From The Grio — “You’re a Christian, right?” a friend asked me recently.
Years ago, I would have given a knee-jerk, “Of course!” However these days, I find myself offering a long explanation, one that lays out my internal conflict with claiming Christianity without sounding like Judas.
I believe in God, pray multiple times daily — for myself and others, and the world at large. I read The Bible occasionally. I work out to a various selection of gospel songs, mostly classics that I was raised listening to or sang—a long time ago — in a church choir. I actually think, “what would Jesus do?” when I debate doing something that I have no business doing. I actively try to correct negative on-goings in my head, because I honestly believe God knows my thoughts. But I intentionally don’t go to church anymore and I’ve actively stopped referring to myself as a “Christian.”
Somewhere along the way, it seems that to some — certainly not all — Christians being Christian became synonymous with being perfect. Last week, Real Housewives of Atlanta co-star Kandi Burruss released her first gospel single, “Stay Prayed Up” featuring gospel great Marvin Sapp and was swiftly derided by other Christians for what they deemed her un-Christian-like ways, including a sex toy business, a racy radio show and speaking openly about having sex with her live-in fiancé. “I knew when I decided to do it that I would be criticized,” Burruss wrote on Instagram. “I believe in God but I have always struggled with the rules of the church, just like a lot of people.”
That same week, NBA player Dwight Howard, also a self-described Christian, took a few verbal jabs for declaring he wanted to “raise the name of God within the league and throughout the world.” Howard isrumored to have as many as five children out-of-wedlock by as many women. Tracey Edmonds, who was once accused of being a mistress of ex- NFL star Deon Saunders (an allegation she swiftly denied), also raised a few eyebrows when she recently announced she would launch a TV network “with Christian values.”