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The Reverend Co'Relous C. Bryant

Associate for Mission




Spiritual Autobiography

I need the Gospel. I don’t mean I need to be saved in the traditional Southern Baptist parlance. I mean I need the story of God. I must confess, I have deep existential angst. I struggle to find a worthwhile justification for this human experiment—this burden of an animal with consciousness—this biological reproductive output with an innate sense of “I.” I need the Gospel. Without it, life makes very little sense to me. Lucky for me, I feel confident saying God has made God’s-self real to me. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have traced the fingerprints of the Divine throughout these 33 years. I commune with the Holy Spirit. I daily walk by faith and not by sight and watch God show up. Not always in ways I understand and not without complexity or complication. But I can confidently say I know God. And I can confidently say, God knows me. I was raised in an independent fundamentalist Southern Baptist church in northern Florida. My theology was shaped by firm legalism, sin-driven-salvation, and personal ascetism. I was raised in a tradition that insisted on biblical inerrancy, substitutionary atonement, a red-hot Hell, white supremacy (though not acknowledged), colonialism (though not acknowledged), sexism and misogyny (though not acknowledged), homophobia and transphobia (fully acknowledged). Although I would grow to dismantle and dismiss much of that doctrine—I did grow closer to Jesus in this context and my biblical literacy was off-the-charts (thank you sword drills and scripture memorization contests). I personally identify as a seeker. A mystic whose life has been transformed by a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. What lies below is an attempt to share with you how I hold all of these things. It should also shed light on how I might shepherd others in holding some of these things. There, but for the grace of God, go I. I try to  be a refractor of God’s divine spirit. I’m not a physicist, but best I can tell, refraction occurs when some energy hits a medium of some kind and the direction of that energy changes. Whether it be light or sound. As refractors, when God’s spirit hits us...we ought to change directions. We should also redirect that goodness of God toward others as it passes through us. It should affect how we move and have our being. We should bear witness to the Holy Spirit at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We should live our lives as a testament to God’s goodness—as originally designed. As a Reverend, I try to steward both these responsibilities: I will toil in God’s work of reconciliation in community and I will be a refractor of God’s light and energy. I will seek the welfare of my brother and my sister and I will be a willing canvas on which God can continue painting God’s portrait of love.

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