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SK: What was your religious upbringing?
Erika: When I was about 7 years old, I started walking to the Methodist church a few blocks away from our house. My mother didn't go. She was devoted to the Southern Baptist Church and no other church in town would do. Her own bible was in Spanish and stayed by her bed.
When I was 8, I asked to be baptized. I wanted in. I loved what I was hearing about being a part of God's family. I used to go to Easter sunrise service in my pajamas. I just wanted to be there. No matter how much my religious beliefs changed over the years, I never lost the love for good and God. At least not until my first two children passed away.
SK: Is it the same religion you practice now?
Erika: We're Episcopalian, now. Like I said, when first Arthur then Erik passed away, I collapsed on every level. A mother with no living children is a ghost in her own life. I had Juice on my own with a sperm donor after Erik passed away. He brought a lot of light into my life, made it possible really; but I was still adrift in dark musings about a God who enjoyed our suffering. I also thought it possible that uncountable lives were just scooped off the precipice of never-ending darkness to no God at all.
"A mother with no living children is a ghost in her own life."
When I thought my dark thoughts would drive me insane, I prayed to the emptiness to feel the touch of a loving God. I offered up utter willingness on a foundation of doubt. Not long after that, we found the Episcopal Church. I only went because I had heard about them making an openly lesbian woman a Bishop. I hoped I would find a flake of that inclusion in this small town church, and I did.
The message of the church rang through loud and clear. Come one, come all. Let's be bold, like Christ, and love each other with our whole hearts, in spite of our flaws and our differences. Let us put sister- and brotherhood first and follow the loving path of Jesus instead of the greed and coldness we are taught by the world. It is an awesome message. It is straight off of a hippie commune. I love it!
SK: Why did you choose a different path than your family of origin?
Erika: I'm a seeker, not a follower. If it doesn't make sense to me and for me, then it doesn't matter how far from tradition or normalcy it strays. I need a spirituality that reflects my own goals and values. I find that in the Episcopal Church.