see you there? Also, if you are someone who attends a Christian church, were the apostles of Jesus instructed not to mention their beliefs to others for fear of offending their privacy?
As for saying the act of asking someone about their church is no different than asking about their salary, please. When you go to church, other attendees are preasent and they obviously know which church you go to - so I guess the secret is out. To say that asking this simple question is rude is just plain ridiculous. Remember Dorothy, you're not in Kansas anymore and it's your job to assimilate here, not mine to learn what your boundaries for privacy are. I would drive myself crazy if I tried to figure out all of the different newcomers' norms, likes, dislikes, topics allowed or not allowed, etc. Please newcomers, dont come here and start complaining about how bad it is, how rude people are here, how slow we drive. Oh, that reminds me - get off my bumper! How can you tell if a Northerner is following you - you cant see their headlights in the rearview mirror! Now - that is rude, people! Not to mention, dangerous.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know that moving to a new home entitled people to ask rude questions.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didnt know moving to a new area entitled you to be a snob...

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a native of Mecklenburg County too, and when I was in first grade I was singled out by my teacher - repeatedly and in front of the whole class - because I attended a Catholic church. The teacher led the class in prayer twice a day (yes, it was a public school, and yes, it was after the Supreme Court decision) and because I did not know the version of grace that was said at Steele Creek Presbyterian Church (where the teacher and most of the class attended), she was "on" to me. She made it quite clear she did not approve of Catholicism.

It is rude to delve into a person's religious beliefs, particularly someone you don't really know, because despite what your real motives are, it's a way to judge people.

Now - Charlotte Observer - give Leigh Dyer a real job. This newcomers thing serves no purpose other than to dredge up the same old stereotypes day after tired day, week after tired week.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know that expressing one's opinion made one a snob.

My apologies if I offended anyone.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you ask me what church I go to, don't give me a dirty look when I tell you I go to a Catholic one. I kid you not. That has happened more than once. My little brother was accosted by a friend's mother once when it became know what our beliefs were.

If Southern people want newcomers to respect their culture, they need to respect those that go to different churches, or no churches at all.

And to the person talking about assimilation, in this global information age, it is Charlotte and its people that need to assimilate with the rest of the nation and world as it gets smaller and smaller every day. This isn't some outpost in the swamp anymore.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlotte never was an "outpost in the swamp," and your crappy attitude explains the difficulties you are having assimilating. I am Catholic, have lived here all my life, and it's nice to know that Catholics now outnumber all other religious denominations in this county. So tell that to the people who accost your little brother.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found that most who ask this question tend to only follow some of their church doctrines and still try to push their beliefs on you. Religion to me has always seemed a crutch for those with no faith in their thoughts.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 11:21, I've lived here off and on for over 20 years. I think I'm well assimilated. And I can tell you Charlotte was a lot more backwioods then than it is now. It's just a few other people that can't seem to get over the fact that there is a whole world out there and it doesn't fit with their insular views. The world is beginning to bring Charlotte in its fold, and these people need to realize the old south way of doing things just doesn't cut it anymore.

As for Catholocism, are you going to tell me you never experienced some prejudice in all your years here from someone who thought their way was the only way to heaven? Heck, if being Catholic gets you looked down upon by some, imagine how a Jew, a Muslim or an athiest gets treated. I will respect everyone's chosen path to salvation, no matter what it may be. I simply expect others to do the same.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 9:31...

I am also a native of Mecklenburg County and yes, when people ask you that question it feels like you are being judged. Not only judged for your faith, but where you live, how much money you make, do you fit in here (and if you don't, please leave.)

I am glad so many newcomers have moved to Charlotte. Maybe this insulting, pin-headed and ridiculous question will finally disappear.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, asking what someone's religion is isn't rude at all. How can you appreciate other people's thoughts and viewpoints, and share a discourse about something so important ("What is true? What should I follow?") if you can't even TALK about it?

The only reason talking about religion WOULDN'T be important is if none of it were true. While this may be your opinion, it's certainly not everyone's, and it's important to communicate with others to seek what IS the truth.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Not only judged for your faith, but where you live, how much money you make, do you fit in here (and if you don't, please leave.)"

