You are full of surprises! It thrills me that you’ve come to accept those of us who hold a faith-based belief system. (There is not one once of sarcasm in that statement.) Personally, my upbringing was a bit different. As in most African-American homes of the 1960s-1970s, having a tangible, tried and true faith to rely on was the norm, if not a prerequisite to surviving.

My maternal grandmother (mother of ten kids), a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was the spiritual compass for our family. Her faith was as real and tangible as my right hand, and nothing like the whisper thin imposter you see lauded about today used to try, convict, and beat others into assimilation … I mean repentance.

My grandmother embodied a love for Christ that manifested itself in her love for her family, service to others, and her gift for charity. Even in the face of divorce, and living in the south during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, my grandmother never relinquished her faith.

With that kind of history, you can see how it was easy for my mother and her siblings to grab hold to a faith in Christ. Now keep in mind, it was never smooth sailing for any of them. They all had lapses in their faith, as most Christians do at some point, but they always seemed to find their way back.

When the time came, it was only natural that I decided to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.

And not long after that I realized that I was gay. You want to talk about crisis of faith, that was one for sure.

Over the next twenty some years I wrestled with God over the issue. I went in and out of the closet a couple of times. I tried to become who “I” thought God wanted me to be. I even did a little therapy … but came away with the reassurance that God loves me just the way I am and my sexual orientation was the least of his concerns. His main concern is my relationship with him, and how I’m living out his commandment to love one another as he loves me. Unconditionally.

Where am I going with all this?

Frankly, I’m GLAD to hear that you’re open to accepting those of us with an active faith. I can’t and won’t and don’t judge you. We’re all on our own spiritual journey. God has used believers, agnostics, and atheists to teach me valuable lessons, some remedial. I try to remember, everyone down here’s broken and we’re all trying to figure it out. I hope to slide others that same amount of grace I’d like to receive; if not more.

Would I like for you to join the fold? Of course! But not under compulsion. And if you choose not to, that’s cool, too. It’s all good. Thanks for sharing and starting the conversation! Peace be with you, friend!

Author, artist, accidental activist, founder Our Human Family ( Social media: @clayrivers. Love one another.

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