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Ask me if I’m gay and I’ll respond quickly with a “yes if you didn’t already know”. Ask me if I’m Christian or believe in God and I’m not sure how to respond. Why is that?

Religion, politics, and apparently Beyoncé are things that are difficult to talk about if your views are different from others. I’m not sure when I decided to believe in a higher power. I just knew that this is what I was expected to do…or else. Being told that I would spend an eternity in hell under the earth scared me. Eternity and hell? Oh no. I did as I was told and said nothing else for quite some time.

imageWatching my mother kneel down and pray as soon as we got to our seats. She would cry, fall out, and be covered in white sheets. I never understood why and why this Holy Spirit never took over me. Was there something wrong with me? Was I not good enough to feel the spirit?

As I grew older and never felt that spirit I started having questions upon questions. Is all this real? If this is all real why don’t I feel it no matter how much I pray and read this good book? I’m still having feelings for men and still no attraction to women. I believe I don’t want to be gay no more. I want to be delivered. Years later I would become comfortable enough not only with my sexuality but not feeling obligated to believe in something I’m not sure about.

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When people ask me if I believe in God or if I’m a Christian I almost freeze up. I freeze because I don’t wanna offend anyone or have somebody think I’m crazy or demonic. I’m 28 years old and I don’t think I wanna live my life being scared of something sentencing me to fire and brimstone. I’m not crazy, I just don’t know if I believe in God or any higher power. I believe in something, I’m just not sure what it is. Maybe years in the church have done this to me. Or maybe it’s because I’m a black gay man who doesn’t feel protected in this world. I have to deal with all of these things and I have no control over them. Who put this on me and why?

imageI attended a conference last month and on the last day we prayed. They prayed and praised the Lord for almost an hour. A room full of gay black men with strong faith. No matter how badly the church treated them, no matter how the scriptures were used against them–they still believed. A man next to me cried so much snot came out of his nose. I just looked at him. I felt like I was in the place again where everybody was feeling this spirit but me. But then again, I left that life a long time ago.

Explaining to someone that I am not Christian is difficult for a black man in the south. I get the looks something is wrong with me. This is why I freeze up. I’m not sure if I’m not ready to have this conversation or if it’s any of their business.

It seems as though they want to know why I don’t believe in God but when I ask why they believe in what they believe it’s looked as disrespect. Some of them can’t even figure out why they do what they do. They just do it.

 

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. TRINA

    May 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Had to share once I read it maybe we can set up a live Chat discussion later or when convenient for you again I enjoyed it cause it’s that convo that’s hard to have with close family and friends, it just amazes me to see the division religion bring between loved ones and friends when it should be the adhesive that connects us, it’s almost so transparent what it was all structured for ya know? I just find how cruel our people(blacks) can be on the LGBT community on the subject of “Christanity” a religion given to us by our oppressors it’s like asking this question is like talking to a brick wall with some

  2. Kenneth Williams

    May 2, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    This Really Spoke to me. I greatly identify with not being able to comprehend for myself why I never was overtaken by this divine power and spirit. Trying to understand why I had soooo many questions about Christian Faith and their God. While everyone else understood without question. Then of course attempting to reconcile my sexuality with my faith. It’s extrr!e?y confusing an frustrating. Even now although I’ve completely rejected and separated myself from the church , still in the back of my head I wonder will I one day and spend eternity in a terrible place.

  3. Danielle

    May 2, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    I feel the same way Justin. I believe in a higher power. I cut ties with Christianity about 2 years ago and none of my family knows. Everyone in my family just blindly follows Christianity, asks no questions whatsoever. But I honestly don’t think I’ll ever tell anyone though.

    • Genesis

      June 20, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      I’m the exact same way

  4. lia

    May 3, 2016 at 6:55 am

    wow this was a great article. why do we do the things we do? whether that question is pertaining to religion or any other aspects of our lives, it’s a very important quesfion. and seemingly one that is often left open ended. good read something to think about for sure.

  5. Asia

    May 4, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I had a huge argument with my friends about this.I felt the same way you did and they called me a devil worshiper for a long time after that. lol @ the ignorance.Throughout the whole argument I asked them why they believed what they believed and they referenced scriptures.I was tag teamed and could barely get a word out. Ppl believe what they are told to believe.I believe there is a God but I do also believe it’s okay to ask questions.People need to practice pluralism what makes one persons religion stronger than another. Ppl should respect everyone’s views and stand true in theirs it shouldn’t have to be such a hostile discussion.

