I was born to Christian Brethren parents and grew up in that denomination. For many years, my life revolved around home, school and church. I loved going to church and very much wanted to be like daddy, a pastor. But of course women can't preach in the Brethren Church and lesbians…..well, of course, that wouldn't be possible.
I had realized at some point in time that I didn't agree with the religion of my parents, though I had been able to reconcile my sexuality with my Christianity and had even ministered to others about the possibility of being LGBT and Christian. I had received membership with Temple of Light Center for Spiritual Living in Jamaica and was content with that for some time. I then chose to identify as an agnostic atheist and wrote about that decision, it made sense to me, at least at that time I was sure that was my reason.
I had various reactions from my parents over the multiple times I came out to them and the times I was outed to them. The overall reaction however loving was not accepting of my being gay. I had not realized the effect this had had on me spiritually.
In 2014 I had the honor of visiting a PFLAG meeting at the San Diego LGBT Center, it was however for the Spanish speaking community. I decided that though I didn't speak Spanish I would still stay. In that meeting, I had reason to speak about my family and my agnostic atheism. A few of the women suggested to me that maybe the extreme rejection of my parents' religion was because of my parents' reactions specifically that of my dad.
It made me think; indeed, as a child I always knew daddy as a Pastor and I wanted so much to be like him; now as a Christian God was the Father (Jesus the Son, and the Holy Ghost). In the conditional love of my father, the love of God the Father (in Christianity) also became conditional. My reaction to my dad was also projected on my relationship with God the Father.
Upon realizing that I then had to reconsider all that I had come to believe about religion, faith, and Christianity. Whether my agnostic atheism was actually because of a change in my thinking or if it really was about my daddy issues. My conclusion was that it was a combination. That, however, gave room for the reemergence of my desire to be a minister, oh the horror!
How could I be a minister when I had all these doubts, I didn't believe in the God of my childhood, yet I didn't not believe in God per se; but the New Thought teachings appealed to me, of course, that was completely incompatible with my understanding of traditional Christianity.
Now during all this time, as an LGBT activist, I had never not worked with people of faith (St. Paul's Foundation, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington VA). In fact, my visit to San Diego was because of my work with St. Paul's, and the visit included a few events with people of faith, even speaking on a panel at Hollywood United Methodist Church, and a panel at Founders MCC (LA). As life would have it, the plans to have me March with the LA LGBT Center were messed up and I ended up marching with Founders MCC at LA Pride.
The Saturday before pride I went to the church service at the MCC church, for the first time in a very long time church moved me to tears. Then if that wasn't enough God (or the Universe -as my preferred language) planted firmly in my life a beautiful soul (now my partner), a lesbian, a Christian, an aspiring minister, first and foremost a dearest friend. I believe God sometimes works in mysterious ways, and those ways were my continued work with and support from faith-based organizations and communities, the Spanish PFLAG meeting, and that beautiful soul.
Despite this, for 2 years I was conflicted, torn and fighting. Was I agnostic? Was I an atheist? Why am I feeling called to ministry? I couldn't be a minister to anyone in this condition! For two years I tried to understand what my faith or spirituality was evolving into and then I stopped trying to figure it out but I still resisted the change.
Then on April 17th my partner took me to Refiner's Fire Fellowship UCC, I'd been there before but this date was special. During the music worship portion, there was something stirring in me. I clutched the back of the seat before me, holding tight as though for dear life, and then the tears started. I felt (in my traditional Christian language) like a pot that was broken, emptied out. I was being remolded. We visited Agape International Spiritual Center and it completed what had been started at UCC.
It was as though I was a new person, reborn, I looked different, things looked different. I knew that day that something had changed and other things were changing. I figured out the first part of what being called to ministry looked like for me, indeed, it was - I believe- Imam Daayiee Abdullah who said to me a few years ago that though I didn't call myself a Christian I was doing work similar to that of the Prophet Jesus.