Paradigm Shift

“Who is this Black woman wearing blue lipstick and clothes that don’t match? Don’t worry-I’m just as perplexed as you are as to why I’m standing here, but hey. Let’s trust that Rachel and Sarah knew what they were doing when they signed y’all up for this.“

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I served and took communion for the first time in 7 years yesterday at the Evolving Faith conference in Montreat, NC. That’s how comfortable and affirmed I felt being in that space with Christians who are actually...well the Christians I’ve desired to have connections with, but didn’t believe existed anymore. 

I got on stage and told the crowd that I could feel the presence of my great grandmother and Prince there with me too. I told the audience I have conversations with them. That I have an altar in my house. That I honor my dead. Use candles with my prayers, as well as set intentions and manifest what I want to see develop within myself, family, work, and life. That I reclaimed and learned how to listen to my intuition by practicing tarot. That I have friends who worship Orishas, do root work, who are Hindu and Buddhist, who celebrate Samhain and solstice, and am married to a man who is a futurist and desires to be preserved by cryonics upon his death. That I read my horoscope according to my natal chart, follow the planet’s transits throughout the sky, and the monthly cycle of the moon. That I believe in energy work. That painting is a form of divination for me. That I am married to a cis man and am in a heteronormative relationship but I am also queer. That my children are neurodiverse, I use people first language, and I have a responsibility to advocate for and equip them to move within a world that is not inclusive, but not to change them-they are whole beings, not broken. That I was abused as a child and sexually assaulted as a teen & young adult. 

I dropped a few f-bombs. Told them to face themselves. To abandon the frameworks and constructs they’ve built through conditioning, experience, and trauma over the years in  exchange for whole living. To burn shit down. To open themselves to exploration and curiosity. Told the POC especially to study, connect, and expand their faith to be inclusive of spiritual practices and tools rooted within their own cultures. That they might be hurting and weary but the only thing fragile about them-about all of us-is our ego. That if I can withstand this moment with all I’m carrying, they can too. 

The response was unexpectedly positive. It knocked my ego on its ass, because I walked into this experience thinking I couldn’t possibly connect to what was happening because I’ve spent the last 7 years deliberately removed from this...culture. From the institution. From a faith I no longer recognize or live out as I used to. That I question and reject for its racism, misogyny, sexism, patriarchy, oppression, bigotry, phobias, erasure, and violence.  I walked into it cynical, thinking I’d be pilloried. Instead I was embraced. Thanked. Seen. Heard. Respected. 

The fact that I was able to serve in this capacity alongside scholars, artists, writers, pastors, activists, and thought leaders I learned from and admired heavily in the past and even from afar over the last 7 years, was the icing on the cake. It was humbling. 

It helped my spirit heal in ways I didn’t realize were needed. It released me to continue expanding and moving forward in my spiritual development. I hope I continue to learn from it in the months & years ahead.