I hope you guys aren’t easily offended… In this entry I am telling you how i feel about my struggles with Christianity… I repeat!!! MY STRUGGLES…. MY TRUTH!!! Here we go!!
Stories of my past has reveal to me that I’ve always hated church and religion. I know that a lot of people think that I say a lot of blasphemous things for attention, but I’ve been this way since I was a child. Recently I was editing my book “They Call Me Justice!” I was revisiting some childhood memories and decided that I’d share a few facts with you guys…
First, I remember when I told someone that I wanted to convert to Judaism and that person made the assertion that I didn’t know what I wanted or who I was as a person. I’ve heard people say this before when I try to discuss my thoughts on any topic. Here’s the thing, life is all about living your best life for yourself. So, even if I didn’t know who I was as a person, I don’t understand why others make it there business to care…
Anyway, about religion… Yes… That’s what I was talking about… I don’t think that I ever felt like a Christian. I remember when there was one time in my life when I was faithful to Christ, and I was consistently in church and in prayer. But I didn’t feel as close to Christ as I was praying to be.
Let’s go back in time….
I was a child (3-4 years old) my mother lost custody of my sister and I. Denisha and I had to live with my aunt. After awhile, my aunt became tired of my sister and I and we ended up living with my mothers Godmother, a psycho reverend I now refer to as “Dead Bitch!” But for the sake of this post, I will call her Miss Thompson.
Miss Thompson was a psycho hoe! I write more about her in my story, for now here is the short version. Miss Thompson was crazy and abusive. The only thing I really remember about her is going to church and getting beatings.. The beatings were harsh. One night, she stripped me naked in the bathroom and threw water on me.. Then she proceeded to whip me until I couldn’t take it any longer. When Miss Thompson was done whipping me, she locked me in the dark bathroom. I remember crying so loud. I was scared. I was hurt. I was afraid of the dark… I was 3 years old. But she had no remorse. She left a baby in the dark to cry himself to sleep.. And that’s what I did.
Until her son Curtis came in to find me.. (By the way, I believe Curtis is spelled with a K, but whatever…) Here’s a great story.. The story about Curtis, I will share a little of it. Curtis was the first guy I actually felt safe around. He was a teenager at the time. Obviously gay, and eccentric. That’s what I miss, I miss Curtis and his eccentricities. He used to dress up in his mothers clothes at times and act like he was smoking a cigarette.. He’d make me laugh and tickle me.. But he always made me feel safe when I was with him.
The night he saved me from the dark, was the first time a man had ever kissed me or touched me. Even though I didn’t know then that the touches were inappropriate (I know now) I was just happy that someone loved me enough to hold me. Maybe that’s twisted, but it’s true. If I remember anything about South Carolina, I remember the bad times and I remember Curtis. And I remember the way he touched me and kissed me. I remember the way he held me and how I would rather be with him than anyone else in the world.
When I wasn’t with Curtis, I was in church. Yup, that’s what this post is supposed to be about… My bad again.!! Church was weird to me. I didn’t get it. As a kid there were things in church that always seemed off. For example, I didn’t get why reverends preached and always seemed to lose their breath like they had asthma. It seemed like all of the pastors I grew up listening to, suffered from a medical condition and everyone around them just thought it was normal. I was led to believe that the “Spirit” was leading the “Men of God; ” which is why they were huffing and puffing… The spirit of Asthma??? I don’t know.
Another weird thing that the church people did when they prayed. Everyone would get on the floor standing on their knees and be given a newspaper to put on the chairs… As they prayed they’d be speaking in weird “tongues” and as they are doing this, they are foaming at the mouth… by the way, these tongues they are speaking in are not translatable. This spirit people speak of, gives a different message to different people and you have to be anointed to speak in these languages.
Even as a child, I had a bullshit meter…
So I did what any child would do…. I faked it… I spat all over my newspaper, yelling “scooby doo.” And when these crazy people got up to do that jig called “catching the Holy Ghost” I got up a danced like master was whipping him a bunch of field slaves on the plantation… Oh yeah!! I danced. I threw my hands up and, threw my head back and… Kicked my heals up and I shouted. I shouted as if I was possessed by a spirit. The adults loved it too… I didn’t feel a thing and they didn’t know or seemed to care.. Because I am sure they felt absolutely nothing as well. Fuck yeah! I faked it.. And it wasn’t the only time I faked it. I started faking it all the time.
In 1999, my family attended the Ocean Avenue Baptist Church in Jersey City. (Deep breaths) half of my family had already joined the church and it was pretty okay, I guess. My brother, Kyle wanted me to join the choir there, but I would have to be a member of the church first. Unfortunately, i didn’t really want to be a member of the church. But one Sunday morning as I am standing in a pew with my mother, the pastor extended his call to fellowship… Or whatever it’s called. People who wanted to “experience God” and join the church were to walk down the aisle… My mother tapped me on the shoulder and said “lets go..”I said
She said, “come on!” I refused.
Worst thing is, I was blocking her path to walked down the aisle, and as I was letting her threw the pew so that she could walked down the aisle. This heifer took my hand and pretty much dragged me down the aisle as the phony bitches in the church “rejoiced.” I think halfway down the aisle I realized I looked terrified and pissed off. So I faked a smile. Everything after that moment was a blur. I remember wanting to run out of the church and never come back. But I acted like I was happy that Jesus was saving my soul. And somewhere along the way, I prayed that he would… It wasn’t until I found out from our great Pastor and his fuck buddies that God hated gays, that I just stopped caring.
