For as long as I can possibly remember, I’ve been in or around some type of church. At one point I even lived next door to a church. While my mother never talked about it that much, religion and spirituality did play a part in both our lives. Every Sunday morning, she would wake me up, get me dressed, and send me next door to Sunday school. The friends I made all lived a few doors down and went to the same church. We would play, sing songs, and learn stories from the Bible.
It was during my time at the church next door that I learned two things about myself; one, I loved to sing and I was pretty good at it, and two, Bible stores were really interesting to me. One thing people learn about me very fast is I love to read. I started reading on my own when I was three and never stopped. When I discovered just how interesting the stories in the Bible were, I immediately cracked open my kiddie Bible and devoured the whole thing. That Bible quickly became one of my favorite books. It was a children’s Bible made specifically for Black kids and had many colorful illustrations in it. I distinctly remember my favorite picture was of the Queen of Sheba. She had beautiful dark brown skin that matched mine and a gorgeous golden headpiece. I remember looking at her picture and wanting to be her.
My second favorite picture in the book was one of Jesus. Like the Queen of Sheba, he too had dark brown skin and his hair was long and very curly. His hair looked like a soft black cloud and I remember wishing my hair looked that that. (I didn’t know at that point my natural hair did look like that. My hair had been chemically and non-chemically straightened for so long that I had no idea what my natural hair texture was. That, however, is a discussion for another day.)
One thing I notice now that I didn’t notice then is I didn’t take the stories of the Bible as seriously as my peers and my elders did. To me, they were really interesting stories that did, in some cases, tell important life lessons. I never at any point thought they were the literal truth. Eventually, I had read the Bible so many times over that I knew the majority of the stories like the back of my hand. Sunday school and Bible study became boring to me because we seemed to be rehashing the same topics over and over again so I just stopped paying attention.
I remember on one day I was so bored in Sunday school that I began to make an origami ring out of the dollar that was going to be my offering later that day. The Sunday school teacher caught me and told me to tell her what she was talking about. She thought she was going to embarrass me in front of the class, but instead I gave her the cliff notes version of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven. She was visibly flustered and proceeded to tell the class exactly what I had just said.
As church and Bible study became more and more boring to me, I began to wonder if the stories of other religions were as interesting as the stories from Christianity. That was when I began to dive headfirst into other religions.
[I’ll probably come back to discuss what religions I looked into and how I got into trouble at every single church I ever went to.]