How can that question possible discern where you live, how much money you make, or if you fit in?! I think you're reading WAY too much into an attempt to be friendly and helpful. People don't go to church based solely on their geographical location, salary, or social abilities. Finding out where and if they go to church can't tell you any of those things.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am grateful to have experienced a religious upbringing and to know there are so many in our area that share the same background. Just asking the church affiliation of a newcomer should not be offensive. Surely they did some research before moving to this area and know a little about Charlotte and the people.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not an attempt to be friendly and helpful. It's an attempt to be nosy, judgmental and self-righteous, qualities too many Charlotteans indulge in too frequently.

Religious faith is a personal matter. At least wait until you get to know the person a bit before exploring faith with him or her.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Common sense dictates that the subjects of sex, salary, and/or religion are personal, not to be broached by strangers.

"Welcome to the neighborhood... we've never met before, but where do you go to church, how much money do you make, and when was the last time you boned your wife?"

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I said when this first came up on this forum...

"Being offended by The Question, as you call it, says much more about the person who is offended than the person asking the question."

And I will repeat again, it's hard to have any symapthy for anyone who was foolish enough to move to a city that has the nickname "City of Churches" and is the home of Billy Graham, and at the same time thought there would be no religious people there once they arrived.

To the locals who are offended, I am NOT calling you foolish. You are just very easily annoyed.

As for those who equate it to asking how much money someone makes or social status, what do you think the question "what do you do for a living" does?

I guess we can't talk about work either.

How about asking someone what baseball team they follow? God forbid they might be a Yankee fan while you are a Red Sox supporter. Someone might not like even like the game at all.

Maybe we shouldn't ask what school anyone attended? Some schools are better than others, and that might imply that someone is smart or dumb. Who knows, maybe they didn't attend college at all?

Where do you live? What type of car do you drive? Where's your family from?

All of these common topics of conversion can imply the exact same things that you get offended by from The Question.

Again, what does getting offended by a simple question say about you.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all the newcomers offended by this simple question. Please explain to us brash and nosy Southerners why it is polite to come to a new region of the country and try to change their cultural norms? What right can you possibly cite that states its correct for you to tell an entire region that what has been socially acceptable for eons is now not okay because you have arrived and said so? Now that I know that many Northerners take offense at being asked about their church, I wouldn't dream of moving North and going around asking my new neighbors something they consider offensive and intrusive. I would respect their way of doing things. Why can't you all do the same? If you dont want to answer the question because it bothers you, then politely decline. It is much more socially offensive to expect a whole new community to bow to your feelings of being offended. I personally have never seen any religious bias and I know many transplanted Catholics. Not one has ever expressed a feeling of being judged. For those of you that say you have, my apologies. That obviously isnt polite behavior, but dont go throwing all of us Southerners in the same boat - most of us just want to talk about our religion because it helps us feel connected and it is a big part of our life - not something to hide from or to be hush hush about. I am terribly offended that someone would think that a question about religion is tantamount to asking about someone's salary - do you all have any idea how embarrassed you make others feel by thinking we are being nosy and intrusive when it is really nothing more than how we were brought up? And that it is perfectly acceptable here? Do you not have any qualms with yourself about how you make other people feel who are only trying to be friendly? I am sorry, but I must say, I wish all you who are so offended, please look at yourselves and ask why are you feeling this way and is it really okay to expect people to be the way they are back in your hometown? I would like to know one person on this blog who has had someone ask "welcome, and how much money do you make?" If you are so offended by us, please dont keep coming and there are flights out each day. Keep your cash from your home sale up North, and quit driving up our property taxes,and our home values so that many native Charlotteans cant afford to move up, and over burdening our infrastructure. We didnt ask you to relocate. You all have been coming here in droves because of cheap real estate, better weather, banking jobs, etc and you have the nerve to complain about how friendly we are. Get over yourselves and quit trying to make yourselves feel socially superior by being "shocked" at what socially inept and lowly southerners you moved next door to.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:45:

