We talk faith and religion and I come off like a total heathen.
I’m not actually — or at least I don’t think I am — but I definitely haven’t been a regular church go-er all my life. I grew up in a very religious household. My dad was a deacon and Sunday School superintendent in our church. My mom was a deaconness and a missionary. I sang in the choir, was involved in youth leadership, I helped run the video ministry. I was at church several days/nights a week and my church family was, and still is, family. But something changed when I went to college. I didn’t quit believing, but I did stop going to church as regularly. I was “grown” and since there was no one there to tell me I had to go, I didn’t; I guess that was my way of asserting my independence. The funny thing is no one forced me to go to church when I lived at home. It was expected of course, but I genuinely enjoyed it. At first, I felt really guilty about not going, but the more Sundays I stayed home, the more comfortable I got staying home. In the years since then, I’ve been through periods where I went to church every week for months and stretches where I didn’t go at all. I ask grace before I eat, I pray before I go to sleep, and I acknowledge and thank God for my victories, but for much of my adult life I’ve been out of fellowship.
I hit a really rough patch a couple years ago. I was emotionally and financially depleted; I was close to losing my home. My first instinct was to turn to God for help, but I felt unworthy because I was taught that it’s wrong to just call on Him in bad times. Kind of ironic that the guilt I felt for being out of fellowship is what prevented me for so long from going back when I needed it most. Thankfully, after talking with family and a few friends I began to seek guidance and slowly but surely things started to change. Though I’m not quite where I desire to be, my life and my attitude about life are a million times better. I give Him all the credit for that, but my relationship with God is definitely a work-in-progress. And I know it’s the same for a lot of folks, which is why the Faith & Religion episode was one of my favorites. It’s the first episode we shot (yeah, we dove right in on Day 1) and I loved it because we covered so many viewpoints. So often in the Black community, when we talk religion, the question is “Where do you go to church?” and not “Are you a believer?” And I believe that if Black folks don’t want to be viewed as monolithic when it comes to politics or our portrayals in the entertainment industry, then we must also acknowledge that we don’t all share the same views on faith. In this episode we speak with Dr. Sikivu Hutchison, a black female Atheist and author. I could have talked with her for hours. She was amazing, just so impressive and though I don’t share her (non)beliefs, I respect her opinion and the respectful way in which she shared it.
I really hope you all enjoy this episode. I hope it makes you think. And I hope you’ll log onto Twitter tonight at 8pm Eastern at #ExhaleTV and join our conversation. See you then!