What do you do when your religious beliefs begin to evolve and you find yourself at a crossroads? Do you abandon your Faith? Do you stay where you are religiously different but culturally the same? Do you go where you are religiously the same but culturally and racially and ethnically different?
What did I do?
I mistakenly believed that I could speak out against the Black Church and religious based heterosexism and homophobia and be welcomed and affirmed in churches that were welcoming and affirming but racially and ethnically lacking. There is so much work that needs to be done in the area of racial reconciliation.
I mistakenly believed that if I spoke out against religious based homophobia and heterosexism in the Black Church that the Black LGBT community would welcome me with open arms. It doesn’t work like that. You don’t get brownie points for that. There is justified mistrust of preachers and that has made it an upstream swim at times.
I mistakenly believed that the group of friends I had as well as certain family members would have unconditional love and respect for me after I supported LGBT equality. For some odd reason you can do everything but support LGBT equality.
After occupying many of my hours,days, weeks, months and years as an LGBT equality activist as a straight ally, I quietly walked away January 2013. I am still an ally through and through but I determined that the sacrifice as an in your face and online activist was just too much for my family and I. I took down my facebook page discontinued my twitter and have not heard from my over 2000 or so followers. Not tossing sour grapes. I think it is important for all of us to examine why we do the things we do as well as who are the most important people in our lives. Those people who have our best interest in mind will be there for us through good and bad and even when we say good bye to social media.
I think it is important to speak out for those who are marginalize in our society but we must remember that it is not always valued and there will also be repercussions. If has anything to do with religious thought, you will truly rock the boat of and crash the waves.
Being real, I find myself missing the Black Church experience constantly; especially Sunday mornings. I miss the pulpit, I miss hearing the congregation say “Yes Lord”, in unison. I have personally struggled fitting in to an almost all white progressive congregation not just based on race. I am also dealing with the fact that I am no longer a ministerial leader. That last part has been the biggest transition even though it has been two years since I joined my current church.
There are struggles and yet there are victories.
Although I carry the burden of holding on to my beliefs, I feel blessed to be able to have the strength to exercise those beliefs. Oh yes there is frustration.
Oh yes there is pain.
Beyond the frustration and pain there is strength and freedom.
I believe that Jesus has a place for all of us and we don’t have to wait until we die to have that love, freedom and acceptance that is held in that place. That place is now.