My church….standing in the light.


Today, Congress is going to vote on health care reform. The amount of hatred & ignorance out there is horrifying: somebody screamed the “n” word at Congressman John Lewis in the Capitol today. Here are a few interesting statistics to chew on: we spend 15% of our GNP on health care, more than any other country in the world. The government already pays 45% of that (not a very good track record on cutting costs.) And almost 90% of all the money spent in your lifetime will be spent in your last year of life — a hopeless proposition if ever there was one, unless you’re Lazarus, like in today’s Gospel reading.

We need to pass this legislation. We need to cut costs. We need to make some hard decisions and stop over-medicating, over-testing, and over-treating ourselves. Amen.

Okay, so I’m Catholic. A practicing Catholic. And I am therefore supposed to (required to) go to church every Sunday.

I am also (super old school here) supposed to tithe, i.e. give 10% of my income to the church. However, since I have a very modest (okay, pathetic) income and basically live off my husband, I’m just going to pretend, for the purposes of giving myself one day a week off from this blog, that I’m making a reasonable income and go from there. So every Sunday – all year long –I’m going to be giving $100 to Our Lady of Lourdes, my amazing, adorable church in the heart of the Martin Luther King Jr. Landmark district in Atlanta.

Our Lady of Lourdes was founded in 1912 as an African-American Catholic community, financed by Mother Katharine Drexel – a rich Main Line, Philadelphia heiress who founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and donated her fortune to serve Native American and Black people. From the steps of OLOL (no relation to LOL, kids) you can see Ebenezer Baptist Church (where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his father, grandfather, and brother all preached); and the neighborhood infuses the church’s soul.

I love OLOL so much, it’s ridiculous. It’s small, it’s mighty, it has awesome music (thanks to our Minister of Music and chair of Spelman College’s Department of Music, Dr. Kevin Johnson), and it’s got Father John Adamski – our tall, thin, challenging, intellectual, lovely priest… not to mention our affable, groovy deacon, Chester Griffin (whose beautiful wife Janis also leads the choir).  I’m not sure if you know many Catholics, but I can tell you for sure, we’re not the monolithic, homogenized, “jump to the Pope’s every proclamation” pack of lemmings that you may think. I, for one, believe that the church’s stance on birth control is socially irresponsible, morally insupportable, and just plain nuts.  But I also think the church’s position on poverty, social responsibility, gun control, the death penalty, immigration, health care, equality, civil rights, justice, and charity is truly inspired.

For these reasons – and for the reasons I’ll add every Sunday that I go to church and am freshly inspired (or spiritually challenged), I’m making this my weekly tithe. And if you can find a church you love even half as much as I love Lourdes, you’ll feel blessed to support it, too. I promise.

2 thoughts on “My church….standing in the light.

  1. Betty
    Lovely sentiment as usual, I love your energy and optimism. While Richard Dawkins’ militant atheism is closer to my heart presently, I will probably find it difficult to feel the same way about my family’s synagogue.
    I also have to add that the italicized comments (‘sermon’) are spot on, but as the treating physician, I have yet to find a family who has asked me to stop spending money on their elderly dying parent, spouse, friend and while attrition is an efficient way to save healthcare dollars, it works better when it’s somebody else’s family member.
    Keep spreading the joy! That saves lives!

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