Day 19: What Do You Think of Religion?

Oh dear lawd.

I’m just going to get this over with.

I have never really been a religious person. I believe what I believe and I know how I feel about God. But I am NOT a fan of organized religion. I’m not a fan of flashy, panky rang wearing, luxury car driving, holier than thou preachers either. Now before anyone starts criticizing me about my attendance at Lakewood Church, let me just say that’s different. I don’t know what kind of car the Osteens drive nor do I care. I attend Lakewood because I feel at home. I feel God’s presence every time I step inside the sanctuary. So please no comments about that. You will be ignored and deleted!

I’m also not a fan of so called Christians that say they believe in the Lord but don’t do as the Lord or the Bible says. Check out this video I found on YouTube. It sums up exactly how I feel about chu’ch folks. There’s a difference between church people and chu’ch folks. I’ve learned that good church people will love another person regardless of who they are, where they come from and how they got to the church in the first place. To me, these people are the true followers of God because they practice what they preach. They recognize they’re not perfect and that no one but God in Heaven is perfect nor should we try to be.

On the flip side, there are chu’ch folks. You know who they are. They’re sweet and kind to your face but behind your back, they’ll back stab you and throw you under the effn bus. Here’s an example.

Sweet: “Heeeeey baby… how you doing? You aight? How’s school and your family doing? Both are okay? That’s good honey. Alright we’ll talk soon. Tell ya mama I say hello okay? Bye baby…”

Fugly: “Gurl you know that child ain’t gon amount to anything right? I never liked that family no way. I’m just nice because that passa’s family member!”

Obviously, I’m exaggerating a bit but not by much. My grandmother is the epitome of a stereotypical chu’ch lady. I never understood nor continue to try to understand why “Christians” are like that. They preach unconditional love but not for everyone obviously because some say “God hates fags” or “Kill the gays”. Really preacher mayne?! Really?! Give me a break.

However, just because I cannot tolerate pseudo-Christians, doesn’t mean I don’t believe.

Here’s my story…

I grew up in a very small Podunk little town approximately 60 miles Southwest of Houston. My home church is probably the largest (building size) and possibly oldest of the three churches in my tiny little town. In my lifetime, the church has had two pastors. The first pastor lord rest his beloved soul was there until my cousin and I were in high school. He taught me a lot about religion and God. He spoke in a way that was easily understandable by a child and he engaged the kids at my church too. My cousins and I, dubbed “The Trio”, would sing, usher, take up the collections and volunteer with other auxiliary groups. He made church fun. He made it comfortable in the sense that I didn’t have to feel like I had to be someone I really wasn’t. I felt like I had two grandfathers in the church. Papa was a deacon and he and Rev. Cones had known each other for longer than I can even say. If I remember right, Rev. Cones performed my mother and her ex-husband’s wedding ceremony. I had hoped he would someday perform mine but he passed way towards the end of high school. I remember at the end of each regular Sunday service, he and the deacons would stand in the middle aisle and shake everyone’s hands as we exited the main sanctuary. He would also give each person peppermint sticks. Dude I used to look forward to that because I would be hongry. Yes hongry! You go to a black church and tell me you ain’t hongry from being in chu’ch so damn long! And his wife was just as nice as he was. I sat with her often during church and helped her with whatever she needed around the church. They lived in Houston but would travel faithfully every 1st and 3rd Sunday. I loved them both so very much. Because of Rev and Mrs Cones, I really love going to church. I love the way church humbles me. I love to sing along with the praise and worship team. I love how after church I feel a sense of peace and calmness comes over me.

However, when Rev. Cones passed away, a new pastor Rev. Blount came. He’s the reason I don’t like flashy, panky rang wearing, luxury car driving, holier than thou preachers. He’s the reason I lost faith in organized religion. I felt like that even though he had two children, he didn’t really like children. He didn’t engage us at all. In fact, in a short period of time, the majority of the kids just stopped coming. We used to have a large children’s church. One that I was really happy to help with when my mom became a Sunday School teacher. But there was just something about him that didn’t settle well. Perhaps it was because he wasn’t Rev. Cones. It also could have been because his preaching style. I just don’t know what it could be. Now while he seemed a bit shady, his wife and son were the nicest people ever. Mrs. Blount used to wear “chu’ch lady hats” every Sunday. Black folks you know the hats I’m talking about. You really cannot sit behind women who wear these hats because you won’t be able to see anything. Don’t get me wrong they were really pretty but not my cup of tea for me to wear. The son was this toothpick thin fellow who grew so tall my cousin and I could pick on him anymore. The daughter was a DIVA! Like drag queen shade with a triple shot of tea diva. I didn’t like her much. I remember feeling as if we would get in trouble for her mistakes and evilness. Smh that girl was a rotten little kid.

Anyway from the point of when the new pastor came until now, God, Jesus and I have had some interesting conversations. Some of our conversations have not been so respectful from my point of view. Others have been me hearing what they’re telling me but definitely not listening. However, after everything that has happened to me in my life, I’m not sure where I would be if the Lord was not on my side because frankly no human would be able to deliver me from the lowest of low. There is a song called “If It Had Not Been” that the choir at my church sung all the time. I never really understood its meaning until just today as I am writing this post. This song is such a huge testament to my life. I’m pretty sure I would not be here if God had not prevented the asshole who robbed me at gunpoint in 2009 from doing anything else. People can say otherwise but I won’t be convinced by their arguments.

My journey with God is my own. I question him constantly and have trouble keeping the faith but every time I think one way, he somehow finds a way to lead me back to him. In Proverbs 3:5-6, it says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” That’s all I can do right now because at the end of the day it will be him and only him that will save me.

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

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