It was only a few days ago that I joyfully celebrated my 45th birthday! I can’t believe that I’m the same age now that my mother was when she so graciously birthed me into the world in 1965. Wow and Thanks mama!!! Of course, I absolutely cannot imagine doing the same. I love being a mother and all to our 3 beautiful children but the way of labor and delivery I want to see no more from a personal point of view. Now for friends, families and eventually my children, I’m game. Well, not for my children anytime soon! Ya’ hear me! Not anytime soon! Anyway, back to the subject matter at hand ;-)!
Up until about 2 1/2 years ago I was a bona-fide bible believing, scripture reading, studying, meditating, quoting, fasting, never-miss-a Sunday or midweek service, tithing, sharing-my-faith, interceding, 100 percent heaven bound Christian. As I write today I can’t actually remember the last time I went to church, or the last time I read one of my MANY bibles. (Had to be equipped with all the different translations ya’ know).
I was practically born and raised in the church and believed from an early age that being very involved in church (and later the ministry) was “good service” and that was a major part of my life’s purpose. This of course is probably the reason that after a recent conversation with one of my oldest sisters about what I am experiencing she confidently told me that she’s sure that after my exploration (which she also did in her 40’s) I would come back to the realization that Christianity and the bible is the “real” truth. “Train up a child…” right – sigh!
Pretty much my whole life experience up until now has been one lived through the lens of the Judeo-Christian religious perspective coupled with the African-American cultural experience in America. And just in case you haven’t heard. Black folks are said to be the most religious folks in America even after our ancestors “slavery” experience. Kinda’ mind boggling if you REALLY think about it huh?
I have always been an avid reader as well as very introspective. And although I am not scared to “speak my mind” and “share my opinion”, overall, I’m one of those people who listens way more than I talk. I find it fascinating to delve below the surface of things which probably explains why I am where I am today in regards to what it is I now believe.
I have often tried to recall what it was that actually tipped the iceberg for me and gave me the courage to even become comfortable with the idea (let alone the actual process) of questioning, doubting and re-evaluating everything I was taught to believe. This has been no easy feat and one in which I still find myself struggling sometimes.
Yep, I have to consciously erase all the fear and guilt messages I’ve heard every since I was a child. Questioning God, faith, the bible, the church, the pastor, the evangelist, the apostle, the prophet or your mama is just not tolerated if you are serious about your Christianity. Instead, for those who are of the Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, charismatic, Mega-Church experience; the understanding is simple. And it goes pretty much like this, “If the bible said it I believe it and that settles it!” –
In this environment you learn early that obedience and surrender means just doing what you been told to do and believing what you’ve been told to believe while trusting that God will justly take care of the rest and you will be rewarding for your obedience and your surrender. When I really think about this I’m sure that for black folks this mentality has to be one of the many vestiges of slavery (i.e.the master/slave relationship and the “how to survive being a slave and staying alive” protocol). Slavery and bondage is a very horrible thing it is!!!
Anyway, let me wrap up today by saying although I don’t feel the need to put myself in a category regarding what I believe now. I can confidently say that I am not in the category of “atheist”. I do believe in God, just not the one that most religions purport! And with that said – I’ll save the rest for another day. Gotta go and start the vittles to cooking ;-)!!!