Well, I'm still reading Silver Boxes and I just came to a very familiar part just before Chapter 6. She gives several examples and then says, "So few people, even fine Bible-quoting Christians, make it a point to reach out to someone they don't know. If the person doesn't have on a nametag, is an obvious outsider, doesn't seem to fit into their group, or -- heaven forbid -- looks a little peculiar or eccentric, we tend to turn the other way and let them fall where they may."
I have had too many personal experiences with this. At our last church, our family didn't go to very many dinners at church for a long time because most of the time we sat alone (no one would sit next to us or would move when they saw us sitting there because they didn't know us), no one ever spoke to us and it hurt so we just didn't go.
More recently, we started going to a new Sunday School class at our new church. There were two couples that spoke to us out of many and if they weren't there, no one spoke to us. We attended that class for about 6 weeks (mainly because of those two couples) and have since quit going to that class. Funny thing is, recently we have met some of the other people in that class in other circumstances and they are surprised when we tell them we attended their SS class for a while. They never even noticed us (and yes we did participate in discussions.)
Isn't it funny, how we as Christians are supposed to reach out to others, to love others, and so on and yet in very Christian circumstances we can make people feel so very alone among a crowd of Christians? Weird.
(And as a side note, yes, I did say WE. I know that I am guilty of this as well and need to work on it.)
~~~ I feel like I need to add that we are feeling much more welcome at our new church lately and are actually joining tomorrow. I was just giving examples of some experiences I've had in the PAST.