What makes it snobby, is your insinuation that people are overstepping their bounds by asking what has been considered a perfectly socially acceptable is actually not socially acceptable. It is rude to come to a new area and tell people that what they consider is proper etiquette is suddenly socially unacceptable. That is being a snob, my dear.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To answer Rick's question, Charlotte is not known as the 'City of Churches' on a national scale. It is more know for banking, NASCAR and the Panthers more than anything else. It is also known as a fast growing metropolitan area, and when people move from one city to another, they expect some tolerance and the fact that many people are from a more cosmopolitan background. That means accepting the fact that many people practice many different faiths. People from the North (or anywhere else for that matter) don't care how some local practices, and they don't expect the local to care back. Maybe this type of behavior is OK in Tulsa, Louisville or Birmingham, but for a city on the rise above those places, that should be a no no.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all the Northerners:

Please stop asking me what my husband does. No, he isnt in banking, doesnt work for the airline, and he isnt head of a new start up division from HQ in New York. He is a blue collar guy just trying to make a living, but I cant get over feeling judged by the glazed over, got to get out of here quick before something rubs off on me, look from the social climbing transplants. This inquiry into my husband's line of work is quite offensive, but you think nothing of asking this nosy question. I'm just waiting on one of you to ask "How much does that pay?" It's ok really because I can then turn around and just ask which church you attend. This offensive thing cuts both ways but I would never dream of looking down on someone for asking a question which is a cultural norm of the asker.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my ten years in Charlotte, I have NEVER been asked which church I attend. The usual get-to-know-you script consists of "What do you do?" and "Where do you live?"

As the previous poster said, it sometimes seems to be all about social climbing - or what I can do for you.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first ran into the "Welcome to our neighborhood, where do you go to church" phenomenon in Huntsville over 30 ears ago on the day we moved into our new home. When my wife innocently responded that she was a Catholic, the neighbor shunned her from that day forward.
To me, the question is not out of line once you get to know someone, but it is most definitely not a way to introduce yourself. Sadly, all too many people (not just Southerners) form opinions before they know an individual.
Back in the days when the area was predominantly Southern Baptist, it was certainly acceptable to ask the question upon greeting someone, because that person was in all probability a Southern Baptist (as was the person asking the question). The question really was in the context of "What Baptist Church do you attend?" and the response may have been "Faith Baptist" or "Calvary Baptist". It opened an opportunity for conversation.
Occasionally, the answer may have been, "I'm a Methodist (or Presbyterian or Christian Evangelical). Conversation may have ended right there.
Today, however, there are more and more people of diverse backgrounds in the area, and they are more likely to feel that the question of church affiliation is not the way to get acquainted.
It appears that the "native of Meckenburg County" has never had a question asked of him that he felt was intrusive. It also appears that he resents deeply the invasion of the area by people from the North. Forgive me if I'm wrong.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an African-American newcomer, I got a double whammy. To be black in the south and not attend church is a heinous crime. Now that I do attend church, the type of church I go to makes me even more of an outcast, especially among my own family members.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 4:22 Huntersville resident,
I am the poster from Mecklenburg. I appreciate your comments and I am sorry your wife was shunned by her neighbors when she answered she is Catholic. Personally, I feel that is despicable, snobbish behavior. Shunning someone obviously violates the neighbor's very own religious doctrine. I do believe that if the question is being asked in an attempt to discern the suitability of the person as a potential friend, then obviously it is of the highest form of faux paux. However, if it is a question asked in the spirit to which I am accustomed, it is merely a conversation item, a connecting if you will of one person to another. You see, for most of us, it really makes no difference what the answer is. I do suspect you may be right about the fact that probably the answer was more homogenous (ie Southern Baptist, Methodist, Presby) before the tide of newcomers came along, but all in all, I feel that most of us have adapted quite well to the influx of newcomers and the changes this inevitably has brought, including religious diversity. Why, some of you arent even Christian! Imagine, we have all faiths represented now. Surely you all realize I jest. The only resentment I have is newcomers that come here and then complain that things arent the way they were where they come from. When one comes to a new area, it is polite to accept the social norms of the area, as backward as they may seem to you, not try to change things you dont like. That is just arrogant and self indulgent. Northerners do not have a monopoly on polite behavior. Some of them just cant get past something they grew up not doing. Maybe in the North, church affiliation really was a statement of social status and maybe that is where the "oh that is so personal" idea came from. I dont believe that is true here, or at least it's not been my experience. And to wonder that I've never been asked an offensive question, well I have. I was once asked by a superior if I was pregnant in an obvious attempt to embarrass me about my appearance. Did it bother me? A little. But my opinion of her went way down. Maybe that is why is bothers me that Northerners feel it is an inappropriate question. Because I dont want to be thought of as tactless for asking a question I've grown up doing. I consider myself a person who is mindful of appropriate behavior and to now be made to feel as if I am somehow tactless is quite hurtful and embarrassing. Thanks

