Carde is a member of The Garden Church. He shared his story at the ONE HOPE Conference.
I met Joel in 2010 and for a few years he led a ministry called God and Hip Hop and shared the Gospel with me. For a long time, I resisted. Finally, in 2014, after my dad passed, I made a profession of faith and was baptized in February, 2015. After the Baltimore uprising in April of that year, however, I began to slowly rethink some things and by the end of 2015, I had given up the faith and went back to the streets.
I was told and believed that the Bible was written by white men, for white men. Jesus was white. Or maybe he was black and white people convinced us he’s white. I don’t know. But I thought I knew that the Bible was filled with lies and used as a tool of oppression. I learned from the internet, YouTube, and sat around with my friends smoking a lot of weed having conversations that felt super intellectual. It felt like we were enlightened and knew things that nobody else knew.
What I was being taught, however, was superficial. It wasn’t anchored in anything deep. There wasn’t anything in particular about the Bible we disbelieved. And there wasn’t direction pointing toward toward anything else. It was all just pointing away from Bible and Christianity in general. What I found, however, was that there wasn’t any hope in it. If you place your hope in money or sex or material things, at the end of the day, there is no hope. I hit rock bottom and found no hope in what I believed. I found myself broke and homeless.
Eventually, I went to a Bible study on Jeremiah 32 and it was straight conviction. I told myself I’d at least read the Bible from the beginning. And I did just that. And as I did, I found answers to many of my questions. I began to see the Bible for what it really is, a great story of redemption. I began to distinguish between what the Bible actually says and how people used it in wrong ways. I could see that while white people have indeed at times abused the Bible, it wasn’t actually what the Bible said, taught, or promoted. Once again, I saw the Gospel. In the Bible were broken people that God would go the distance for. Everyone was broken. All of us were broken. There is something bigger happening. Something bigger than what people think the Bible is.
I came back to the church and everyone quickly welcomed me back and restored me. I have a passion for the Scriptures and want to help others know Christ through the Bible. If I could talk to someone who is exactly where I was, I’d tell him to read the Bible for himself. Read to understand. I’d help him know the Gospel so that he'd have a framework for the whole Bible. I’d help him to understand context and what’s going on in each passage so that he might know what that passage actually means in light of the whole story of Scripture. I’d want him to know Christ. And not someone’s idea of Jesus, but who Jesus actually is in the Scriptures.