Sufficient As I Am
Spirited: Affirming the Soul and Black Gay/Lesbian Identity
G. Winston James & Lisa C. Moore, Editors
Publisher: Redbone Press
Essay: Sufficient As I Am
Teaser: If my church family doesn’t accept me fully and completely, is it really my family?
Born and raised a Baptist, I was deeply involved with the church for the first nineteen years of my life. I spent an average of three days a week there: regular Sunday services, Wednesday night Bible Study, and youth/young adult activities on Saturday.
I was a Christian by rote. I could recite the books of the Bible and had memorized lots of verses, but didn’t really think about what I was learning. That began to change one Sunday morning with a discussion in Young Adult Sunday School class. Rev. Sam, the Youth/Young Adult pastor, asked, “What would you do if you were or had gotten someone else pregnant?”
There were about fifteen of us in the room and, like Stepford children, all of us just recited the correct answer. “Well, the right thing to do is marry the mother/father of my child.”
Then, the reverend threw us a curve ball. “What if you didn’t love or even like the mother/father of the baby? What if getting married to this person would be like entering a living hell?” I thought about it for a moment. “Don’t you still have to get married? If it’s a bad marriage aren’t you just suffering the consequences of your own sin?” Even as I said it, I knew it was a weak argument.
Rev. Sam drove his point home. “Do you really believe that a kind, loving God would want you to enter a loveless, lifeless marriage? Can you fix a situation by creating a worse one? Would that be good for you? For the baby? What society, your parents, or even your pastor tells you to do does not always reflect God’s will for your life.”
Those words rocked the foundation of my 16-year-old existence. It was the first time anyone had ever challenged me to examine my beliefs. Before when I encountered doctrine that I thought was strange, I glossed over it. After this Sunday School lesson I stopped mindlessly absorbing sermons and religious teachings and started really thinking about what I was hearing. I began sorting through my own thoughts and ideas. Do I believe this because I really believe it or because it’s been drilled into my head as the truth?
Read the entire piece and over 40 other fantastic essays in Spirited: Affirming the Soul and Black Gay/Lesbian Identity