Text: John 16: 4b-15
In preparation for our lay-led service today, Jim and I were asked to share with you our reasons for coming to Pullen. We were asked to think about our faith journeys and to discuss what these journeys have meant to us, and what they might mean for Pullen.
My faith journey began in rural, northeastern North Carolina about 43 years ago. I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church in what seemed like a very Southern Baptist community. God was “father” and people were “men or brothers,” yet I heard messages preached that the gospel message was for all. The church behaved in ways that confused me.
For example, the church in which I grew up had serious concerns if a person of color attended worship or a funeral there. Women worked very hard, but not as deacons or pastors-not in leadership or policy making roles. And we didn’t even have conversations about homosexuals-assuming none lived in our community.
This is the historical and cultural context in which I grew up. Like Phyllis Trible, who was with us a few Sundays ago, I began a lifelong wrestling match with inequity and bias. I experienced and observed discrimination in overt and covert ways. I felt frustrated. I felt suffocated. I began to understand the meaning of hypocrisy and cynicism.
After high school graduation, I came to NC State and began working on my undergraduate degree in psychology. I welcomed the diversity of people and thought that my college experiences brought with them. I became a peripheral church-goer for the next 10-12 years, focusing more on graduate school, Ph.D. completion, and a career as a psychologist. At the time, this path and these choices seemed to have more equitable opportunities and less of a glass ceiling.