In addition to learning that more than 500 copies of First Family Secrets (affiliate link) have been downloaded from a pirate site, one of my readers sent me a heartfelt email. I won’t go into detail about the entire message but I will respond publically to one question she asked: do you hate The Church?
In her email, she noted the behavior and attitudes of Mikayla Watson, the main character in My Best Friend’s Brother (affiliate link), and of Tangela and Mercedes, the main character and her best friend in First Family Secrets.
Mikayla Watson versus The Senior Pastor
Below is an excerpt from My Best Friend’s Brother:
If you know church folk like I do, you know my relationship with Sam had been judged up, down, and all around. One of the senior pastors at the church I attend told me that I would have to leave the audio visual ministry if I didn’t sever my relationship with her, explaining that saints didn’t hang out with known sinners.
His ultimatum stirred something inside me. The same people who taught love your neighbor and who advised that we were supposed to reach the lost were urging me to forsake someone who needed me. My mission was not to save Sam but I should at least try to be a good, Christian example of love. “Please explain to me how you can be a pastor and teach against the very thing Christ stood for?” I asked Pastor Ronnie as I gathered my things.
“Sister Mickey, you can think about this.” He backed off a little, knowing no one would be able to operate the audio visual equipment for service. “It just don’t look right for a woman like yourself to be hanging out with a, with a … dike.”
An insensitive pastor, now that’s an oxymoron who is a moron. “Excuse me, sir?”
Pastor Ronnie sat in front of the MacBook Pro and signaled for me to sit next to him. “You’re an architect, you’ve been attending this church for almost a year, and we have yet to see or hear of you having a man. People are talking …”
“Are they talking about how often your music department throws ones at strip clubs?” The question rolled off my tongue. Pastor Ronnie had a lot of nerve because I knew that he knew his son was sleeping with everyone at the church plus the ones from his high school.
Knowing I was telling the truth, Pastor Ronnie sat next to me with an expression of utter embarrassment.
“You sit there judging a woman you don’t even know. And, then have the nerve to draw conclusions about me because I am not sleeping around or chasing every man who walks through the door like most of my sanctified sisters,” I snapped. “I’ve served in this church and you know I stick by what I believe. Are you going to take your fat wife and morbidly obese daughter from over the women’s ministry? Just in case you’ve forgotten, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins.” I walked away in resolve that my personal salvation was more important than pleasing a church full of hypocrites.
Ironically, this excerpt come from a chapter titled Church Folks…
Like most authors, I tap into what I know, have experienced or heard from the experiences of others. However, at times I allow the characters to lead me through conversations and situations. This particular character (Mikayla) compelled this conversation because she has compassion. Mikayla’s primary concern is not whether or not her friend Sam is leading a sinful life by being a lesbian. Mikayla’s primary objective is to fulfill The Great Commission by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. What better way to do that than to show love to others by not judging them and loving them in spite of perceived differences?
However, admittedly I do carry some of Mikayla’s concerns about how religious people pick and choose sins. Unlike Mikayla, Mercedes and Tangela’s characters are similar to me in one major way. Both women were raised in the “holiness” environment. Essentially, everything was a sin except eating. This way of thinking has lead to severe obesity in the Black community because so much of our culture is built upon our relationship with the church rather than our role as Christians to become Disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).
There is a difference in the church as in institution and The Church as in the Body of Christ. To answer her question… No. I don’t hate the church—neither the institution nor The Body of Christ. I wrote First Family Secrets to show how keeping up appearances can hide sinful nature. God is after the condition of our hearts because he knows that if your heart is right with him your actions will be driven by love.
Have you read either My Best Friend’s Brother or First Family Secrets? If so, I’d love for you to leave a comment below. If you’re feeling really generous, Amazon reviews are always helpful. Thanks in advance.