I was raised to be a Christian.
Raised in a small town with the common denominations of all things Jesus…Southern Baptist, Church of God in Christ, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, _______ (fill-in the blank)….every Sunday and week in Vacation Bible School I was told Jesus was born in a manger and nailed to a cross. For me.
A typical church illustration I would see growing up of baby Jesus in the manger with Mary & Joseph.
As I grew, both in age and experience, my life became different and so did my awareness of God. I no longer knew God because my mother told me about him or prayed for me. I was going through my own trials and tribulations that began to draw menear’er to thee. Because I’ve always been a curious child, I began to read religious doctrines, theology books, etc. In college I had a philosophy class. A class that forever changed my life. The professor always complimented my mind and its inquisitiveness. He even invited me to consider attending Rutgers University (his alma mater) and major in Philosophy. I can’t even remember the man’s name now, but that class inspired me to think and feel in a newfound way.
The School of Athens ~by, Raphael. It depicts the branches of knowledge and thought.
In Humanities classes, I was introduced to to other religions and soon began to see a common theme. The flood story, a fall of man, and a superhuman being coming down to save all of mankind. In Buddhism, I learned about truth and ourselves. In Hinduism, I learned about Karma. Soon, my discovery made a great epiphany in my life. One that I’ve never shared with others. Peeking from beind the veil I would like to say that I think God is everywhere. I look at Asians, who look nothing like me…but I’ve always admired their reverence for what is spiritual and what has come before them. The majority of Asians, maybe some, do not attend a baptist church and take communion on 4th Sunday. Does that make them a heathen because they meditate instead of pray? Does that make them damned to Hell, because they do not call their savior Jesus? When they live their lives in worship, in their own fashion, and hold onto similar principles that I was raised to honor: love, respect, faith, belief…as these thoughts began to flood my mind, I realized that GOD is not so simple.
If he could create a Black Hole, a cosmic wave, several other planets, stars, celestial gardens that we admire in the night sky…how can we box him into a Southern church with a red hymn book, and a daily devotional? It’s impossible to minimize the endless possibilities and ways that God can manifest Himself to all of us. If you do, then self-righteousness will immediately set-in and you will begin to think that if Reverend Pastor Bishop Holy Man didn’t say it, then it can’t be God!
I am intrigued by diversity. By ethnicity and culture. I would love to travel the world and see all that God has created. When you look at places like Easter Island…or Stonehenge and see where our human existence has taken us, you begin to feel His presence in a new way. The Bible says, God created us all and we are made in His image. So does a child in India or a child in Chad or a child in Myanmar or a child in Kazahkstan have no chance in hell to meet God because they never experienced the traditions of my Baptist upbringing? I think God reveals himself to all cultures in a way that is normal in their community. Understandably so, His face is not of a particular hue or bone-structure. Just like the Sun we can not look at, He is to be revered, immediately. Everyone, I don’t care who you are, bows their head before the Sun.
I wrote this because I wanted to say out loud how I feel and maybe inspire others. No, I’m not advocating a new religious sect. No, this does not mean I am anti-Christian. No, this does not mean I do not read the Bible. Yes, I love me some Jesus and the Lord. But I also love how God has used other spirit-filled people to translate His word for all to fashion. I’ve read the Koran, the Torah, Shastras, Gnostic Gospels, etc. Because I love to learn. But, I also have this self-awareness when reading with an open-mind. What God wants me to know will stick and what He thinks is not for me to know, I will not remember. That’s it. I make no excuses for it. I respect the fact that my mind is not at the level of Gods. I will forever have questions that will be unanswered. For now.
Right now, I’m embracing my spirit moreso than my flesh. Let’s be honest, the flesh is weak and living from that place is what makes us weak creatures. In my spiritual awakening, I have a further appreciation for God and my human responsibility for not just myself, but others. Like I said before, I love God in all His flavors. If I had to put a name on it, I guess you can call it non-denominational. I don’t believe I’m better, or one is better than the other…we all want the same thing from God and that is His love. We want to know that after this world, our souls are safe with Him.
Yes I bake.
But in order for me to bake or create anything, rather…I had to tap into myself. I had to realize that God gave this to me. We all have a role. Some, more than others. I’ve had many already. And I don’t apologize for any of it. I’ve grown and I’m still growing.
I’m not a baker. I’m not a cake designer. I’m not a teacher. I’m not a preacher. I’m not a counselor. I’m not a reality TV contestant. I’m not a single Mom.
I’m just Kendra and it was nice to finally meet you. =)