Knowing God for Myself
Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. – Psalm 79:8 (NIV)
When I was a child, elders in my church would say, “You’ve got to know God for yourself.” I couldn’t quite grasp what that meant.
And then, I came out as queer. And getting to know God for myself saved my life.
Many of the elders in my childhood church were taught that queer people were “living in sin.” During my teens and early twenties, I assumed that anything my elders taught me about God had to be my experience of God. I thought I couldn’t be queer and have a relationship with God. I internalized that I was an abomination and left the church.
I eventually became so miserable without a spiritual community that I decided to give church one more chance. A coworker recommended that I visit a Black church where queer and trans people were affirmed.
I wept when I visited that church because I realized I wouldn’t have to give up the faith of my childhood just because I was queer.
I discovered I could bring all the things I loved about my childhood church with me into a new spiritual path where I was affirmed. I could bring the gospel music, praise dancing, and extemporaneous praying but leave the shame behind.
I know the God of my ancestors for myself, and that God embraces my queerness fully. I’m glad I’ve learned to seek out God for myself because what others taught me would separate me from the love of God brought me closer to it.
Thank you for loving me because of who I am, not despite who I love.
Marchaé Grair is a spiritual director, facilitator, and the Communications Director at Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism. Follow her work at marchae.com.