NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2015 Volume 15.2 - Page 6

My Take I am not a practicing religious person, even though I grew up in the Bible Belt in the Midwest, in St. Louis, Missouri, and was baptized at the tender age of three or four at First Baptist Church by the good Reverend Bracey. Being dunked underwater in front of an entire congregation of staunch believers at such a young age was a terrifying, traumatic event for me. “Why am I being drowned!?” I probably thought to myself. 4 Yet, I recovered from that scary event and stayed a member of First Baptist Church for 13 long years, attending services all day long on Sundays, mainly because of the tyranny of my grandmother who was president of The Flower Club. She used to drag my younger brother and me by our ears to services; our only reprieve from the gospel was trudging back home for supper around one or two o’clock every Sunday afternoon. Then, after filling our stomachs with chicken, which we called the “glory bird” and whatever sides my grandmother dished up — beans, collard greens, or string beans — she dragged my brother and me back to church for evening services. My mother and her younger brother never went to church. When I finally liberated myself from the grip of the church at the age of 13, I never went back again, except for the occasional wedding or funeral. My brother, however, became an evangelical, jackleg preacher. By QUINCY TROUPE I confess to all of this because Pope Frances’ visit to Cuba and the United States in September of this year was a moving experience for me. Not enough to convert me into Catholicism or any other traditi