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Charlotte native. I grew up asking the question. I now believe this question, asked upon meeting someone, is offensive. In Charlotte, the question most certainly is as much about status as it is about faith. It has always been this way.

I believe the question can appropriately be explored once you get to know someone. Otherwise, it's just shorthand for sizing you up.

I love Charlotte and am proud to be a native. Charlotte's great beauty, financial success and dramatic growth and yes, its faith heritage are all things to hold dear. But that doesn't mean browbeating people with the question the first time you meet.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a New England yankee - I found it unbelievable that people would inquire about my religious beliefs. It was akin to asking private questions about one's sex life.

We were raised that these are highly private and personal matters - and that it's rude to ask those sorts of questions.

I think it stems from a belief that this country was founded on(among other things) freedom of religion. I suspect that, in history, such a question (and it's answer)could lead to a loss of freedom - or a social "branding".

I have often felt that people ask that question specifically with the intent of then being able to "brand" the person.

However, having lived in the south 17 years - I now know that Southerners were raised differently - in a culture where it's not considered rude.

Now, when folks ask about my religion - or my sex life - or my political beliefs - or my income... I simply reply by indicating that those are private matters.

By the way - not all of us moved here because it was our desire - many of us were transferred here by our employers.

Having said that - we are here - and here to stay - so we should all try to find ways to adapt to, and enjoy one another's differences.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're here to stay. I encourage you to get to know some natives, they are mostly kind and friendly. Some just feel a little overwhelmed bu all the growth.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, 4:05 anon, were you one of the foolish who moved to Charlotte without checking it out first?

Are you saying it's ok to make a complete and total life changing decision such as moving to a new city without actually researching it? If something is not completely obvious, then it is not relevant to your own personal choices? That one can assume every place is exactly like every other place? Or more specifically, exactly like what you personally desire and expect?

Also, I find it very hard to believe that you've never heard the term "Bible Belt". Charlotte is right on the buckle of that belt. That would be like someone saying they've never heard that San Francisco (another major banking center I might add) has a large gay population, and then being surprised by that when they moved there.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that, in general, discussing sex, religion, or politics with someone you don't know well is considered a social no-no. I can't think of anywhere else where it is considered polite.

I'm happy to discuss that stuff anonymously or with friends but I was accosted literally moving the stuff into our house the first day here. Not only by a neighbor but within a couple of days we had received welcome packets or whatever from several local churches trying to recruit us or something.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously, faith is public for some, and private for others.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 5:30
You are absolutely incorrect to say asking which church someone attends is brow beating or an indication of social status. Maybe it was in your circle, but not mine. It has always been just a get-to-know-you, friendly kind of question. As for sizing one up, in my family we were taught to accept all people regardless of their faith, including those who do not practice. So please, you do not speak for all of us!

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just out of Southern curiosity, so sorry if this is rude...but are most Northerners here Catholic or Protestant? I ask this as an attempt to understand the basis for feeling so offended. And is that the underlying social branding an earlier poster was referring to? Could it be that people were taught not to discuss this because up North there was so much tension between these two faiths? Maybe because here in the South just about everyone was Protestant and it was just a matter of which Protestant church you attended, not whether or not you actually were Protestant. Now please understand that just because many Northern Catholics are here that we Southerners would necessarily brand them as anything other than just plain Christian. Maybe that's been the problem with this North/South church thing.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this issue so intriguing. Having purchased property in the area and hoping to relocate within a couple of years, I try to get out to Charlotte as often as possible from CA. I haven't been asked this question yet, but have inquired with others about churches in the area. Information about different churches is hard to get which requires me to visit churches whenever I am in town.

