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Everybody Proselytizing. Stop.

There’s such a desire to not believe.

The circumstances make me angry and make me question God. God’s intention. God’s identity. They make me feel like there is no God in them or that this God is mean and savage and wants Their people to suffer. But then I hear Cece Winans sing “You are the way when there seems to be no way. We trust in you, God you have the final say… Move the immovable, break the unbreakable” and the welling up that happens inside of me is something that I do not control. The tears that spring forth are not of my doing. I can’t help it, because there’s such a truth to her words. It feels so true that there is this God who is truly capable of any and everything and that we do conjure Their favor. And that truth feels overwhelming. Moving. Overpowering. Humbling. 

It feels so true that They just want our attention and appreciation, just want us to spend a little time with them. That they desire to be in communion with us. This idea of only going directly to the Ancestors doesn’t work for me because I already spent twenty years talking directly to my Creator before someone came and said “Uh, you can’t do that.” Oh, so you mean this Yale degree and the protection I received from my ex and all the accidents I averted and my daughter coming out alive in spite of a dangerous birthing situation, the God I was praying to then wasn’t listening to me? That They were directing my requests to my Ancestors?

Nah, I’m good. If that’s the case then praying to my Creator still worked. Praying through Jesus to Them worked wonders. So nobody can come and tell me that Jesus isn’t the jam. There may be much more to learn about how and why He came to us. There may be well more to learn about my Ancestors and what they can do for me, but I’m no longer entertaining people who tell me that Jesus ain’t real. I used to do that shit a lot, and I recognize that the suffering I’ve experienced over the last several years is as related to that doubt of Christ as it is to any other tangible thing that can be pointed to.

When I’d spent over a month looking for a job on my second try in New York and had no leads, it was just the week I went to Abundant Life Christian Center for the first time ever that I got two job offers back to back. When my credit was no good and I wanted to rent my $1600 two bedroom apartment and then my $2150 townhouse was it my Ancestors who I didn’t even know that made that happen? Or was it the God I was praying to in tongues, making promises to as I begged Them to help me out?

When my daughter was born she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice. And we were in labor for 40+ hours. But there she came out, perfect. Absolutely perfect. It was the God I believed in then that made that happen. And if there were other forces at play then by all means. But I will first give credit to my God whom I spoke to then and whom I speak to now.

Don’t get it twisted, I love having my Ancestor altar. I love burning Ancestor Money for them. I love writing their names down and speaking to them and praying for their open way, for their continual journey to be fruitful. For the DNA in me, the elements of them that activate in me, to be propelled forward. I love believing there are people out there in the ether who love me, who know me in a way I can’t know myself, who, if for no reason other than their responsibility to my parents or their parents or their parents’ parents, who feel a duty to do something valuable to help me out along this journey.

And I don’t think that contradicts with the Bible’s teachings at all. Anyone who wants to convince me of that will have to tell me why the Roman Catholic Church is hiding so much of the scriptures. They will have to tell me what actually happened in those years when Jesus was “missing” and why Mary Magdalene is believed to be his wife.

The problem that I have with Indigenous Spiritualists–especially those I’ve come across–is that they are just as proselytizing as the Churchians. They just as much feel like their way is the only way and no one can get to “heaven” but by their way. But, listen, none of y’all mufukkas know. You just don’t. You can’t prove to me that you have the way that is for me. That will work for me. That produces fruit for me. Because if you did, my shit would be so tight right now, we’d all be flying over to Wakanda every weekend plus. This shit wouldn’t be so hard.

I’ve actually tried y’alls ways. And I’m not saying they ain’t right. But they haven’t been right for me, not the way you’ve introduced them. What works for me is silence. Meditation. Prayers. Scriptures. Supernatural presence. I’ll  trust the God I’ve trusted since I was a girl just praying with no guidance. I’ll find a way into Their bosom. Every, single, time.

Image Source: “Radiating My Sovereignty,” 2019, by Calida Rawles. In depicting a young Black girl floating face up, trance-like, in water, the artist wanted to convey a sense of her being at home in water, reveling in her own self-awareness.Credit…Calida Rawles and Various Small Fires, Los Angeles/Seoul

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About Lolade

Lolade is a Gates Cambridge Scholar, starting her PhD in Sociology with the 2019 class. She recently graduated with her MA in African Studies [Sociology discipline] from Yale University where she researched ethnic identity formation among Nigerian immigrants in New York, Tokyo and Mumbai. She is the author of 'Market of Dreams' a radical poetry collection about love and freedom. She obsesses over indigenous textiles, cultural preservation and innovation, and intimately connecting the African Diaspora.

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