When I grew up in the RCC, we were taught to genuflect before entering the pew and again when leaving it. This was a sign of reverence for the (alleged) Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the altar's tabernacle under the accidents of bread. If the Host were displayed in the Monstrance, we were to get down on both knees in adoration. Due to this, the church sanctuary was kept extremely quiet (whispers only) before and after mass. Later in life, in Protestant churches, the altar was seen as merely a raised platform for folks to have a better view of the pastor or of whoever/whatever was to be seen or heard, plus a place to gather around for prayer at certain times. No special reverence was shown. Instead of silence, friends greeted one another and talked freely before and after services. In my current (ACNA) Anglican church, I am delighted to hear wonderful, reverent singing with piano prior to the service; it really helps set the tone and get people's thoughts attuned to what is about to happen, and it doesn't distract from praying if one is so inclined. A few folks dip their fingers into the water to make the sign of the cross when entering, but I think the majority do not. What I do see almost everyone doing is bowing (either from the neck or the waist) toward the altar before entering and upon exiting their pew. My questions are, (1) why do this? and (2) will I be looked down upon if I don't do it? I asked one member (who, it turns out, comes from an Episcopal background, and he also bows every time the name of Jesus is mentioned) the reason for the bowing and he replied with a misquote of Romans, that it says 'every head will bow to Christ.' Rom 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. But Paul seemed to be saying, in quoting Isaiah, that the day will come when everyone will acknowledge the Lordship of God and give Him their fealty. It doesn't really say anything about bowing the head. My issue (my hang-up?) comes from my RC upbringing, and my sensitivity to things that smack of idolatry. In my head I'm thinking, there's nothing on the altar that is more sacred or more holy than any other part of the church, and the church itself is just a man-made building (not talking about the "people" church here), so I don't feel right about bowing to it. Yet I fear that I'd stick out like a sore thumb if I don't bow... so I have been giving a little, cursory nod of the head, but my heart isn't in it. Any thoughts or counsel?