Raised Catholic and attending Catholic schools through my second year in University, I experienced very conservative and very liberal teachings, including an introduction in high school to the social justice movement and an introduction in university to Ignatian spirituality. However, I came to view organized religion as not just superfluous and superficial but also largely evil. Not until my 40s, when I accidentally discovered C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, and — one late night at a 7-11 — an admittedly second rate novel by Andrew Greeley, did I begin to acknowledge God’s presence in my life and universe (or, in Greeley’s terms, did God swing Her cosmic baseball bat and clobber me up the side of the head). Now I worship occasionally in a Catholic church, an Episcopal church and an ELCA, but I won’t join any church. My spirituality is greatly influenced by C.S. Lewis, John Stott, James Martin, Kathleen Norris, Anne Lamott and Richard Rohr (to name a few), but also by Wangari Maathai, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, my long practice of yoga, and a wonderful Facebook group of fearless Catholic women. If there is such a thing as a liberal evangelical Christian, who definitely does not believe in the American version of inerrancy and sometimes does not even believe in God, then that’s me. As I update this description in mid 2017, I am a 69 year old divorced, widowed and newly married retired academic living with my husband and my almost 93 year old mother and helping my husband care for his almost 92 year old stepmother-in-law. I have fractured and some completely broken relationships with my far-flung children and step-children and 12 grandchildren. I have incredible, life-renewing, faith-affirming friends. And I am deeply, wondrously, incredulously in love with my husband, Woody.
Consider yourself warned.
(Oh, one more thing: I have a name that, I think, is beautiful and serious-sounding, Adrienne Elizabeth. Alas, ’twas not to be. Since infancy I have been “Butsy” to all my family.)