Rebecca McLaughlin doesn’t sit with her husband at church. After reassuring her church friend that her family’s seating choices had nothing to do with the status of her marital relationship, she felt compelled to explain why.

McLaughlin wrote for CT Women:

Every Sunday, my husband and I walk into church and see someone new sitting alone. If possible, we go and sit with them. If there are two people, we divide. It’s often awkward and uncomfortable but nonetheless worth it. Why? Because the gospel is a story of juxtaposition in community: Jesus sat with a Samaritan woman and asked her for a drink. Phillip got into the chariot with an Ethiopian eunuch. The early church ate together.

She expanded on this idea for Quick to Listen.

“I don’t for a minute question that we should sit together as a family at church,” said McLaughlin, who is the co-founder of the consulting organization Vocable Communications. “I’m questioning what family is. It seems to me that the New Testament drives a truck through our modern, Western, dare-I-say American conception of family as being a mom and dad and 2.4 kids.”

McLaughlin joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen this week to talk about the strong feelings her actions have provoked, how to show hospitality to extroverts and introverts at church, and how cultural backgrounds are at play in how we welcome other people.

This episode of Quick to Listen was brought to you by the Christian Standard Bible. To learn more about the Christian Standard Bible, visit

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Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee, Richard Clark, and Cray Allred