By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Pat who?

As Pat Boone stepped to the microphone at the recent Religion News Association national conference, not everybody recognized him.

“I know who you are,” Boone, 83, said a fellow speaker told him. “I thought you died.”

The crowd of religion news journalists gathered in Music City — myself included — laughed.

Decades ago, Boone was a household name — a pop singer for whom Elvis Presley opened in the mid-1950s. A star in record, film and television work, Boone had a “squeaky clean image” and “was known as an actor who wouldn’t kiss a woman on the screen other than his wife,” as Los Angeles Times religion writer John Dart noted in a 1994 story.

For members of Churches of Christ in the 1950s and ‘60s, Boone was a big deal because he was one of us.

“A native of Donelson, Tennessee (a suburb of Nashville), a graduate of David Lipscomb High School, and a former student at David Lipscomb College, Boone grew up in the very bosom of Churches of Christ and, at twelve years of age, was baptized by M. Norvel Young,” Restoration Movement scholar Richard T. Hughes wrote in his 1996 book “Reviving the Ancient Faith: The Story of Churches of Christ in America.”

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This column appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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