Saturday 30th September 2017




I entered college grossly ill prepared and so naïve. Today it is hard to imagine the segregation of the 1960’s. Whites knew little about Blacks. Baptists knew nothing about Catholics. Southerners distrusted anyone from the North.
My roommate my first year at college was a Catholic. My Southern Baptist upbringing taught me that anyone not a Baptist was a suspect Christian, and there was no place for them in Heaven. Methodists were begrudgingly accepted as sort of Baptists, but one certainly didn’t go to their churches. Catholics, on the other hand, were the same as pagans. After all, they worshiped the Pope and their leaders dressed funny and their services were in a foreign language. One did not befriend a Catholic!
So here I was roommates with a Catholic. I was sure she would try to convert me. I expected some Voodoo-like services to be performed in our room. I didn’t even know if she honored the same God as me!
None of that happened. Somehow my devotion to the Baptist faith must have been flawed, because when she invited me to go to church with her, I went. Mere curiosity perhaps. And her church was so alien to me. From the small stand with water at the entrance to the pews, to the genuflection as you entered. The dipping of fingers into the holy water and crossing oneself. The darkened church and the incense and the Latin words and the robed priests. It was like some romantic mystery come to life. I was enchanted and frightened.
It sounds so silly to adult me to remember how nervous I was and how fearful I felt about entering a house of God from another faith. Since then I have prayed in dozens of churches all over the world: Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Baptist, Jainism, and some where I never knew the name of the official religion. I know God is in any place from which man calls to him. But at eighteen I wasn’t as sure.


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