I'm new to Baltimore. I've lived here for a little over two years. One of the first things I noticed about the city was the number of churches that scatter the landscape.
At first I was weirded out: I grew up in a town that had churches on almost every corner, and I left that place 13 years ago. I had become accustomed to living in places that had liquor stores on every corner, not churches! To see so many religious buildings again gave me the heebies.
Then I had an interesting exchange with someone who grew up in a very dangerous area of Baltimore. I asked, "So, what's the deal with all the churches?" He said, "I think when people have nothing left, they need something to hold on to."
That really struck me. I haven't looked at the churches in Baltimore the same way since. I see them almost as signposts for the troubles this city suffers from.
(As an aside, I hail from the west, and the churches out there are not nearly as old, or as beautiful, as the churches here on the east coast. I appreciate some of the architecture in the older buildings.)
To anyone who joins this group: I would love to know whether you grew up here or if you moved here later in life, and what you think of religion in Baltimore.