  6. Meka

    May 6, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Justin, I’ve only posted on your site once before – when Charlamagne did the interview about the Black Panthers/KKK comparison. At any rate, I know you’ve been approached gently (& not so gently) by others before in their attempt to sway, convince or otherwise as it relates to “Christianity.” I only know this because I’ve heard you make mention in a few videos over time. I won’t do the same, not intentionally anyway but I would like to share 🙂 I’m not an advocate for “Christianity” because it is categorized as organized religion and I’m not a supporter of religion because you can do something religiously with having an evil heart/motive the entire time. I am a HUGE proponent of relationship, however. For me, that relationship is with Jesus as my Lord & Savior, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Faith doesn’t require us to blindly follow, it compels us to trust beyond our own capabilities. That is why we can have faith in all sorts of things, people and systems. Faith in Jesus Christ is supported by invitations in scripture to “come and reason together” with Him and to come to “know Him in the power of His resurrection.” In essence, seeking to understand is encouraged! My heart was so full of compassion and yes, even emotion when you said you just couldn’t feel anything no matter how hard you tried and how much you read. Honestly, Darling, we don’t “feel” much. It all starts with knowing. “…and ye shall KNOW the truth and the truth shall make you free.” So you are not obligated to FEEL anything. One of the most widely used scriptures for salvation is Romans 10:9,10 and it speaks clearly to salvation being obtained by believing and confessing. No where does it say you must feel in order for you to be an authentic believer and experience the fullness of God. So many have this concept misconstrued and we get confused when we see people living like “hell” but still being blessed or perhaps even prospering in their endeavors. Well, for one, biblical principles work…without regard to who is working them. If you sow, you reap. If you obey parents, your days are longer. If someone works hard, they can usually eat. So when we see people doing well who aren’t living like “Christians,” some either pout with God that it is unfair while others come to believe that faith is a hoax because other people who aren’t living “right” are still doing well when the truth is you can’t just get things off the premise of being a believer, you’ve got to work principles! Faith in Jesus isn’t a hoax. When we see such things, it is just a biblical principle at work on the earth. ironic thing is that I don’t quite remember how I came across your videos last year but I DO remember that I literally cried laughing with tears running profusely down my face because of one of your rants on Claudia’s toes. After that, I didn’t think I’d continue watching because of the profanity but I would ultimately find that I tuned right back in to laugh more. I think the draw, other than laughter, was how eerily you bear a striking resemblance to a once very close friend of mine who has lived in Atlanta for some time and came out of the proverbial closet upon moving there. I sent him to your channel so he could discover his doppelgänger. Everything from your facial features to your voice to the way you noticeably swallow & snort when you are talking to the way you have no rhythm is identical to him! Whatever the draw, I find myself watching you when, on some videos more than others, I know that I shouldn’t for my own reasons. I prefaced with all that backstory to say that I don’t think anything, particularly those things we label as “chance”, is void of purpose. I’m much like your mother (in the ways and likeness that you have described & portrayed her in some of your videos, that is) so you already know that means I’m what one might call “saved, sanctified & filled with the Holy Ghost” and I have learned down through the years that it is with loving kindness that Jesus draws others into relationship with Him. I was raised in church by my grandmother-strong roots…BORN in the church, in fact. However, I grew to a place of decision btwn the ages of 19-22 where I could act like I didn’t know or believe anything about this Jesus & keep running & sleeping with the dope dealer who eventually caught a 45 year bid, smoking with the dealers in all the hoods around town, catching misdemeanors for bad checks, taking trips to the county health dept or I could realize that it was the grace, mercy and love of that same Jesus that protected me when I was in the same hotel room FULL of crack cookies packed in the wall behind the toilet, stuffed in the lamp post, etc. where police were on site looking for the man I was with & instead of coming to our room, they went to the wrong room and stopped searching for the guy I was with since the wrong room they went to ended up being a small bust. It was the love, mercy & grace of that same Jesus that, amidst my chlamydia, gonorrhea & trichomoniasis diagnoses, He shielded me from HIV when I had laid down with those rumored to be positive all those years ago during my time of living independently of serving the same Lord I’d become acquainted with in childhood. It was Him that intervened when I was standing before a judge on simple misdemeanor charges who was also hearing the cases of the man charged with felony murder who had been transported to court in the same squad car as me with just the two of us as if we had the same level charges. When my car was t-boned by a truck because I ran a stop sign & entered the highway from being so high while driving, the Lord intervened. Justin, sweet, precious Justin (because you are), you do not have to publish this …honestly, I just want you to read it and know that while my testimony is not yours and my experience is not yours, it is definitely worth the additional dialogue. Like you, my son had questions and I welcomed each and every one of them. I told him not to feel constrained to serve our Lord but to experience Him and come to know Him personally as his Lord. That freedom alone keeps him connected. Granted, he is still discovering. Quite frankly, any honest believer in God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will tell you that we are ever tapping in to the height, width and breadth of His power and His love, ever discovering things. So none of us should have reached a point where we feel like we know everything there is to know. We go from what the scripture calls “glory to glory” and “faith to faith” so we are growing and learning every day, if we are doing this thing right. I know you don’t like reading long things…SOOO sorry LOL. I just see where your Mother’s prayers and the words of faith that she continues to speak over you to this day are at work in you. You can throw a fit, kick, scream, wiggle & fight with all of your might but i believe a day is coming when this will all make sense to you. Love you! #forreal

