Up until about 2 1/2 years ago I was a bona-fide bible believing, scripture reading, studying, meditating on, 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! Pretty much my whole life experience 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, Charasmatict, Mega-Church experience the belief is “if the bible said it I believe it and that settles it” – you learn 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 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”). Slavery and bondage is a very horrible thing it is!!!
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 say for sure that I am not in the category of “atheist”. I do believe in God/Spirit/Source/Creator, but not in a way that some religious traditions purport! And with that said – I’ll save the rest for another day.