Black folks and our spiritual journey…where are our stories?

Those closest to me know that for the past several years I have been on a bit of a spiritual journey, it started back in late 2007 when I started considering the idea of going to seminary. I had been recently laid off from my teaching job and was contemplating my next steps in life, as a Christian I had always been lead to service at the ground level. Having worked in shelters, and with folks struggling with the very basics in life the call to service for me runs deep.

However as the mother of a young child who had recently completed a graduate program earning my M.Ed I was deeply concerned about whether or not I realistically had the time and energy needed to commit to seminary. After all, my 2 year masters program had stretched to 3.5 half years with the death of my Mom and the birth of my daughter, so in the end I decided to table the idea of seminary for a few years especially when in 2008 I was offered a job leading a faith based social service agency.

At that time, I felt so sure of the “calling” to seminary I decided to embark upon a journey of reading as much as I could on matters of Christianity, spirituality, faith….you get the picture. Little did I know how much that decision would change the course of many things in my life…truths I believed well I grapple with them now and things I never considered more than fairy tales actually make sense. Add in the very real changes that begin to happen to women as we hit our late 30’s and beyond, one might say I am in a place of transition when it comes to my spiritual life.

In this process I have read many wonderful works by women who have also struggled with their faith especially women who always considered themselves Christian. Yet in reading many of these works there is one voice I am not hearing much of and that is the voice of Black women. Which made me wonder, what do Black women not struggle with faith? If so where are our stories? So I am putting out a call to hear from Black women who have struggled with faith, I would especially love to hear from Black women who chose a so called alternative spiritual path…I want the why, the what, the how. You get the picture.

The idea is to create a comprehensive piece, one for this blog so if some younger sista is struggling she will know she is not alone but also I am looking to create a piece for publication perhaps. I rarely write on spec but for some reason I feel this is a story that needs to be told, but right now I need you. So spread the word. You can comment on the blog, drop me a email at blackgirlinmaine@gmail.com or holla at me on twitter @twitter.com/blackgirlinmain (no e) Hope to hear from you!

9 thoughts on “Black folks and our spiritual journey…where are our stories?

  1. I’ve blogged about my spiritual journey before . . . http://originalwombman.blogspot.com/2009/07/changed.htmland http://originalwombman.blogspot.com/2010/10/being-myself.html. I love to read about people’s search too especially women of color who’s paths are non-traditional. It is encouraging and makes me feel . . . less like an outsider in a world where it’s perfectly all right to try to strike up conversation with a stranger by asking, “So, what church do you go to?”

  2. Ohhhhh, can’t wait to see this! I’m agnostic and DH is Buddhist. I think there are a lot of “down low” folks when it comes to spiritual/non Christian beliefs.

  3. I have been pagan for 25 years, and as a Black woman walking this path, it has not been easy. But I regret that it’s been hardest in my own community. I don’t even tell Black folks anymore, and it has really affected my ability to connect with other Black folks. I try, but it’s always fake. When you can’t be your authentic self with folks, there really is no point.

    I am glad to have found you and this blog! I will be back!

  4. Dee, I think you are very right. I have looked high and low and its been very hard for me to find anything written or even blogs by us that are not squarely in the Christian camp. That is one of the reasons I wrote this….

    Witch in the City, thank you for posting. I am going to follow up with you via email.

    Chi-Chi, I will be reading those posts of yours. 🙂

  5. My struggle with faith has centered around what religion to follow. I grew up Catholic because that was my step fathers religion. I married Catholic because my first husband was Catholic. I personally never felt an spiritual uplifting as a Catholic and after I went to Father D. and told him that I was being physically abused by my husband and was advised to go home and try harder…I was really not feeling being a Catholic. So for a few years I floated with being OK that I believed in God and thats all I needed. However, that changed with my next husband who introduced to me to Jesus as I know him today. I started attending a white Christian non denominational church and the teachings were good, however I still did’t feel a fit for some reason. After the dissolution of that marriage (a very short one!) I decided to do what felt good to me and that turned out to be the best decision in my life. I found a black church, a place that I could be me and that I could be a part of…I love the singing and preaching, I love the events and conferences. Now I am not saying that i am a every Sunday church goer, because I am not, but I am doing what I do for me this time. Interesting topic, I check back to see what other comments are posted as I am also interested in information about other spiritual paths.

  6. I am not a Christian. I really comforting or peaceful about the religion. Funny thing the Jehovah’s Witness just stopped by. But I admire people who find the religion all the things that I don’t. I will say I that I am agnostic and will probably eventually become a Buddhist or just be a Yogini. I’m more into awareness and calming my mind.
    About a month ago I told the JW to stop coming by because I will never convert but I appreciate them stopping by. I no longer wish to to try or anything. I have been conditioned by Christianity so there is a always this little guilt that pops up but I am changing that frame as well.

  7. I’m not a black woman, but I am a woman, and underrepresentation of of sex has been rife throughout religious history. How much more so for the black woman. But I would like to say is to look for stories. Everyone has a story (some have two!) As far as African American goddesses, well, Sojourner Truth is high up on my list. I can’t read “Ain’t I a Woman”? without bawling. But it is to be understood that she was about ALL women.
    I remember my spiritual crisis….I did a search on “women in Christian history” and found a link to a chapter in a book called “The Dark Side of Christian History”. The chapter was on the church’s persecution of midwifes and healers. Maybe I cry too easily 🙂 but I’ve used midwives and am a lay herbalist, and hearing what was done to my foremothers sent me into such a state of sadness. I had such esteem for the Early Church Fathers…until I read, from their own accounts, of their thoughts about women. I cried for weeks, but luckily–this was a miracle–I had a cyber community that was all collectively going through the same thing! I don’t want to sound negative, but I more or less “studied myself out” of the church. Through it all, I gained a (to me) beautiful understanding of the universalim of world religions and mythos. To this day I am still and always a follower of Jesus the Christ. Like the martyr Polycarp said in the Roman arena, “Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has never done me any harm, how then can I blaspheme my Lord and Saviour”? Well–I’m not 86 🙂 (I’m 47) but the sentiment remains: throughout my struggles, crisis, epiphanies, etc. I have never let go of His hand. Oh, the places Spirit has led me. What a journey! To let go of Spirit who teaches, leads, and guides….for a controlling set of dogma and religion? My spirit would die!

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