I still talk about Ocean Avenue Baptist Church in therapy. I talk about their fake Christian counseling, to try to turn me straight. I talk about how some of the members started a rumor that I was HIV positive. (Good Times) I think about how I was treated poorly by everyone, and in return I rebelled against everyone. After a while, to escape the feeling of being depressed in church, I started taking Benadryl to cope with going to church.. Actually, my addiction to Benadryl started because I hated OABC so much, that I needed to be on something just to go there.
But there was some good times. Like the Concerts that the Choir did. When I was in the choir, I had a great time working on the concerts with the director Carl Brister, that was one of the highlights. And I was smitten with Brian Pitchford. Brian was a reverend at OABC, but he was different from the others, PITCHFORD was honest, funny, sweet and caring. He loved me and I loved him so much. More than he’d ever known.
I stopped caring about OABC after the death of one of my favorite members, Pat Parker. When Pat passed away, so did my will to come back to the church.. Even though I was asked not to come back a year after I had stop coming for a while. When I look back at all of what happened with that place, I laugh. Then I cringe.. Then I google search the people who used to go to the church. Then I laugh some more. (Poor Ernestine and Kileeo.)
I’ve visited many churches after that, and I never felt welcomed in any of the places I’ve visited. The Christians I’ve met were so stand-offish. When they speak, they ask a lot of questions. But not because they want to build a relationship, but because they want to know your business. I hated the feeling of being interviewed by church members.
Christina and I started attending Christ Church in Montclair, New Jersey. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of those super mega churches with a million members and several locations. It’s easy not to run into the same people twice. I loved the music, because it’s mostly Hillsong and praise and worship. I loved the location, but I didn’t like going there. I only loved the area the church was in. There was a nice shopping area and I went to church just to experience the area. I barely went to listen to the sermon. So I faked it. Whenever Christina talked about her experience there I agreed with her. I didn’t care to attend or care about what was going on. When I was there, I would be too caught up in the large screens and monitors. I would daydreams about going a concert there after building a better stage with trap doors and pyrotechnics
At one point, I actually told Christina that I didn’t want to go back to church. I remember her giving me a big lecture about my life and how I’m not really doing well. She said that I needed to try something different because whatever I’ve been doing on my own wasn’t working. Then she kept pushing prayer. I remember telling her that I prayed every night, but I didn’t feel anything. I felt absolutely nothing.. Christina’s only response was that I wasn’t doing something right.
It pissed me off when someone assumes that whatever I’m doing, I’m not doing it right. Christina, isn’t with me everyday. So it’s really hard for me to hear her speak on my spiritual life or what I do when I’m not with her. It angers me, and when I’m angry, I cut her off. I don’t answer the phone. It really pisses me off when someone tells me what they assume my life is like… Like who the fuck are they? There’s a woman who works at the Vitamin Shoppe who always tells me that I need Jesus and tries to pray for me. When I told her I was converting to Judaism, she said
“No, you need Jesus. I’m gonna pray that he finds you.” And I responded.
“Remember what happened last time the Jews found Jesus!”
I just find it disrespectful to force your religion on others…
Anyway, it was easy to see that Church wasn’t my thing.
Here’s a fact, I’m actually afraid of churches. I know that’s weird, but it’s true! Ask Christina, when I walk pass a church, I get spooked out. It’s so creepy. Especially the huge stone churches, they are the worst. I feel like my skin is crawling and I get a weird child through my body when I see a church. I remember when I told my old boss, Darryl that I was afraid of churches, he laughed. He said that it reminded him of that scene in “The Omen” when Damien freaks out in the car as he’s approaching a cathedral. I went home to watch the movie on Netflix that night!!! That’s like my new favorite movie now.
Another fact, I hate cemeteries. They are so weird and creepy too. Actually, the first time I had to walk past a cemetery I almost freaked out.. I was with Tiger. He was so mad at me that night and he knew that I had a huge fear of cemeteries, so he decided to walk past one of the biggest in Jersey City… And not just any cemetery, he walked past the big cemetery that I had recurring nightmares about.. It was nerve wrecking for five seconds…
“What exactly did you think was going to happen?” He asked me.
“I don’t know! I thought zombies were going to come from the ground and do the Thriller dance!” I said…. I was so serious though.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of!” He said. “I got you!” And he held my hand as we walked past the cemetery. He also, got over that small little thing we were arguing about.
One more fact and then I’m wrapping this up… Praying makes me sleepy as fuck. That’s it!
The first time I went to the synagogue with Lionel, I felt comfortable. The people there made me feel welcomed. They didn’t ask me a bunch of weird questions. They didn’t seem to mind that I was wearing makeup or that I was gay. They didn’t care one bit about my relationship with Lionel. They all extended their hand to shake mine. I was asked to come back, and I did. It was all love and respect.
They coolest thing about Judaism is that they don’t believe in hell. So there’s no one trying to scare you into heaven. They are okay with just praying and telling God how grateful they are to be living and blessed. When I attend the synagogue, I see people talk about their families and they tell jokes. They laugh and have fun with each other. They aren’t gossiping or texting during service because everyone is too busy praying. Everyone participates in the prayers. There’s not a selected few running the show and entertaining. I’m not saying that one religion is better. I’m not saying that Jews have got it all figured out. I am saying that I felt comfortable and welcomed by a bunch of Jewish people; and I had never felt that way around Christians.
Okay.. I have to tr to sleep now…
Thanks for letting me share… If you read this whole post, will you let me know what you thought about it??? Please!!!
Love you guys!