My church …standing in the light.


I am writing this at about 30,000 feet, flying from Philadelphia to Denver where I’m going to be gainfully employed for the next few days. thanks to the darling (and very pregnant) Liz Meitus, who btw, designed the gorgeous header for this blog. So… my upcoming blogs may have a breathtaking, Mile High character to them.

Happy Sunday & as we like to say in Atlanta, “Be blessed!”

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, peace, 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.

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

  1. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


  2. David, I agree! Every religious tradition has its own beauty and compelling truth, and we can all learn a lot from one another, if we choose. The best priests, I’ve found, have been people very open to other faiths and religious traditions…. thanks for the deep thoughts!

  3. I thought this article would be of interest to you.
    What Does The Buddha Have To Do With Jesus?
    Excerpt from article—
    “What is the meaning of the Buddha for the Christ and of the Christ for the Buddha? Can we wed together the Buddha’s transcendent peace together with Jesus’ shalom? The halls of academia and religious communities do not lack for learned scholars who have some mastery of one of these traditions. But we are terribly short of thinkers and practitioners, clergy and lay, who can think these two traditions together. That quest is not only an intriguing intellectual challenge but also a vital cultural project because American life is increasingly marked by intermarriage and religious hybridity. The ranks of the religiously hyphenated grow daily, but few communities are equipped for this new reality.

    The time has come for religious communities to demand a new kind of clerical leadership. Every religious leader — Rabbi, Imam, or Priest — must be required to know a second religious language. Seminaries must develop new curricula adequate to the changing American religious landscape. These institutions must inculcate in students a measure of religious multilingualism.”

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