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Is it okay to ask about obscure, seemingly trivial Christian practices? Or would it be just too laughable and silly to be taken seriously?

Example #1:

Should the Catholic rosary be prayed in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion?

Example #2:

Do Christians ever practice foot-washing outside of church services?

Example #3:

Should pronouns referring to God be capitalized?

Example #4:

Why is it believed that you could release a soul from purgatory, if you recite the Lord's Prayer on each step of the catacomb of Via Appia in Jerusalem?

Example #5:

Prior to the advent of Western medicine, how would a priest be able to tell the difference between mental illness and demonic possession?

Example #6:

Why do churches discourage paranormal beliefs, when their own beliefs sound a bit paranormal (i.e. resurrection of Christ)?

The last question seems a bit risky, because it may generate an unwelcome response.

  • To some Christians, the trivial is what they specialize in. The Catholic Church is a prime example of a church that has a sea of information on the minutiae. I removed my downvote and gave an up. I understand you hesitation; you don't want to waste anyone's time. Knowing you, I ask that you think fully about it and wait a day after it pops into your head to see if it is something that you and the site might actually find interesting and useful. – fredsbend Feb 22 '14 at 0:07
  • @fredsbend I think the prime question I should ask myself is this: "Would people really care about using this information in the future?" – Double U Feb 22 '14 at 1:14
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Is the obscure and petty on topic?

Sure, but please limit questions to things you actually want to learn about. Don't just think up questions for the sake of asking questions. If in the course of your life you run across something that isn't explained and you can't figure it out, sure ask.

Is trivia on topic?

Well it's not really a matter of topic so much as usefulness. We are trying to make our corner of the internet a better place that the rest of the internet, not just fill it up with more of the same. No, I would say anything that smells of trivia should kept off our pipes.

How do you tell?

Could you find the answer easily elsewhere? Did it pop right up on a search? Probably trivia. Do you have a hard time convincing anybody the answer changes anything in there life? Probably trivia.

In the end it's a judgement call both on you to ask in the first place then on the rest of the community to decide if it's worth anything. If it's really a question for you then sure. But show you've at least tried to find the answer!

  • What if it pops up in a theology book, but the author does not source it because he/she assumes the reader already knows or too illiterate to understand the original source? – Double U Feb 22 '14 at 1:16
  • That would be "coming across it in your life". I would personally encourage you to use quotes from the book with citations- proving that it is a known practice. Trivial or not. – Affable Geek Feb 22 '14 at 12:59
  • @AffableGeek In that case, can I ask for the justification of such an unsourced practice? – Double U Feb 22 '14 at 15:22
  • As long as it really is a practice with any degree of notability and the answer would be useful to other people, I'd be like "Why not?" – Affable Geek Feb 22 '14 at 18:07
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All those look like questions that could have interesting answers, so, yes, they belong here!

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I see your list, and I raise you Is the Gospel book censed, or the reader, or both?

I think that that sort of question, which documents and queries an actual practice, is more likely to be satisfactory to the site than one which asks about hypotheticals (like your #1) or easily documented (#2: think of hospitals or drop-in centres which provide care for the homeless) or which is obviously a matter of opinion because both the action and omission are observed (#3).

Perhaps this simply rehashes Affable Geek's comments: As long as it really is a practice with any degree of notability and the answer would be useful to other people, go ahead.

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