The Cup, the Loaf, and a Bowl of Chili
Wonderfully Facilitating, or Subtly Depreciating?

Baby Showers Are Evil

Baby_shower_3For many years, my wife and I have been puzzled by the fact that whenever our church throws a baby shower for someone, they usually end up leaving the church shortly thereafter!

We bend over backwards, we spend the big bucks, we make sure everyone's invited, but in the end... they leave.

Either baby showers are evil, or else we've got to start admitting to ourselves that we throw really sucky showers!  :O

Seriously though, I know that the scriptures urge us to give, expecting nothing in return (e.g. Luke 6:35) -- and that's fine.   But what's the deal with baby showers?  People stay when we throw them a birthday, graduation, or confirmation party. 

Several years ago, it felt as though a particular "expecting" couple started attending just so they could have a larger church throw them a shower.  As soon as the baby was born, they skidaddled.

Maybe I should teach more on having a spirit of gratitude, or on community, or on commitment, or on forgiveness (ouch!).  Maybe I should have people sign a "Baby Shower Contract," agreeing to stay connected with our community of faith for a mimimum of 12 months after their shower is held. Maybe I should just shut up and consider all this an opportunity to joyfully suffer for Christ. Maybe I should just be thankful for the few months these dear ones are a part of our congregation.

Or...maybe I should view baby showers as missional endeavors, begin soliciting contributions for them and then start offering them to the people in our city.

Am I totally crazy, or have you ever wondered about stuff like this? I'd really like to know.

Maybe baby showers are evil.  But Jesus would probably go them anyway.

Hmmm. That's got me thinking...  WWJBTBS? (What Would Jesus Bring To a Baby Shower?)


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Okay, it's official now: Paradoxology just jumped the shark.


if you think people leave the church quickly after throwing them a baby shower (and i agree) . . . watch how quickly they leave when you don't throw them a baby shower . . . signed the voice of experience wrapped in yellow paper!

. . . watch how quickly they leave when you don't throw them a baby shower


Just a thought/question about the fleeing, baby-showered couples ... is it possible that the emergent-church "thing" appeals to them as young, childless Gen X/Y/Millennials, but looses its luster as soon children enter the picture? In other words, does the "traditional church" that once repelled them become the very thing they desire once they become parents? It seems the uncanny ability of parenthood to convert(at least some portion) of even self-avowed rebels to the conservative ranks has a recursive-like lineage.

Thanks for a great, though-provoking blog.

Uh ... I've seen lots of churches (including ours) give lots of baby showers, and I've never observed this phenomenon you're describing. If baby showers really were "evil" I think other churches would be experiencing the same thing. Either you're just experiencing an odd happenstance that will ultimately pass, or the young parents' demographic in your area is highly mobile, or ... there's something wrong with your church's approach to baby showers. I've never been to your church, so I don't know, but sometimes churches can get overbearing and a little intimidating when they're only trying, with nothing but good intentions, to be welcoming. Just a thought.


Are you on the coasts or in "Jesusland"? I have not seen this phenomenon here in the Midwest, either, but I heard about it from some locals when I lived in Silicon Valley a few years ago. Perhaps it has something to do with the lessening of commitments everywhere, and with typical fashion, starts on the coasts and moves inland.

Just a thought.

I know some people prefer baths...maybe thats it! I must admit, that does seem wierd - maybe you have an excellent reputation for kick ass gifts!

DLE, I'm in South Dakota, firmly entrenched in "JesusLand" - in fact, according to stats at, SD is arguably the "second most Christian" state in the USA after ND (not that there's an exact relationship between church membership and true faith in Christ, but I doubt that there's a total lack of correlation, either).

So perhaps this baby shower phenomenon indeed has to to do with demographics and lack of commitment, something that may eventually spread even to SD (gasp).


perhaps the problem lies in the hidden expectations that seem to arise when we do stuff like this as the church (as opposed to a bunch of friends who just wnat to throw a baby shower). people begin to see a picture of themselves as "a mission" or "a project" and lose the feeling that we just like and accept them for who they are.

it only takes one or two people who do have "expectations" to communicate that feeling.

a story to illustrate: we brought food to a susan - whose mother had died. suan was the mom of some fo the kids in our youth group, but had never expressed any interest in belonging or attending our church. we decided it would be a good outreach 9or just good christian principles) to provide some food during the week of the funeral.

as my wife and the preacher's wife dropped the food off, susan asked what she could do to repay us. as my wife was saying "nothing", the preacher's wife couldn't pass up the opportunity to "outreach" and said "just start coming to church with us"

clumsy at best, insulting at worst. susan has never attended and her kids stopped coming shortly after.

while most of aren't that bald in our expectations, how much bleeds through and makes the object of our effots feel uncomfortable or unconnected?

John, thanks for sharing the story and your thoughts on this phenomenon. In each case, these were couples or single moms who were already involved in the church and had relational connections with others here -- in part, that's what makes it so mysterious.

Your story about Susan reminds me of years past, when we gave thousands of dollars to a needy family in our Christian school, only for them to pull out, and never say a word (of thanks, in particular)!

we didn't see this with baby showers, but we did see it a LOT with weddings.

that one can be explained by saying that young people getting married are often in the middle of a life transition.

have you considered letting some friends throw the baby shower, and you could donate the room? some churches charge outsiders for the use of their space. but you could donate it. then you could back away and be a gracious landlord, letting the friends arrange and pay for the shower.

then the shower wouldn't feel like came from the church, but the church would have a hand in making it happen.

just a thought.

Bite tongue.. bite tongue... Okay, I'll confess. We are one couple who came before the baby and after, and no one threw us a shower. I was hurt at first, being new to the church and the area, but my sister reminded me showers are really only traditional for first babies and to get over it. Perhaps a return to tradition -- hosting showers only for first time moms -- would be advised.

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