I think it is quite refreshing being able to talk about my church background - something that has been difficult to do in CA until 9/11. I think those who are offended tend to be taken back since they just aren't use to be asked this question. Instead of being offended - make the "choice" not to be offended and politely excuse yourself from the conversation. For myself,I appreciate anyone who asks the question as it indicates a willingness to want to become acquainted and find common ground.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello 7:55 - I am new to the area having lived in CA my entire life, however, my relatives are mostly from the South and all are Protestants. My perspective to your question is that there has always been a bit of a divide between the Catholic and Protestant faiths. However, what I have experienced even more is a divide between Christians and non-believers. The majority of my professional contacts have had little or no religious background and a discussion about religion has always been somewhat tabboo. It caused me to keep my religious believes to myself and on more than one occassion I have been unintentionally mocked by managers because of my Christian values and unwillingness to participate in unethical behavior. However, since 9/11, the general attitude seems to have changed and Christian values are more highly regarded.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello to all,
I hope newcomers can try to understand that here in the South we just want to get to know our neighbors and their home church is just another topic to us - we truly arent trying to be nosy, inconsiderate clods. Makes no difference what your religion is - we just want to get to know you and we welcome everyone of all faiths. I doubt any of us have actually asked about one's sex life or salary so the crassness is unnecessary. Apologies to all who have felt judged and shunned. That isnt playing nice.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rick, I don't think anyone who researches a new place to live finds too many stats on religious atmospheres. Sure, many probably have stereotypes about the South when they come down, but as one of the 25 largest cities, they expect some standard of tolerance and similarities to other metropolises.

As much as you complain about crime, immigration, taxes and public transit on other threads, it seems to me that you didn't do enough research on Charlotte before you came down here. All of the above is well known about here more than any religious vibe. It seems to me you thought you were going to move to a more conservative small town when you came down here and have become unpleasantly surprised that we have the economic and cultural challenges of any other big city. Welcome to reality, this ain't mayberry.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well anon, all of those things happened after I moved. I had spent several weeks here over a couple years, prior to making that decision and had no delusions of Charlotte being a small town. In fact, one of the reasons I moved here because it was growing and I liked the culture.

When I moved here just a few short years ago, there were no gangs according to the Charlotte police and the local govco officials. NC had not yet decided to give drivers liscenses to illegal immigrants. Taxes were reasonable if still the highest in the South, and the corruption, dishonesty, and incompetence behind the transit plan had not yet been exposed. (By the way, I love transit. Spend all the money on buses for all I care. Just don't waste it on trains now that the problems with that have become evident.)

Where you and I seem to differ is that you expect growth to result in crime, corruption, waste, and other bad things. I don't.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Rick, I've been here over 20 years and we've had many of these problems all along. I don't know what you missed out on. Sorry to disappoint. As far as the secularizing of the city, I think that is a good thing. People should mind their own business and let people practice their faith (or lack thereof) as they wish. All of the newcomers are bring an ecomonic and cultural prosperity never seen before in this part of the country. I accept the bad elements to an extent, but welcome all the benefits that a big city has to offer by all of them coming here.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i grew up in charlotte, and was singled out in school for telling a teacher i didn't believe in god. i don't like to be asked that question since everyone acts like there's something wrong with me for being atheist. people here do not accept or tolerate people like me.

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I'm confused. Was Charlotte ever like Mayberry - a place where The Question could be asked without offense?

The second to last anon who says that Charlotte is no longer like Mayberry seems to also be saying that it never was - not if we've had these problems all along. Mayberry didn't seem to have corruption or a need for transit as far as I remember, and Barney Fife wasn't staring down MS-13 gang members - at least not on a regular basis.

