Bruce Boling was driven away from his family’s small-town Southern Baptist church by his mother’s insistence that he go every Sunday. “Once I grew up and didn’t have to go anymore, I just quit,” he says.
Years of moving between cities and careers didn’t give him any incentive to return, says Boling, a project manager for a contracting company.
His wife, Elizabeth, is Catholic, and though a priest married them, he never converted. The birth of their two children prompted him to rethink his choices.
“I thought if I went back, it would make me a better father,” Boling says. “What I found was it made me a better me.” Now, Bruce and Elizabeth worship on Sunday mornings at Grace Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn. Sunday nights, they delve into Bible study in a small church group.
Bruce’s Bible once belonged to his late grandfather. After he’d returned to church and stuck with it for six months, he says, “my mother mailed it to me for my Christmas present.”
From “‘Reverts’ return to their childhood religions” by Cathy Lynn Grossman in today’s USA Today.
I know the observation is nothing new, but I find it interesting that church, for some segments of contemporary Christianity, often is not about worshiping God per se, so much as it’s about personal improvement — like a sort of divinely-assisted self-help. The act of worship becomes a means for lifting of mood and self-improvement, compared with the practices of other segments of Christianity, in which the act of worship is about formally appeasing God’s jealousy for glory, regardless of the effects the worship has on one’s own self.