Okay, this is a deceptive post title, since "through the ages" usually references something historic.
This blog has existed for somewhere in the neighbourhood of 36 hours, and it's already way more successful than my other websites. I got 41 votes on the first poll, "How often do you attend worship," and that prompted me to write about just that.
For the first big chunk of my life, church attendance was mandatory. It was simply what you did on Sunday mornings, and no amount of complaining would get you out of it (there was an eventual compromise on dress code, resulting in my now-ingrained idea that T-shirts and jeans are appropriate church wear). As I got into my later years of high school, it became more of an optional thing for a couple of reasons: first, I was older and my parents were giving me more freedom, and second, I think church attendance in my family as a whole was starting to decline. I still went, now out of choice, and I thought I'd keep going to church once I was in college.
I had it all planned out. I'd go to the Eel River Community Church of the Brethren, since I knew Dan, the pastor. There was even a van to take me from the college and, better, a senior who worshipped there and was willing to drive me.
I went once.
It became just too easy to sleep in on Sunday mornings. Church was too early, ERCCOB was too far away, and I assumed I wouldn't like the North Manchester church because it was too big. Of course, there's another option for worship when you're at Manchester College: chapel!
I went to chapel maybe once or twice my entire first semester of college. Somewhere in the middle of that year, though, Jim, the campus pastor, asked me to do something for chapel. I don't remember what - a reading, a skit, a prayer - but I think his secret motive was to trick me into attendance. It worked, and I've scarcely missed a Wednesday since.
I also later discovered that I am in love with the North Manchester Church of the Brethren.
I still usually miss Sunday mornings, so my poll answer on average as a college student would be that I attend worship once a week. However, I had to vote "almost never," since in Mexico I've been to church twice: once to mass in Cuernavaca (who can say no to a mariache band in a cathedral?), and once to the Good Friday service at my host family's congregation of Jehova's Witnesses.
Thinking about this the other day, I started to wonder about how church attendance changes once we leave our families, go to college, and then leave college. (This also got me curious about the age distribution of this blog's fledgling readership, which is why I added the new poll. Scroll down for the old one.)
I wish I could post data that cross-references these two variables - age and attendance - but for now, please comment with your own stories and observations on the matter.