Oh, and I welcome the newcomers as much as anybody. I myself am one of them. However, I wouldn't say they are the cause of the prosperity. Rather, it's the other way around. The prosperity caused by good banking jobs and low housing costs is what has brought them here. As a longtime Charlottean, you should take more credit than that.

5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The banking lift was initiated by B of A's move from San Fran to Charlotte. The result was increased competition, and an influx of workers to feed the demand. The growth in Charlotte is a direct result of outsider efforts. In time, the influx will fade. To be truly competitive in the banking industry you need a strong position in investment banking. That cannot be attained in Charlotte.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asking someone where they attend church shows Godly love and concern. God COMMANDS us to ask. Those who study and obey His word are commanded to "save souls and keep souls saved." For those who STUDY the bible and believe in God, the answer to the question, "What church do you attend?" should be very simple. The answer is "The Church". There is only one mentioned in the bible that was instituted by Jesus himself. Matthew 16:18

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey ronny, you have to believe in biblical inerrancy before you take any scripture seriously. if you're Unitarian, Hindu, Bhuddist, muslim, Jewish, or any Christian denomination that believes in open interpretation of the Bible, things are not as simple as you have stated. This is reason alone for people to mind their own business and not accost people about what church they go to.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Bo
Dont know why you think
charlotte growth is a result of any outsider effort. Quite the contrary.
B of A, was a merger masterminded by former Nationsbank CEO Hugh McColl, a long time regional native and in the Charlotte banking arena since early 70's. The only reason for BoA to be based in San Francisco and for the name change was to make the merger happen. Only when interstate banking laws were relaxed to allow interstate mergers and increase competition was this able to happen. Hugh McColl was a major player with that change in legislation. The move back to Charlotte was always going to happen. you dont think we were actually going to keep BoA hq in Ca do you?

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merging NatBank and BofA can harldy be considered effort. Mergers are a happenstance in most industries.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When moving to a geographic area you should first learn about their customs. Asking about church is a nice way of making people new to the area feel indluded and welcomed into society. If it is offensive, please feel free to move back North. We will not miss you one bit!

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been here 20 years from Pennsylvania. The few times I was asked, I was not "offended" by someone asking me my church affilition, it's just that I was taught that it was my personal relationship with God that mattered, and I was not used to having it up for discussion with someone I might have just met. What I DO find offensive is having to defend my religion (Catholic) and made to feel that it isn't "Christian" enough. I happened into an unpleasant conversation with one of the ministers cited in Leigh Dyers article several years ago. We were in a public place, and as in the article, he brought up the comparison of spreading the word of his type of Christianity as in telling a cure for cancer.

The problem with this, is that it is insinuating that being without his type of religion is equal to a diseased state. How pompous! In addition, he said that Catholics "lived by God on weekends and the devil during the week", called Catholicism a "work-based" religion (having to perform good deeds to get into heaven versus just believing) and said he felt sorry for me having been raised as a Catholic. I had never been so insulted in all my life, and by a so-called man of the cloth. I am glad I got to see the true colors of this person, but it is terrifying to think that this is the message being spread by one of the "authorities" of the Charlotte religious community.

THIS is the attitude that Northerners and/or Catholics and/or anyone else that doesn't believe in YOUR religion finds repugnant. If you are TRULY interested in a new friend and aren't asking about their religious affiliation for the sole purpose of telling them why yours is the "right" one, then that's wonderful, but I've found here is that when someone wants to talk about religion, it's really to tell you about THEIRS.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering that Catholocism has over 2000 years of existance while all Protestant denominations are only a few hundred (if that), it seems some 'Christians' don't know who is the 'real deal', but that would open another can of worms on this board wouldn't it. catholics are allowed to drink and play bingo too, so why shoudn't everybody want to be one anyway? :)

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bo 2:12

Whether BoA merger was happenstance or not is irrelevant to your mistaken contention that Charlotte's growth was due to outsider effort. The effort was homegrown, son. I'm not saying you have to be long-timer and lived here to understand these things, but it helps b/c you're more likely to follow the day-to-day progression of business growth. Your arrogance and that of many newcomers is very offensive to those of us who have called this area home all of our lives.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't intend to be arrogant.

