The first time I officially danced with my father was during my wedding in 2013. It was one of the most special moments in my life because the first man I had ever loved gave me away to the man I will forever love. I don’t recall any of the schools I attended when I was growing up having a Daddy-Daughter Dance, but I hear about them all of the time now. Apparently, the school where Grace Bryant attends had a Daddy-Daughter Dance on Saturday as Bravo reported that New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Jamal Bryant took his daughter Grace to one. Grace is also the daughter of Gizzelle Bryant, who is on the cast of The Real Housewives of Potomac. Both of the Bryants, who are back together after being divorced for several years, posted about this special occasion on their Instagram pages. But Grace’s dress, which is somewhat short and tight and shiny, has received some critical feedback…Below are some of the comments and Pastor Bryant’s IG post…
“No Mam Grace. Come with a dress to your knees . Y’all look good but no Mam I’m old school.”
“Naw. Naw grace lookin to grown 😭”
“Tell her to get back inside and put a crinoline over that Sir 🤭😉😆”
But I must say, most of the comments were complimentary…So what do I think? Believe it or not, I started receiving attention for my backside when I was still in elementary school. As a result, as I growing up, I tried to wear clothes that weren’t too tight or too short because of the unwanted attention. That being said, that’s just me. If her parents are cool with it, then that’s that…
As you know, I.LOVE.BOOKS! And I’m a sucker for an intriguing title so when an email about an upcoming release Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Colorshowed up in my inbox, I knew I had to share with you my dear After the Altar Call readers! And if you are intrigued, you can win a free copy of this timely book! Below is a synopsis followed by my Q&A with Kristin Lauren Adams, author and associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, New Jersey. (My Greenleaf folk know I love a female pastor as well 🙂 )
The stories of girls of color are often overlooked, unseen, and ignored rather than valued and heard. In Parable of the Brown Girl (adult nonfiction), readers are introduced to the resilience, struggle, and hope held within these stories. Instead of relegating these young women of color to the margins, Adams brings their stories front and center where they belong.
By sharing encounters she’s had with girls of color that revealed profound cultural, historical and spiritual truths, Adams magnifies the struggles, dreams, wisdom, and dignity of these voices.Thought-provoking and inspirational, Parable of the Brown Girlis a powerful example of how God uses the narratives we most often ignore to teach us the most important lessons in life. It’s time to pay attention.
1. Where did you grow up and live now?
I grew up in East Brunswick, NJ. I have lived a few places; California, Washington, D.C, Virginia. Now I actually both live and work in Pottstown, PA at a boarding school called The Hill School. When I’m not at The Hill, I’m back in NJ with my family in East Brunswick. So, I like to say I live in both places; East Brunswick and Pottstown.
2. What is your education/career background?
I went to Temple University for my undergrad. There I majored in Advertising because I had big hopes of becoming an advertising exec and working on Wall Street. While I was there, I explored my faith much more and got involved in campus ministry. I decided I wanted to go into ministry during that time. I went to work as a youth specialist for my church’s Community Development Corporation for 2 years after college and then applied to seminary. I only applied to one seminary, which was Princeton Seminary where I wound up going.
I obtained a Master of Divinity from there and upon graduating went back to my church (First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens), but this time to serve as a Youth Pastor. I stayed there 3 years and then moved to Southern California and accepted a position at Azusa Pacific University as an Associate Campus Pastor for Preaching and Spiritual Programming.
After 4 years there I moved back to the East Coast and took a position at Georgetown University as a Chaplain in Residence and an Interim Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown Law Center. I loved DC, but eventually moved back to NJ to help out at my home church as an Associate Pastor for a few years and then wound up getting the position I’m currently in as Firestone Endowment Chaplain and Instructor of Religious Studies at The Hill School. I recently got into a Masters in Clinical Counseling program with Capella University that I plan to start in the Spring. I think it makes sense that I get a second Masters and look towards becoming a licensed clinician, particularly since a great deal of my work is in the emotional and spiritual health of youth and young adults.
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?
