As I have aged, I have returned to my Southern religious roots. There was a time when I hesitated to say, “God Bless You” or “Merry Christmas”–no more. It seems I am not alone as 2014 is now being called “The Year of the Bible”.
According to U.S.News, “While Christian values groups and “liberal” Hollywood often are pitted as cultural enemies, 2014 sees them to be strange bedfellows, with a number of biblical- or faith-themed films to be released this year. Per the estimation of family values entertainment publication Movieguide, at least 16 films will feature Christian themes, beginning with Friday’s “Son of God” and continuing with “Noah” next month and “Exodus” in December ” (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/27/son-of-god-kicks-off-flood-of-religious-themed-films-in-2014).
But why has 2014 been crowned by Hollywood Reporter, www.hollywoodreporter.com, as the “The Year of the Bible”? And why are many Americans, like me, returning or even turning to the church?
Sandy Hook, The Boston Marathon, the Lee Rigby murder, Typhoon Haiyan, the Ukraine, and stabbings at a China train station scare me. The Internet has opened up the world. With this opening, comes tragedy, instant tragedy. So, I want instant comfort. I find peace at my pew, comfort in my conversations with God, and laughter with church TV and Joel O’Steen. This morning alone, ten of my FB friends posted a religious meme. I have the clock set for 11:00 am Sunday, so I can tune in to my weekly Lakewood Church sermon. People want the comfort that religion brings.
The Baby Boomer Generation has matured. We have conquered the world, started companies, and amassed our fortunes. And now what? As we look around at our life, what do we really have? Many of us are divorced, unhappy, and alone because all of our efforts were funneled into our career and conquering the world. According to Pepper Schwatz’s 2013 CNN article(Why Are Baby Boomers So Divorce Prone?), people over the age of fifty(Baby Boomers) have seen the divorce rate increase over 50%. We now seek peace and comfort, so we turn to our church, our religion, and our God. According to http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/06/us/baby-boomer-generation-fast-facts/ as of July 2011, “Boomers make up approximately 25% of the total U.S. population of 311,591,917”. That is a lot of people, people seeking a bit of resolution in a crazy world.
One of Many
According to the Lakewood Church site, www.lakewood.com, over 43,500 people attend their church weekly. And that is just for the Sunday service. Churches now also offer singles activities, community service projects, book clubs, religious studies, breakfast prayer groups, divorce counseling, and babysitting services (just to name a few). According to Andy Lewis’ article, Some Positive Benefits Churches Bring to Communities , “In total, Churches have diverse positive impacts on communities, ranging from increased trust, improved mental and physical health, decreased crime, and enhanced levels of volunteering and community outreach “.The church provides social, educational, and religious needs: one stop shopping.
I remember as a child attending church dinners, Vacation Bible School, Wednesday services, choir practice, and Sunday sermons. Those memories are warm. I am honored and pleased to be returning to my religious roots, and thrilled I am not alone. Bring on the Year of the Bible.