My apologies.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm a non-practicing atheist jew and find it annoying when people ask me what church i go to. but i put it in perspective. in other countries its still a crime to be a heretic. in many places in the muslim world, convert or die is the way of the land. in this country, the worst that can happen is someone gives you a pamphlet, or engages you in an awkward conversation. annoying, but not the end of the world.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This inner Christian battle is plain ridiculous. Whether your are Catholic or Baptist shouldn't make a difference. Being offended by a simple question reflects your inability to participate in dialogue and understand other peoples views. Whether your Christian, Jewish, Muslim Atheist .... your faith does play a role in your life, why not speak about it? The worst that could happen is you might disagree, it's not the end of the world and certainly should not hinder a relationship. We should all be open minded about this, especially Christians who are called to witness (regardless of your denominational affiliation). I'm not too familiar with other religions however, I bet there are many similarities about sharing our thoughts.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Touche' to the 9:10 poster. For all those newcomers who are offended: It's a shame you dont accept this practice as a Southern tradition and that's all it is. As far as I am concerned why should I have to change my ways for you? You came here - I didnt move to your area. Maybe it will be okay with you if we now have to all speak Spanish instead of English b/c we have such a heavy Latin influx.
If you get offended being asked - well - too bad, so sad.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Bo:
Thank you so much for your apology and it is accepted. I think maybe the differences in the way Notherners/Southerners speak does sometimes offend when none was intended, say like, asking which church one attends.

The reason I thought your post was arrogant is that you stated Charlotte's growth wasnt from the city's own effort, when, if you had been here in the 70's - 2000's, you would know that it was. But then you posted the BoA merger could "hardly" be considered effort, when in fact, it was a huge effort, took many many months to make the deal and wasnt just happenstance b/c it took legislation changes as well as determining which bank to merge with and still maintain a dominant position in the industry while keeping it all here. yes, the banking industry has lured not just banking jobs, but b/c of its resources has lured many investment dollars, which in turn has fueled the pop growth. But this effort of which you speak didnt come from outside. None came here to invest b/c they were good samaritans for our city. They came to make money.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asking where someone attends church can hardly be considered "accosting" them as some have suggested. You all make it sound as if we rush out our doors the minute you drive up to see what "kind" of Christian you are. Please, accept this as just one of the ways of the South instead of assuming we are unrefined clods. Sometimes it seems Northerners use it to assume a sense of etiquette superiority.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:46,

Funny that you take that stance. Did your ancestors come here and readily accept the tongue of the Native Americans residents? Or perhaps you a decendant of those orginal people?

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was nice to read I'm not the only
non-practicing Atheist Jew that posted (who knew?). I honestly feel that religion is private, I don't want to hear about your faith, and you probably don't want to hear about my lack of it. Call me intolerant, I just have no interest. Religion is a personal choice, for those who don't believe, it does put us in an incredibly odd position. What do you say when someone asks you the church question, "I don't believe in god, but thanks anyway?" I'm not embarrassed or ashamed to be an atheist, I'm proud of it. But that doesn't mean I'm going to go around and talk about it with everyone and ask them about their faith. I know where I live, I accept I'm in the South and I keep it to myself... And maybe one day I will get used to people saying Merry Christmas to me at every turn, but won't be anytime soon.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's awkward to say, "Oh, I don't practice regularly" or "I haven't been to church in years" or simply "I don't go to church". Maybe bring up something you DO do instead; "I spend my Sundays volunteering at the Humane Society" sounds pretty respectable to me.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before moving to Charlotte from New York, I was warned to expect this question. I've lived here for over four years now, and nobody has ever asked it.

Just for the record, though, I don't go to church anywhere. I'm a Buddhist.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the 1930's St Patricks Church in Dilworth has served the Catholic community who lived in Dilworth and nearby Elizabeth, Chantilly, Wilmore, Myers Park and Eastover. There have been a number of Jews and Catholics in Charlotte since the late 19th century. The difference that back then most of them stayed near the city and away from the "sticks" to avoid harrasment. I can tell you that within certain southern circles it is impolite to ask an aquitance about religion, politics or money.

2:33 AM  

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