Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Accidental Tourism - Baltimore

Back to Baltimore.  So far, not one of my favorite destinations but since my daughter lives nearby, I can make an exception.

Frankly, I might not come here to see my daughter but she recently acquired this.

My daughter wants to go to an antique store so researching online, I find an area in Baltimore that is considered “Antique Row”.  When we get there we find it isn’t quite what we are looking for.  She wants some old doorknobs to hang her necklaces from not a $10,000 portrait of Abraham Lincoln for the mantle.

Before we parked, I noticed there was a very ornate church right around the corner so I ask her if we could walk over so I can take a few pictures outside.  It is truly an awesome building.

The First Presbyterian Church built in 1761

While I am taking the shot above, a woman comes out a side door and scares me half to death.  She needs a smoke break in the middle of my photo shoot.  “Awesome, isn’t it”, she says.  “Yes,” I agree.  “You want to see inside don’t you?” she asks.

Up to that moment, I had not even remotely considered going inside or even attempting to see if the church was open.  But the baby needs changing and imminent feeding and she offered so we went in.  My daughter and the baby are directed to a rocking chair in the back of the sanctuary and I am told to feel free to take pictures.

The Pulpit

A beautifully ornate ceiling

I was walking around the pulpit, taking in the ceiling but I never went up the steps.  I wouldn’t.  It may seem silly to some of you but it seems wrong somehow.  Our benefactor comes over to me and says, “You have to go up there”.  She means the forbidden pulpit.  I really am curious about the view from up there.

Standing here I cannot help but think about the awesome responsibility of being the person with faces looking up at you searching for guidance in what to believe (or not to believe).

I don’t know what you believe and I am not going to share what I believe here.  But…I do not know how a person can go in a place like this and not feel something.  Even if it is just awe over the architecture.

There were lots of fantastic hand-carved details. 

While we wait on the baby to finish lunch, she takes me to the chapel and gives me a little history of the church.

This mosaic "angel fish" was made by a Baltimore artist for a recent event.

I don’t know who the woman that let us in was or even what her name was but she made the busted antique outing a total success.  And feeding/changing the baby in the climate controlled, clean environment of the church is far preferable to trying to do it in the car while the meter clock runs down, which was our original plan.

Back outside, we decide to walk the block just to look around.  On the back of the church we find a long series of prayer flags.

The colors mean something.  Keep reading.

Again, I don’t pretend to know everything and would never try to tell someone else what to do or believe but this really spoke to me.

What you or I believe about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is - in my opinion - irrelevant.  I don’t think anyone can dispute the fact that there are people in those countries (as there are in this one) who do not want these wars and who do not believe in the causes that brought us here.  Innocent people.   Human beings who just want to live a good and happy life.  People just like me. 

You can see that the majority of the flags are gold/dark gold and I understand this as well – I have children serving in our military.  Still, I applaud this institution for being willing to say, even though it may be unpopular to do so, that people can be just people and for that, they deserve the same love and respect that all people deserve.


  1. wow.

    first of all, i loved the photos of the church...
    i am always drawn to churches, especially massive ones with architechtural details that grab you like this one.

    secondly, the prayer flags. wow. that really makes you stop for a moment.

    1. Thank you, I am drawn to churches, cemeteries...all kinds of religous icons. Looking at the prayer flags reminded me of seeing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the replica but still). All those names.