My parents divorced when I was very young, so it is not surprising that the two of them lived very different lifestyles. My mother was more of a free-spirited, ganja smoking, 70s queen who often wore high heels and red lipstick who never attended church. On the other hand, my father was known as a workaholic who had a church home; however, he only showed up to church on holidays and special occasions.
As a child, I was introduced to religion, but I did not fully understand the concept of organized religions.
I would often hear the saying, “good people go to church” and on each Sunday I was reminded that I was not one of those good people, for I would be sitting at home.
Therefore, the thought of religion often posed the question of whether it was true for me.
While in college I started researching several different organized religions because I had so many unanswered questions. For instance, regarding Christianity, I would ask myself, how are there new versions of the bible every couple of years? Also, why are people's interpretations of the bible vastly different? Also, how could this book teach love but create so much hate?
And lastly, why do people believe that Jesus was white?
While in graduate school this topic of religion resurfaced. I was now in the southern area of the United States where people's religious affiliation was a part of their identity. The people that I met such as my students, seemed to have it all figured out when it came to their religious identity and I was left to wonder why I was an outcast.
I recall a time when I was invited to church by a coworker of mine. I wistfully agreed, thinking that this could be a great way to do my research and grasp a better understanding of my students. As time went by, it was clear that my initial rationale for going to church changed and as a result,
the church became my family outside of work and school.
I also started to notice that I was able to get the answers to some of the lingering questions that I always had.
As I dug a bit deeper into the analysis of the bible, I found that people’s interpretations of messages within the bible may be perceived differently based on identity, lived experiences, and teachings of the bible. Through my fellowship, I was able to understand that these interpretations are neither right or wrong but tend to come down to the preferences of the community and their teachings. After leaving the south and venturing back to the west coast, I quickly found that I could not go to just any church and that it would take time to find one that would work for me.
Throughout my religious exploration, I realized that my experiences have taught me that we are all sinners therefore if we choose to hate, that is a sin.
I choose to love and will always continue to do so.
And, back to the question about whether Jesus is white or not…
Jesus was not white, SORRY.
The process for finding myself in religion took what seemed to be a lifetime even though I always knew my Lord deep down inside. The spiritual process brought forth a deeper relationship with my Lord and savior. And to keep me afloat, I now have a worship group where we each read the bible to gain a broader understanding of the word.
I am proud to mention that I gave my life to the Lord by being baptized on February 16, 2020.
My spiritual journey was a war, but I have enjoyed every battle along the way. After leaving the south and venturing back to the west coast, I quickly understood that I could not go to just any church and that it will take time to find one that works for me.