  7. Kkkkkkk

    May 23, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    These are all important questions. Not just for gay black men. For all of us.

    There are objective truths and impirical reasons to believe in the God of the bible. That much has been established by people like Ravi Zacahrias and Lee Strobel. And to answer your question, God encourages us to ask questions and to find reason in our beliefs.

    But your question more subjective. Feeling Gods spirit is for them that believe. You must first believe in Jesus. The real one. Then, you have to allow him to show himself to you. If you are real with God, he will be real with you. It’s just that simple. If you hold back, your spirit will not be able to connect with his spirit. That’s why those people at the convention could feel him. They were being real.

    You are afraid of God. You don’t want to come to him as a gay black man. It’s too hurtful. But God did not place a prerequisite on coming to him. The very fact that you were having these questions, shows me that he is drawing you to himself.

    I do not think you’ll ever be free or happy until you let yourself go and seek God for who he is. Trust me, there are answers to all your questions but if you fail to seek those answers you are only doing yourself a disservice.

  8. Genesis

    June 20, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this Justin. For two years, my husband and I have walked out of Christianity. I use to be deep in church, but I would often feel and question why am I going through so much. I used to be the one who my friends would call on because I could deliver a prayer that produced so much energy. I had lots of anger at times because I felt like my prayers were often unanswered especially when I was always I taught that God will have something greater for me that’s why I’m going through my storm. Now that I’m away from Christianity, my husband says that my spirit has changed. I’m no longer down and depressed waiting for God to deliver me away from a storm. I am unable to share my beliefs with my friends and family simply because they’re all very hyper religious. I’m glad I’ve found some people that I can talk to about this, who understands why I walked out of Christianity. I’ve noticed some many contradictions with Christianity now that I just look at people and shake my head….

  9. Gary Benjamin Holt Jr

    July 10, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Very honest post. These days I’m more of a spiritual person than religious, for I don’t believe all of this happened by accident. People in our community can be judgmental about many things, so I understand your struggle with this

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Students that attend public schools in Illinois will learn of the contributions LGBTQ people have made in society. Signed into law on Friday by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the bill is scheduled to go into effect in July 2020.

Introduced as House Bill 246 by Representative Anna Moeller, the bill states the teaching of history will include a study of the roles and contributions of LGBTQ people in the history of this country and Illinois. The bill was heavily supported by Illinois’ largest queer civil rights advocacy group, Equality Illinois. Hoping the curriculum would bolster students’ self-image and make their peers more accepting, the bill received support in both the Senate and House earlier this year.

Illinois Senator Heather Steans said “One of the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education and exposure to different people and viewpoints.” She continued, “An inclusive curriculum will not only teach an accurate version of history, but also promote acceptance of the LGBTQ community.” Steans has been noted as “one of the General Assembly’s most vocal and passionate supporters of full equality for LGBT people.”

The bill details what changes can be expected to history curriculum for the state’s students. According to Equality Illinois, topics that will be added to public schools history curriculum include details like the nation’s first gay rights organization. The bill states all textbooks will include the roles and contributions of those protected b the state’s Human Rights Act, and must be non-discriminatory.

Expressing her hopes that the bill will benefit future generations, Steans said, “LGBTQ children and and teenagers will also be able to gain new role models who share life experiences with them.”

Would you like to see other states enforce similar bills?

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