My Journey to Embracing Faith, Race and Gender

Kamryn AdamsAs Christians we believe in the Holy Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Ghost as one.  We believe that Jesus was 100% man and 100% God.  We believe that we are all made in the image of God because in Genesis 1 God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.”   There is no separation between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  They are God. This knowledge has allowed me to be all that I am without separation. I do not have to choose whether my race, my gender, or my faith is most important. They are all 100% me. Or….

“Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.”

When I was about seven or eight years old, I realized that I was a black girl.  Regardless of the genetic make-up of my ancestry, I was well aware of the “one drop” rule. Consequently, I never had any identity issues with my race.   Granted, I was often called “Black acting white” or “Black talking white.” I was deemed “pretty Black girl” or “smart Black girl” but in all of these circumstances, it was always clear that I was Black.  So 23 and Me can pull out my Southern Italian, Mediterranean, Northern European heritage and tell me that I’m actually 58% non-African. The reality is I’m Black and I’ll consistently challenge your paradigm of what Black is and is not.

Around the same time in my life, I began to understand what it meant to be a girl. There were things that girls did and things that they did not do. Girls played softball not baseball. Girls were supposed to cheer for football, but not know the rules.  Girls could be class Vice-President, but not President.  So, I played softball in the league and baseball in the backyard.  I cheered and danced for the team but criticized the defensive coordinator’s choices. I became VP but ran everything. Being a girl limited my options somewhat. I couldn’t be POTUS but I could be Oprah and wield similar influence.  I couldn’t be Superman, but I could be Wonder Woman and still kick butt.  Being a powerful woman would be hard, but not impossible. I was good with that.

Despite having been raised a church girl,  I did not discover a faith of my own until I got to college.  I knew of Jesus and I knew a lot about him. I had been baptized and given my life to Christ.  I knew all the songs and sayings. I taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible school. I met Jesus as a child but never developed a relationship with Him until… one snowy day in October, on my personal road to Damascus, I-64 between Louisville and Lexington, I saw Jesus. Don’t freak out. I saw Him with my heart not my eyes.

Before then, I never realized that I was Black and a woman because that’s what God made me for His glory and His purpose for my life.  I always believed God created me to be Black and a girl because somebody had to draw the short straw. I thought God’s balance was that some people get good stuff and others don’t.  I thought he made some people for easy life and others for a more difficult journey on earth but we would appreciate heaven all the more. Consequently,  I was a suicidal escapist from fourteen to twenty-four wishing to be in Heaven.  But when I finally saw Jesus that day he said to me, “What are you doing here?” It was then that I embraced all that I am.  I spent over a decade being unapologetically me.  I am Black. I am a Christian. I am a Woman.  (Take note of the alphabetical order.)

Then, in 2008, the Obama v. Clinton primary,  Black people argued that my Blackness was more important.  Women argued that my womanhood was more important. Since that time I’ve been asked numerous times to choose which aspect of my identity is primary, race or gender. The 2016 election presented a collision between my faith and my womanhood.  For some reason, the GOP was deemed the
Christian party and the Dems, the loving and inclusive party with a woman candidate.  So here I was again being challenged to express my primary identity.

“If I am created in God’s image then I am one person.”

If I am created in God’s image then I am one person. There is no primary identifier for me. I’m not more Black than I am woman just as Jesus was not more human than He is divine. And I’m certainly not more aligned with race and gender issues than I am with the gospel.  Now that I’m thinking about it, I do have a primary identity.

My primary identity is a child of God. A wonderful, marvelous, daughter of the Most High King.  I champion the issues of Christ. So I’m against racism and sexism and hatred in any form.  I don’t believe the government has a right to force people into Christian behavior since…well, God doesn’t force you to be Christian and besides, if people ignore the Holy Ghost they will certainly ignore Congress.  I think Barack Obama (D-IL) was the right choice in 2008 and John Kasich (R-OH) was the right choice in 2016 because I was raised in Southeastern Ohio and another big part of my identity is being small town Appalachian.

So you see, I could fragment myself into hundreds of little pieces, but because I was created in the image of God who is always 100% I choose to be me and all that God made me, every little tiny, fearfully made piece.


Kamryn Adams is an author, screenwriter and blogger who writes from a Christian worldview. She’s the founder of Leaping Lady Entertainment and The Kamryn Adams Group. www.KamrynAdams.com

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