"I told my wife this spiritual shit really works." -Jay-Z, Family Feud
I think I have always had an issue with going to church. Unlike, many blacks, I didn’t grow up in the church. When I was younger, we use to have stints of time when we would go to church regularly. While in Baby Church, singing “Yes Jesus Loves Me”, I felt something. It was like this small part of me that truly believed that Jesus loved me. Fast forward to middle school. There was a Christmas when my Mom brought us nothing but church clothes and bibles.
Sis, I know I shouldn’t say this, but that was legit the worst Christmas ever. I just couldn’t understand why she was torturing us! That was the Christmas, my Mom declared we were a church-going family. There would be no questioning or complaining. And it wasn’t up for discussion. This led me down the rocky road of Christianity. When I began attending church regularly, there were several things that didn’t sit right with me. The first thing was the rules. I didn’t understand why God wanted to take away all the good stuff. Like what was his beef with rap?
Why in order to be a good Christian, I had to give up Jay-Z? It just didn’t make sense. Then it was the constant “End of Days” sermons. I was constantly reminded that “We Are in our Final Days”. Sis, that shit gave me so much anxiety. I just didn’t understand why I had to be living in the last days. I thought I would never get the chance to grow up and go to College. That made me question: What was the point of me even trying, if God was going to come out the sky any day now?
Thankfully, the idea of going to hell scared the shit out of me. So, that kept me in line. It was stuff like this that had me side-eyeing church. Despite my questions and the constant feeling of guilt. I held on to God and the bible. I would apologize to him. Tell him that I would repent on my wedding day. Anything to let him know that I believed and feared him. I held on to the belief that “God knew my heart” like a life raft in a storm. No matter how guilty I felt, I knew that in my core, God knew I was a good person.
That loved and respected him. When I got older and out of my Mom's house, I started my own two-step with religion. I would go on church binges. Bouncing from place to place hoping that something would feel right. And to this day, the closest I got to a church home was back in Hampton. But then again, I was also going through a shitty time. So, it could have simply been a matter of need.
Despite never truly feeling connected to any church. My connection to God increased. During my last couple of years at Hampton, I participated in this group called, Cell Group. This was a group that met at a friend’s house and we pretty much had bible study. But it wasn’t your church bible study. We talked about the struggles of being in this world but not of this world. During my time at Hampton, there was a moment that I knew without a doubt, God's hands were at work. It happened when I experienced my first true heartbreak. That wasn’t about a man. But the pain of wanting something and not getting it. It wasn’t just the fact that I wanted it. I saw it. I believed it. I just knew this was going to happen for me!
When it didn’t happen, I was devastated! It wasn’t my pride or ego that was hurt. I was hurt on a soul level. I had dreamed about it since a child. This was the one thing that my Mom, boyfriend, or food couldn’t help. I begged God to take the pain away because I didn’t know how I would make it the rest of the semester. On everything I loved. That night I felt something touch my chest, it was cool then warm. The feeling went down my body and wrapped itself around me. This sense of peace washed over me. After that night on, the situation bothered me, it irritated me but it didn’t hurt me on a soul level. When you experience something like that, it’s no way to deny that God is real.
That night was only the beginning of the trial. I was instantly kicked out of my “friend group”. I was talked about behind my back (and on Twitter). It was the weirdest thing! They got it, yet they wanted to hurt me. And make me feel bad for not getting it. It was confusing and hurtful like a muthafucka! Not only did I have to deal with the fact that I didn’t get it. I had to deal with the fact that I was suddenly an outsider, rejected by “my friends”. Today, I can look back on that situation and say without a doubt, I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t research it, work towards it or plan for it. That situation taught me never to want something more than I’m willing to work for it.
After that storm and getting deeply involved in church at school; I had to go back home. In Detroit, I thought I had a church home. Then an incident happened within the Pastor’s family that made me question the pastor. I know I shouldn’t judge him for something that happened in his personal life, but it just didn’t’ sit right with me. I attempted to go back to the church but could never get the warm feeling again. Then one day, my boyfriend and I get into this deep conversation about church. For the first time, I voiced my concerns and frustrations out loud. My mind felt guilty for saying it, but my soul was relieved to finally let it out.
When he came out and told me that he was considering leaving Christianity, a new world opened to me. I had my doubts about Christianity but I never even considered leaving. To be honest. I didn’t even think it was an option. I didn’t know you could question it. I thought it was just something you do. We began to read different books, and I found there were plenty of people questioning Christianity. The more I learned about Christianity the more uncomfortable I felt moving forward in it.
For instance, did you know that Christianity was given to our ancestors? It was given to control and manipulate them. And if they were caught practicing any native religion, they would be beaten or killed. That’s where the stigma of voodoo and West African cultures began. But I digress, despite the history, the biggest issue came down to the power being outside of me. I didn’t like that I had to do this many right things to be considered good. Only the pure and holy could get a blessing. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying be a shitty person. But to me, it made no sense that we’re being graded by these metrics. Plus, I can’t believe that God made gay people, only to put them in hell.
So, I began to learn about my soul and how I’m not my personality, mind, or thoughts. I didn’t have to look for anything outside of myself. Because my power was inside. To receive the peace and comfort I was searching for, it could only come from within. It was the study of vibration and energy that shifted something in me. Everything in this world has a vibration. We are literally just vibrational beings. Our thoughts both conscious and unconscious is shaping our world and futures. As Dr. Michael Bernad Beckwith has said, “You can’t have, what you aren’t willing to become.”-
The thing is the study of energy, vibration, the universe, or whatever you want to call it. Validated the things in the bible for me. All of it can be linked back to the core beliefs in the bible. Be good to people, be mindful of your thoughts, focus on the good. These are all the things that were constantly preached in church. Me no longer identifying as Christian or going to church, isn’t me denying God. In fact, my relationship with him has only grown stronger over time. What helped me get over the anxiety of death and dying was remembering that our soul chose to come here. All of our souls came here with one mission, one gift, one talent that would help solve a problem for the world. If we could only remember that, we would know that this physical shit isn’t real. It’s truly like the movie the Matrix, once you remember this is simply a simulation, it will make sense. I stopped worrying that I would never fulfill my life purpose because that’s the whole point of this game.
For me, I needed something that was a step above organized religion. I needed to know how to move in this world and how to be ok in my mind. The church was not giving that to me. It wasn’t feeding my soul. Despite not wanting to be in church I missed the fellowship, learning, and discussing things. That’s why I attend things like New Earth Class, Healing Workshops, and Full Moon Circles. It gives me a chance to be around like-minded people. It’s in spaces like this that I’m reminded energy, our souls, knows no color or sexual orientation. We are all alike. To me, somewhere along the lines Christianity forgot that and forgot the simple principle of loving all people. There is only one race and that’s the human race.