I used to enjoy writing plays and poetry when I was in college. I enjoyed seeing writing come to life on stage. I never thought about writing books until my Pastor (Buster Soaries) wrote his first book and one day said to me in casual conversation, “You know you should write a book.” I remember telling him that I didn’t have anything to write about and didn’t feel like I was an expert in anything. He said, “You write about what you know.” That stuck with me. At the time I didn’t think I knew anything, but I realized that I know what I know from my own experiences. It wasn’t long after that conversation that I wrote my first book.
4. What inspired your book?
My inspiration is the dedication to my book: “For all the black girls who courageously shared their story, their wisdom and their truths with me. Society may put you on the margins, but you are at the center of God’s heart.” The book is written for the black girls who have been unable to give voice to their lived experiences. I say this because I have had many conversations and crossed paths with many black girls who have so much to offer the world, but the world refuses to listen to or see them. I promised myself that if I were ever given the platform, I would place these girls at the center.
5. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
I was amazed by how consistent many of their struggles are with the stories I have heard from other black girls and women inter-generationally. I recognize their struggles and experiences in my own life. As I walked through the Smithsonian African-American History Museum and read about the lives of other black women and girls dating back to the 1500s, the cultural similarities were astonishing. Young black women in contemporary society are confronted with similar issues as many of those who have come before them.
6. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to spend time with family and friends and playing with my dog, Daisy. I used to love training for and running half-marathons. I haven’t had a chance to train since I started working at The Hill School, but I’d love to get back into that at some point. Right now, I work out at a gym called Corefit and I like to do strength training a few times a week there.
7. Do you have a bucket list? What are some of the things on it?
I want to eat pizza in Italy. I’d like to go back to West Africa. I want to meet Oprah. I want to go to Essence Music Fest. I want to be a guest on Black Girls Rock. That about sums it up 🙂
Khristi Lauren Adams is the Firestone Endowment Chaplain, instructor of religious studies and philosophy, and co-director of Diversity at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA. Previously, she worked as Interim Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University Law Center & Georgetown University, Associate Campus Pastor for Preaching & Spiritual Programming at Azusa Pacific University, and former Director of Youth Ministries at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ. Khristi is also the Founder & Director of “The Becoming Conference” that began summer 2017, which is an annual conference designed to empower, educate & inspire girls ages of 13-18.
Khristi is a graduate of Temple University with a degree in Advertising and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary where she obtained a Master of Divinity. Khristi is also currently an Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. Her ministry and youth advocacy have been featured on CNN and her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Off the Page, and the Junia Project. When not in residence at The Hill School, she lives in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
I cannot pretend that I’m a huge sports fan, but I cannot imagine that anyone who lives in the United States doesn’t know Kobe Bryant. I’m still in shock after learning about his death at a mere 41, the death of his 13-year-old lookalike daughter Gianna (known as Gigi) and the death of the other passengers on that tragic helicopter crash on Sunday. I was encouraged when I read this article about his faith in Catholic Courier. See an excerpt below…
As the world mourned the loss of basketball great Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others killed in a tragic helicopter crash Jan. 26, many recalled how Bryant gave much credit to his Catholic faith for seeing him through the bad times and strengthening his marriage and family.
A shooting guard, Bryant was drafted into the NBA at age 17 and played his entire 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships. He retired at the end of the 2015-2016 season.
News of Bryant’s death quickly prompted tributes on social media. On Twitter, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles said “he was sad to hear the news” and offered prayers for him and his family.
Also, Kobe and his daughter went to church that morning before they boarded the helicopter. See an excerpt of a Daily Mail article below…
Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi prayed together at Catholic mass at their local church hours before they both died in the tragic helicopter crash, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The basketball legend and 13-year-old Gigi went to the 7am service at the Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach. They both received Communion.
The father and daughter left the church and soon afterwards boarded the S-76 Sikorsky helicopter piloted by Ara Zobyan which was taking them to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for Gigi’s basketball practice.
Saints, let’s pray for all of those who loved all nine of the people who lost their lives in that deadly helicopter crash on Sunday. This is a sobering reminder that our lives and time are utterly in the hands of God. I pray that we use our lives and time wisely and to His glory…